25 November 2011

Economically Speaking on the BIG SPEND Weekend

As I set up myself for a brief blog --- noting that I haven't written anything to this particular column in 9 months (been a year for reporting and working but not for blogging for a change), the "Black Friday" shopping is coming to a close. It's Saturday in the EST, and before I am done with this post, it's probably going to be Saturday in the CST, too.

Small Business Saturday is coming to life. In fact, for those who were intelligent enough to wait a day, the reason for buying local and smaller "mom and pop" stores is about to become evident and bring about the first signs of a change in habits. These habits are going to be somewhat of a retrofitting the mindset of tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans in urban and suburban areas. In fact, percentage wise this kind of change may even mimic that of some rural and small town atmospheres this year.

Now what is behind this Small Business Saturday is simple. Americans, fed up with the way the major corporations have become all about the profits and careless about jobs, have banded together to a small degree and listened to the groundswell --- the grass roots efforts --- of people that know for certain that shopping in the smaller retail outlets at the mom & pop stores is truly what gets the small economic engines moving again, despite the pushes from the megacorporations with their multi-targeted advertising campaigns to try and stop this from happening.

I made a prediction --- I have been known to make lots of semi-accurate predictions about the economy over the past 5 years --- that I think will hold up some in hindsight over the coming weeks. My prediction was that Black Friday will not be nearly as successful for the major retailers as they thought it would be. That sales will be down enough that by Monday there will be a fallout that has a lasting impact on Wall Street and the other worldwide stock markets.

In short, the prediction is that because of the dollars that were NOT spent on Black Friday but ended up in a different part of the economic situation --- that the Wall Street trading of some of the major corporations will drop off next week. And this will not be followed by good news for those corporate giants this time because they will be unable to cut any more workforce. They have been doing that for such a lengthy amount of time that there is no cutting available. Status quo is being understaffed or about even (at best) for the remainder of the shopping season between Black Friday and Christmas Day. Frankly, it appears to me that these giants of the retail sector will be downgrading their expected profits for the entire major shopping period. And Wall Street and worldwide reaction to this fallout will linger for many months --- perhaps a few years --- before things become "corrected" properly. Yes, I'm afraid to tell the real conservatives and the moderate-right or moderately conservative persons that if they didn't sell off their stocks, that now may be too late to sell off at a minimal loss. These chunks will be falling off precipitously across a wide range of sectors as a result of the dramatic monetary shortfalls from the predicted sales figures.

Now its worst nightmare situation is coming to get those CFO's: they cannot come up with a valid plan to justify more cuts of jobs, nor can they justify the spending of money to enforce the ways they would like to simply cover their butts over a lack of consumer spending by claiming that the demand far outweighed the expectations. Lies that we can all see --- there was not an expectation by consumers this year. The expectation from the CEO/presidents and board rooms was a more robust Black Friday than the past two or three years. Reality is saying differently. And on Small Business Saturday, we will find out where the shoppers were hiding their money...as they spend it inside the small shops in the major metropolitan areas and beyond.

Later...either in a few hours or over the weekend, I'll have more information about Black Friday spending. But on Monday there will be the first true signs of this Wall Street failure, followed by the more obvious signs on Tuesday.

AND --- before too long, I will share someone else's viewpoint and show how they were almost completely right with their opinions on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests.

Meanwhile --- I sure hope to get a little more information gathered to back up what I already have learned.

16 February 2011

Jim Hoft: Targets Himself

When one is a blogger and frequently names political activists opposed to one's viewpoint, there is little doubt that integrity can be called into question. MANY GOOD REPORTERS call into question the integrity of one JIM HOFT, author of the following article about CBS Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan: After Sexual Assault & Beating...

HOFT will learn the hard way that the middle of the road reporters can and will call him out for being an extremist with no valid reason to comment upon something that he would not be prepared to do himself --- be a REAL and well-intentioned reporter. WELL, JIM HOFT, consider yourself warned by the middle of the road...not the "left", not the "right", not a "radical" something.

JIM HOFT: You're being called out by mainline, mainstream reporters who have no political agenda --- as you do --- because you're a lackluster blogger, an extremist radical who deserves to be ridiculed and mocked by all sensible persons. We can see you for what you are, which is simply an extremist blogger with no credentials as a reporter. He will likely resort to attacking me and others to ask why we can clearly state he lacks reporting skills or credentials. But even doing something as mundane as doing a Google Search for JIM HOFT points to his lack of skills at reporting.


From the LIFEBOAT FOUNDATION BIO, on whose "ETHICS BOARD" sits this Jim Hoft:

Jim Hoft is the author of this article and author of Gateway Pundit, one of the leading conservative blogs on the internet today and which currently draws over a quarter of a million readers each month. He has led the pack on many news stories and has been the guest of numerous radio talk shows and panel discussions on current events. Gateway Pundit is often linked by internet giants and has been mentioned in the Washington Post, New York Sun, and the British daily Telegraph.

