Monday, December 24, 2007

Looking For A Job?

Unfortunately, this holiday season finds too many good people looking for employment. As one who spends a great deal of time wading through the talent pool, I'd like to offer some helpful suggestions for when you are sending out those all-important aircheck packages.

Do: On an aircheck, put your best stuff first. It sounds obvious, but you'd be amazed at how many airchecks start with a thud. If you don't hook me from "hello" you don't have much of a chance.

Do: Include a professional picture. Video is becoming more a part of radio and how you look does matter. You don't have to be a model, but a professional photographer can capture you in the best light.

Do: Use your name in the file name you send. Do you know how many files I would have on my computer that are called simply "aircheck" if I hadn't taken the time to rename them?

Do: Run any letter you send through a spell checker. If this were obvious, I wouldn't have to note it here.

Do: Demonstrate your versatility. Sure, there may be one thing you're great at (i.e., being a morning sidekick) but let me know what else you can do in this age of multiple hats. The more skills you can enumerate, the more valuable you can be.

Don't: Start an email or letter by saying, "Your search is over!". While I appreciate self-confidence, you are not the one making that decision.

Don't: Be impersonal. "Hello" is not a way to start a letter. Address the person you're sending your package to by name. If possible, mention something that shows that you are in the know about the situation you are applying for.

Don't: Send only links. Ideally, give the person receiving the package the option to download the file or go to a link. I like to be able to save the good ones easily from an email rather than having to go through the extra steps in order to download files from a website.

Don't: Bad-mouth your last job or situation. Again, this may seem obvious, but always emphasize whatever positives you can from a situation you have just left.

Finally, I strongly believe that there are still good jobs, even great jobs, for those who have talent and/or excellent work ethics. Make 2008 the year you take your career to new heights!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is There No End To The Stupidity? The RIAA is now telling you that you can't make MP3's of out of CD's. So let me get this straight. If I buy a CD, I can't make a copy of it to play on my I-Pod or MP3 player? If caught, I face a heavy fine and may have to give up my house? So they are going to penalize people who have plucked down hard earned money for CD's who put them into a more convenient format to enjoy the music they have actually paid for? Actions like these will only fuel the public anger discouraging them from going to legal downloading sites. Good luck with this one.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Radio's Future Is In Our Hands: One of the most positive articles regarding Radio comes from Advertising Age, which trumpets the future of radio, while outlining specific steps that need to be taken. This is must read.

Radio's Place in Advertising Ecosystem Is Local and Digital:

Click here to read the article

Monday, November 05, 2007

PC's Becoming Obsolete?: In Japan, PC shipments are down five consecutive quarters. Sales of mobile phones and flat panel TV's are up. Hitachi is shutting down its household computer business. More than 50 percent of Japanese send e-mail and browse the Internet through their mobile phones. How much of YOUR email is done on the smartphone?

The more a phone can do, the less we need the PC. If we want to see it, it looks much better on a 42 inch LCD screen.

What's going on here? We want to be connected anytime, anywhere.

How does this trend affect radio? Our brands must be available across the platforms where users live. Phones, PC's, even TV's. Why not simulcast our stations over the local community cable announcements? I'll save the more creative ideas for my clients.

Think distribution, or be left behind.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why Country Is Down This Summer: In the 1992 presidential campaign, the Clinton brain trust used the expression, "It's the economy, stupid"; meaning the economy would drive the election. Where our format is concerned, "It's the music, stupid." It all starts there, no matter how great everything else is on your station.

This past summer, Country radio experienced a slump. Lon Helton's Country Aircheck reports 28 stations down with just 16 up in share. I believe that this is not because there is any inherent problem with the format. There were plenty of good songs, but there wasn't one "must listen" song in current rotation. And several superstars released less than stellar new songs that got immediate heavy airplay; suppressing the recurrent and gold play of established hits on most stations. No matter how great our stations sound, it's tough to overcome.

Combine that with the fact that the economy forces most stations to go on summer vacation where mass marketing is concerned.

The good news is that the fall will be better. There are reaction songs making their way up the charts, like Chuck Wicks "Stealing Cinderella" and the Billy Ray Cyrus/Miley Cyrus duet "Ready, Set, Don't Go". Kenny Chesney has his best single in years, "Don't Blink".

Let's hear it for a great fall for Country radio!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Why We’re Going To Be All Right: Once upon a time, radio was challenged by TV; Radio adapted and survived. Then major TV Networks were challenged by cable then satellite stations. They survived and adapted and today maintain the most eyeballs most of the time. Now the traditional radio dial is challenged by Internet, I-Pod, Satellite, cellphones and other audio sources soon to be video enhanced.

In spite of all the gloom and doom I read, I’m confident radio will survive and adapt to whatever distribution platform our listeners receive our programming on whether it's cellphones, Internet radios in the car, on the computer or in their dental work. And here's why: WE KNOW HOW TO DO THIS! And we will continue to get better at it. Our radio programming remains the most compelling of the audio mediums. Have you heard some of these Internet stations? You need No Doze to stay with them. And it’s not just radio people liking radio stations better than the public. The public by and large likes radio better when given the choice.

This is not to say that our future relevance is automatic. We need to distribute our programming on all the new platforms while continuing to build our brands in order to maintain and even enhance our relevance. But remember, no one can do this better than we can: Today’s radio professionals.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bringing You Closer To Your Inner Cowboy: The beauty of Country music ... and Country Radio together is that for three minutes and forty seconds, you can be a Cowboy. You don't have to get dirty. You don't have to break your legs riding a crazy horse or a bull (I actually did this once, though my legs remained intact). You don't have to get up at dawn. But the music and the radio allow you to have the best part of the fantasy which is altogether American and altogether cool.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Get Over The Fear Factor: In visiting clients over the past few months in getting ready for the fall book, it occurred to me that one of the problems we face in the industry is we're not always making the moves we need to make when we're already successful. By that I mean, let's say you just had a number one book; but in your heart of hearts you know you need to upgrade a position on the station. You don't make that move because you just had a great book, but sure enough, NOT making that move very well may haunt you later. As inexact a science as Arbitron is (People Meter or Diary), we still have to have the courage to do what we think we need to do. Eventually Arbitron may get it right. I have found that over the years, if the strategy is right and it sounds right to your ear and gut, the ratings will come.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why HD Radio Is Having Trouble Gaining Traction: Tom Taylor of quoted my comments at the Aribtron Consultant Fly-In last week. Here's his summary:

“We haven’t given them a reason to spend that hundred bucks” on HD Radio yet.

Consultant Joel Raab pipes up from the audience during Lenski’s session to observe that based on the focus groups and research he’s seen, listeners do understand the promos about HD-2 providing “the stations between the stations.” But they’re far less clued-in about what those stations can offer them. Raab says it’s easy to scan the format lineup for either satellite service. But for local HD2 – there’s a void. Then he makes that quote up in the headline: “We haven’t given them a reason to spend that hundred bucks” on a new HD receiver. Edison’s Joe Lenski had just said that “HD Radio is a concept not completely known to the public”, and that’s about as politely as you could possibly put it. The latest Edison study shows heightened awareness of HD. But the “increased awareness has not yet translated into higher interest in the product itself.” Raab’s point is that radio hasn’t marketed the advantages of the programming – not the hardware, but the content. And that’s even after all the promos for HD (I heard some for RadioShack, driving home from the Arbitron Fly-In). Only 6% of the study participants are “very interested” in HD. Another 23% are “somewhat interested.” But that’s still less than one-third of the sample: not good enough yet.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What Radio Can Learn From Brad Paisley: If you haven’t seen the “Bonfires and Amplifiers tour, you need to. Aside from the high tech and brilliant effects seen on stage that may be the most amazing I’ve seen for a concert of any genre, there’s a whole other level of entertainment going on. The spontaneity, fun, and pranks taking place between the stars of the show, the band and crew are shared with audience, and sitting in the crowd, I felt involved.

What can radio learn from this? Sure, you can have a great format (music); effects (imaging); excitement (contests), but do you involve your audience? At this show, the stars playfully tease each other. Do the members of your air staff do this with each other as friends do? Is there a fun, unpredictability about your station? And last but not least, does your station have a sense of humor that you share with the audience? This is what the Brad Paisley “Bonfires and Amplifiers” tour does. Does your radio station?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Forget About Thursday. Here Comes Friday: In the People Meter world, the era of doing your biggest contest on Thursday is about to end. As reported by in R&R Today, you'll see how startling things will be changing once (or if) you become a People Meter Market:

According to the June 2007 PPM radio ratings in Houston, Friday had the largest weekday average quarter hour radio audience among persons age 6 and older from 6 a.m.-midnight.

The Houston tally looked like this: Monday - 477,300 persons; Tuesday - 489,300; Wednesday - 494,100; Thursday - 497,500; and Friday 518,800.

In releasing this week’s Arbitron “Fun Fact,” senior VP of press and investor relations Thom Mocarsky noted that in the PPM system, “There is no ‘first day’ of a survey week. Once in the panel, the PPM respondent is asked to carry the meter with them throughout the day, every day for as long as they are in the panel, which can be as long as two years.” He also noted that the bigger "lift" in Friday Houston listening in June started at 3 p.m. and peaked in the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. hour.

As interesting as this little tidbit is, Mocarsky cautions, “This is only one month of data from one market. It's much too soon to draw any general conclusions about what day is the biggest listening day for all of radio. However, it does highlight the power of the PPM to give us a detailed look at how people listen to radio.”

Mike Boyle, R&R

We can work the respective methodologies best we can, but whether it's PPM or Diary, I maintain that compelling content making for destination listening is what will ultimatley drive ratings. What do you think?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Country Heats Up: Today's USA Today gives an illustration of how well Country is doing on radio. A good read. Note to Country PD's: Stop complaining about A/C playing our music. Every time A/C plays Carrie Underwood it's a great "ad" for Country radio.

By Ken Barnes, USA TODAY
So far, 2007 is a great year for country music … on the radio. In this year's first six months, country songs accounted for nearly one-fourth of radio's top 100 songs, as measured in all formats by Nielsen BDS, Arbitron and Radio & Records. Country's 24% share is nearly double the 13% it claimed at the end of 2006.
R&B/hip-hop dominates music heard on the radio, as it has since the all-format chart began in 2002, but its share is declining from previous highs above 50%. Last year, it commanded 49% of the top 100; so far this year, it represents 44%. Country is just ahead of pop, with rock trailing.

The impact of American Idol finalists, who have often met a chilly reception at radio, is notable this year: Both the top country song (Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats, which also crossed over to pop formats) and rock song (Daughtry's It's Not Over) are from the Idol stable.

The bright picture for country fades somewhat on the sales lists. Pop artists lead the genre pack on the top 100 best-selling albums of the year, with 33%, trailed by R&B/hip-hop with 29%, rock with 20% and country with 15%. (Three multi-genre anthologies make up the remaining share.)

And pop artists own an even bigger share of the top 100 digital songs chart, with 40%, followed by R&B/hip-hop with 32%, rock with 20% and country with just 8%.

Radio airplay and track downloads continue their tight symbiotic relationship: Of the top 20 radio songs (see chart), half are also among the top 20 downloads. Reversing the perspective, virtually all the top download tracks were radio hits as well, though such million-download songs as Cupid's Chokehold by Gym Class Heroes (No. 2 download, No. 25 radio), Maroon 5's Makes Me Wonder (No. 3 and 44, respectively) and Fall Out Boy's This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race (No. 4 and 102) had less appeal for radio audiences than to paying customers.

Those purchases allowed the top download tracks to outpace the top albums by a considerable margin. Just six albums sold more than 1 million in the first half of 2007, compared with 15 tracks (when different versions of songs are combined). Gwen Stefani's Sweet Escape sold 1.78 million downloads, edging the year's top album, Daughtry's self-titled debut, which sold 1.73 million copies.

Other million-selling tracks included T-Pain's Buy U a Drank, Daughtry's It's Not Over, Nelly Furtado's Say It Right, Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend, Fergie's Glamorous, Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats, Akon's Don't Matter, Timbaland's Give It to Me, Shop Boyz's Party Like a Rockstar, Mims' This Is Why I'm Hot and Rihanna's Umbrella.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Finding Out Who Your Friends Aren't: Sony BMG apologized to radio for attempting to strong-arm programmers into dropping the Tracy Lawrence/Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw hit, "Find Out Who Your Friends Are". When this controversy started, I fielded several calls asking my counsel. I am not a lawyer and don't play one on the radio. In my position I have to look at both sides. While everyone seemed to be skewering Sony BMG, I wondered, what's their side of the story? A Sony source told me that CO5 (on behalf of Tracy Lawrence) was encouraging stations to play the version with the three stars, when they had agreed that they would not promote that version.

Sony may be reluctant now to discuss their side since they looked so bad sending out their emails. The bottom line though is that Sony BMG appeared as the big corporate machine trying to shut down the little guy who's simply trying to break through so that Sony songs would have a better shot at the number one chart position.

Wonder what Kenny Chesney thinks about all this?

I've never been a fan of mass consolidation in the music industry. The more that is under control of one company, the less chances we'll see being taken, at least by the majors. The good news though is that independent labels are breaking through with real hits from Tracy Lawrence, Emerson Drive and Jason Aldean. Radio is to be commended for looking past the majors to find the best music to fill the slots.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

ACM Awards Rocked Vegas: This year, I had the privilege of viewing the show from the comfort of my living room. Reba as host struck just the right notes. Faith Hill never sang better. The Reba/Kelly Clarkson "event" truly was one. The highlight for me though was Taylor Swift singing "Tim McGraw" to Tim McGraw with Faith Hill looking amused. One large point that should be noted: For the most part, the stars sang hits. And there was tempo. I don't recall any back to back ballads. Even the out of place TV stars didn't really bother me this year. They're at OUR party, so welcome! Independent record labels were acknowledged with awards: Equity's Little Big Town and Curb's Rodney Atkins. I do wonder though if the block voting hurt Big and Rich and Rascal Flatts who lost the Album of the Year Award to an equally deserving Carrie Underwood. How cool was it that the great Vince Gill, who hasn't a big hit in years rocked the house, too. I'm sure there were flaws in the show. This time, I chose not to notice them.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Too Hip For The Room?: Podcasts, uploading pictures and video. We're all moving in that direction if we're not there already. Do not assume however that your listeners understand your hot new contest which requires uploading or other technical skills. Bottom line is that we have to bring much of our audience along with us. Like too much unfamiliar music, too many unfamiliar technical requirements can doom your station's promotion or message. Relevancy is key. We must balance the need to sound connected to today's technology while helping the audience understand how to use it. Let's not get too hip for the room.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Finding The Next Big Thing: In the world of Country music, if you don't move to Nashville and starve there for a few years, you don't stand much chance of being noticed by the decision makers on Music Row. There is something both good and bad about a music genre's hub being in one city. The good is that you know where to go (perhaps after being told where to go)to get noticed if performing is your aspiration. The bad is that great talent in places all across America may be missed because that person has not ventured out of his or her own city.

Country music historians remember a time when there were two different cities with their own sound; Nashville and Bakersfield. In the 1970's Buck Owens had a recording empire that strongly competed with Nashville with tremendous raw energy.

My point is that both the music and radio industry can work together to find the next big thing. As I noted in an earlier blog we haven't had one for a few years. For radio, let's look in our own back yards. For the music industry, look beyond the backyard. Let's open a dialogue about how we can work together to take Country music all across the Country and find the Next Big Thing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Imus Firing: If there was some positive in the Imus firing it was that radio as an industry captivated the headlines for nearly a week becoming front and center in the national conversation and reinforcing our relevance.

Here's my prediction for Imus. He will (wisely) take a year rehabilitating his image, if not his own psyche, and will start his own radio network and or end up on the Fox News Channel. Where there's money to be made, we'll see and hear Imus again.

By the way, the two best stories I've read on this subject were yesterday's (4/14) Wall Street Journal chronology on the events leading to the firing and Frank Rich's column in today's (4/15) New York Times.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Is Country Dead? Noted writer Chet Flippo explores the notion on's "Nashville Skyline" in a thoughtful article. The reality is that we are three years away from the last big thing. Gretchen Wilson, Big and Rich and others from the "Class of 2004" are having mixed success. When the next big thing comes along, CD sales will recover and the format will again gain coverage on 60 Minutes, Newsweek and other mainstream media.

I can't help but wonder if the chase for crossover success is not once again slowing us down in more ways than one. While the new Big and Rich song is terrific and possibly bound for crossover success, has the music in general gone too soft? When was the last time Montgomery Gentry gave us a dose of their famous turbo twang? Anyone trying to schedule music on a radio station these days knows how difficult it is to maintain tempo. The good news is that there ARE great Country songs of all styles and tempos to choose from. Let's not be afraid to play the good ones, or we risk Music Row retreating and focusing on the Hail Mary crossover strategy. As always, your thoughts are welcome.

Here's a link to the "Is Country Dead" Chet Flippo article:

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Gretchen's Back: Had a chance to preview Gretchen Wilson's new CD. Sounds like a number of potential hits. This is not only good news for her, but good news for the Country format. While radio has been cautious regarding her recent material, she still has a willing and eager fan base that's ready to rock (or twang-out) to her new stuff. I've always maintained that Gretchen Wilson is the real deal. An authentic talent who doesn't sound or look like anyone else. Welcome back, Gretchen.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Country And Hispanics. Now What? Larry Rosin of Edison Research did a great presentation on how we can and should maximize Hispanic listening, especially in major markets with large Hispanic populations. In a perfect world, we would devote resources in those markets to converting that lifegroup; a group that expresses interest in our format. Here's the catch 22. I don't have to tell you how tight marketing budgets are right now. We often don't have enough money to pursue those with a natural proclivity to listen to our format. Where will this extra money come from? Conceptually, Larry is dead on. We have to address the change in our nation's population. The trick will be to do it ways that maximize our limited resources.

To see the study:

Monday, February 19, 2007

XM Gets Sirius: A merger of "equals"... two companies that, equally, have lost a lot of money. I know a lot of good people who work at both companies and you know that if this goes through, layoffs of equals will ensue. Bottom line: Satellite has a long way to go to get close to FM/AM radio in terms of reach, influence and most importantly, profits.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Too Many Hoops To Listen Online: With more and more stations streaming everyday, we do our listeners (and potential listeners) a great disservice by making them jump through hoops to access our stream. When you turn on an FM radio, do you have to fill out a form to listen? It is a mistake to use the web stream as a carrot to sign listeners to our databases. What we should do is make the audio stream one easy click from our website, and then entice those listeners to sign up for all the goodies our stations have to offer. Let's encourage, not discourage more listening of our brands on the web. What do you think?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Not Everyone Hates Commercials: In today's NY Times, there's an article about how TiVo users actually WATCH the commercials! This research confirms what I've always believed: GOOD commercials are informational, and properly programmed and positioned, don't have to harm your programming. Here's a link the article:
Viewers Fast-Forwarding Past Ads? Not Always

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Just For Fun: Can't be serious all the time...What songs are cousins of other songs? In other words, which songs have "borrowed" the melody of others. Some that come to mind: "Tim McGraw" by Taylor Swift bares a melodic resemblance to "Paint Me A Birmingham" (lyrics of course are very different); or how about the beginning of Keith Urban's "Better Life"? Play it next to the Bee Gee's "Jive Talkin" (though that's where the similarities end). Here's a stretch. The "hook" of Faith Hill's "This Kiss" ("it's the way you love me, it's a feeling like this...") sounds remarkably like the hook from the 1963 Top 40 hit "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto. Country radio veterans remember Ronnie Milsap's hit "I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World" bares a strong resemblance to "I Never Knew Love Like This Before."

They are all "so fine" aren't they, my sweet Lord?

