This is Part One of  a long ‘perfect storm’ trip. Originally it was just a trip to the big European radio convention to speak.  Then research and strategic meetings were scheduled days before and after.  And then another big research meeting in Mexico.  So this trip is almost three weeks long.  It starts in Spain and then moves to Paris, Milan, Slovenia (I’ll explain in a later post) back to Paris, and on to Mexico.  

 

Spain

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This is the “bishops’ ” boardroom at my client in Spain, which is owned by the church. This is where all big decisions are made. We are about to present results of a a big strategic study. Peter, my Swedish research partner, is standing. Virginia next to him is the company’s research director. The woman next to her looking away is Isabel, who does our focus groups and also works for the national ratings company.

 

Paris

My client in France is small and started as a pirate station by a guy my age, the same year I had my pirate station in my bedroom, 1981.   His station grew up because of a lawsuit that could ONLY happen in France: his frequency was given to a legitimate broadcaster by the government, and he sued arguing ‘squatters’s rights’ on the frequency, even though he was illegal.  He won!  And his company was born.

His company now has many stations in several markets yet no one knows anyone.  They’re all in silos.  So last year I suggested he have a Christmas party to bring everyone together.  He was going to have it in February but the Charlie Hebdo shooting happened, so he held the party this week.  I was in town just 10 hours between the Spain meeting above and the Milan speech in my next post, to speak at the company meeting and briefly attend the party.

 

From the Paris company meeting.  The picture on the left is Laurent, the owner, as a teenager with his pirate station.

From the Paris company meeting. The picture on the left is Laurent, the owner, as a teenager with his pirate station.

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My super-hip hotel room in Paris.  Note the lighted headboard, strange reading lamps, and of course the graffitti.

Sandra Marconi, who has an apt radio name (isn't there a word for that?).  She is the person who executes all of my genius advice with three of the five shows I work with.

Sandra Marconi, who has an apt radio name (isn’t there a word for that?). She is the person who executes all of my genius advice with three of the five shows I work with.

Jordan DeLuxe, who is part of a Paris morning show.

Jordan DeLuxe, who is part of a Paris morning show.

An "ice bar" which is made of ice and kept at -18 degrees.  Everything freezes but the vodka.  (and to think I was presenting to bishops less than 24 hours earlier...)

An “ice bar” which is made solely of ice and kept at -18 degrees. Everything freezes but the vodka. (and to think I was presenting to bishops less than 24 hours earlier…)

Christophe, the operations director for the Paris stations.  Seconds after leaving the ice bar.

Christophe, the operations director for the Paris stations. Seconds after leaving the ice bar.