It is one thing when some corporate marketing department declares it's going to create "content" that is "bold," "edgy" and "awesome." From such places, banal hyperbole is to be expected.
It's another thing when the nation's second largest producer of public radio programs—Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media—comes out of a board meeting as it did last month with this as its first priority:
"We lead with Awesome Content. At our heart, we are a content, programming and creative organization, and it is imperative that we are constantly thinking about how all of us contribute to the creation, delivery and support of Awesome Content."
First of all, how could a radio operation possibly need to remind itself that "content" is "at our heart." Imagine mom and pop at the butcher shop huddling for a weekend and reporting to the employees on Monday, "Boys, it's all about the meat." Eureka!
Second: The accountant, the IT director and the receptionist are not going to be "constantly thinking" about how they contribute to the creation, delivery and support of Awesome Content. If they were, they wouldn't get any accounting done, computers fixed or phones answered, and you would have to let them go. Your advertisement for their replacements would include the phrase, "must be willing to focus primarily on own function in organization."
Third: "Awesome"? I've heard a lot of wonderful radio shows over the years, but none that I would have described to anyone older than 12 as "awesome." And a lack of awesomeness is part of the beauty of public radio: Public radio at its best is intimate, it's subtle, it's thoughtful. It is not "awesome" in the mind of anyone other than a bubble-headed young marketing geek who also calls his parents awesome, his dog awesome and the free car wash he gets with his oil change awesome. Is that who's in charge at Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media?
Finally: "Content." As the program chairman for the Content Marketing Awards, I have had, with grinding teeth, to accept "content" as a term corporate marketers need to describe stuff they produce that's neither corporate communication nor advertising. But when a radio station or a magazine or a website describes its product in such bland terms … well, let me quote American Public Media's own Garrison Keillor.
A few years ago, Keillor was asked how he creates "content" for his variety show, A Prairie Home Companion.
"I sure wish we could get rid of that word 'content' to refer to writing, photography, drawing, and design online. The very word breathes indifference—why would one bother about the quality of work when it's referred to as 'content'? … I loathe the word. It's like referring to Omaha Beach as a development."
Reader, do you agree with the above Content? How would you rate it on a scale from one to 10, 10 being Awesome?