Category: Editorial

Radio Station v. 2.2.7

2.2.7

  • Dutch translation added (Thank you to André Dortmont for the file!)
  • Added Tabbed Display for Master Schedule Shortcode (via Tutorial)
  • Add Show list columns with active, shift, DJs and show image displays
  • Add Schedule Override list columns with date sorting and filtering
  • Add playlist track information labels to Now Playing Widget
  • Added meridiem (am/pm) translations via WP Locale class
  • Added star rating link to plugin announcement box
  • Added update subscription form to plugin Help page
  • Fix to checkbox value saving for On Air/Upcoming Widgets
  • Fix 12 hour show time display in Upcoming Widget
  • Fix PM 12 hour shot time display in On Air Widget
  • Fix to schedule override date picker value visibility
  • Fix to weekday and month translations to use WP Locale
  • Fix to checkbox value saving in Upcoming Widget
  • Split Plugin Admin Functions into separate file
  • Split Post Type Admin Functions into separate include
  • Revert anonymous function use in widget registrations

Radio Station is a free, open-source plugin licensed under the GPL. Submit pull requests on Github.

If you love this plugin, please consider becoming a patron.

Introducing Radio Station by Netmix

In December of 1996, Netmix.com first appeared online as the world’s first DJ mix-show website hosting streaming mixes by the world’s most sought after DJs. In the March 20, 1996 issue of Billboard Magazine, Netmix was cited by former Dance Trax columnist, Larry Flick, as the “innovation and advancement of dance music on the Internet.”

Born out of my bedroom in a four-story walk up at 726 Washington Street, just outside of Washington Square in Brookline, MA, I would move Netmix from Boston to New York City in September of 1996 to partner with a dance music promotion company, with the goal of converging promotion and marketing with online streaming and distribution. While the partnership didn’t work out in the long run, Netmix survived in the dotcom 1.0 economy until it entered a purchase and sale agreement on June 1, 2000 with Polyverse, a youth-culture startup funded by investors in the gold rush of the early Internet era, which saw companies like CDNOW, MP3.com, and Psuedo Networks valued in the many hundreds of millions of dollars.

While I was negotiating with Polyverse, the Internet bubble started to burst. Fast forward to October of 2000 and Polyverse was out of cash. No one could raise money. The doors closed on new capital and thousands of startups on both coasts and around the world failed. It was, in no uncertain terms, one of the most difficult periods for founders and employees of these companies who saw their hopes and dreams fall apart when the Internet economy collapsed.

Over the next 19-years, I would hold onto the Netmix.com domain and keep the website active. In the late 2000s I launched the Netmix Global House Sessions Podcast, which is still ingrained into this site today (and for the foreseeable future). The podcast features my alter ego, DJ Tony Z, in the mix. But Netmix became a side hobby while I focused on working for various corporations and startups in New York City until 2010, when I asked my wife to move to Chapel Hill, NC for a job at the University of North Carolina.

In North Carolina for 9-years now, we skipped across the state; from Chapel Hill to Winston-Salem and now Asheville, NC. My wife and I adopted a baby boy at birth who was born in the Asheville area. My family became the priority while I also ran my WordPress consulting company, Digital Strategy Works. I had ideas for Netmix, but life’s priorities simply got in the way.

A few years ago, I got it in mind to host a radio mix-show on a Low Power FM here in Asheville, AshevilleFM. My friend, Phillip and I created the Asheville House Music Society and hosted the show on the station for about a year, but we had to put the show on hiatus. In September of 2018, we brought the show back on the air on another LPFM in Asheville, WPVMFM.org, where I volunteer as the station’s webmaster. While working on the station’s website, I noticed they were using a WordPress plugin, Radio Station, which was originally created by a developer in Colorado, Nikki Blight. The plugin hadn’t been updated on the site in a while, so I checked in on the WordPress codex to review the plugin and its status. When I learned Nikki was no longer actively developing the plugin and saw that there was an installed user base, I contacted her to inquire about it and let her know that I’d consider taking it over.

