Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Prophet Moses Znaimer — The Second Act

Last weekend I read an excellent profile of Toronto media mogul Moses Znaimer in the Sunday edition of The Toronto Star. Written by Star feature writer Cathal Kelly, the article's focus is Znaimer's purchase of religious channel Vision Television, part of his expansion plans for his 'Zoomer' media empire, still in its' infancy. Znaimer's new message is all about (and for) the Boomers, the generation born from the mid 1940s' to the mid 1960s'.

But wait, what's that? Never heard of Moses Znaimer? O.K., time for a quick primer:

No, he did not part the Red Sea. But he did something nearly as impressive in his younger days (the article refers to Znaimer as '66-ish' — at 25 he was a producer for the CBC. By 30 he was running CITY-TV, which brought television Muchmusic, Fashion Television, and some piss poor camera work. The article refers to much of this programming as, "empty calories." Indeed.

Even I, at the ripe old age of 23, remember watching Electric Circus back in the day. This was one of Much's flagship programs that featured dance music and plenty of hot, sweaty dancers to go with the beats. What I remember most is plenty of crotch shots. Oh, and the killer intro courtesy of 'Hang On, Here We Go' from Jet Fuel.

tells me the show ran from September 16, 1988, to December 12, 2003, so it must be so.

But back to Moses. He was pushed from the helm of CITY-TV in 2003. The Star article doesn't make it clear why, only saying, "(CITY-TV was the) fief he built, but never fully controlled."

Znaimer's founding of CITY-TV put him on the cultural map as someone well aware of the energy and appeal of the young-uns. Much of the station's programming was made for 20-somethings and teens (I think the focus on 'tweens' came later, when that term was invented)

Flash forward to 2009. Znaimer is aggressively selling his idea of pitching products and services to the 50 and over crowd. Or, as Znaimer puts it so well to a room of Proctor & Gamble reps in Kelly's article, "I've got big news for you. I've got the money. I've got the money and I've got the girls."

You go, Moses.

I found the Star profile of Znaimer to be one of the better profiles I've read lately. The writer isn't afraid to show readers the darker, rougher sides of Znaimer. I really enjoyed reading about a Canadian personality with a hard edge to his character. You can read Kelly's profile of Moses Znaimer online here.

On a side note, lately I've been driven to listen to this fantastic live version of David Bowie's 'I'm Afraid of Americans' repeatedly. The song, posted here on YouTube, comes from a concert of Bowie at the BBC. This version is great particularly for the way Bowie changes his tone during the refrain, near song's end, of, "God is an American."

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