Jon Boroshok

College Instructor, PR/Marketing Comm. Specialist, and Journalist


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An Open Letter To SiriusXM

SiriusXMGonna write a little letterradio bruce

Gonna mail it to my local DJ

Dear SiriusXM:

This is an update to a letter I wrote three years ago. We need to talk.  I have the seven year itch, and when my current subscription runs out, I might not renew. After seven years as an add-on family member account and then on my own, I’m just not enjoying our relationship as much as I used to.

Some stations have become so predictable that your channels are bordering the lack of variety that inspired me to leave terrestrial radio. For example, if I’m listening to the  70s or 80s channel and hear a particular artist today – let’s use David Bowie as an example – I’m almost guaranteed to hear him several times that day, and then he may disappear for a few days. He might even be on two channels at the same time. On that same day, I’m likely to hear him on Classic Rewind and/or Classic Vinyl too. It’s as if a Program Director adds/removes a particular artist to/from the rotation of several stations on the same day.

Worse yet, the tracks played are clearly the most commercially viable, rather than a true “blast from the past.” The predictability and lack of variety makes SiriusXM close to iHeart Radio’s (Clear Channel’s) mind numbing focus group tested mediocrity, just without commercials.  Remind me what I’ve forgotten or show me something I never knew!

Little StevenDon’t get me wrong – some channels do offer great programming that I can’t get anywhere else. Underground Garage and E Street Radio keep me coming back for more. I appreciate these stations, although episodes of shows like The Michael Des Barres Program tend to rebroadcast a bit too much for my commute. I wish some of your programs would add more weekly segments. I also love hearing DJs I grew up listening to in the New York/New Jersey area. At times it feels like rock still lives at WNEW-FM.

I’m not suggesting that your “decades” stations or genre stations like The Blend need to delve into Deep Tracks territory, but since you don’t have to worry about button pushers lowering ratings or upsetting a sponsor, why limit your playlists to “commercially safe” tracks like iHeart Radio does?

About four years ago, SiriusXM trumpeted that the merger of Siruis and XM would bring more choices for the consumer. So far, I see less musical choices and less listening choices. I used to listen to you in my car and online. After the merger, SiriusXM limited how/where I could listen to satellite radio unless I wanted to pay extra to listen online.

In a few weeks, I’m going to have to make another choice – between SiriusXM or spending only $5.99 a month for Spotify’s student plan, or bringing my whole family and a few friends together under Spotify’s new Family Plan (we can share!). It’s considerably less expensive, and allows me to listen on my computer or mobile devices – in my car, home, or office.  I’m not budgeted for both. C’mon guys, win me back. Rock my world.

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Starting Your PR Career: Is NYC The Only Place?

Question/discussion topic:

NYCIn September 2011, I made the transition from full-time PR practitioner to full-time professor at a small, New England private university. This was after 20 years of agency and client-side experience, including the obligatory stint at a New York agency. I still pride myself on being a Jersey Guy, although I wonder why I was crazy enough to deal with that commute.

One of the joys/challenges of being a professor and academic adviser is counseling students as they make the transition to young professionals. I’ve come across many from New England that seem destined to live up to the regional stereotype of never moving/living more than about 20 minutes from the town they grew up in. For many, that means in Boston’s New Hampshire suburbs.

Boston’s a great “town,” but doesn’t spending the first five years of yourBoston career in the Boston ‘burbs limit you? A New Hampshire salary will certainly start you out with a deficit compared to Boston. Despite being talented and personable, some of my students from New Hampshire consider Boston a big city.

That seems in direct “conflict” with my advice and observations about the PR industry that one really needs a New York City agency on their resume as early as possible in order to open up more career doors.

The anecdotal observation I have is that if you’ve worked for a New York firm, you’re capable of working anywhere. Without the NYC firm, you’re just small potatoes. I think there’s some geographic snobbery in our industry, but it does exist right or wrong.

It’s that not a NYC agency does any better work – it’s just perception. I always ask clients that want a “downtown” agency whether they’re paying for results or the view from the conference room.

This may also be similar to the career mobility question of going to a small company vs. big brand name corporation early on. Sure, getting major media coverage is easy working for a company like Apple (low hanging fruit – pun intended), while at a small company you can make a big difference and learn so much more. But the big name on your resume still impresses people more – and will sell you into more jobs.

What do you think?