The Long Tail: Turkey Edition

If you came here for my family Thankgiving/Christmas letter, just click here to go straight to it. Otherwise, taking a few minutes to read this post and watch the video below will put a smile on your face…and at the end you can scroll or click to our holiday greetings.

In keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, and on a much less serious note but one that is more in keeping with the general subject matter of this blog, here’s a blast from my teenage years made possible by YouTube:


I also recommend that you bookmark the Viral Video Chart, where Mr. Carlson’s ill-fated promotional stunt is currently at number five on the top 20 chart. I guess that makes it something of a hit, which means right now it is not in the Long Tail, but it’s an example of how the Long Tail works.

The Long Tail essentially depends on inventory cost approaching zero, distribution cost approaching zero, and a mechanism for people to find what interests them. Search engines obviously help enormously to make this possible, but sites like the Viral Video Chart help drive items toward the head. I’ve added it to my blogroll, too, for easy reference. As of this writing, Thanksgiving Turkey Drop has had 103,301 views through YouTube.

WKRP in Cincinnati was one of my all-time favorite shows. Les Nessman, winner of multiple Silver Sow Awards for agriculture reporting, and is unforgettable for his masking tape office walls. Herb Tarlek was the archetypical sleazy salesman, complete with red blazers and plaid pants. From what I understand, WKRP can’t be syndicated because the rights to the music spun (yes, that’s what they did back then) on turntables by Venus Flytrap and Dr. Johnny Fever would be too expensive. That’s a pity; my kids have missed a really fun, mostly clean show.

As the popularity of this episode as a viral video shows, maybe it would make more sense for the music companies to just let WKRP be syndicated without exhorbitant music licensing fees. Then people would hear snippets of the songs, have their memories triggered, and go to the iTunes store and buy them. Maybe the iTunes purchases wouldn’t be huge, but I would think there would be some…particularly if WKRP got lots of local affiliates.

I’m just thankful to be able to see this music-free snippet on YouTube. Thanks also to Jeff Jarvis for putting it in his feed. It doesn’t crack my personal Top 10 Reasons I’m Thankful, but it has brightened my Saturday morning.

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Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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