Leonard Pitts Jr. is a opinion writer for the Miami Herald. His column in the Dayton Daily News is one of the bright spots in a generally unbright paper.
Yesterday I wrote about satellite TV killing the last easy way for local business to reach a market efficiently. Today, Pitts writes about how Johnny Carson was a uniting force in our country(he died this week)- and how back in the good old mass media days, with only three TV networks to choose from, a show like “I Love Lucy” would garner a 67.3 rating while today’s “American Idol” is considered a hit with an 18.3.
As I said in a Business Week letter to the editor, there never was really a “Mass Market” just big players in a small sandbox- now that the sandbox has enlarged (more media to choose from) it leveled the playing field. Satellite TV is a step back to a smaller sandbox.
The reason I like Pitts so much, is his commentary on humanity is usually idea driven, instead of personality. His thoughts have a longer life expectancy than just today’s news. This is a mark of a good ad campaign as well, if the idea can keep going and going, it’s generally a good one. Favorites of mine: Got Milk, Absolute __________, The Ultimate Driving Machine- you get the point. Sometimes even great campaigns get ditched due to stupidity- and then the “Hot Agency” (in this case Crispin Porter) “rediscovers” it- like Burger King’s “Have it your way.”
Great ad campaigns from major marketers can have a unifying effect on our country, just like Johnny Carson did- remember “Where’s the Beef” or “Whatzzup.”

I’m placing a link to this Pitt’s piece, “With Johnny gone, a piece of our culture is gone too.” The link I found is from the Detroit Free Press- which may want to charge you to read this tomorrow, but hopefully it will still be there and they won’t have made fun of their name…. (or is a “Free Press” that kind of freedom of the press that existed pre-the current political atmosphere where journalists weren’t getting sued to expose their sources? The latest lawsuit by Apple against thinksecret.com comes to mind).

Enjoy the day.