Which ones can you think of?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Streaming: Two Things. First, as Rock consultant Fred Jacobs pointed out at the Consultant's Fly-In at Arbitron, we are facing a ratings issue as more and more of our listeners tune in to our streaming. The problem is that reported listening to streaming does not count in Arbitron ratings if your stream cuts or changes over the air commercials. Big problem. And I echo those who say we must resolve this issue.

Second, for those who stream, some are doing a great job on the internet cutaways, while others are not. Remember, that when listeners tune into your stream, make sure everything is up to date including fill music, promos, positioning, etc. There are other tips I have reserved for paying clients to help them maximize ratings during the stream. Bottom line: Sound great on and off line.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Symbolic Thought: As many of you already know, I'm a fan of the Wizard Academy's Roy Williams. The following is from his weekly memo, always a worthwhile read. This week he delves into four kinds of thought, according to Dr. Ricardo Gattass:

Verbal Thought is hearing a voice in your mind.
Analytical Thought is deductive reasoning that seeks to forecast a result.
Abstract Thought includes fantasy and all things intangible.
Symbolic Thought reconciles the pattern recognition of the right brain with the deductive reasoning of the left-brain to connect the unknown to the known.

If you will educate, encourage, or persuade, you must symbolize the abstract by pointing to a concrete thing that shares an essential attribute with the abstraction you're trying to describe.

This can be done using:

(1.) Words.
"Your life and her life have become intertwined like two ropes, joined in a knot. And that's a good thing. It gives you both something to hang onto. If you're in love, you know exactly what I'm talking about." These three sentences were the opening lines of a radio ad that sold thousands of a specific item of jewelry.

"What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade." Jesus gave the farmers of his day a glimpse of another realm by comparing it to a seed with which they were all familiar.

(2.) Pictures.
In his book, Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud uses graphic sequential storytelling to illustrate how we attach complex meanings to the way simple lines relate to one another. He's not talking about comic books. He's talking about visual symbolic thought. Grasp what he's teaching and you'll hold a lever that will move the world.

Buy the book. It's one of those rare, breakthrough books that will make you suddenly see things that have long fluttered at the edge of your consciousness.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Know Your Catchphrases: (from RBR Business Report) Fresh from the coiner of metrosexual is a list of ten phrases or terms which may get, and generate, buzz during the year ahead. It is of the utmost importance for those in the communications business to be ahead of the curve when it comes to language usage issues, and it's even more important, whenever possible, to be ahead of the curve on the cultural trends underpinning the evolution of the language. Here then, are the 10, from Marian Salzman, EVP and chief marketing officer at advertising agency JWT: Adultescence, Bangalore Envy, Brand Sluts, Churchonomics, Cougars, Gastroporn, Microgeneration, She-E-Os, Truth Lite, and Unilanthropy. The list comes from Salzman's "Next Now: Trends for the Future," written with Ira Matathia. Does the list have you scratching your head? Are you wondering what they're talking about but don't want to wait for the book? Click here to get the definitions:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bring On The Stars! 2007 is starting with a bang, as three of the formats biggest acts are kicking off the year with uptempo, strong songs. Kenny Chesney's "Beer In Mexico", Tim McGraw's "Last Dollar (Fly Away)" and Sugarland's "Settlin'" are giving programmers extra reasons to celebrate the New Year. Carrie Underwood's "Wasted" and Rascal Flatts "Stand" sound like mid-tempo hits, too.

Is Country the new Top 40? Check out some of the 18-34 numbers the format is generating lately. What do you think?

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions: I thought it would be fun to start the New Year sharing the musings from some of today's current and budding Nashville stars:

Trace Adkins: "I quit doing that years ago because I never kept any of them. I said, 'Why keep humiliating myself and defeating myself?' "

Blake Shelton: "Lose weight."

Michelle Branch of the Wreckers: "To Drink More Water."

Eric Church: "To not have any more resolutions. If I want to change something, I'm going to change it today. And if I want to accomplish something, I should start trying immediately."

Nashville Star co-host Cowboy Troy: "My New Year's resolution is to take over the world one eardrum at a time ... you'll understand when the new record is released. Hopefully it will inspire each of us to be kind to each other." (