After a brief conversation, Nikki passed along the car keys to the plugin in early June (2019) and wished me luck. After 16-years of working with WordPress, I am now an official manager and committer of a plugin listed in the WordPress repository. But, I’m not a developer myself. I’m a product manager and entrepreneur with deep experience managing WordPress projects, so I needed help bringing the plugin up to speed. I put the word out in the WordPress universe and the universe returned Tony Hayes, an experienced WordPress developer living about two-hours south of Brisbane, Australia. Tony’s work includes http://wpmedic.tech and other plugins that check on the health of WordPress websites.

For the past three months, Tony and I have been working together on the open-source, free version of the plugin. We’ve also had a contribution from another developer working at a radio station in Virginia, who helped bring the plugin up to WordPress coding standards. We’ve made some improvements to the plugin and are actively working on building a PRO version with an audio player, time zone switcher, and a few other neat features. But for now, we’re tightening up the plugin and its core feature set.

We’re also looking at integrating the plugin with a few popular radio station automation software packages, like AirTime and LibreTime.

After 19-years of controlling the Netmix domain name and website, I decided on merging Radio Station with Netmix, which is why the plugin is now hosted here on this site and it will carry the Netmix brand going forward, along with all the bells and whistles we hope to add to it.

We’re always looking for contributions from the community. If you’d like to join in the fun, please do visit the Radio Station project on Github and take a stab at fixing something or adding something, then issuing a pull request. We’d love to get contributions from the radio station community supporting open-source projects.

I’m so excited I finally found and merged a worthy WordPress project with the Netmix brand. Over the next couple of months, you’ll see some changes to this website. It’s a work in progress and slow going, but we’re committed to advancing the plugin, building out a PRO version with additional awesome features, and figuring it all out as we go along. We’d love to know what you think of the plugin, so leave a comment on this post below. And, please do share this plugin in your networks, so we can grow participation and installs – that’s how this is going to succeed.

Is the free U2 album download from iTunes really that big of a deal?

Image of U2 - Songs Of Innocence White Label LP
U2 – Songs Of Innocence White Label LP

Are there worse things in the world than getting a free album from one of the world’s greatest rock bands to ever walk the face of the planet? Yes.

There are plenty of things worse than iTunes pushing a free album download to your purchased music bin. You can get hit by a bus tomorrow. Someone can mug you. You can lose your job. You can get a divorce. Your 12-year old can storm out of the room screaming, “I HATE YOU!” You can get kidnapped by terrorists and killed for the whole world to see, in the middle of a desert, which is then broadcast on YouTube. No, I’m not making light of that last one. I’m saying that is one of the worst things that can befall anyone. It’s horrific. But while we’re all texting and driving and complaining about Apple pushing a free download to your iPhone and computer, horrible things are going on around the world that are far more important.

Okay, so it was an inconvenience for you. Sure, it sucked up some bandwidth on your mobile device. Sure, it wasn’t easily removed. You needed a tool that Apple quickly provided after the backlash to remove it from your library. Yes, it’s taking up some room you thought you had and now you don’t, which prevents you from downloading some other crap that you think you really wanted, but you actually didn’t and you’ll rarely ever play whatever that was anyway. It’s really not you that I’m targeting with this post. It’s the media who are drumming up drama to simply direct attention to them and not the fact that Apple spent $100M to give away millions of downloads of a fairly good album to its customers as a thank you.

Let’s just take a chill pill and relax. No one died. Bono was close to Steve Jobs. Remember, Bono convinced Jobs to make a red iPod for his global AIDS project. Getting a free U2 album should be no f**** surprise then. Let’s all take a deep breath now. Inhale. Exhale. Good.

Okay, so you don’t like Bono or U2. You love the throat singers from Tuvalu. You cringe when you hear a U2 song. Well, you’re in the minority. If U2 is offensive, President Obama is Chinese. Right. U2 is not offensive and President Obama is not Chinese. Well, he’s a terrorist according to some Republicans you talk to, but that’s a story for another day.

Maybe Steve Jobs wouldn’t have pushed the album. He probably would have made it optional or done something else. Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs, but he’s no slouch either.

Can we just get over this U2 stuff today? Take a listen to the album. You might even like what you hear.

