By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — I couldn’t resist. “3 Big Things” is a formatic radio and TV catch phrase that has – say it with me – gone viral. And while we’re coping with coronavirus, three silver linings are easily observable:
- Just as the shutdown hit, re-fi’s were a brisk business. If you can get your lender to focus, the numbers are still real opportune.
- But the best is yet to come. Uncle Sam, himself, with his sleeves rolled-up, is running the presses day and night, printing funny money for those relief checks. For talk radio, it’s a world-turned-upside-down: Republicans are nagging Democrats to amp-up government handouts. These funds are not, as the conservative right characterizes them, “us getting back our own money confiscated by taxation.” This is Monopoly money, invented currency.
- Inevitable inflation will make your fixed-rate home mortgage the bargain of a lifetime on the biggest investment you’ll ever make.
- Flights airlines haven’t cut take-off near empty, and so few of us are driving that NASA satellite images display dramatic decline in pollution levels, and emission levels are down sharply from same-time-last-year. And after those May oil futures closed in negative numbers, the world has now measurably extracted more oil than we can burn or store. Tankers are sitting offshore.
- As I write this, CNN is showing video of a jellyfish in now-pristine Venice canals. The sky over Los Angeles is actually…blue. Ditto New Delhi! Around the world, wild animals are roaming silent city streets. Admittedly, few humans hear coyotes howling in the night downtown as sweet music. But as the 50th anniversary of Earth Day went largely uncelebrated, good things happening for bad reasons gave us a preview of what could be if the transition from fossil fuels to renewables accelerates at the pace other trends-in-motion will as the result of this crisis.
- The Shanty restaurant in Warwick, Rhode Island is your Central Casting small business. A plucky entrepreneur and solid staff have earned such a loyal customer base that we’ve learned to time our arrival. With take-out-only restrictions in place, SO many locals are lining-up that I kept getting the busy signal at 4:00 pm opening time; and every night they sell-out long before posted 8:00 pm closing time. When you pull into the parking lot, a PPE-clad greeter guides you to a numbered parking space.
- These days, there’s lots of solo piano music behind radio and TV promos assuring that “We’re all in this together,” which is comforting. But imaging merely talks-the-talk. Stations that walked-the-walk pre-pandemic will now shine like The Shanty. Living up to the expectations you’ve set in normal times, and over-delivering now, will cement your station in listeners’ habit in The New Normal.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of the e-book “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” from Talkers Books. Click the ad banner in the right-hand column on this page for an instant download. And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke