airline revenue boost ideas (OT)

Listen up airlines, I have a couple ideas for you.

1 - The first airline to do this will make a major media splash as well as good will (unfortunately Southwest won't be able to do it, though). Once the plane is loaded, have a random draw from the coach class to fill the remaining first class seats. It would be like winning a mini lottery. Seats are empty, why not give the coach people a break from the sardine environment in the back by moving a couple forward. Think of the word of mouth advertising and all of the media outlets will pick this one up as well - Free good advertising! All of those folks that play the lottery or gamble will want to fly your airline just for the thrill of the possibility of getting a better seat.

2 - Sell coupon space on the back of the seats. Attach a clear pocket on the back of the seats and sell the space. You've got a person's eyes for at least an hour, that is an amazing amount of time in the ad world. Plus the passenger gets to walk away with something tangible in their hand.

3 - On those planes with the individual video/gaming units on the backs of the seats, why not add coupon capability. The routes that these planes fly are usually several hours to overnight flights. Why not set up a way so the passenger can browse coupons by destination? Let the passenger enter an email address and then email the selected coupons to them to print out. If you wish to make it even more valuable, put a simple kiosk at the gate or baggage claim so that they can print them out once they arrive. All of this can be done as a revenue generating situation. And once again, think of the eye time that the advertisers get!

Maybe if the airlines could offset some of their costs through selling ad space, they could get away from this nickel and dime mentality that is so popular now. I recently flew on a carrier (who will remain nameless) that did so much selling that I felt like I was in one of those timeshare meetings.

now is the time for the volunteer

Sometime in the last year, I read an article stating that current generation entering into the workplace are looking for more than a job. They want a job or an employer that has a purpose, whether helping through humanitarian aid or doing good things for mankind through their product/service.

One of my daughters recently got married. The groom and his entourage all wore this particular brand of shoe in lieu of the traditional dress shoe. When I asked about it, I figured that I would hear about this being something in style or popular (which they are). Instead, I was told about how this company gives away a set of shoes for every one that they sell.

So this generation should be potentially the greatest volunteer workforce ever seen. It is how the people seeking volunteers present their motivation that will determine their success. I don't think that this generation will respond to the old, "we need your help" routine, rather the approach of telling how they are going to affect their world around them through their actions in assisting this cause.

I only hope that the ones seeking volunteers will catch on before the opportunity is lost.

sleight of hand

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, mixing is a large part arranging. Showing people different things as the song/song set progresses. But mixing is also hiding things. It’s not only a “look here, look there – hear this, here that” but “don’t hear this, don’t look there”.

I recently was working a gig where at the end of the speaking part, the speaker asked a musician to perform a specific song. Earlier in the music part of the event, the musician (a guitar player/singer) had broke a string on his guitar. So during the speaking part, he replaced his strings. When he got back up to perform, he realized that the guitar had gone out of tune and was frantically trying to tune. The speaker kept pushing him to start, so finally, he did. Unfortunately, he hadn’t finished tuning. So here I was mixing. I have a performer playing slightly out of tune and therefore singing out of tune (in tune to his instrument). I could hide his instrument, but not his voice since he was the soloist. So I opted to ditch all of the other instruments except the rhythm section. It became an almost guitar solo with vocal, bass, and drums. Eventually, the song went into a freeform mode where I could lose the guitar and add the rest of the instruments. And soon after, the performer realized that since it was freeform he could stop for a minute and finish his tuning while the band vamped. Then the world was back in order.

The point is that I could just have let it be what it was because it was no fault of mine that the player was out of tune. But I did a creative arrangement decision that concealed to most of the audience the train wreck happening in front of them

more. . .

People seem to always think that more is better. It can be true but if in attempting more, you can't pull it off successfully, then more is worse. The interesting thing is that when more is worse, then the people planning the more and the performers doing the more are never responsible for the failure of the more but the tech crew always is. This is one reason a divide tends to exist between the tech crew and the stage.

Less done successfully is always better than more done unsuccessfully. When a person leaves an experience, whether a restaurant, live event, or movie, the talk isn't about all of the things that were good, but the one or two things that weren't.

More also requires organization and clarity in communication. More needs participants with greater skill/ability.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against more, just that people understand that more requires more. People must count the cost before attempting more to make sure that the more is successful.

Sometimes a little more can be just as impressive as a lot more, especially when done successfully.

playback freeware for the computer

I have used these two freeware pieces of software for several years now. They are both designed with radio stations in mind but I have found them extremely useful in the live sound arena. I think that once you've used them, you won't go back to the Windows Media/Itunes players again.


This software gives you essentially 4 playback decks with the ability to see a count up and down. The software allows for each deck to go out individual outs if you desire. You can build playlists, have the next song just load and wait for your play command or continue on. One of the greatest features is that you can remote start the decks via midi or through the game port. This software makes doing live theatrical events an ease due to the programming flexibility.

I have also been able to run multiple instances of the program successfully as well, when in a pinch.


I use this software with a touchscreen when travelling with tracks. It is much more intuitive than finding a mouse and such.

drum booth design

Here is a drum booth that I designed for a client once. The importance was to make it simple so that the average carpenter could wrap his head around it. Also, the panels were standardized.

My pet peeve for most drum booths is that that they don't make it easy to get into front of the kit. So my plan calls for the front wood panel fronts to be on hinges or removable so that if you need to readjust the kick mic (which you usually have to fairly often), you simply address the kick from outside the front through the removable/hinged panel.

I made this one on a rather large scale to minimize the reflections inside the booth. Also the carpenter added some cross support on the ceiling which actually made a great place to mount one of those mic studs and remove overhead stands. The other reason for having wood on the bottom 1/4 is to visually remove the clutter of stand bases, mic cables, mic stands, etc.

Ventilation is important. Most booths forget this. The client actually left some space in the ceiling for heat to rise out of the booth. The plan asked for a vent low where some sort of fan could push air towards the drummer. But some sort of vent on top will keep the heat from building up inside.

The back wall is standard fiberglass filled wall with a cloth cover that creates better acoustical environment.

This plan, I feel, looks better than those commercial ones, especially since you can choose your own color scheme. It is also cheaper, and at worse, the same cost.

OT - my idea to improve the internet experience

I know that everyone has an opinion, but this is my space and I will voice mine.

I have stated for years that I see a simple solution to the cleaning up of the internet experience. I see it as a similar issue that cities today have when trying to control the adult industry. We live in the USA and there are freedoms that can't be trampled on, but we can corral or steer them. Most cities in these United States, have in already in place, laws that limit where an adult oriented establishment can set up shop. More importantly, they limit where they can't be. Usually it goes something along the lines of being at least X amount of feet away from places that are known haunts of underage children (schools, parks, etc.) These laws have been in effect for years and have stood the test of our freedoms.

So I ask, why not do something similar in the world wide web (or within the US borders, more specifically).

I remember reading a couple things a few years back. First, there are only a handful of locations that all internet traffic comes through when entering the US proper. Second, by far the majority of adult entertainment internet sites are hosted outside of the US borders. I want to say that the figure is somewhere above 90%. Most adult entertainment is there for monetary purposes.

Here's my logic. If most of these sites that mom's find offensive are coming from outside of our borders, and there are pinch points at our borders, why not use that to our advantage. We can't stop the traffic because of the "freedoms" allotted in our country. But, we can direct the traffic, just like our cities already do.

My plan is simple.

First, make it a federal law that internet browsers only show material that contains a simple 2 bit header code that delineates the content being sent. 2 bits gives us 4 levels and the powers that be can determine what those are, but basically you will have a code deeming it good for all and a code deeming it only good for those above the age of 18. Also, the browser comes preset to only show the G rated stuff by default. So you don't try to go after the criminals who are outside of the US jurisdiction, you limit the browser companies (there are only a few out there, you know).

Second, you make it a federal law that any content coming through the major internet hubs (again only a few exist) must contain that header information, or it will be blocked.

So, if you are in the adult industry (gambling fall under this as well), then you will comply in order to keep your customers and profits. If you make a browser that doesn't comply, you will be fined, or jail or something.

Finally, there is a creation of an enforcement division somewhere that reacts to consumers reporting any unwanted content finding them. The enforcement folks issue a command to block that IP address at the pinch points until the offending organization complies.

There it is. I find this to be simple and it doesn't step on anyone's freedoms than before. If you want the content, then you tell the browser to show it. Just like the adult industry in the physical world, people will find their way to it if they want, but it isn't found accidentally by little kids. I am sure people will find a hack to the browsers but again, those will be the people that want to get that content. By far the majority will not go those lengths, and the conservatives will remain happy.

The only downside that I see to this will be a temporary slowdown in the internet due to those extra bits, but things will speed back up again just like in the past when streaming video/audio hit the net by force.

yet another SPL

I recently read some comments about Radio Snak spl meters and how they can be off by "X" amount in their readings. I understand the concept of wanting an accurate reading or an accurate piece of equipment, but what gets me is the underlying thought process.

It is like people think that some person out there in the crowd is walking around with their own personal dosimeter (which if read my previous comments about SPL you know is the only legal way to determine spl) and is going to call the cops and have someone arrested that very hour. Now, admittedly, I do not live in a military state here in the USA. So, maybe someone in one of those dictatorial situations might have to be worried about this. But here in the USA and most other free nations, it takes proof and time (lots of time in the US) to get to that point of a new pair of bracelets.

Without going into it again about how a real spl is determined, if for some reason someone complained and found a lawyer, then that lawyer will compose a document (more than likely a cease and desist) and send it to the offending party. But then someone who owns a dosimeter and is qualified to run it will have to show up to the next event and take readings. Even if this person is hired and brought in before a document is constructed, it would seem pretty obvious when someone shows up with a testing device mounted on a tripod is set up in your house of worship. BTW, most live events are not weekly in the same room except for those in the religious world.

So you went out and bought a Rad Snak meter and, Oh No!, it is off by 6 dBspl. Then someone comes by and makes a stink. There is this little concept called "due diligence". The fact that you even bought anything and are aware of what is going on shows that you care and that if you happen to fall into a grey, let alone harmful, situation, you are adequately showing that it wouldn't be intentional.

Alarmism isn't the prudent process here, folks. If you really want to cover your tail, then just keep a box of those squishy ear plugs in the booth with a little sign somewhere stating that hearing protection is available. Maybe charge them for it. We live in a free country, no one is forcing these folks to stay in the loud environment anyway. So how are they going to sue you intentionally. The only lawsuit that could stand would be where someone could state that they didn't know about the harm of loud environments and they can prove hearing damage. But if they own any personal music device they can't make that case since everyone puts in that little warning card in their packaging.

You want to watch your volume. That is great. I am all for it. But if you really want the true deal then go out and spend the money to get the true test equipment and stop worrying about the Snak. You know that they sell consumer level equipment anyway, it would be absurd to assume their gear be professional.

Look, you change your tires on your car to a different size, your speedometer is no longer accurate. Besides, your speedometer may or not be accurate with the factory tires anyway. Change the air pressure and it will make it wrong as well. That is why the cops usually go after folks going 5 or more over. Its all about intention. They know that there is that fudge factor.

My whole point is that you should use your ears and make the volume feel good and right. 95% of your crowd will go willingly to whatever that volume falls into. I have never heard a non-audio professional say, "Man if that was only 2.5 dBspl quieter, I would have been in heaven!" Its all perception.

Choir mics

I have a new favorite mic for choirs.

Recently, I have been dealing with a church that has a decent sized choir but they sing primarily with tracks. They want a decent amount of monitor thrown back at them (unfortunately, not unusual) plus they don't project a lot of volume in their singing. Part of this is due to the arrangement of being spread out and standing in straight lines vs. in a choral arrangement. So even with all of my experience in feedback control, I wasn't getting quite the level that I needed to make the pastor happy. Due to the stage design, the pastor didn't want to use hanging mics either.

I started looking at all of the options that I could find out about, calling friends and such. Throughout this, I heard that a large church of the same denomination of this church had done a mic shootout and had settled on the Earthworks SR series hypercardiod mics. Knowing that it would be an easier sell to this church, I thought that I would take a serious look at these mics.

Well, after looking a many polar plots it became obvious that the cool feature of the the earthworks hyper mics is that they basically have a cardiod front pattern with the hyper pattern on the back side. So really wide front pickup but great rejection on the back. Their rejection is fairly even across the frequency spectrum which most of the smaller mics don't have.

Here's the kicker that Earthworks doesn't want you to know. They have a series called the Flex series, which is designed for podium purposes. Upon looking at the costs of their mics, I noticed that the flex series is priced almost half of the SR series. This is more than likely due to the SR series picking up to 30Khz (but what PA speaker can adequately reproduce and throw such high freq's?) Also, the flex series has an option called "stiff center" that isn't really noted on the site. The stiff center only had a short gooseneck section then a straight tube followed by a goose section at the mic head.

So here's what I ended up getting. I bought the Earthworks FM720/HC stiff center. I bought the 27" version so that I don't use a boom arm on the mic stand. I let the 27" of the mic due the reach out. It looks actually very nice as noted by the pastor and his wife.

As I stated at the top, I now have a new favorite choir mic. These things performed extremely. During rehearsal, I could barely hear the choir director talk since she was standing within 6 feet of backside of the mic. Yet, it felt like I could hear the choir breathing - got them to about 85dBspl at FOH. The church is in heaven with the performance of their choir now. Plus the money that I saved them by finding the flex series.

I would like to thank the guys at Earthworks for helping me in this venture especially Dennis.