Posts Tagged ‘Radio’

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I hope this isn’t one of those “things happen in threes”

January 14, 2013

Yeah, I’m a middle-aged white guy. That used to mean, in the Chicago area, at least, that I would automatically have to listen to WGN radio. I never did, though. I work in a music field, at least part of the time. So if I have a radio station on it will be a talk station, not a music station.

In the 1980s and early 90s I listened to WLUP-AM when it was in its heyday – Jon Brandmeier, Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, and especially Kevin Matthews. (I’m sure some are spelled incorrectly. Not looking them up right now, sorry.)

Anyway, WLUP turned into ESPN Radio suddenly one day, and I moved to WLS-AM because that was the station where Rush Limbaugh was broadcast. I’ve pretty much stuck with them. They have a conservative slant, and I appreciate it. I don’t listen to Roe and Roeper much in the afternoons, but I used to listen to Don Wade and Roma a lot in the morning, and the the sort of rotating local hosts that inhabited the 9-11 AM slot. Nobody stayed on there more than two or three years, I think.

Anyway, last fall Don Wade had a stroke and he and wife Roma were off the air while he started his recovery. They decided not to return to the air a few weeks ago. Don is improving but the early morning hours had to be tough, and they did it for decades. Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft moved from the 9-11 slot to the early morning drive, and seem to have been working out pretty well. That time slot was then filled by Jake Hartford, who had done weekend  fill-in for some time for WLS, with John Kass, a well-known Chicago Tribune columnist.

Jake Hartford (real name Jim Edwards) passed away yesterday of a heart attack at the age of 63. He had a long and varied – and very successful – career in radio and TV, much of which I never knew because he was a behind-the-scenes guy much of the time. I am saddened by his passing and I really hope this is not one of those “things happen in threes” situations. Neither Don Wade nor Jake Hartford were in poor health prior to their medical incidents, and for me, in my late 50s, it’s another warning of my own mortality.

Anyway, my condolences to Jake’s family. I’ve listened to these folks for years and years and while they didn’t know me, after listening almost every day I feel like I know them a little. It’s kind of unnerving.

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Where’s my flyin’ car, again?

April 3, 2012

What we should be flyin’ in now, circa 1955.

The Apple iPhone 5, circa 1920.

The flying car of 2012, from a century ago. I like the driver. And the hats!

Check out Paleofuture for more cool stuff!

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“Progressive” radio talk show host mocks tornado victims

March 9, 2012

So there is a “progressive” talk show host named Mike Malloy who has a long history of saying incredibly insensitive things. On March 2 he went on a rant about the people who were victims of the recent rash of tornadoes. Among his comments:

“Their God … keeps smashing them into little grease spots on the pavement in  Alabama, and Mississippi, and Arkansas, and Georgia, and Oklahoma. You know, the Bible belt, where they ain’t gonna let no goddamned science get in the way, it says in the Bible, blah blah blah blah blah. So, according to their way of thinking, God with his omnipotent thumb reaches down here and so far tonight has smashed about 20 people into a grease spot on highway 12, or whatever the hell highway they live next to.”

He has since apologized on his web site. Okay, so he apologized. He has a history of bizarre and hateful on-air statements.

Should we all send letters to his sponsors telling them to drop him because of his speech? That’s what’s been going on with Rush Limbaugh.

I’ve already said I believe Rush got carried away and went too far. He was trying to make a point but it got out of hand. Of course the “mainstream” media has gleefully reported that many sponsors have dropped his show. According to Rush, some have, but in most cases they were local sponsors buying time on the commercial segments reserved for local advertising during his show – not the national sponsors.

Rush can be over the top. He also can be insightful. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes not – but he has always made me think. The stuff this Malloy guy said would just make me very angry. Apparently he used to be on WLS-AM, which is, ironically, where Rush is broadcast in the Chicago market. I dimly recall the name but I don’t recall hearing him.

Rush was trying to make a point about how the Administration is usurping our freedoms in yet another way. He didn’t succeed because of the direction he took the discussion and the resulting focus on the wrong things. What Malloy said can’t be justified in any way I can see.

But he’s OK, of course. I haven’t heard that the President called the tornado victims to make sure they didn’t feel bad because of Malloy’s comments. But he was very concerned about Ms. Fluke.

As is often the case, Jerry Pournelle presents a logical discussion about the issues of contraception, the Catholic Church, and freedom.

Heinlein was right, but the “Crazy Years” have been going on too long…

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2011

I’m a little late because I was at our daughter’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, prepared with skill and artistry by my daughter and son-in-law. They are truly getting to be outstanding cooks!

Anyway, I tend to like to leave this link to Rush Limbaugh’s Real Story of the First Thanksgiving. It may open your eyes a bit.

I hope you had a great day! I am thankful for so much I couldn’t list it all here! The Lord knows, and I thank Him for all of his gifts!

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Complaining about TV and radio commercials

October 27, 2011

If you hate rants, you probably will want to skip this one. This is definitely one of those where I just need to get something off of my chest. It has to do with things that irritate me about about TV and radio commercials.

First, in case you haven’t noticed, TV commercials usually are broadcast at a higher relative volume than the program in which they are located. You’re not imagining that. In fact, President Obama just signed the CALM Act into law that is supposed to help reduce the volume of commercials. Did we need a Federal law for this? Recently it seems that whenever Obama can’t get something passed he tries to use a Federal agency to get the same result using a rules change. Those don’t require Congressional approval. The EPA is particularly good at this kind of end run. I figure the CALM Act was important because Congresscritters  want to go back home and tell their constituents they were looking out for them and got those annoying commercials turned down.

The broadcasters have a point, though: today, depending on what kind of show, the dynamic range used in a soundtrack could be quite wide, especially on the hi-def side.  Our local Fox HD channel tends to broadcast at a lower overall volume level than the other local channels. We tend to turn the volume up on shows like “Fringe.” Then when the commercials come on we’re blown out the windows behind the couch. It would be nice if the broadcasters, or at least the local stations, could actually monitor this and limit the volume on the commercials.

Now that we have that one solved, on to the fun:

First, I’ve heard this several times lately, both on radio and TV, in commercials for several different sponsors: confusing of the usage of the worlds less and fewer. I don’t recall hearing that in years past. Do we really have that much trouble with grammar today. Is it another problem like possessives and plural possessives? This is high school English. Didn’t anyone catch these things and fix them? For example, I just saw a Mercedes-Benz TV commercial referring to a new two-door version of a four-door sedan model as having “less doors.” Huh? Who is the ad agency for Mercedes and why are they hiring middle school students who get Cs in English as copywriters? (Even WordPress flags less doors.)

I always thought it was funny that certain topics and language on TV was supposed to be kept to the 10 o’clock hour – except that only applied to the Eastern time zone. Since the same national broadcast schedule is used for the Central time zone, our kids had to be ushered away from the TV at 9 to be kept from the mature stuff. Does that mean the kids in the Central time zone (and others) don’t matter as much as the kids on the East Coast?

That wasn’t my point, though. It’s that this rule apparently doesn’t apply to commercials. Cialis and Viagra commercials are on pretty much at any time of the evening, from what I can see. And since the distribution of commercials throughout the evening is apparently done by cretins, it seems to be  almost a given that the same commercial will appear during a program three or four times. (Cable channels like USA are even worse; sometimes they have only a couple of commercials to run for a whole hour plus the promos for their own shows.) I really don’t want to have to explain what erectile dysfunction is to my granddaughters!

Radio has the same issue. I listen to talk radio a lot, and they run commercials for men’s medical clinics and men’s natural testosterone supplements at any time of day. Then there’s the “1-800=KARS-FOR-KIDS” jingle, which has to be one of the worst on the planet. I don’t expect WLS-AM to be a classical music or public radio station, but dang, again, how do I explain this stuff to my grandkids in the car? (OK, I’m not far enough gone to have them listen to Rush Limbaugh quite yet. i think a child should be at least eight years old before he or she is exposed to the EIB network.)

And there was a radio commercial playing over the last couple of weeks having to do with upgrading the electrical grid in Illinois. The beginning of the 60-second spot talked about how Thomas Edison wouldn’t recognize much of today’s technology, but he would recognize our outdated, century-old electrical grid.

Well, he probably wouldn’t. I’m not even going to talk about the fact that there have been substantial changes to the grid since then, which should be obvious to anyone. Besides, our electrical grid in the United States uses three-phase 60 cycle alternating current, and the technology used to build that grid originally was invented by three Hungarian engineers and then refined and simplified by Nikola Tesla and Charles Steinmetz, among others. Edison was adamant about using direct current for power transmission and stubbornly pushed it even when it was clear that it was an inferior system and that practically all towns and cities were adopting alternating current.

I recently finished reading a biography of Edison. The Wizard of Menlo Park, by Charles E. Stross. The most recent biography of Tesla I’ve read is Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla, by John J. O’Neill. One thing that is clear in the Edison bio is that Edison was his own worst enemy far too often, usually as a result of his own stubbornness. The persona of the wizard inventor went to his head and he made so many ridiculous claims about his next great invention that his credibility gradually was eroded by his own behavior.

Not Tesla, but David Bowie playing Tesla in the film "The Prestige"

I know that wasn’t what the commercial was driving for. As Walter Peck says in Ghostbusters, “I’m not grotesquely stupid.” (Even though I do hate that man…) I just think it’s sad that we have to perpetuate the really inaccurate meme that Edison was the genius of the age. (My own tendency to promote Tesla notwithstanding.) Couldn’t they have found another way to write the dang commercial? But of course, advertising is essentially the manipulation of memes to promote certain attitudes and behaviors.

A comment not related to my rant on commercials: Purely by accident I saw about 5 minutes of a new sitcom, “Whitney,” last night. It wasn’t just that it was poorly acted and almost completely unfunny; although that was true. The really annoying thing was that it was “filmed before a live audience” but the laughter sounded exactly like 1950s and 60s canned laughter. It felt really strange and kind of creepy. I don’t watch sitcoms much and I wasn’t prepared for that. (On the other hand, “Psych,” which is on USA Network,  is a lot funnier but the producers know better than to put a laugh track on it. Of course, it has just enough seriousness to keep it from being a straight comedy.)

Sorry for venting. I’m sure there will be a part two to this.

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Fred Thompson’s Radio Show!

March 20, 2009

FRED THOMPSON LOBBYINGSenator Fred Thompson, also known as a TV and movie actor and, for a brief time, candidate for US President, now has a radio show on the Westwood One radio network. His wife Jeri joins him on the show, which airs from 12 noon to 2 pm daily. The availability of radio stations during that time slot makes it a tough road for Fred; it’s right on top of the time when Rush Limbaugh airs his first two hours every day. Since I can’t listen to either one live at school, I tend to listen to Fred’s show as a podcast later in the day.

Fred is great, with a commonsense approach and a lack of hyperbole. Jeri provides the edge that Fred lacks on the air – she’s tough and not afraid to speak her mind. Sometimes she’s a bit hard to take but no more so than Rush, and Rush gets to do it for three hours a day.

Fred also has a couple of guests per day. So far they such folks as currently serving Republican senators and representatives and folks like Gary Sinise and Victor Davis Hanson. They spend 10-15 minutes with Fred and are generally pretty interesting.

The show has a higher signal-to-noise ratio than Rush, but is also less of an education about conservative principles. Right now I’m enjoying it quite a bit. You can find the podcasts on iTunes or access them from Fred’s site. I hope he gets enough of a run to build an audience.