Saturday, November 24, 2007
This could be a disaster tonight, although I really hope not. 77,000 screaming, out of their mind football fans will descend upon Arrowhead stadium rooting for either Kansas or Missouri. These two schools really don't like each other. There will be alcohol served and the students have all been integrated with each other instead of having their own sections. Football, college students, rivalry, alcohol....this could get ugly. I am hoping cooler heads previal. this will be the biggest game in the history of the two schools; KU is 11-0 but really hasn't played the level of competition Mizzou has. Mizzou has the propensity to choke in the big ones. I will be front and center in front of the bigscreen (which, by today's standards isn't really that big) and I will be hoping that all the excitement will be on the field, not in the stands.
My prediction...Mizzou 42 KU 28. So, I have just jinxed them by rooting for them. Place your bets on KU.
College sports, ya gotta love it.
Friday, November 23, 2007
November 20, 2007
In a way radio was an iPod long before Apple invented iPods. After all, radios were portable analog music devices that allowed baby boomers to carry their music around with them 24 hours a day. The iPod of today gives the listener total choice -- the music they want, when they want it and in whatever (or no) special order. Back then, the predecessor to the Apple iPod was a transistor radio and an entire generation grew up with their radios to their ears -- just as today, ear plugs and all. The forerunner to the "iPod" lacked the level of choice that today's Apple device has, but it had something even more valuable to young baby boomers -- air talent. DJs were personalities and, arguably, even after Bill Drake cut the clutter from the top 40 format they were still personalities -- just the kind that didn't run at the mouth so much. My friend Jack Taddeo, the consultant, describes format radio as a merging of science with art. Transistor radios may not have allowed the listener to program the device but it entertained in a way that Apple's iPod can't. Of course, today's iPod doesn't have to entertain other than play music. That's because the radio industry has been asleep at the mike for a long, long time. Hey, I've been in this business for a while and I take my share of the blame, too. Long before consolidation in 1996 radio stations began what I think led to its demise. Before I get to it, keep in mind that radio has always been adaptable. Before television was available to the general population in the fifties radio was television without pictures. When the new medium took off and consumers could afford sets, radio found that it could no longer thrive in the same way with just the audio.So, radio reinvented itself. It became a jukebox. Then a talk and information source. Later a sports station. Radio saw its finest day when its owners and talent knew their main mission.But I believe in the late 1980s radio programming began to go stale. The digital, Internet and mobile revolution was only a gleam in the eyes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Al Gore (didn't he invent the Internet?). Radio stations simply stopped developing new formats. I've said it before but it deserves repeating that if Westinghouse didn't stubbornly stick with 24 hour all news the money format wouldn't be available as a radio staple today.Can you imagine a consolidator today making that commitment and losing money for as long as Westinghouse did in the 60's? The kinds of formats that radio developed were niches of niches. For example, the offshoot of top 40 was Superstars classic rock which gave birth to classic hits and classic just about anything else. It was as if radio ran out of ideas and just kept fine tuning the handful of formats that worked -- with the help (I think) of researchers and consultants looking to deliver big ratings on small budgets with less risk. I have never been a fan of consolidation which ultimately sealed radio's fate but radio's problems today started before greedy owners, Wall Street money people and Steve Jobs. Now, radio is in its twilight -- as are its most ardent fans, the baby boomers. The iPod was inevitable because once technology paved the way, radio had already become an iPod -- a portable jukebox with a lot of baggage. Music with little personality. Too many commercials, promos and clutter. Before I switched formats at one of the Philly stations I worked for right out of college, it was automated -- Shafer automation. We were trying to kill radio off that early but our memories have become clouded. Yes, the radio industry was not satisfied dodging the bullet of a new medium -- television -- it wanted to be an iPod long before it was possible. Radio news got stashed on the all-night show. Then less news and finally no news. The all-night show went. First on weekends. Then to network syndication. The cost cutters were at work decades ago. Local radio became less local -- more national syndication and eventually voice tracking. The last hurrah was the morning "Zoo" personality programs and Howard Stern. Radio's legacy may be that Howard Stern was its last great personality who ironically defected to its arch enemy satellite radio. I get into all this because 2008 is going to be another year of change and great disappointment for radio. Radio will not recover its listeners or advertisers. In fact, it is going to lose more of both. How do I know? Clear Channel which goes private in a few months is already taking more and more stations away from live personalities and implementing voice tracking. The formula Clear Channel station is being developed for these geniuses at Lee and Bain.Clear Channel has done a lot of things to help bury the radio industry and they are not through. Major dayparts in small cities like New York are going with voice tracked personalities. And you can't even use the word personalities and voice tracking in the same sentence because voice tracking is boring radio. Just what you need when the next generation is leaving you. Brilliant! Many remind me that radio survived television so it will survive the digital revolution, too. I imagine anything is possible, but don't bet on it. For radio to find a place on the entertainment spectrum it needs to not be a poor imitation of an iPod. An iPod is better. Your own library. You control it or don't control it. And it's no worse than voice tracking. As I said, it's better. Radio must challenge itself to be something very non-iPod. One of the things I do for radio companies is to help their people brainstorm new formats. You know what happens? They can't seem to come up with any? Surprised? I'm not. But Gen Y students -- the next generation --- have no problem. It's just that you won't like what they come up with.Because it isn't radio. Radio stations want to be in charge of programming but the next generation also wants to make user-generated content (i.e., YouTube, mashups, etc). These two things are in conflict. Radio still works with boomers and Gen X, but there's no growth without the digital generation. To put it in perspective there are approximately as many Gen Yers as there are baby boomers. That's how important the next generation is.Which leads me to my point.For radio to have even a small chance -- it can no longer be radio.
Absolutely right on. I have stated it before, we in radio have thrown in the towel, called it a day and basically has handed the next generation on a silver platter to the Ipod. We did it and have no one to blame but ourselves.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
This is the ultimate masterpiece from a band who was never better than at this time. Can you name any better album? Every song is killer and of course, this contains "Baba OReilly" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" along with "Goin Moblie", "Bargain" and more. This LP set the bar so high for anyone else. To me, this is about as perfect as it can get. The production, writing, arranging and the timelessness of this makes it about as good as it gets. They could never duplicate this and very few releases have acheived the status or the heights as this one did. A+ across the board. At fifteen, this thing just about knocked me out. How loud did I play this? What?
This release got me through high school. It came out when I was a sohomore and the teenage angst involved with this allowed me to channel my negative energies into a beautiful 12" virgin piece of black vinyl, two of them, actually. Sonically not on par with "Who's Next" but about as important to me as "WN" was. "Love Reign O'er Me" remains as one of my favorite from these guys. Can you see "The Real Me?" is something I asked many years ago. Late nights, under the headphone with Dr, Jimmy, the punk and the godfather, trying catch the 5:15, wondering if I would have classified as a mod or a rocker. As far as importance in my life, this ranks a very close second to "WH". A very fine ending to the trilogy that began with..
This was the make it or break it release from The Who. At this point, the record company wasn't happy with the sales and challenged The Who for something that would define them as a band. They got it. Peter Townshend's tsory of a deaf, dumb and blind kid was one of the very first double albums I ever purchased. After hearing "See Me Feel Me/We're Not Gonna Take It" on late night radio somewhere, I thought this was an interesting concept from the band that gave us "Magic Bus" "My Generation" and others, I knew they had grown up. This became a staple on my turntable over the very hot summer of 1970 I went through two copies and now two different CD forms.
1. "Who's Next"
...and then, they killed him.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The ex-wife of Barbra Streisand's husband James Brolin is recovering in hospital after a bizarre traffic accident. Actress Jan Smithers, a star of beloved TV sitcom WKRP In Cincinnati, was driving naked when she stopped for help after her car broke down on a remote California highway in the middle of the night. She was hit by a truck after the driver caught sight of the 58-year-old waving him down too late. She has been recovering from her injuries ever since the September accident, but family members fear her health issues might be more than a few broken bones. A family friend tells the National Enquirer she fears Smithers suffered a mental breakdown following the death of her father. The pal says, "Everyone thinks Jan felt abandoned and snapped - a complete meltdown."
Ironically, police called to the scene of the accident found nothing wrong with her car and are puzzled as to why the actress stopped for help. Smithers can't remember anything about the accident or why she was driving naked in the middle of the night.
She and Brolin wed in 1985 and had one daughter, Molly, together. They divorced in 1995, three years before the actor wed Streisand.
I always thought this was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. I pray for her and her family. Apparently, losing her daughter to college and the death of her father was pretty hard on her. I can relate. Here's hoping she's OK.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
How the heck did it become a love song?
The song is dedicated to Owen Coffin.
Goodbye, little Robin-Marie
Don't try following me
Don't cry, little Robin-Marie'
Cause you know I'm coming home soon
My ships' leaving on a three-year tour
The next tide will take us from shore
Windlaced, gather in sail and spray
On a search for the mighty sperm whale
Fly your willow branches
Wrap your body round my soul
Lay down your reeds and drums on my soft sheets
There are years behind us reaching
To the place where hearts are beating
And I know you're the last true love
I'll ever meet
Starbuck's sharpening his harpoon
The black man's playing his tune
An old salt's sleeping his watch away
He'll be drunk again before noon
Three years sailing on bended knee
We found no whales in the sea
Don't cry, little Robin-Marie
'Cause we'll be in sight of land soon
1) Beat KU
2)beat the south champ
3) play for the championship
That's it. Three games and the national championship will reside 90 miles from St. Louis. Wow!
I saw this kid play in high school. Jeremy Maclin went to school with my daughter. As a sophomore, he put a move on a kid that made me stand up and notice. He ran as fast as he could for twenty yards, stopped and took off again. The other kid had no chance. I saw him do that again and again and now, this kid from Kirkwood is ready to play on a national stage as a frigging freshman. This is what sports is all about. MU vs. KU at Arrowhead in front of 77,000 people. This will be the biggest game in either schools more than one hundred year history. I keep waiting for Mizzou to screw up, but so far, they look real. I have not seen KU play but being undefeated, they deserve it. Number two vs. number three in the nation. And we are but just witnesses to history.
Did that sound dramatic enough?
It is a good time to be a sports fan in St. Louis
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