Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Monday, April 18, 2005

audiovox

-- audiovox -- on the radio! woa-oa-oah! on the ... radio?

Despite her recent setback in court -- the court declined to relax the terms of her probation, finding that there was no constitutional right to produce a television program, and house arrest is meant to cause difficulty and hardship -- The Martha is not letting that little problem stop her, not one bit.

Wired News: Sirius and Martha Stewart to Launch Radio Channel
Monday, April 18, 2005 11:43 a.m. ET

Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. said on Monday it plans this year to launch a radio channel with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., with active involvement from lifestyle maven Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart Omnimedia Vice Chairman Charles Koppelman said the four-year exclusive agreement with Sirius would be worth $30 million to his company. Sirius, which has been recruiting top personalities to compete with bigger rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., said it expects to boost subscriber growth and advertising revenue by attracting women to the channel. "It will have a great appeal to women, who are completely underserved by terrestrial radio," said Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin, who added that the channel could be a strong advertising vehicle for Sirius. [...] Stewart, the style guru who built Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia on tips for gracious living, is under house arrest following a conviction last year of lying to investigators over a suspicious stock sale.

Yet she remains popular: Two of her Martha Stewart magazines last week won their first National Magazine awards, and she is set to star in two new television shows -- a daytime lifestyle TV program and a spinoff of the popular Donald Trump reality show "The Apprentice."[...]

What I wonder is not how much time The Martha will have to devote to this programming, but how well it will work. If you think about it, the sort of things she does are peculiarly visual. Yes, her magazine has loads of text describing various things, but it's also copiously illustrated with step-by-step instructions and images paired together. How well will it translate, for example, when she's describing some hideously complicated recipe, and you're having to figure out from the radio description exactly what is going on? "What does she mean, beat it past soft peaks but not quite to stiff peaks? Spread the mix over what again? with what? how? huh?"

Moreover, think about her advertiser profile, and the sort of things she does on her show outside the kitchen. A lot of it consists of showing the viewer this beautiful thing or that stunning item that she's found/made. Yes, she does a lot of interviews on her shows, but they're almost always interviews of people with things to show, or who are there to demonstrate the making of one thing or another.

Somehow, The Martha on the radio just doesn't seem a perfect fit. It may not be a good thing.

(Oh, please. Like you didn't expect that to pop up somewhere?)

Posted by iain at 11:30 AM in category audiovox