Jim earned a BS in Biology at Loras College. He is professionally one of the few in his field certified to train High Performance Team Building in World Class Organizations. He has researched microbes at the source of the Mississippi River in Itasca, Minnesota.

He also has modeling and acting accomplishments to his credit. He starred in numerous national commercials, has made appearances in nationally syndicated television shows and has been pictured in various publications from Caterpillar's Catalog to The St. Louis Post Dispatch. He's made brief appearances in film.


So, he has modeled and done acting in commercials. He has a BS in Biology, researching microbes. He is certified to train team building.

What does ANY of that have to do with REAL WORLD REPORTING, other than perhaps researching microbes? And, when he researches those microbes, do they report something that will make ANYONE'S newscast?

So, in short, Jim Hoft is a blowhard blogger with no real reporting skills --- just a right-wing-only point of view. And he'll probably come after me in attack mode to counter that I have no credentials which validates my telling the world that a schmuck like Jim Hoft needs to permanently misplace or lose his keyboard and stop inciting the wrath of intelligent human beings. Frankly, you went after Lara Logan to get people to read your words. Bad move, Jim Hoft, because there will be lots of NOT-SO-LEFT people who will read your words and feel that you have betrayed the right and the far-right.

Well, that's sugar-coating it a bit, Jim Hoft. I would prefer you come to grips with the FACTS, and not some version of facts that you have invented in order to have your several hundred readers (I don't claim to have ANY readers, Jim...but I'm certainly not in the habit of having "a quarter of a million readers per month") agree with your radical viewpoint.

Your radical viewpoint about Lara Logan is this (here is the actual blog of Jim Hoft on gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com):

Gateway Pundit

After Sexual Assault & Beating… CBS Reporter Logan Learns That Political Correctness Is a Killer

…Update: No Media Matters, There Will Be No Retraction

Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 12:04 PM

Lara Logan is lucky she’s alive.

Her liberal belief system almost got her killed on Friday. This talented reporter will never be the same.

Why did this attractive blonde female reporter wander into Tahrir Square last Friday? Why would she think this was a good idea? Did she not see the violence in the square the last three weeks? Did she not see the rock throwing? Did she miss the camels? Did her colleagues tell her about the Western journalists who were viciously assaulted on the Square? Did she forget about the taunts from the Egyptian thugs the day before? What was she thinking? Was it her political correctness that about got her killed? Did she think things would be different for her?

CBS News says Lara Logan, shown covering the reaction in Cairo’s Tahrir Square the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, was attacked Friday and suffered a brutal beating and sexual assault before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. (AOL.com)

Peaceful Egyptian protesters screamed “Jew! Jew!” as they beat and sexually assaulted CBS reporter Lara Logan at Tahrir Square last Friday.
The New York Post reported:

“60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan was repeatedly sexually assaulted by thugs yelling, “Jew! Jew!” as she covered the chaotic fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s main square Friday, CBS and sources said yesterday.

The TV crew with Logan, who is also the network’s chief foreign correspondent, had its cameras rolling moments before she was dragged off – and caught her on tape looking tense and trying to head away from a crowd of men behind her in Tahrir Square.

“Logan was covering the jubilation . . . when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration,” CBS said in a statement. “It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into a frenzy.

“In the crush of the mob, [Logan] was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.

“She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning,” the network added. “She is currently in the hospital recovering.”

A network source told The Post that her attackers were screaming, “Jew! Jew!” during the assault. And the day before, Logan had told Esquire.com that Egyptian soldiers hassling her and her crew had accused them of “being Israeli spies.” Logan is not Jewish.

Lara Logan is lucky she’s not dead.

(end of original post by JIM HOFT)

(he updated after Media Matters question him...obviously he attacks them because he felt provoked to go after an organization that has the right to defend another media person being attacked by a blogger who fancies himself better than others in the world)

UPDATE: Sorry Media Matters the post stands.

The far left does not like it when their tenets are questioned. It must be hard when someone holds a mirror up and you see that your twisted agenda has caused such havoc and pain around the world. These warped individuals must have missed that day of school when they talked about playing with fire.

One final question– Does Media Matters ever post anything that is not a dishonest smear job?


Now I will explain that I am not in the habit of reading mediamatters.org --- so it is a rare thing for me to know that the Media Matters organization had anything to do with calling out a viewpoint from a blogger slash non-reporter like this Jim Hoft guy. It just happened to come up as one of the first three things on the Google search I looked through after seeing the questioning of Hoft's blog (questioning is the least of this guy's problems, apparently). MediaMatters.org isn't my cup of tea, either. But a good airing out of a bad blog post never hurt anyone --- unless you're a jerk like Jim Hoft who cannot see that his putting a spin and a context-breaking blog out for the public to consume is not just a bad idea, but is counter-productive to what he may have once wanted to say --- which is likely something about how he perceives that being a reporter in a politically charged foreign country is only done by liberal or left-wing persons. Good try, JIM HOFT. But BAD idea, poor execution, and beyond that --- POOR JUDGMENT to have thought going after a foreign correspondent was fair.

JIM HOFT has shown one side of himself that most people would easily qualify as being "mentally unfit"--- the side that JIM HOFT HIMSELF says is okay to attack someone who has been brutally beaten and sexually assaulted.

The question one has in return for Jim Hoft is this: When you get sent to prison for wrongdoing, are you going to enjoy being brutally beaten and sexually assaulted? Because it would be obvious to those of us who are reporters that you are not capable of handling anything in a rational manner. What you claimed in your article is irrational and unethical at best.

What Lara Logan does, Jim, is report from around the world to the public in the United States. She's not there for a political correctness show. She's not there because she thinks SHE will be different and she will be protected from the mob. She's there to report from the Egyptian mob --- a job that JIM HOFT would never take because he's not capable of doing such a job.

IF JIM HOFT says that going to a foreign country to report is unwise, then, shucky darn, Jimmy, we shouldn't go to any foreign land and report anything of any nature whatsoever...right, dude?

JIM HOFT simply made these statements to become the target of all the men and women who are enraged by the behavior of the mob that brutally assaulted a reporter. Maybe it was his intention to only target what he perceives to be "left wing only" people. But he forgets that one of the tenets of being a good reporter is to leave the baggage of "political sides" on the sideline and get the story first. No...check that...he never learned that --- because he has never been a reporter. His way of living has nothing to do with reporting. His way of living is ensuring there are no middle of the road persons out here doing the right thing. JIM HOFT would rather make us all left-wing liberals BECAUSE WE REPORT. Jim Hoft's world does not have print media, electronic radio as a media, and television resources --- his world is clearly stuck in the 1700s when printing presses were an expensive commodity.

Frankly, blogger-only-and-non-reporter Jim Hoft, we'd like to hear you say something that's not as PC as you did about Lara Logan. Apparently you forget that freedom of speech and freedom of expression each have come with a price. From here forward, you'll pay that price with any crazy words you include in any of your blogs.

26 January 2011

FCC Needs Help

Interference on AM Radio.
Digital interference on AM and FM radio.
Terrestrial Radio Signal degradation.
Frequency Allotments.
Mobile Communications.
The Fairness Doctrine.
Accurate Assessment of Facilities.

This list could go on for two or three columns. It's a partial list of things that the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, has NOT done to the satisfaction of many who are directly impacted by their ignorance, inaction, or ineffective actions.

Not everyone considers what the FCC does, or what its direct impact upon ALL Americans it has on a regular basis. But for those of us in broadcasting, communications or telecommunications, we have at least a peripheral knowledge of what the Commission does in regulating some of our business practices, physical engineering, policies, and future. But the Commission must also decide on issues that influence our daily work. And unfortunately, it's obvious to many of us, the commissioners don't always have a clue about what is going on at the ground level. This is crucial because it is at the ground level --- where most of us work --- that their activity or lack thereof is felt first.

Taking one of those things in which I have a direct interest: INTERFERENCE on the radio dials. For those of us who regularly on AM Radio stations, the interference of electrical wires, computer equipment, testing equipment, etc., is having one of the biggest impacts because the FCC --- which used to do a stellar job in forcing manufacturers to keep any interference to an absolute minimum --- does VIRTUALLY NOTHING to stop the EXTREME interference of the broadcast signals on AM/Amplitude Modulation RADIO.

Sure, we can do "live streaming audio at our website" and have others listen to us on their smartphones, PC's and net radios --- but it is not the same. We depend upon drivers to hear us on their automobile radios. When you're driving through almost ANY neighborhood in the U.S. where there is cable strung around the utility poles, the interference ranges from "some" to "too much to make AM listenable for extended periods of time" --- the impact is direct and immediate. This should NOT be this way because the FCC should have MANDATES on interference levels, mandates on remedies to restrict the interference to "near nil", regulatory engineers monitoring these levels --- and, they should be ENACTING FINES to the companies which put these modes of interference into our "public airwaves".

Why --- when the FCC is charged with being the authority over these problems --- do we have them at all? In the 1980s and early 1990s, we rarely had problems with such interference because the FCC sent out investigators to quell the problems associated with electric interference on AM radio.

What is the remedy?

Unfortunately --- MORE GOVERNMENT!

You sure didn't expect me to write that, did you?

I'm not a regular advocate for "more" government. But in this case, there was a dramatic fall-off in personnel and action at the FCC when the U.S. Government cut back funding for this branch. We suffered from at least two administrations that cut some of the essential parts of the FCC budget because of "deregulation". This left the FCC with a serious lack of personnel to handle their chores.

These cutbacks have led to AN EXTREME SITUATION >>> electrical interference is at an all-time high on AM radio and on other forms of audio and visual communications. And it must be STOPPED SOON.

The only way the FCC will be effective in putting the problem to rest is to ensure that they're in the right places with the correct rules and regulations set in stone.


I am calling on ALL United States Senators and Representatives, the President and Vice-President of the U.S., and judges from the lowest courts to the highest court in our nation, to make sure the Federal Communications Commission is funded properly and fair.

The commission must be charged with finding the proper ways to end such a serious long-term problem facing the broadcasters across our country. This is but ONE issue that faces the direct questioning of the industries that have to follow FCC regulations.

If the Commission is not given the proper workforce, these problems will not go away.

And then the problem becomes worse, and YOU will have to deal with extremely upset broadcasters.

I give you this scenario:

RADIO STATION ON-AIR PERSONALITIES will be discussing the problems at the FCC more often than celebrity news if this isn't fixed right away.

(Okay, now that we have that out of the way --- let's get the Congress and the FCC focused second on the problem of conglomerates and get into properly regulating ownership of broadcast stations back to ACCEPTABLE levels --- How about 10 AM and 10 FM stations per company nationwide?)

03 January 2011

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Rebound Clause: Radio

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a "new industry" called radio. At the time it started there were not many radio sets available because few Americans could afford these big tube-based wooden cabinets with speakers and wires. It took electric power, which would cost the average family quit a few pennies if it were used all day long and into the night. Times were tough back then, but the industry slowly grew, as the "listeners" grew along with the number of stations, advertisers, and performers who were scrambling to get their entertainment form of singing, playing music, performing plays and poetry, or simple spoken word "on the air" at one of the radio stations. Networks quickly sprang up and there were nationally broadcast shows. Sponsors were quick to sign up for these shows whether local or national just to get their products in front of the growing public. Although times were still lean and the technology was still relatively new, by the 1930s there were many radio stations --- and radio sets were everywhere. Some of the electronic component manufacturers began building radio sets that fit into a car console and allowed travelers to listen to radio stations far and wide as they drove across the countryside to see family or friends or just take a vacation --- another relatively new idea.

As the years went along, radio stations developed more, programs were more focused, FM was added, shortwave radio and amatuer radio gained some interest, television came on the scene and became an increasing competitor, and the overall industry --- once simply "radio broacasting" became known as "broadcasting", with radio and television being separate.

The American dream was more complex than ever, as was the industry of broadcasting by the time "rock and roll" radio personalities came along in the 1950s. Radio stations were bought/sold and traded by owners who were increasingly looking for a better deal for themselves. But most radio station managers remained forward-looking and hopeful that they could lead their station or stations (sometimes there was one AM and one FM owned in the same market by an owner) to be a competitive money-maker --- or, at least, survive financially.

With the 1980s and a down economic picture, some radio station owners complained that they were no longer able to be competitive against TV and cable broadcasting. Computers came along and by the mid-1980s had started to take a piece of the pie away from some who were interested in newer technologies. Radio was still a strong piece of the every day American pie. Listenership was not challenged all that much because there were "portable" radios with transistors, "personal" radios like the Walkman, and automobiles and vans and trucks all had AM/FM tuners --- even the Over-The-Road trucker and the local delivery vans had radios. But there were some radio station owners who thought that the best years still were ahead and made promises to keep enhancing what they had. So they lobbied for some deregulation with the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D. C., and asked that they be allowed to start buying up competitors. Somewhat surprisingly, after a few years of the debate, the FCC eventually allowed corporate owners --- ones with enough money to do so --- to own 2 FM and 2 AM stations within the same LARGE market, expanding the overall limits of ownership so that some of the "big" companies would grow. Among those early adopters of the 2 and 2 limits were CBS, Westinghouse, and ABC. They were big already, but under the new rules that kept increasing the "national limit" for stations owned, they were increasingly given the ability to purchase competitive stations in markets where they already were powerful.

By the time the 1990s were fully engaged, ENDING the national limits seemed to be the target of these and many other broadcasting companies. The national limits increased from 12 to 18 to 20 in a few years, under the guidance of the FCC and Congress with rules they continued to develop allowing more deregulation.

By 1996, the FCC and the U. S. Congress were giving the green light for companies who had reached the upper limits of the "national limit" to begin participating in further buyouts.

Radio, in part, was seeing some decline because of other new technologies. Cable broadcasting had increased its overall audience by expanding what was offered to subscribers: CNN, Weather Channel, HBO --- were all just a part of cable offerings as HGTV, USA, FoxNewsChannel, FoodNetwork, ESPN2, ESPN3, Fox Sports, and many others popped up and took another chunk of time away from regular broadcast TV and radio. And the computer age was in full force by the mid to late 1990s, with the internet, cellphones, and videogames all competing for everyone's time, money, and energy.

