Aladdin Communications was the creative nexus of a business idea and a plan to be together. Buck and I sat on a bed with stacks of index cards between us, matching Florida and Alabama television stations up with cable television access, trying to find the minimum number of cable companies that had access to the maximum number of television stations.
We took out a loan and bought videocassette recorders, enough for each television station in Florida and Alabama. We pinpointed towns with the best cable reception, and then found folks willing to let us put our vcrs in their homes. We contracted with those folks to record all of the early and late evening local television news on the stations in their area, and provided shipping boxes for them to send the recorded tapes to us three times a week. We called those people “Field Monitors.”
While Buck worked at his corporate office as a regional public affairs director, one, then two, three, four and more employees and I worked at our home office to search all of those tapes for items of interest to our clients. When we found a clip of interest, it was edited onto an industrial size videotape and sent to the client, along with a computer log which provided salient information about the clip.
We were drowning in information, and so used some of it to create a subscription newsletter called The Genie Report (acronym for Gathering and Evaluating News and Information Electronically — pretty cool, actually). The work involved was staggering. Buck would work long hours at his day job, while I looked at tapes and made sales calls, and then we would eat our dinner at a work table reviewing more tapes and assembling information for and writing The Genie Report.
I pulled one of the dusty old file copies out yesterday and thought about all that hard work we went to for something that can be Googled now with a few flicks of a wrist that knows what it’s looking for.
We sold Aladdin to some nice fellows from New York City in 1990.