Why it took so long

Yesterday, someone posted a comment about my former employer, StarStyle, but didn’t use their real name, which leads me to believe they were afraid to identify themselves. Whoever it was actually typed in my name to the Name and Email fields. I moderate all comments so I didn’t let this one through, but I will write about it and if the commenter wants to come back and identify him or herself, then I’ll be sure to publish what they said with attribution to them.

Anyway, the comment from the mystery poster said, “Surprised StarStyle.com gave you a laptop. The execution was amateur and the music came out 4 months after our video release dates.”

Now, I’m not defending StarStyle here, because I have absolutely zero faith in their current management team, including their CEO, who I don’t believe has the experience or understanding of new media to have been placed at the helm of this company, but I digress.

I will say from experience that building the music division of StarStyle was a Herculean task that was one of the most difficult jobs of my life, and here’s why.

First, just to get approval to be on set for a video from a major record label was difficult enough. The major labels want minimum guarantees to allow web sites to air the videos. And, the artist has to convinced that the StarStyle opportunity is right for them. Once you’ve paid the minimum guarantee (one major label wanted 1 Million dollars regardless of how many videos we could get on set for) then you have to have someone at the label approach management to get their approval. The video commissioners are busy enough as it is. Understaffed with everyone working freelance and deep budget cuts (videos cost a fraction of what they used to), they didn’t want to take on the role of negotiator with management. So, you had to find someone at the label to be your cheerleader and make that call to the manager get your resource on set to track the styles. Then, while on set, you had to navigate through the hours and the participants to get what you needed, which sometimes took a bit of cunning and ingenuity to shake some information from the tree leaves.

Managers so tightly control the artist experience, their permission is critical to getting the access that you need in order to cover the video. Since posting the video on StarStyle and linking to commerce is revenue generating, it’s illegal in most states to use an artist’s name, likeness or image (or anyone’s for that matter) in commerce unless you get written permission.

There are some managers, like Mary J. Blige’s, who totally understand the offering and were willing to experiment and build on the results. They realized that artists are selling products through music videos and were looking for ways to tap into that revenue stream. There are other managers, like Gwen Stefani’s, who wanted a minimum guarantee to use her image on the web, above and beyond what we were paying her label to show the video. At that point, you have to make the call and decide if it’s worth it.

With Gwen, the ask was $500K up front. That’s a lot of money for a small company. From management’s perspective, a web company like StarStyle is building its business on the backs of their artists. With that being the case, they want to see those dollars up front in order to protect them from exposure and ensure that the companies they are working with have the resources to represent their artists correctly. This is a fact of life in the music business, which investors don’t understand or think will just go away because they have the next big idea. I believe that ideas are great…but they’re not worth anything to anyone unless you can execute on them.

Artist managers aren’t stupid. Many of these Internet companies are here today, gone tomorrow. With that goes your artists reputation for being tied to something that failed. If you are a manager for Gwen, you’ve got an artist who’s at the pinnacle of her career. Most artists careers excel for a few months to a few years at best. For every superstar, there are hundreds of failures. With so much competition and short time frame to make an impact, you’d better make all you can, as quickly as possible, so you can live a long comfortable life once you’ve left the spotlight.

Once approved to get on set to track all the styles, then you have to bring that information back to the office and for your operations teams scour out database of partners looking for exact matches. If no match exists, you go for similar and looks for less. That can take a few days to complete, depending on the number of resources you’ve assigned to the project and the level of detail you want to get into. Once that’s complete, you hope you have the right video asset from the label and permission to air that video on the site.

There are times when it took weeks for a label to deliver a video to StarStyle, even though it had already aired on MTV or BET. The reason for this is that those sites with large audiences, for example AOL Music, Yahoo! Music and MTV Networks properties, were given exclusive windows to air the videos before any other web site. Just as they get exclusives on TV, the same goes for the web.