So --- radio ownership got what it wanted. Maybe I should say "shareholders" of radio companies got what they wanted. In the board room, owners were under increasing pressure to be one of the companies that would buy out the neighboring competition. CBS and Westinghouse "merged" into a bigger company. Clear Channel bought whomever was selling, including some companies who were reporting losses or were bigger than they were but had some financial problems because of the competitive nature of the entertainment and advertising dollar.

Smaller broadcasting operators found out that their stations were worth more on the market and put them up for sale --- not really caring that they were already making money against competitors who were cheapening what was being served to the public and losing money to the stations who had full on-air staffs and were seen in the public eye at "live remotes". So, by the time some of the "good" broadcasters started selling off their assets, the lesser broadcasters had already started adopting policies of "voice tracking" or "satellite service" --- both which only increased the erosion of listenership to that station or stations and only helped the bottom line of the owner. What did that mean? Job losses. There were people who were employed full-time at radio stations in small, medium, large, and major markets who lost jobs to new technology and newly adopted ways of making the bottom line "more competitive" with disregard to the listeners or the professionals who brought those listeners to the stations. These new technologies included the computer-assisted satellite, the computer itself playing the majority of music and commercials throughout the broadcast day, and stations which used computers as its SOLE way of broadcasting to the listeners. Job losses increased as the technology improved, but moreover the job losses increased as owners of stations decided that the bottom line of "savings" was far more important than having listeners 24 hours a day. Overnight listeners found out that there were no live bodies in many American radio stations --- if they bothered to ask at all. Employees of these stations who were eliminating positions scrambled to find jobs --- only to find that the owners of most radio stations were not going to be hiring. And what made it worse was the fact that the ownership "national limit" was dropped altogether. Full deregulation of the national limit meant that there were legal conglomerates who were and are allowed to broadcast using a public license as a tool to have only a few employees for an entire market. Where a group of stations --- let's just say "6" radio stations may once have housed 72 full-time employees doing on-air work, 11 would be sufficient for Clear Channel in 2010. This does NOT take into consideration the number of employees who worked part-time or off-air. That number would be reduced by a considerable amount in proportion to the overall count of stations in the market. Voicetracking was a substitute --- and if you don't know how to be voicetracked in two or more markets, you could not work for Clear Channel as a personality. Oh --- and if you wanted a salary that matched what someone made in 1995, you may as well forget it. Salary levels for those fulltime employees were more like that of 1990 --- and there's the no-compete clauses you are forced to sign, the right-to-work rules that were in place in numerous states which allowed the employer to terminate you "at will" for anything they wanted to do --- including cost-cutting. In this economic climate, others followed suit, causing permanent layoffs to literally tens of thousands of people who had been in an industry that EVERYONE USES. Even naysayers didn't think radio ownership would stoop to such a low-life level. But those naysayers thought deregulation of radio broadcasting would run its course much sooner.

Have you read enough of this to understand that Clear Channel is one of many conglomerates who operates their stations NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC --- BUT ONLY IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE SHAREHOLDERS??? This is contradictory to what the radio station was supposed to be --- and was --- from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Not only am I not the first person to point this out --- but there are so many columnists who have worked in broadcasting or as professors who have pointed these facts out as the facts they are that I could decide to do a web search and cull from their work. I have taken one piece of information which cites FCC rules and regulations --- a piece from the book "Radio --- the forgotten medium" published in 1995 --- and incorporated my own language and not quotations from the book. Yet, I give them a credit due because they cited certain rules that the FCC had enacted, and I knew those to be accurate as of the publishing of that book.

So, what does this mean in the scheme of things in 2011? It points out major flaws in corporate ownership --- conglomerate ownership --- as well as Congressional allowance of conglomerates; FCC commissioners not fully challenging the congressional laws and that lessened the commissioners' authority to continue enacting rules that kept ownership limits at a reasonable level; a judicial system that was given too much power to cause regulations to be dropped in the interest of ownership over the public interest; and a public which does not speak out against such injustices.

It's 2011 and the thing that must be done is TEARING DOWN THE IRON CURTAIN OF CONGLOMERATE OWNERSHIP in radio broadcasting.


I dare say the "iron curtain of conglomerate ownership" goes well beyond just broadcasting. Corporate America benefits too much from American workers who won't sit up and make sure the shareholders suffer the same kinds of losses that the workers have suffered.

When was the last time you heard about the "average Joe or Jane" getting the chance to be the star of the evening network newscast because he or she was put on the spot by their congressional representative or senator, and followed by the television cameras and radio station microphones as they told of how their industry was decimated by deregulation and greedy ownership? It doesn't happen often enough, does it?


Clear Channel shareholders are going to find out the hard way soon. CBS/VIACOM shareholders are going to find out the hard way soon. Cumulus and Citadel shareholders will find out the hard way soon.

Radio company stock shares for the "GREAT CONGLOMERATES" are about plummet.

The "great sell-off" of radio was thought to be in the 1990s. But the "greatest sell-off" of radio stations is about to commence in 2011. Radio stocks are going to fall below $0.01 in record numbers --- and huge conglomerates like Viacom are going to take a hit that makes their stocks worth about 65% of what they were just a couple of years ago. And they can't do a thing about it --- because they caused it, they earned it, and their going to learn that they screwed up the system by thinking they were immune.

Banks once thought they were immune to the great falls of the stock prices. That industry is plagued by a sell-off and a slower than expected economy --- it will take decades for some banks to recover from their own stupidity. And that's how business MUST BE in order to be fair and equitable --- some will just have to "hold" long enough to come back to where they were before they screwed up.

Radio is about to have this major sell-off because they did some of the same things that banks wanted them to do --- "buy, buy, buy" and drop the employment levels/jobs to an unsustainable rate. Stations cannot operate with no employees --- as much as Clear Channel and Cumulus want workers to believe they can --- because once they sell them off, others will have to employ people just to get listeners and advertisers back. This means --- the price of a radio station will come down even more than it has in the past five years --- conglomerate American radio station owners are about to take a DIVE into the red. Not a dive they haven't already had once or twice since they bought up others in the deregulatory period since 1996, but a dive that they would love to argue shouldn't happen --- BUT WILL happen in 2011.


Clear Channel employees --- I'm not trying to scare you out of your jobs. You're lucky to have jobs when 60 to 70 percent of your former co-workers no longer have jobs, yes. But you're subject to finding out that the corporate conglomerate for whom you are working is even more destined to fail than their boards and upper managers want to believe. Clear Channel is about to falter. Cumulus is poised to fail along with Citadel. CBS/Westwood One/Viacom --- losses of gigantic proportion are heading to your corporate HQ in NYC, too. The shares of each of your stocks is about to plummet.


What will happen in the coming months after many of the major broadcasting entities fail? Banks will be suffering even more. The stock market will adjust downward. And the economy will be poised for a return to glory.

HUH? The economy will rebound after all that?

Let me explain this line of thinking --- it is a theory that you can track back to the 1920s. As radio goes, so goes the economy.

Once broadcasting conglomerates have been decimated, the Congress and the FCC and the judges will see that "national limits" to radio station ownership were always there as a protection, not as a fight against the rich and wealthy. Soon after the fall, real broadcasters will once again be allowed to make the radio stations work in a positive manner. Jobs will return to radio, and listeners will hear the difference. The rest of the economy will follow, and the picture may not be a Currier & Ives plate, a Saturday Evening Post picture from Norman Rockwell, or even that of the "dot com boom" years --- but it will be more structured and level out.

In radio, where the no-compete clause has been in effect for a long time, there will be a new clause. And it will seem like Santa brought it to the world, soon.

Yes, Virginia, there is a rebound clause. The positive news is: it's about to be invoked.

09 December 2010

What's In A Name

The tail end of 2010 looks much the same as the end of 2009 and 2008. In some cases it's no different, while for others it's much bleaker. If someone tells me they are in better financial shape it's only because of a couple of factors --- none of which is the economy --- including the way they have learned to save while still having their job. It would be short of a miracle for someone to have found a better-paying job and saved money but it would be notable because that person is well above the average for Americans in 2010.

Here's what I see:

Although it's not new, there is story after story about charitible organizations needing more funding and donations from the public because of an increased need from others. Yes --- in December 2010, the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, ecumenical and religious organizations across the spectrum are all asking for increased donations because in almost every case they detect a much greater demand for their services this year than in the past two years.

So --- this means what? The recession is not ending.

Despite a stock market which has had modest growth, the economy is still a mess. And no matter what the people in the Bush and Obama administrations want to say, no matter how the market gurus spin things, this is not just a recession.


What is bad about this is how obvious it is to the average person. Those who had terrific jobs just 5 to 10 years ago are finding that not only are "terrific" jobs difficult to find, "average" jobs are hard to locate. People who used to earn $50 to $60-thousand dollars are lucky to have those jobs, while many others who had similar earnings at their job are struggling to make half of that in the past year or two following layoffs.

The average person knows how bad their neighbor is struggling. Ebay selling is a way of life for some of these people. They used to have decent hourly wages in manufacturing. That's been several years for many of them --- when they were in their 20s and 30s. Now you'll see many men and women in their 40s and 50s struggling to find a job and becoming dependent on new service-oriented businesses. Manufacturing has all been a bunch of sellouts, largely to China and Mexico. India is feasting on American job outsourcing. In some cases there have been reports of Americans attempting to emigrate to India for jobs that used to be located in all 50 of the United States of America. This is not good for a time when the governmental and stock market/financial leaders are attempting to claim that things are improving.

