Friday, February 06, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My Top Ten Favorite Country Songs...

10. I Hate Every Bone In Her Body But Mine
9. I Ain't Never Gone To Bed With an Ugly Woman But I've Woke Up With a
8. If The Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know It's Me
7. I've Missed You, But My Aim's Improvin'
6. Wouldn't Take Her To A Dogfight 'Cause I'm Scared She'd Win
5. I'm So Miserable Without You It's Like You're Still Here
4. My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend And I Miss Him
3. She Took My Ring and Gave Me the Finger
2. She Gets Better Lookin' with Every Beer

And the Number One Country song is...

1. It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chewed My Ass All Day

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wednesday Night Stuff

They are remaking "Bonnie and Clyde", not surprising since Hollywood is bereft of ideas. They are casting Hillary Duff in the Faye Dunaway role. Faye was quoted as saying "Couldn't they get a real actress?" Hillary "fought" back with..."none of my fans know who she is". That's because none of you fans would know an actress if she bit them in the butt. I think I am going to be sick. Hillary Duff? Ick.

Raleyisms... a watched phone never rings. January and February are just months to get us to March.

Hey Christain Bale, you been hanging with Chris Berman again?

This is cute but definately NSFW

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Truer Words Have Never Been Said

I don't know who Bill McMahon is, but he is spot on with this observation on his blog...

The Problem with Ryan Seacrest
Bill McMahon

"On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is a microcosm of what's wrong with radio right now. The problem has nothing to do with the show being created in Hollywood and syndicated to local radio stations across the country. The trouble is the show's content. It's ordinary, average, and forgettable. Mindless, soulless, lowest common denominator stuff the media, including most cookie cutter morning radio shows, are saturated with -- vacuous interviews with celebrities hyping their latest projects, a steady stream of superficial celebrity news and Hollywood gossip clipped from the pages of People, Us, and The National Enquirer and read breathlessly with much manufactured enthusiasm and amazement by Ryan and his cohorts. This is sad stuff.

Here's what's really scary. In the past few months, "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" has spread to approximately 140 markets, including most of the 50 largest cities in America. How did this happen? The show has no record of ratings success. The content is no different and no better than the average local radio morning show. Okay, Ryan gets more and better celebrity guests, but who cares. There's absolutely nothing special about his interviews -- no intimacy and no revelations. Listeners can get the same information by reading the press release for the new movie, CD, book, or other project the celebrity guest is hyping. Make no mistake about it; these are not Howard Stern-like interviews. There are no surprises in Ryan's fawning and shallow conversations. The show is not live, but that probably doesn't matter given its content. It's just a bunch of unoriginal recycled bits from Ryan's morning show in Los Angeles, which by the way, is not even the highest rated show on KIIS FM. So, what's going on here? Why is this show spreading? It's definitely not a virus.

"On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" exists for two primary reasons neither of which has anything to do with what comes out of a radio’s speakers or making radio listeners’ lives better. First, Ryan Seacrest is famous -- not for extraordinary talent, not for producing amazing radio content, not for producing stellar Arbitron numbers. Ryan Seacrest is famous for being the host of American Idol. Ryan Seacrest is famous for his boyish good looks. Ryan Seacrest is famous for hanging out with Simon Cowell. Second, "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is cheap programming -- a money-saving alternative to paying local personalities in 140 markets. So radio station operators blinded by fame and celebrity and driven by the need to reduce expenses are programming this drivel. Yikes!

Radio is in deep doo doo right now. Radio needs to create relevant and original content to survive. Radio needs rebels, mavericks, characters, passionate artists and innovators. Radio needs people to challenge the status quo not perpetuate it. "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" is the status quo -- a very ordinary and average version of it. Exactly what radio doesn't need right now.

Radio is headed for extinction if things don't change quickly. How did it come to this? Lee Abrams provided some pretty good answers in a recent interview conducted by Al Peterson at NTS MediaOnline. Here's what Lee had to say about the radio business and the source of great ideas. "Radio was one of the last great bastions of creative thinking. There were no rulebooks, you could come up with a new format idea in your basement, take it out and try it somewhere, and if it worked you were in business. Unfortunately the radio business, which was once a place with very few rules, evolved into a business with a whole lot of rules.... all great ideas start emotionally then you use science to determine whether or not you're full of it. In most big media today everything starts scientifically and the whole emotional component gets left out entirely."

Lee's description of how radio's best programming ideas came to be and where great ideas begin sounds remarkably like what's happening on the Internet today. All kinds of goofy original ideas are being created. There is lots of experimentation going on. People are creating stuff in basements and garages all over the world and putting it out there in cyberspace to see if it flies.

This is exactly how many of radio's most successful formats and shows came to be. Rush Limbaugh created the show he wanted to listen to -- a show reflective of his ideals, his values and beliefs -- a show that broke the rules and challenged the status quo. He discovered there were lots of listeners just like him who were looking for a place to hang out and connect with like-minded people who shared their conservative values. Howard Stern created the show he wanted to listen to. Lee Abrams created a format with the music he wanted to hear. Both discovered lots of listeners just like them who liked what they liked.

Now radio creates stuff for some mythical target audience defined by simplistic and superficial research. No one breaks the rules or challenges the status quo. There's no experimentation. No risk taking. No new ideas. No innovation.

There is lots of cloning and copying. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern wannabes trying to duplicate everything these originals do. Nearly every morning show has a boy and a girl. Most are obsessed with presenting "pop culture" defined by superficial and sensational celebrity news and Hollywood gossip delivered by the girl. They talk about the same current events and news stories. Try finding a radio morning show this time of year that isn't talking about American Idol. Yes it's the top-rated show on television, but it's watched in less than 20% of homes with TVs. Radio morning shows across the dial and around the country use the same show prep services for their inspiration. Formats, music, and imaging -- all the stuff of radio programming -- have become fully homogenized at a time when the real world -- fueled by abundant entertainment and information choices made available by technology and the Internet -- has become anything but homogenized.

The problem with "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest" and far too much of the programming heard on the radio these days is that it's not distinctive, it's not relevant, and it's not essential to listeners because it doesn't make their lives better. That's why mobile phones, iPods, and computers are far more important in people's lives than radios.

His blog

Game...set...match, Bill. Thank you for saying it better than I can

Monday, February 02, 2009

"Official" Superbowl

It was a great superbowl but I was certainly puzzled by a number (or lack) of calls. The "roughing the passer" call against Arizona when clearly, later in the game Warner was hit worse. The "lack" of a call on James Harrison when he punched Larry Fitzgerald. Like John Madden said.."he should have been ejected". The excessive celebration on Santonio Holmes when he "sprinkled the powder" on his hands and threw them in the air after the final touchdown. Finally, the lack of a review on the final play of the game when Warner was sacked. It looked like to me his hand was moving forward. It just seemed like the Cardinals were punished for the same things the officials ignored with the Steelers. GREAT game, excellent commercials and it was truly "Boss time" for 12 glorious minutes at halftime.

This was my favorite....


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Kiss of Death for Kurt

I find it hard to "root" for anyone in college or professional sports anymore because they have become nothing but promotional and marketing machines. Professional sports more so than college where every tackle is then followed by preening and prancing around, trying to make your opponent feel bad. The lack of sportsmanship is only equalled by the "officials" lack of having any control of any game. Woof, woof, trash talking is the rule instead of the exception. One guy stands out from them all...Kurt Warner. Kurt is by all accounts, a great father, a great Christian and a guy who handles himself with great humility. I read in the paper this morning everytime his family goes out to a restaurant, somebody from the family picks someone else in the restaurant and the Warner family buys their meal anonymously. Yesterday, I guess it was a table of 20 Steeler fans that got their meal gratis. Brenda Warner used to live on food stamps. She thought it was weird getting their meals comped when recognized by an owner. "We are rich, why don't owners take care of those people who need it most?" So, whether it's an old couple or someone who looks like they are down on their luck, the Warner's will see to it they get a good meal, free and anonymously. So, in less than 90 minutes, I'll be rooting for Kurt to win another Super Bowl. If he doesn't, he'll probably blame himself. If he does, he'll give the credit to the team. Since I am rooting for Kurt, place your bets on the Steelers. I seem to be good like that.
See, I told ya. Nice job, Kurt, you played your guts out.

