The Network 40 Summer Games II June 25-27 in Lake Tahoe are sold out! As record companies line up their teams, the wolf whistles are getting louder.
We’re hearing a lot of, “My team can beat your team” and “My daddy can whip your daddy” already.
The Network 40 Summer Games were conceived over three years ago at a small gathering consisting or myself, Bruce Tenenbaum and Mark Gorlick. We were criticizing (of course) a convention that had just concluded. During our conversation, we bagged all conventions in general. And it wasn’t just three lone voices crying out in the wilderness. We were vocalizing the criticisms we shared with every person in the business.
Radio and record conventions are boring. The panels and discussions are a joke. And they are boring. The meetings go on too long. And they’re boring. There are 100 record people to every programmer. Nothing is ever accomplished. Conventions are a waste of time. And they are boring.
These criticisms were coupled with the mood of the day. Never before was there such a chasm between those in the record business and those in radio.
We like to believe last year’s inaugural Summer Games helped change that attitude.
There is no doubt that both businesses have changed drastically in the past few years. Promotion executives spend more time in meetings inside the company than having productive meetings with programmers. More often than not, the only contact promotion people have with programmers is on the phone…and those conversations tend to be about the immediate possibility of an add.
What about long-term relationships? In today’s world, a promotion person’s opinion of a programmer depends on what records were added in a given week.
It’s the same for PD. More time is spent in meetings than listening to music. A PD’s time is more valuable than anything. When a PD picks up a phone to talk with someone in the record business, it’s usually, “What can you do for me right now?”
In a business that demands relationships on both sides, we are becoming too busy to establish them. And we need these relationships to survive.
No PD is going to add every record. A promotion person’s job is to get a PD to consider the record. Occasionally, one must ask a programmer for a favor…”Would you please listen to my record and to what I have to say about my record?”
You cannot ask a favor without having a relationship. And you cannot have a relationship without spending time…quality time.
The same is true from the programming side. You can’t ask a favor of a promotion executive without having a relationship, unless you want to barter and trade. But if you have a relationship, the promotion person will be more than happy to oblige because both know the other will be there in the future.
This is why we came up with the idea of the Network 40 Summer Games. It’s is an opportunity to create relationships. There is nothing else like it.
This year, everybody seems to be having a convention. It’s particularly funny to me that after the success of last year’s Summer games, R&R decided to have a convention in 1998 and scheduled it two weeks before the Network 40 Summer Games II. Coincidence? Hardly. It doesn’t matter. R&R doesn’t get it…never has…never will.
I hope every person who attends the Network 40 Summer Games II also goes to the R&R overkill. The difference is obvious.
Why aren’t we having speakers? Because we don’t learn anything from speakers of panels. Would you rather hear Kevin Weatherly speak about programming to a large group or would you rather have the opportunity to ask him specific programming questions in a relaxed atmosphere? Would you rather hear Burt Baumgartner give a speech about promotion or would you rather ask him about promotion?
The Network 40 Summer Games II gives you the opportunity to talk one-on-one with your peers and counterparts. The games are small for a reason…so every person who attends will have the opportunity to spend quality time with everyone else there.
You will establish relationships with those you only knew as distant voices. You’ll make friends. Hey, you’ll also make enemies. You’re not going to click with everyone, but after the Network 40 Summer Games II, You’ll have a reason to hate specific people!
Because of the success of last year’s Summer Gamers, the vast majority of industry people know the Network 40 Summer Games II will provide a unique opportunity to compete and get to know each competitor. Virtually every record company has committed to being a part of the most unique event in the history of our business. Most know it will be very special gathering in a very special place that will be talked about for years to come. A small minority continue to ask, “Why?” Why is it so expensive? (Because it’s small and special.) Why aren’t there any panels? (Because panels are stupid and boring.) Why should I go? (To spend quality time with others in your business…you might even learn something.) Why are we playing games? (Because competition builds relationships.) Why can’t I wait until next year? (Sure, wait another year to establish relationships.)
If you decide not to attend, all of these questions will be irrelevant. You’ll only have to answer on question:
Why weren’t you there?