What's in a name? Well, for the leaders ignoring the reality of how poor the economic condition has been in 2010, it's not much. They'll continue to call it a recession until the day the stock market bottoms out. THEN they'll be forced into saying the truth about the depression in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

What's in a name? GOOD NEWS. Sure, there will be good news. But first there will be pain on Wall Street, on the Nikkei, across the world's markets. MAJOR pain. It appears to be closer than ever --- perhaps in January or early February the market will take such a hit that even Bill Gates and Warren Buffett will feel the short-term effects more than they dreamed --- I don't know this for sure, but call it a hunch that if the stock market takes the drastic fall that appears to be on the horizon that even the richest and wealthiest Americans will be selling things off.

What's in a name? CEO, CFO, COO, Chairman of the Board. These are the folks who have been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but believing that it would never fall. When the men with the golden parachutes are hit as hard as the aforementioned "average" person in the U.S. and beyond, we will all see them scrambling to tell us their version of the GOOD NEWS. Personally, I am not going to buy their words. Thus far, this year and last and the year before, their words are no more worth reading and digesting than in a forced letter of resignation to someone who used to be a lower-level manager in their corporate structure. Those letters of resignation were forced upon so many American white-collar workers over the past decade that the CEO, CFO, COO and Chairmen of the boards all should cower in the corner in shame for what they have done to the overall economy.

Blame goes to the highest of the high in business. What's in a name is this: the mighty shall fall and the meek shall inherit the earth. And although I paraphrase from different places in the Bible, certainly Holy scripture may help to save some of those big shots who pay attention to the sacred words of God. But some of those big shots think they're bigger than God and will find out at the end of this depression that what's in a name is dependent upon how one reacts to the times. IF you're a bigshot --- I hope you reacted with favor to the call of the many of the Lord's commandments as well as with favor to the lowest-paid employees in your company --- I hope you didn't force a layoff or resignation into their lives.

What's in a name. Someone higher than you can and will enforce some might into your life even if you're the Chairman of the board.


This is a depression. An economic depression which has caused --- depression in so many people.

My guess, not my prediction, is that things will be very bad in January and February 2011 for everyone. But shortly after the huge stock market crash, things will turn around into a much happier climate. This new climate isn't something I can put my finger on right now --- just a hunch. In addition to prayers you may say for those who are dealing with the worst of times right now, please remember to give to charity if you have the means to do so. If you have the money --- even a few dollars --- please donate to some charity and make things better for others. It is a critical time in our nation's history for the charity organizations to be able to serve food, clothing, and shelter to hundreds of thousands more people who are struggling in 2010 compared to how it was in 2007.

And I once thought 2007 was bad. What's in a name. There's one name I would like to avoid being labeled: ignorant.

21 September 2010

It's the Stupid Economy: Job Discrimination Rules

You've heard the jokes over and over regarding an old political comment which went, very simply, "It's the economy, stupid." And it has been quite obvious that the economic condition has been poor for the past four years. Despite what you may read on today's USA TODAY about the recession having been over in June of 2009, there's not reason to believe that for most Americans. Come on and be honest about it, don't be stupid about it - the economic condition has not become dramatically better, no matter how many figures get thrown at the news media. Hey, I'm a member of the news media and I really don't think I can believe that the positive numbers are outweighing the negative numbers because I still have been getting the same feedback that I've seen for the past four years: jobs which can improve your life's standing are not there for the majority of Americans.

There is evidence on Yahoo! today - a story from the New York Times. Here's a link to this story here. It discusses something which I have posted about in the past: that Americans over 35 are increasingly not allowed to compete for the jobs allegedly available. Job discrimination is not only happening, but it is happening for an extended period of time.

Not telling the truth is simply the way "around" violations of trust, violations of rules and ethics, violations of understanding. What do you think of these violations? Apparently you either completely agree or you find fault with my findings because you're the boss who lies or the Human Resources person who MUST lie in order to keep your own job these days.

What happened to "The Golden Rule" when it comes to business and honesty?

Is it now a "new business-only Golden Rule" which completely dominates the world of business and economics?

Do unto others as you are going to be done unto by others when you are doing your job in business.

Read that again. Does this sound like the way corporations do business on a regular business? IF it is NOT, then I encourage you to tell me which corporation does not or companies do not follow this new "recipe" for business dealings. Overall for this particular writing, the way business is conducted with other business isn't necessarily the target of my critical thinking, but more the way these companies handle one-on-one dealings with potential employees. This is not to say that B2B is staying out of these bad situations. We occasionally read the stories about certain businesses becoming the targets of investigations or allegations of potential wrongdoing within a business transaction. These include some notorious gaffes such as that of Arthur Anderson's mismanagement, numerous banks which took it on the chin for making two-sided deals in which they caused their own downfall, and manufacturing companies which sold-out their businesses to others who were larger only to find themselves the target of an investigation into the "new owners" when they were only a subsidiary of that group for months. It can cut both ways in B2B - good or bad. But in one-on-one employment situations, where is the "control" that is supposed to be exercised by the "good" companies in good faith with potential hired hands?

Reviewing the New York Times article which appeared on Yahoo!, it shows a woman who has a good work history but cannot find a job with similar earnings largely because she is older than Generation X. Frankly, if I am reading this right (and I am no legal expert), this particular case could be one in which the woman could potentially file as part of a class-action suit against someone to which she applied for work IF there were dozens or hundreds of others in her age range who applied for open positions and did not get them because of their age and income history. IF those jobs went to someone who is just out of college or university and holds a similar degree but is 30 years her junior there is age discrimination. Unfortunately, she's not necessarily going to be looking for an attorney to file such a suit because she does not want to be labeled a troublemaker. And --- here's the interesting part to esquires around the country --- I am not a proponent of filing lawsuits as a general rule. I believe in forgiveness. Moreover, most of us believe in not attempting to make another wrong. The vernacular has been "two wrongs don't make a right" for good reason. We don't necessarily gain anything out of bringing down another. BUT, if it's obvious that such a thing will be best-served for the overall good of the public which is being unwillingly the target of unethical business practices, then I think filing suits is clearly the way to refocus the target to the party which is being unethical time and again.

This economy sucks. And if you missed this key piece to that article, I'd like to point it out now:
Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older. Nearly half of them have been unemployed six months or longer, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate in the group — 7.3 percent — is at a record, more than double what it was at the beginning of the latest recession.

This doesn't sound good in its tenor and tone. This not only signals what I was saying months ago about job discrimination against Generation X, but it comes to show one thing that I did not want to believe was happening then:

Age discrimination has extended its ugly range WELL PAST Gen-X to those who rightfully can file suits against those who have been practicing such discrimination. It's criminal, folks, not petty or nitpicky.

If the rules against age discrimination aren't being utilized against the companies and corporations that have been so doing for the 50 or older crowd --- what do you think that means for those between 35 and 50?

31 August 2010

Banking On Failure

The upcoming period of time is for those "opportunists" who will play upon the fears of so many. These predators bank on these fears - literally. They are bankers.

What they don't see is that in 2010 and 2011, they are not going to be able to sustain what has traditionally been "the ways of the banking industry" because they will be most in jeopardy of failure to recover from the big stock market crash that they do not see taking shape. Nikkei has been feeling the itch to trade lower, and now the other markets are starting to respond accordingly. And the banks --- well, they think everything is just groovy, man. They won't be able to react once the fall starts, which will be prior to autumn for point of reference.

What can the average American do to avoid the failures that are coming? I'll be frank: I don't really know an answer to completely avoiding the financial problems that the corporate world is going to suffer and what their roles will be on individuals wealth or lackthereof, but there are some things that we hear many times over that is common sense and should be considered.

First: make sure you don't have all your assets in the stock markets. That could cause your own failure.
Second: don't put all your money into one bank. Diversify WHERE you have your money saved or in checking accounts.

Credit unions are looking better and better all the time to me, and I need to take my own advice in making sure I place money in several accounts. It may be that credit unions are (more-or-less) regulated to stay smaller than conglomerate banks. That way they're less likely to have a big failure the way we saw just a couple of years ago with mid-sized and larger banks or 25 years ago with the Savings and Loan problems. Oddly, I think most people don't view credit unions as being safer than traditional banks if for no other reason than the banks all know how to play the fear game on the public and added an element of advertising to make banks SEEM LIKE (through the repeated advertising or editorials which make claims they cannot truly back up) "the safest place for your money" --- which we will soon see is not always the case.

But, what else? I've said it before --- not all of those people who were alive during the "Great Depression" were wrong in putting money away in cookie jars, bread boxes and in their mattresses. But I suppose for the sake of keeping the paper money protected, perhaps investing some money in a fireproof safe would be smart. Just make sure you know the combination.

Not that it's certain --- but I think we can bank on some bigger financial institutions begging both the U. S. Government and the Federal Reserve for some help in the next few weeks. But it's all but certain we can bank on those institutions which were deemed "too big to fail" having bigger problems than they did mere months ago. A few failures for those giants can trigger an avalanche of problems for some --- but NOT ALL --- Americans, as long as some of us prepare properly for the demise of the rich and wealthy folks who don't plan ahead for some of the biggest failures in the past 75 years.