Industry Views

Monday Memo: Apple Heaven and Hell

By Holland Cooke

imEver lost your phone? It’s an instant sick, sinking feeling. It’s quaint to even call it a “phone,” because it’s…everything. Including us. Like the transistor radio Boomers toted in our youth, it’s audio in your pocket.

For broadcasters and podcasters, a smartphone can be the whole toolbox. MOVIES are being shot on the newest iPhone. The cameras and editing apps are that good. TV and radio can go live, anywhere there’s a signal. And, like Alexa, Siri is conversant. Dictation isn’t just a convenient voice-to-text appliance. It makes lots of apps lots handier, and safer while driving. So, when, suddenly, my phone couldn’t hear me anymore, I went Code Red.


First triage: Google. But when I satisfied myself that all my settings were as they should be, I needed a person. As expected, the patient expert on Apple’s Support line had a thick foreign accent and great people skills. She had me repeating all the steps Google recommended, and told me I had to update my OS. When repeated attempts failed, I needed in-person handholding, a/k/a The Genius Bar.

Just TRY calling an Apple Store. The local number for the Providence Place Mall location rings in Texas I was told, after I cheated by reaching out to a friend who works for Apple and got me in the door. The irony is painful: They sell telephones but can’t answer one.


Antiques Roadshow

I’ll seem my age if it’s 2023, and I’m still toting iPhone 8. Hey, it worked…until it didn’t. And the Genius Bar person explained that it had missed too many OS updates to ever catch-up. And when she ran diagnostics, enough other issues warranted the handoff to sales.

Dazzling as the latest-greatest are, I went with SE, same size/shape/appearance as the 8 being retired. It snapped right into the decorative Block Island cover case that had saved the old phone from so many drops. In the survey Apple emailed later that day, I couldn’t say enough about Matty, the sales guy who walked me through setting-up the new phone. All better now, and although it’s now sans SIM card, the retired 8 phone is a spare tire. If I want to talk to it, I’ll need earbuds. But it’s an otherwise functional iPod that will Facetime, Email, you-name-it, via WiFi.

So then?

With most AM/FM broadcast hours now automated or syndicated, stations that make local human connections will be conspicuous; and niche-topic podcasts will ooze “community.”

I write lots of commercials, and – where pertinent – we assure that “you won’t land in voicemail.” And we’ll emphasize one-on-one support. Here’s how one client – the voice you hear is the owner, whose stations are 100 miles from Dallas – sells expensive cameras, at a store in Dallas:

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke