Saturday, March 29, 2003

March 29, 2003
Mark Boardman took me to task about the Arthur Godfrey statements yesterday:

“You make a good point about Arthur Godfrey versus Howard Stern. But old Arthur is an easy target--primarily because his style is so 1940s-50s. If he were still around, I have no doubt that he'd figure out how to appeal to a modern audience.” [Yes, it’s true. He was a genius at his craft.]

“Godfrey was special, on radio and TV, because he was so different from anything that preceded him. His delivery was slower, more conversational, more intimate. He was conversing with the audience, not talking at them. He had a very definite brand, ukelele and all. He was the brand. And it worked. Sure, there are more and different types of competitors facing Stern. But if you took all factors into account, Godfrey had a bigger and more devoted audience.” [True.]

“Remember how he lost that golden touch?” [Yes, I do, but tell them] “He became arrogant and thought that he could do anything and still keep the audience.” [Especially the on-air firing of his band leader, the legendary Julius LaRosa.] “And in doing so, he took the listener/viewer for granted. [True.]

“Hubris? Obviously. But to a greater extent, Godfrey self-destructed when he firebombed his own image, his own brand. That's a lesson for all of us.” [Totally true.]

“For TrueWest, there are other lessons. [Oh no, more lessons to be learned?] You can be a smart-ass and still treat living or past folks with some dignity. [Do I have to?] And remember that taking someone or something out of his time and place is pretty easy, and it makes for a juicy target--like Art and the uke. But someone will call you on it. And it's how you respond that makes the difference.” [Got it. Thanks.]

Eat my shorts, Mark.

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”
—Chick Corea

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