Road Trip

With me having a bit of free time on my hands this week, my friend Jay Philpott suggested a road trip to clear the air between our ears. Our excuse was to go see a sick friend in Omaha, so, why not? The sick friend is a cat named Steve Brill, who has been in the business about as long as I have. One of my first contacts with Steve was when he and Smash did the afternoon show at KSD in 1998 and took me on one day. Word crept out of the Emmis building that I had packed my bags and was headed across the street to go to work at The Rock! Steve pounced on it and yapped at me all afternoon. It was glorious to hear my name all day on a competing station. All is fair in radio, and we made peace many years ago. I thought it was extremely entertaining and fun radio. You know, the way it used to be. Steve just had his chest opened up and his ticker repaired. Jay picked me up at 7:30 on Thursday and bypassing Kansas City, we made it to Omaha about 2:30. I saw Michelle Matthews who was the night gal at the Rock, she is now the Operations Manager for Clear Channel Omaha. She is doing much better than I am and I am proud of her. I also met Lester St. James who is her PD and someone I have admired for years. Out to dinner on Thursday night at a restaurant in Omaha that featured St. Louis style pizza (what the hell is that?) and Toasted Ravioli. I guess we weren't as far away as we thought. We left Omaha on Friday morning and stopped at a Runza restaurant in Nebraska City because Jay had never had one before. Jay, being a big fan of food like me, was thoughly impressed. Friday afternoon was spent at Hooter's, meeting my old friend Skid Roadie and stopping at Ponak's to have dinner with two of my best friends in the world; my buddy Corky and Van McClain of Shooting Star. While there, an old girlfriend bought me a round and it was great to see her, she looked fantastic. Heading out of town, we went by Minsky's to get a couple of half baked pizzas to bring home. While ordering, the woman behind the counter asked my last name and when I gave it, the gentleman next to me remebered who I was and we chatted for a bit. Funny, isn't it, how after all these years, people still remember? It was very nice. Thanks, Jay, for a great two days. You are a very good friend and it was just what I needed.


Billy Powell. Wow, was there ever a band that had a bigger black cloud follow it around more than Lynyrd Skynyrd? Of the original guys and replacements, a number of them have died. That includes Hughie Thomasson, original member of The Outlaws (who, in their own right has had their share of deaths). Gary Rossington is the only orignal member left (Atimus Pyle didn't join until later on and he's in prison). Billy had heart trouble and had an appointment with his doctor the day he died. He was found dead with the telephone in his hand, calling 911. Billy was last heard on Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" that was all over the radio earlier this year. Many say it was the three guitar solo on "Free Bird" that established it's place in rock and roll. To me, it was the opening sad keyboard provided by Billy that set the tone for that song. What would "Sweet Home Alabama" be without Billy? He gave his life over to Christ later in his career so, to the believers, he's in a much better place. Dead at 56. Done way too soon.

Here's a one minute ten second clip that shows how he made the song his own.

John Updike, writer, novelist, poet and cartoonist. His "Rabbit, Run" started me along a path that followed me throughout my life. His writings were rich and filled with a great usage of words to paint a picture. I always wanted to write like him and hoped someday I would. This house is full of John Updike's works. He seemed to be a friend who I could count on. He also peened the "Witches of Eastwick". A two pack a day smoker, he died of lung cancer at the age of 78. I am going to go back and re-introduce myself to Rabbit.

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