Multimedia Reporter - February, 1995
by Sharon Rockey
What do "Like Water for Chocolate," The Internet Gazette and jazz music have in common? The answer: Ken McCarthy. Ken is a modern day Renaissance Man with some impressive accomplishments in media, business, and high tech. The list includes founding Marketing Solutions and E-Media, two companies that help business incorporate media into their marketing and getting them online. I met Ken at "Multimedia Publishing on the Internet," an event sponsored by Pac Bell, Netscape, and E-Media, featuring among others, Marc Andreessen. The conference was evidence of Ken's commitment to foster the growth of the Internet.
Looking at Ken's past experience, it's easy to see how it all brought him to this exact point in time. While an undergraduate at Princeton University, he was exposed to ARPANET by students sharing music computing resources online with Columbia University. An interest in music and a desire to support struggling artists led him to produce jazz concerts and recordings for lesser known musicians.
Helping those who are long on creativity and short of capital has been a common theme throughout his experience. In 1989, Ken helped rescue a failing film post-production company that was experimenting with innovative ways to do high quality audio post production work for far less than the going rate. A number of independent film makers relied on this company to put the finishing touches on their low budget masterpieces including the producers of "Like Water for Chocolate," the highest grossing foreign made film of all time. Another experimental feature that passed through the studio was "Begotten," a cult classic that was voted one of the ten best films of the year by the critic for Time Magazine.
In 1989, Ken started Marketing Solutions, a vehicle for teaching businesses how to use various forms of media to boost sales, focusing on direct mail, video brochures, and interactive telephone systems.
Ken became a marketing advisor to the pioneering BBS community and a featured speaker at ONE BBSCON, the world's largest gathering of online professionals.
After founding E-Media in 1993, he feels he has finally found a niche that incorporates all his best skills and interests. E-Media serves as a bridge between the visionaries who are developing new media tools, Internet experts, and business people looking for new profit opportunities.
There are two ends to the Internet spectrum, those just learning how to get online and on the other end, the well capitalized high end Web site developers. E-Media wants to concentrate on small to medium sized companies, educating them and getting all their employees online and offering their companies products and services through the Internet.
Ken explained some of E-Media's approach: "When we teach marketers how to use online media, it's essential that they first understand the principals of direct marketing, how to attract an audience and deliver something that will be compelling and entertaining enough to maintain a following. Everybody is creating web sites. That's the easy part. Knowing how to build an audience takes more training and that's where we come in."
Ken has been a writer, publisher, video producer, sound technician, and radio program director. I wondered what impact he thought the Internet would have on these traditional forms of media. He replied, ̉The Internet will be the glue that pulls it all together, amplifying the impact of existing media, not eliminating. We already see signs of this when radio and television stations announce their Internet addresses inviting greater participation - and this is only the beginning.
It's clear from Ken's comments and his broad based activities that he views the Internet and online technologies as a burgeoning force with unlimited potential to empower. "With this technology at our disposal, creativity and brain power can now accomplish what only huge sums of capital could do in the past. No amount of hype can really do justice to the Internet phenomenon."