Okay, so let’s recap. Once you get word that a video is shooting, you contact the label to make the request. The label has to get approval from the manager. Then, you have to get on set and work your magic to track all the products. After you’ve done that, you bring it back in house, find all the products you can through your partner retailer feeds and get those products and the video ready for launch. Once that is done, you have to sit back and wait for the label to finish editing the video, which can take up to two weeks in many cases. You have to wait out the “black out” period to allow a larger networks to air the video. And, finally, you have to schedule it internally so as to be able to promote it through your own channels, like email newsletter and home page promotions. We were sending bi-montly newsletters, so we wanted to update the site every other week with new video content. Sometimes, we would put up something on a Friday and announce it on a Tuesday. That seems like eternity in the music world.

Unfortunately, we had to constantly make decisions based on everyone else’s schedule. Unless we funded and shot the video, which we never did (we should have), we were the last people on the food chain to get access or anything else for that matter. And, truth be told, it’s not their concern. At the end of the day, the bottom line was: how is StarStyle going to make us money? On the reverse, we were providing a new revenue stream. It’s a catch-22 situation. If you don’t participate, then we can’t make you money. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Now for my independent artist and label friends. Love them, but they’re not the most organized bunch either. For example, we did an Angelique Kidjo and Joss Stone video. It never aired because I didn’t feel comfortable putting up a video using Joss Stone, without her express approval that we could use her name in commerce. At the time, she was managing herself, so that conversation never took place, because after she did the video, she was then on tour overseas somewhere and couldn’t be reached. And, she was a guest in the video and not signed by the label. Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t approve it. One more thing was that because there was a social message to the song, which was about the disparity of rich and poor in this country, I wanted to donate proceeds to Oxfam, which is a charity I believe Angelique supports. I contacted the label to work out the details of that and nothing ever happened. So, like any job on this planet, getting something done can be quite difficult, especially given all the characters that have to say “yes” for it to happen.

Another problem was that most of the indy videos we did we were not on set for. My team had to send a request to the artist to determine what they were wearing. By the time we got back any information, the video was in the marketplace and it was becoming stale. My thoughts were that any content is good content. Let’s take the video and help the artist get some exposure, no matter what. If a video became instantly popular, like Brooke Hogan’s first video with Paul Wall, that would generate a buzz about the site and show that we were not only selling clothes and generating profits, but breaking new artists as well.

The record industry is used to doing one thing very well: selling records. In today’s world, there are so many other options to generate revenues. You’ve now got strategic marketing departments selling their artists image to car companies, hair and make up products, clothing companies and more. Anything to get a dollar in the door to help pay the high cost of artist videos, packaging, etc… There are so many variables in play that it is extremely difficult for a small company to come in and get content to prove the model, especially with indy artists who aren’t mainstream. They generated the least revenue for the site, but I did them anyway because of my personal commitment to artists.

Unlike downloading, for things like StarStyle, you have to be close the artist and a trusted friend. Because you need the data on what they are wearing, it’s not as easy as just starting an illegal p2p or music site and testing the waters by generating an audience and letting them catch up with you later. Doing something like StarStyle is probably one of the most difficult endeavors you can work on. Like People mag or TMZ, you have to have money and resources to make sure you can buy the content you need, package it and then distribute it. It’s no easy feat. There are so many people with their hand out, unwilling or unlikely to budge until the dollars hit the palm of their hand. That’s why providing a way for music fans to buy what they see in videos is so hard to do. If the labels had the right to say yes, then it would be a little easier. But artists want to control their image, and rightfully so, so where do you win here?

It took patience and perseverance just to get to the point that we got to, which was over 50 videos in about a year and a half, give or take. That’s more than ANYONE has EVER done and we were the ones to do it. It’s very, very hard to accomplish. That’s why when people ask the question, “why can’t I buy what I see in music videos,” they’ll learn the answer is, because it’s not that easy to do.

A final example of that is AOL. We went down the road to provide this service to AOL on 3 occasions. Each time we started down the path to success, the person heading up the effort at AOL left to go to another organization. The ball dropped and we had to start all over again. Such is the business development process.

I personally met with Kevin Liles at Warner Brothers who asked me, “why aren’t we doing this?” And I told him it was it in business affairs hands. Once he bounced it back down to them, they were so busy with other major priorities, that if StarStyle wasn’t giving them a huge upfront fee, it just wasn’t worth it to them to pay attention. With labels, you have to come with your “A game.” They don’t play the “B or C game.”

Wherever you turned, there was a battle to fight, a negotiation to ensue, a handshake and promise to make. It was and remains to this day, the hardest undertaking I have ever gone through. Even harder than Netmix in some ways.

Hope that helps explains things in more detail.

It’s Finally Fixed

Many of you may be wondering why I’ve been so quiet over the last few weeks? The answer: lot’s of reasons!

Okay, let’s start with the fact that my WordPress blog broke. That’s right, it broke after I tried using a plug-in from a 3rd party developer to backup my blog’s database. After I ran the backup program, I couldn’t (for the life of me) login to the admin to post anything new. Oh, I tried upgrading again. When that didn’t work, I started my online search for an answer. One I actually never found.

I spoke to php/mysql guy and he wasn’t sure why I was getting “500 Internal Server Error” warning from my server. He suggested I simply add an asterisk after the file name of a plug-in in the plug-in folder to see if one was breaking the site. Sure enough, the first one I changed, “database backup,” was the culprit. Well, at least I thought so. It did allow me to finally log into the administration tool to look around and see what else was wrong.

I went to check the plug-in administration tool, which quickly returned another 500 Server Error. “Huh?”, I thought. Maybe there was another plug-in acting up. I perused the window of my Fetch FTP client to see which one would I choose in the hopes that it would bring everything back to life. I added an asterisk at the end of the filename for the Podpress folder and voila, entry was granted! Podpres is an important plug-in that handles podcasting on the site. I’d received a recent email from someone on Going.com looking for a mix, which said that they couldn’t download from the URL. Now I know why.

While I was trying to fix the issue, my 2 GHZ MacBook Pro–the one StarStyle kindly gave me as a parting gift when they LAID OFF OUR ENTIRE MUSIC DIVISION in December (we’ll get to that later)–went on the fritz after installing OS X 10.5, also known as Leopard. Over the course of the last three weeks, I installed Leopard approximately 10 times after experiencing delays, crashes and other problems. I backed up (very important) and wiped my drive to reinstall. I tried archive and install. I tried everything! You can’t even imagine the frustration. So much lost productivity, especially in the middle of a job search and working on my school projects.

In the middle of the last install, the computer froze at 19 minutes remaining. I shut it down, which was a no no. When I booted it up, the screen showed me the dreaded flashing question mark and folder. A few choice words later, I finally gave up, jumped in my girlfriend’s Honda Accord, and rushed it down to the Genius Bar at the Apple store in the Westchester Mall. Passing off my problems to one of geniuses, I was hoping they’d have some magical solution, but that was too ambitious. I had to settle for sending the computer to Cuptertino for an Apple Care tech to have a look-see. They may have to swap out the the drive he told me.

My optical drive was on the fritz anyway, so I agreed to have that replaced at the same time. Fortunately, to do so is about $300, which is far cheaper than purchasing a new computer altogether. I’m also hoping they grant me some kind of credit for having this problem occur AFTER I installed Leopard, which I’d purchased only three weeks earlier. And, after I called into Apple Tech support and NEVER received a return call from Reggie (ext. 7390). Reggie told me he’d call me back as he’d heard there was an issue with MacBook Pro 2Ghz machines. He said he needed to check in with the engineers to find out more. After four phone calls and left messages, I gave up on Reggie and decided the store might be a better option. Reggie, if you’re reading this, thanks for your excellent customer support.

Now, I have my fingers crossed that I’ll get my work machine back and leave my music computer, which is running absolutely fine on Leopard (it’s a 2.16 Ghz) to my mix show production. Being a technology enthusiast has its ups and downs. Believe me, I’m well aware. Especially, after purchasing Adobe CS3 Design Premium so I could start on building out my new consulting site, Netmix Media. I don’t want that package or Office 2008 on the same machine as my music apps, so I’m biding my time until everything is back to normal.

As for the blog issues with WordPress plugins, I’ve figured that out too. I learned that there are a few plug-ins that are not playing nice with the latest WordPress upgrade. Those plug-ins are as follows:

  • WP Stats
  • WP Stats Widget
  • Adsense Manager
  • WordPress Database Backup
  • AMM – Amazon Media Management Extension
  • All in One SEO Pack
  • WP Ajax Edit Comments

Now, these plug-ins may be working for others, but they’re not working for me. I’m going to try to delete and reinstall each to find out which ones have serious issues. For the time being, I’m going to steer clear of these plug-ins, unless someone has any information to the contrary.

With things finally getting back to normal, I can start blogging freely again without worrying about “500 Internal Server Error” issues and the like. Stay tuned for more.

What I've been thinking lately about the world around us

Usually, I avoid blogging about subjects beyond the scope of what I intended this blog to be, which is generally all positive dance music, general pop culture and web technology stuff. But this week, I asked my friend Dave Jurman what he thought if I started opening up the subject matter to more important issues. He said it was a great idea, seeing that a blog can be pretty much whatever it wants to be, and that if I thought something was that important to address, then I should go for it.

Read more

Facebook Users Protest Online Tracking

The New York Times reports Facebook users have mounted another major campaign against the popular Web site. Over 50,000 users have rallied to sign an online petition against an advertising program Facebook recently implemented to track purchases Facebook users made from external Web sites. Those purchases would subsequently be published into publicly accesible news feeds viewable by anyone connected to that purchaser. Those against the program cited their concerns over privacy and the lack of a one-button click to opt out of the program.

As Facebook continues on its path to becoming one of the most powerful social networks online, it must continually weigh the balance between user privacy and programs to generate revenue. Although the Web site is considered similar to other social networks, it has led the user-generated genre in creating a more socially and politically active environment. Although the other social networks are copying Facebook’s features, Mark Zuckerburg’s network is considered superior in a way Google is considered superior to Yahoo!

Fortunately, Facebook is a private company able to react quickly to user concerns. The company has taken immediate steps to resolve the issue. You can read more at NYTimes.com by clicking the link below.

read more | digg story

Less words, more music

Ah, is it more about the music? I hope so. It’s 9:38 and we’ve seen Kanye, Adam Levine, the Foo Fighters, Fall Out Boy and Britney. Lower thirds appear during every performance, shamelessly plugging MTV’s new deal with Real Rhapsody music service. What happened to Alisha? The director seems to be cutting between music, parties and awards. At first, it was a little awkward, but I think they are quickly adapting and cutting out the idiotic interludes while just getting straight to the songs people want to hear.

Let’s see what’s next.

Politics: Keith Olbermann commentary on Bush commutation of Libby sentence

I usually don't comment on politics here on this blog, but I thought the recent commentary by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was a clear, powerful, accurate and compelling viewpoint on the current political firestorm our President, George Bush, has created by commuting the sentence of Vice President Dick Cheney's advisor, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who had committed one of the most egregious crimes against his country--the United States--by outing CIA agent, Valerie Plame, after her husband, the former ambassador Joe Wilson, criticized the Bush administration for the use of faulty intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. Today, over 70% of Americans want this war ended now. Despite what Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other right wing media outlets report, the war has gone horribly wrong and the recent troop surge is making little impact. The United States needs leadership to solve this war, to curtail Wall Street profiteering at the expense of the average American, and to solve the health care crisis in this country that sees some 40 million of its people without basic coverage.

Our government is beholden to corporate interests, graft and corruption and its time for change.

In this MSNBC segment, Olbermann makes an extraordinary statement about the Bush administration's willful manipulation and disregard for the American public, our law, due process and any sense of reason. As a United States citizen, I am sharing this so you too can be equally as outraged as I am about what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the Republican party are doing to this country. They have complete and utter disregard for the wishes of the American public. The same American public who recently elected a Democratic House and Senate in a sweeping mandate for reform and a change in the direction of the United States of America. At no time in my 40-years of life have I ever lived through such an era, where an administration came to power only to enrich their cronies and party members while destroying the political capital and good the United States had built up coming into the 21st century.

Despite what people say about Bill Clinton, he put this country on the track to grow into a new world order. People believed in Clinton, and he left office with one of the highest approval ratings of any two term President. Today, that vision has been severely impaired. What Bush, Cheney and the Republican party have done to the United States is shameful. If you speak out, they call you "un-American" and accuse you of "siding with the terrorists." As Rosie O'Donneel pointed out, "who are the terrorists? Are they the Islamic fundamentalists who have set out to harm us, or could they be politicians who use a policy of fear to emotionally freeze a nation that is lulled into a false sense of security and believes its being protected? But, are we?

Now, I don't necessarily agree with everything Rosie says, but she does do one thing. Her speaking out makes you think about the issues. At the very least, it makes you question what you're being told by the right-controlled media. Is what they're telling us correct, or are they using disinformation to lull us into a false sense of security for their own political purposes? How do we, as collective nation, rise up and make our voice heard. Whether it be a general strike, a work slowdown or writing your Senators and Congress men and women, Americans need to do something, and they need to do something now. Calling for the resignation of George W. Bush is certainly a good start.

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Tony Z interviewed about LinkedIn experiences by Investor's Business Daily

Last week, Ben Steverman, a reporter for Investor’s Business Daily, interviewed me for a story he was developing on the popular business networking web site, LinkedIn.com.

You may be wondering how this came about. It all started when a colleague at StarStyle, Alberto, forwarded me a link to a blog posting written by popular technology evangelist and motivational speaker, Guy Kawasaki, on the top ten ways to use LinkedIn.com. After reading the blog article, I posted a comment about how I used LinkedIn.com to connect with Entertainment Media Works CEO, Ashley Heather, which led to my current position at StarStyle.com. I added that I’d found one of our key biz dev consultants and a key employee on the site as well.

While researching for his story on LinkedIn.com story, Ben came across my comment, then contacted me for an interview about my experiences with the site.

To follow, I’ve posted a brief excerpt from from the interview, or you can follow this link for the full story.

Managing For Success

Social Web Sites Are Groovy Hiring Tools

BY BEN STEVERMAN

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

Posted 1/12/2007

After almost 20 years as a professional dance music DJ and one decade working on dot-com startups, Tony Zeoli had lots of connections in the music industry and the Internet business.

But when it came time use those real-world contacts to find a new job, Zeoli went online. He turned to a social networking Web site called Linked-In.com.

Using the site, he approached the former owner of a Net startup where he had done some work. They met, and soon he was an executive at StarStyle.com, a site that lets visitors buy fashions they see in TV shows and music videos. In his new job, Zeoli then used LinkedIn to hire a key worker and to find a consultant to help make a key business deal.

Many business people, including managers, say social networking sites like LinkedIn are completely changing the way they find valuable contacts. It shows how online hangouts originally designed for social intercourse are morphing into effective managing tools.

Networking in an Internet age lets managers access gobs of data about a person or company in a few seconds. It also offers fast and easy ways to chat with job candidates.

Professionals, too, are increasingly using the Web to replace, or at least supplement, the sort of networking typically practiced at industry cocktail parties. This includes meeting potential employees and business partners, keeping track of rivals and former colleagues, and asking for advice.

Recruiters say technology gets more important as it gets harder to find employees with special skills. For some jobs, “There might only be 5,000 people in the country that are qualified,” said Jeremy Shapiro of the Bernard Hodes Group. “That’s where technology can help.”

The days of newspaper help-wanted ads are nearly gone, recruiters say. The Net job boards — Monster.com, (MNST) Hotjobs.com and others — are popular. But job listings tend to lure an avalanche of e-mailed resumes. Because it’s easy to apply, many applicants aren’t qualified or serious job seekers.

Hunting for top candidates, recruiters have become masters of the Internet search, learning all the tricks of Google.com. “There is such a plethora of information out there,” said Brian Drum, chief executive of Drum Associates, an executive search firm. “It takes more people to dissect that plethora of information.”

In this noisy environment, recruiters and hiring managers are re-emphasizing an old-fashioned way to find talent — through networking and personal relationships.

“It’s who you know,” Shapiro said. “Relationships are still important. What’s different now is the speed with which you can make relationships.”

This is where LinkedIn and its smaller rivals excel.

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Guy also has a great book out, “The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything”, available at Amazon.com.

The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything