Saturday, March 22, 2008
If we promise to go to church this Easter do you promise to stop making it *^*^^$%+&** snow?
Want me to say it? Fine: "Uncle."
I've got a bad rotator cuff. Really.
Even my boys groaned when they saw the snow today and they love snow. Whatever your point is, we get it. Please stop.
Friday, March 21, 2008
AN ARTICLE FROM THE GREEN ISSUE OF SHORE MAGAZINE
If you pick up the current issue of SHORE Magazine, you'll find the following article, an interview with famous Broadway Producer, Steve Traxler. And yes, it's written by yours truly...
"20 Questions: Steve Traxler"
If you pick up the current issue of SHORE Magazine, you'll find the following article, an interview with famous Broadway Producer, Steve Traxler. And yes, it's written by yours truly...
"20 Questions: Steve Traxler"
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Collected and Edited by Rick Kaempfer
Highlights and links to the big stories in the news this week about the media. This column appears twice a week at MEDIA NOTEBOOK
UPDATE: This video is the winner of the Chicago Sun-Times "Cubs song" contest. The contest was done to rip Sam Zell. The joke ended up being on the Sun-Times, however, when Tribune staffers won the contest...
Girls Gone Wild has video of Spitzer's hooker
(Huffington Post) Stop that $1 million check: It turns out the call girl linked to Eliot Spitzer had already shed her clothes for "Girls Gone Wild" as an 18-year-old while partying in Miami, the video company's founder said Tuesday. Joe Francis had reached out to Ashley Alexandra Dupre, now 22, with an offer of $1 million to appear in a non-nude spread for his company's new magazine, plus a chance to join the "Girls Gone Wild" tour bus, his company announced Tuesday. But Francis said someone had a revelation at the Tuesday morning staff meeting: Did anyone think to check the archives? They did, he said, and there she was. "It'll save me a million bucks," Francis told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "It's kind of like finding a winning lottery ticket in the cushions of your couch." Francis said at that point, his offer was off the table.
Dan Rather's Lawsuit to Continue
(Huffington Post) Rachel Sklar writes: "There's been some more movement in the matter of Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS, after yesterday presiding judge Justice Ira Gammerman of the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan re-affirmed January's preliminary ruling against CBS on their motion to dismiss. Here's a statement issued last night by Gary Meyerhoff, an attorney at Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal representing Rather:
Today, Judge Gammerman re-affirmed that Mr. Rather's lawsuit will not be dismissed, that he expects to issue a written opinion on defendants' motion to dismiss within the next few weeks, and that, accordingly, discovery will proceed. The Judge also heard brief argument on certain document disputes. Mr. Rather's counsel challenged CBS' assertion that certain of its communications with investigator Eric Rigler were privileged; CBS defended its position, and Judge Gammerman requested that the documents be delivered to the Court for its review. Mr. Rather's counsel also requested that defendants identify the names of employees whose documents were searched in response to Mr. Rather's requests and, after brief argument, the defendants agreed to do so. Defendants' counsel demanded to know when Mr. Rather would begin producing documents they had requested, and Mr. Rather's counsel responded that production would begin next week.
Supreme Court to hear fleeting profanity case
(Broadcasting & Cable) With the current Supreme Court, there's very little doubt how they will rule. Get ready to do everything on a 5-second delay, broadcasters. John Eggerton writes: "The Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on fleeting broadcast profanity. The court Monday granted cert (agreed to hear) Fox’s and others’ appeal of a lower-court ruling that the Federal Communications Commission's fleeting-profanity policy was insufficiently justified, arbitrary and capricious. The court will likely hear the case in the fall, which means that the FCC’s profanity-enforcement regime remains in limbo until then. 'The issue now is how far the parties can persuade the court to go,' said John Crigler, a partner with Garvey Schubert Barer and a prominent First Amendment attorney. The key now, he added, is 'whether it is just going to look at the administrative issue of whether the commission gave a rational explanation for its regulation or whether the court will go further and reach constitutional underpinning of indecency regulation itself.'"
Bed Bug infestation at Fox News
(NY Times) Jacques Steinberg writes: "While grappling with MSNBC and CNN for viewers, Fox News has also been battling a smaller, more insidious enemy closer to home: bed bugs in its Midtown Manhattan newsroom. In an interview on Monday, Warren Vandeveer, senior vice president for operations and engineering at Fox News, said the cable channel had realized it had a problem a few weeks ago, when an employee 'caught a bug and showed it to us.' An exterminator determined that the incursion was limited to a 'very small area in the newsroom.' But the source of the bugs was not determined until the exterminator inspected the homes of about 20 employees. Mr. Vandeveer said the exterminator later described one employee’s home as having 'the worst infestation he had seen in 25 years in the business.'"
An interview with Comedian Lee Camp
(Cara's Basement) A comedian on the rise is currently in Cara's Basement. Lee Camp was recently a guest on Fox News, appearing as a "left wing comic" vs. a "right wing comic". At the end of the live segment he couldn't help but speak his mind, calling Fox News "a parade of propoganda" and a "festival of ignorance". Video of the segment quickly spread over the internet, getting over a half million hits in the first 24 hours. If you haven't seen it, click HERE. To hear Cara's interview, click on the link/headline.
Tina Fey rips the Daily Show
(Reader's Digest) Here's part of the Q&A from her Reader's Digest interview...
RD: What pleases you more, applause or laughter?
Fey: Laughter. You can prompt applause with a sign. My friend, SNL writer Seth Meyers, coined the term clapter, which is when you do a political joke and people go, "Woo-hoo." It means they sort of approve but didn't really like it that much. You hear a lot of that on [whispers] The Daily Show.
NY Governor David Patterson and the art of the leak
(NY Observer) Choire Sicha writes: "Here’s something odd. Why did the Patersons submit to carefully conducted sit-downs with Juan Gonzalez of the New York Daily News, in which they each broke the news of an affair—when the new governor would then, fourteen and a half hours after that story was published, go on to announce affairs with a whole herd of other women? There’s a public-relations strategy gone somehow off the rails there. For one thing, it pissed everyone off. In the long and dark intervening hours between the Daily News story at 10 p.m. Monday and Paterson’s press conference at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, some tried to say what they couldn’t quite say. 'Neither Paterson nor his wife identified the individuals with whom they cheated. This would, of course, become more of an issue if the woman with whom Paterson had an affair is or was on the state payroll,' Liz Benjamin wrote on the Daily News’ Daily Politics blog. Oh, look, it turned out one of the women was. 'It was not clear if he had subsequent relationships outside his marriage,' Danny Hakim posted at The New York Times. Oh, but he did."
Innovator Rethinking Tribune's Ways
(Chicago Tribune) Phil Rosenthal writes about the arrival of Lee Abrams: "There has been considerable speculation over where at Tribune Co. his impact will be first felt. Although Abrams gave both Steve Dahl and Howard Stern their first major-market radio jobs, Dahl and former partner Garry Meier aren't getting reunited on Tribune's WGN-AM any time soon. Meier has reached out to Abrams about potential work. But Dahl, heard mornings on WJMK-FM 104.3, is under contract to CBS Radio for another 40 months."
(Rick responds: Oh well, I guess my speculation last week wasn't correct.)
Has Fox News Mellowed Karl Rove?
(Washington Post) Howard Kurtz writes: "No one would accuse the newly minted pundit of being balanced, but to the surprise of some critics, he has been generally fair-minded in his commentary. The man long derided by the left as "Bush's brain" is trying to move beyond his attack-dog reputation. 'I'll never be able to fully shed it, because I am a partisan,' Rove says in an interview. 'But I'm doing the best I can to focus on my role in giving insight. . . . I'm not a journalist. I don't spend my days calling people up in the Clinton campaign or the Obama campaign. I've got more experience than the average reporter, I just don't have as much inside information as the average reporter.' Still, he adds, 'I know it's shocking, but I actually do have Democrat friends.'"
Storm blows through CNN headquarters
(Associated Press) The headline should be taken literally, not figuratively. David Bauder writes: "CNN switched to its scheduled taped programming early Saturday even though a major story -- downtown Atlanta's first recorded tornado -- had literally blown right through its news headquarters. The storm shattered windows in the CNN.com newsroom and the network's library late Friday. A computer was missing after it was apparently sucked through a window. No one at CNN was hurt, a spokeswoman said. The storm caused damage and injuries, but no fatalities in the Atlanta area."
The current state of journalism
(Associated Press) The Internet has profoundly changed journalism, but not necessarily in ways that were predicted even a few years ago, a study on the industry released Sunday found. It was believed at one point that the Net would democratize the media, offering many new voices, stories and perspectives. Yet the news agenda actually seems to be narrowing, with many Web sites primarily packaging news that is produced elsewhere, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's annual State of the News Media report. Two stories — the war in Iraq and the 2008 presidential election campaign — represented more than a quarter of the stories in newspapers, on television and online last year, the project found. Take away Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, and news from all of the other countries in the world combined filled up less than 6 percent of the American news hole, the project said.
Tracey Morgan responds to Tina Fey on SNL
Are News Habits Really Changing?
(Broadcasting & Cable) More on that journalism study from B&C's John Eggerton: "The trouble with journalism may not be a loss of audience, per se, but the challenge of getting advertisers to follow that audience to the Web. That’s one of the conclusions in the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s fifth annual State of the News Media report, an often-critical and often-criticized analysis of the news business. The report is being released Monday, but in an executive summary supplied to B&C, it concluded that Americans are still relying on the same sources for most of their news, but just getting to them in different ways. The "legacy media" -- CNN, MSNBC, CBS, The New York Times -- in both their original and Internet forms are attracting even larger audiences than they did before the explosion of information sites on the Web. But advertisers aren’t following yet."
Resolution Opposing Media Ownership Changes in House
(Radio Ink) Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) is the lead sponsor of a resolution of disapproval that aims to nullify the FCC's recent change to the media-ownership rules to lift the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban in the top 20 markets. The resolution is the House companion to a resolution introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) earlier this month. "Consolidation already has brought us to the point where two companies control 70 percent of market revenue in an average radio market," Inslee said. "We need to use every tool available to prevent further weakening of media-ownership rules." Co-sponsoring the resolution are Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
An interview with Matt DuBiel
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with the PD/OM/afternoon host of WERV, Matt DuBiel. We talked about his career, from his early days with the Loop to his current gig at the River. We also talked about the future of radio, and why there aren't many young people working in the medium. Coming this weekend: an interview with WBBM's Joe Collins.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
By Rick Kaempfer
I was driving my son Sean to pre-school this week, when he casually dropped this little nugget.
“Dad,” he asked, “What do you call it when one person loves someone, but the other person doesn’t love them back?”
I looked in the rear view mirror to see the expression on his face. He really looked concerned.
“There isn’t really a word for it,” I said. “Why? Do you love someone?”
“No,” he said. “But someone loves me.”
I was intrigued. I knew the conversation would have ended right then and there if I didn’t proceed with caution. If I joked with him at all, I wouldn’t get another morsel. I gingerly continued my line of questioning.
“Who loves you?” I asked.
“Jennifer,” he said.
“How do you know she loves you?”
He sighed, and looked out the window.
“She always follows me around,” he said.
“But you do that to your brothers,” I pointed out.
“She always wants to do stuff for me,” he said. His tone of voice was saying “Geez, Dad, you just don’t understand women, do you?”
“But you like to do stuff for your brothers,” I said. “Maybe she just loves you like a brother.”
“Trust me, Dad. This is different. She doesn’t love me. She loves me.”
I wish I could have taken a picture of that expression on his face. He was a (5-year-old) man with girl troubles, and he didn’t know what to do.
“You mean like a girlfriend loves you?”
We drove in silence for a few moments, and I struggled not to laugh or smile.
“Why does she love you so much?” I asked.
“Because I’m cute,” he said.
I couldn’t be the serious confidante for one second longer. The real me popped right out.
“Did you ever think about asking her to marry you?” I asked.
“DAAAAAD! I’m way too young.”
“What’s old enough to get married?”
“You have to be old. Like you and mom.”
I shook off that little shot to the gut, and queried on.
“But why don’t you love her back?” I asked.
He didn’t say anything for a few moments while he pondered that question. He sighed once more.
“I need my space,” he said.
When we arrived at preschool about two minutes later, Jennifer was the first person we saw. Her whole face lit up when she spotted Sean. She started waving frantically.
“Hi Sean!” she screamed.
He looked at me and rolled his eyes.
This originally appeared on my blog at NWI Parent, "Father Knows Nothing." If you haven't yet checked out "Father Knows Nothing", there are several new columns there that I haven't shared here at Suburban Man headquarters.
Click here to see them.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Every Monday stop by for jokes, links to stories you might have missed, amusing photos and video, and more. Contributions and suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Click on the "Email Me" link on the right to contribute.
Joke(s) of the Week:
Contributed By "C." Irish Jokes for St. Patrick's Day
Two Irishmen, Patrick Murphy and Shawn O'Brian grew up together and were lifelong friends. But alas, Patrick developed cancer, and was dying. While on his deathbed, Patrick called to his buddy, Shawn, "O'Brian, come 'ere. I 'ave a request for ye." Shawn walked to his friend's bedside and kneels.
"Shawny ole boy, we've been friends all our lives, and now I'm leaving 'ere. I 'ave one last request fir ye to do."
O'Brian burst into tears, "Anything Patrick, anything ye wish. It's done."
"Well, under me bed is a box containing a bottle of the finest whiskey in all of Ireland. Bottled the year I was born it was. After I die, and they plant me in the ground, I want you to pour that fine whiskey over me grave so it might soak into me bones and I'll be able to enjoy it for all eternity."
O'Brian was overcome by the beauty and in the true Irish spirit of his friend's request, he asked, "Aye, tis a fine thing you ask of me, and I will pour the whiskey. But, might I strain it through me kidneys first?"
* * * * *
Three guys, one Irish, one English, and one Scottish, are out walking along the beach together one day. They come across a lantern and a Genie pops out of it. "I will give you each one wish, that's three wishes in total", says the Genie.
The Scottish guy says, "I am a fisherman, my Dad's a fisherman, his Dad was a fisherman and my son will be one too. I want all the oceans full of fish for all eternity." So, with a blink of the Genie's eye FOOM! the oceans were teaming with fish.
The Englishman was amazed, so he said, "I want a wall around England, protecting her, so that no one will get in for all eternity." Again, with a blink of the Genie's eye POOF! there was a huge wall around England.
The Irishman asks, "I'm very curious. Please tell me more about this wall." The Genie explains, "well, it's about 150 feet high, 50 feet thick, protecting England so that nothing can get in or out."
The Irishman says, "Fill it up with water."
* * * * *
An aging man lived alone in Ireland. His only son was in Long Kesh Prison, and he didn't know anyone who would spade up his potato garden. The old man wrote to his son about it, and received this reply, "For HEAVENS SAKE, don't dig up that garden, that's where I buried the GUNS!!!!!"
At 4 A.M. the next morning, a dozen British soldiers showed up and dug up the entire garden, but didn't find any guns. Confused, the man wrote to his son telling him what happened and asking him what to do next.
His son's reply was: "Just plant your potatoes."
* * * * *
Two Irishmen, Patrick & Michael, were adrift in a lifeboat following a dramatic escape from a burning freighter. While rummaging through the boat's provisions, Patrick stumbled across an old lamp. Secretly hoping that a genie would appear, he rubbed the lamp vigorously To the amazement of Patrick, a genie came forth. This particular genie, however, stated that he could only deliver one wish, not the standard three. Without giving much thought to the matter, Patrick blurted out, "Make the entire ocean into Guinness Beer!" The genie clapped his hands with a deafening crash, and immediately the entire sea turned into the finest brew ever sampled by mortals. Simultaneously, the genie vanished. Only the gentle lapping of Guinness on the hull broke the stillness as the two men considered their circumstances. Michael looked disgustedly at Patrick whose wish had been granted. After a long, tension-filled moment, he spoke: "Nice going Patrick! Now we're going to have to pee in the boat!
* * * * *
An Irishman and an American were sitting in the bar at Shannon Airport.
"I've come to meet my brother," said the Irishman. "He's due to fly in from
America in an hour's time. It's his first trip home in forty years".
"Will you be able to recognize him?" asked the American.
"I'm sure I won't," said the Irishman, "after all, he's been away for a long time".
"I wonder if he'll recognize you?" said the American.
"Of course he will," said the Irishman. "Sure, an' I haven't been away at all".
* * * * *
His wife had been killed in an accident and the police were questioning Finnegan.
"Did she say anything before she died?" asked the sergeant.
"She spoke without interruption for about forty years," said the Irishman.
* * * * *
A young gentleman sitting at a bar with his pet pig asks for a couple of drinks. The confused bartender said no animals were allowed at the bar. The man proceeded to say "Ah, but this is a very special pig. Just last week there was a fire in the house and that pig came charging out of his pen into the house and woke us all up .Then a few days later my son fell into the pool and that pig was grazing out on the lawn, and he came running and jumped into the pool and saved my son. ""Well " said the bartended "I guess this pig is very special so I'll get him a drink. By the way I noticed that he is missing one leg, what happened? " "Well said the young man, when you got a pig this good you don't eat him all at once !!!"
* * * * *
Stories you might have missed
1. Kansas woman sat on boyfriend's toilet for 2 years
(The lengths that some women will go to just to make sure their man doesn't leave the seat up.)
2. Women burns husband alive for coming to bed with dirty feet
(See? There are some things that are worse than leaving the seat up.)
3. Worst engagement story ever
(Just because it sounds good on paper...)
4. Eliot Spitzer's hooker in a rap video
(Best career move ever...)
5. A gnome is terrorizing South America
(And oh yes, there is video proof. Thanks "B" for sending the link.)
Video of the week:
Thanks to Steve at the Beachwood Reporter for turning me on to this. It's an homage to Eliot Spitzer
Picture of the week:
Contributed by "L"
Regarding Suburban Man: The birth of Johnny Kaempfer
"Oh my gosh- this was the best!!"
"The first six weeks seems like a lifetime, and the rest is just a blur—a very busy blur. Congratulations on another milestone!"
Regarding Media Notebook
"Your prediction about Steve & Garry reunion was the buzz of the radio message boards. Some people thought you were right, others thought you were crazy. Even Phil Rosenthal referenced it in his column in the Trib. Nice job."
Rick responds: That's funny. That prediction was just wishful thinking on my part. I just thought it would be nice if they reunited, and with the guy who put them together in the first place taking over at the Tribune, I thought it was possible. I read Phil Rosenthal's piece yesterday, though. It looks like Steve is under contract for another three years, so it's more than likely not going to happen. As Gilda Radner's character used to say on SNL..."Never mind."
309 days until we get a new president.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Matt DuBiel is the director of programming and operations, and the afternoon host, at WERV-FM.
1995, WMVP – AM 1000, STEVE DAHL SHOW (Intern)
1995-1996, WLUP – 97.9 FM, WENDY & BILL SHOW (Intern)
1995-1996, WYKT (COAL CITY) – 105.5 FM, (overnights)
1996-1997, WKQX – 101.1 FM, WENDY & BILL MORNING SHOW (Intern/Producer)
1997-1998, WDEK (DEKALB) – 92.5 FM, (Part-time jock, interim middays)
1999-2000, WTMX – 101.9 FM THE MIX, HOT AC (Weekend/fill in jock)
2000-2002, WLLI (JOLIET) – 96.7 WILL ROCK, (afternoon/imaging director), WJTW (JOLIET) – 93.5 FM, AC (middays voicetracked/imaging), WJOL (JOLIET) – 1340 AM, (imaging)
*Spent 2002-2004 as stay-at-home dad, and imaging various active rock stations throughout the countr.
2004 – 2007, WDEK/WKIE/WRZA – 92.5/92.7/99.9 FM, NINE FM (Creative Services Director, Director of Programming, middays, afternoons)
2007-PRESENT, WERV – 95.9 THE RIVER, (afternoons)
Rick: This has been a tough time for radio, and your company (Next Media) is feeling the pinch as much as anyone. Is that what was behind the recent changes at The River?
Matt: Actually it’s quite the opposite. NextMedia has stepped up in a big way with The River by hiring a dedicated GM (Bill Cavanaugh) and a dedicated OM/PD in yours truly. They recently just invested in some other tools for us that are unique to this radio station also. There has only been one change that was budget related since I have been on-board. The rest have been decisions to improve the product we’re putting out.
Rick: You're the Director of Programming & Operations there, which basically means that you are responsible for just about everything. With a title like that comes perks and burdens. What are a few examples of each?
Matt: The perk among perks is that I am not digging ditches for a living. Let’s face it, working in radio is a dream for many of us and I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work in an industry I have chosen, doing what I’ve always wanted to do! Burdens are a different story. They come in all shapes and sizes and for the right people are really just challenges that need to be conquered. I am always up for that. (Photo: Cheech Marin, Matt DuBiel, Tony Shalhoub)
Rick: Before you joined this company, you were the head of programming at 9-FM. That station got a lot of buzz. Certainly within the industry, everybody was talking about it. Yet, for some reason it hasn't taken off in terms of ratings. Why do think that is, and what were some of the challenges that we might not realize from the outside looking in?
Matt: Wow, where do I begin? I could probably do a talk show just on the subject of 9 FM….taking calls from radio people, message board aficionados and listeners for hours and hours. “Let’s go to Mappo on line 2”….
If it were up to me, we wouldn’t have even have subscribed to Arbitron. The problem is, to get “good ratings” you need a core who listens for long amounts of time, or an enormous amount of people who listen often. WXRT has a smaller cume of loyal listeners who spend a lot of time listening, whereas Kiss FM has a huge cume made up of less loyal listeners who tend to listen in smaller doses. 9 FM wasn’t built to be great at either.
For starters 9 FM isn’t a Chicago radio station. It’s 1 Suburban station, 1 Dekalb station, and 1 Peotone station. In drive times, the BIG cume is leaving the area. That’s why staying true to being a Suburban station is important. There are 2 real scenarios to make those stations successful. #1 is split em up, and make them the best 3 midgets they can be. Sell them locally, and format them based on the region they serve. All 3 regions have very different needs. This was my hope. I wanted to put a classic rock or male leaning country station on 99.9 serving the Southside all the way to Peotone, an Adult Alternative or Dance/CHR on 92.7 serving the Northwest Suburbs, and depending on the arrangement of the previous 2 stations either a Fox Valley focused Hot AC or Country station on 92.5.
The second scenario for those stations to be successful would be to fill a market wide niche on all 3 stations, but yet something major stations wouldn’t steal. I believe that is a male leaning country station. The biggest thing people got confused about was what those stations could be, and what they could not be. You can’t make those things something they’re not. Moving into the future, radio companies (even in the city) are going to have to start asking themselves why they care what Arbitron’s measurement (PP or otherwise) shows, when they can see exactly how many people are listening minute by minute on their stream. Arbitron is killing radio.
Rick: I know you were named one of Edison Media's Top 30 under 30 last year, but you started in the business back in the mid-90s as an intern on Steve Dahl's show. How old were you then, and what was it like working for someone like Steve Dahl at such a young age?
Matt: I was 7 and a half. Actually I was 17 at the time. I was so excited to meet Steve and learn from the best, I couldn’t wait to get started. I secured my internship before school even started.
At that time, Mancow had just gotten to town and everyone my age wanted to intern for him. He was in the Rock 103.5 studios in a closet at the Evergreen facilities, and then there was AM 1000 and The Loop. Between Mancow and Chet Coppock (photo), there were about 100 interns. There were at least 6 studios, because you had 3 stations, then the production studios and dub rooms. All the studios had studio windows so you could see what was going on. If you watched the action in the hours surrounding Mancow’s and Chet’s show you’d see these dudes floating back and forth from studio to studio, constantly doing something or nothing while making it look like something. They looked like schools of fish, and so everyone called them the boy-quarium. I didn’t want to be in the boy-quariums… I wanted to learn about the kind of radio I grew up listening to with my Dad. So I went right for Dahl’s show.
Meeting Steve (photo) and working on the show was a charge to begin with, and then a bit disappointing as time passed. I believe he was having a tough time around then, and as a result everyone around him was in slow motion. So there was rarely any action. And compared with all the action everywhere else in the building it felt like I made the wrong choice. I pulled his carts and prepped his diet colas for a few months, and once I even brought the Farrah Faucet Playboy to Bruce Wolf at the Fox studios. I did meet Brandmeier there and he was everything I thought he would be. Matt Bisbee was also very nice to me there.
Rick: You went from there to the Wendy & Bill show at the Loop-FM, and then followed them down the dial to Q-101. What kind of an impact did those two have on your career?
Matt: Across the hall from WMVP, The Loop had a morning show on all day long. I went over to talk to Ross Silverberg the producer, and the next week I was working for Wendy and Bill and loving it. I found the show to be everything I wanted to be a part of. Wendy was like a big sister (photo), Bill Leff was hilarious and real, and Steve Saur (the technical producer) was as solid as they come. They all taught me so much. I thought the show was excellent, and even better I was a part of the show. They would include us in planning, booking, writing, you name it. They had great bits, great listener interaction and an energy that was contagious. There was no better place to learn about radio than The Loop at that time, and this show was perfect for me to be a part of.
When W&B got mornings at Q101, they took us all out, sprung the news and asked us to come along. It was a great group and a fun time. I learned a lot from that show, those people, and the managers above them. At Q101, Bill Gamble was the PD, and I listened and absorbed everything I could from everyone. As you can probably tell, it had a huge impact. Wendy and Bill started in mornings about the time Eric & Kathy were getting cooking at WTMX, but W&B were cut short when Q101 brought Mancow over. I have long believed that W&B just got the wrong set of circumstances and they would have been a franchise here.
Rick: Since leaving their show in 1997, you've been all over the dial, and done air shifts for stations like WTMX, WDEK (Dekalb), WLLI, WJTW (Joliet), WJOL (Joliet), Nine-FM, and now the River. How would you describe your on-air style, how has it changed with each successive call letter change?
Matt: I was loving the Mix when I was there. When I got hired to do afternoons at Will Rock, I was very uncomfortable and out of place, and still working at The Mix. Lonny Tyler (the PD at WLLI) was very patient and let me find my way on my own, which made a big difference for me. Everyone falls into the age old jock traps when they are getting started and I was no different. I crutched a lot. Now, my on air style is just me. It isn’t always all of me….but it is me….a somewhat chipper, sometimes critical, sarcastic but happy, pop culture minded, suburban father and husband.
Working at The Mix and Will Rock at the same time helped me learn how to take the same information and make it work for different audiences. For a while the conventional wisdom was that Rock listeners lived in a bubble….Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy….but the thing is, they know who Britney is too. Their interest in her is very different from the Hot AC audience’s interest though. Let’s just say the Rock listeners don’t want to go shopping with her.
Rick: Where did you have the most fun?
Matt: That’s tough. I had an amazing amount of fun with Wendy & Bill. Will Rock was an unbelievable time. We achieved a .7 with that station and made a lot of things happen in the community. 9 FM was an unreal experience. I had a run there where I got to see that I could do things. I tried things I always wanted to do, and thought I could do …and many of them were successes. Harvey gave me that opportunity there and I always appreciated how rare that chance was. That was fun and then some.
Rick: It must be a little difficult doing both the programming and the on-air work. There are only so many hours in the day. When push comes to shove, how do you prioritize?
Matt: I focus on whatever I will have the most impact on. That changes from day to day, and week to week. In my days at 9 FM, many times I was more focused on sales & marketing related efforts. My contributions in that arena have proven to be valuable, and if the question is voicetrack and help a client, or be live this afternoon and miss an opportunity to aid the sales/promotions staff, my greater impact is usually going to be in the board room, not the studio. That makes it sound like I am an advocate for voicetracking, which I really am not in the long term. But in the short term, it’s vital. The best way to keep from having a weird sales/programming vibe is to be a friend to sales by creating win/win ideas. That is becoming more and more a part of a programmer’s job in music radio as things shift.
Rick: In addition to all the other things you're doing, you're also one of the founders of Broadcast Barter Radio Networks (along with Mike Noonan). Tell us a little bit about that company and what you do.
Matt: Mike and I met at WLLI a few years back. He’s become a valued friend. While he has been building his production stable (www.mikenoonan.com) voicing and producing creative for clients nationally and locally, we’ve been building Broadcast Barter Radio Networks.
Pretty simply, we design programming solutions that serve radio audiences, and provide radio stations additional revenue opportunities. We make these programs available via syndication. Our first 2 projects are The 8 Track Playback with Donny Osmond, and Blue Collar Radio ™. Donny’s show is a shortform daily feature designed for Oldies/Classic Hits/Variety Hits/AC stations where Donny talks about “today” in music and pop culture and then plays a 70s song. It’s on over 17 stations nationally (including WZZN Chicago), and growing every day!
Blue Collar Radio (www.bluecollarradio.us) is a radio format we designed around 2003. Traditionally country radio is geared toward women, and as a result men have to put up with an AC presentation of country. Blue Collar Radio is a lifestyle format geared toward men who grew up with the Dukes of Hazard, Farrah Faucet posters, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Garth Brooks, and Star Wars, love country music and love to rock! A lot of radio folks think this idea has been done, but it has not been done with the amount of conviction and discipline we think is required to make it successful. Morning drive, middays and afternoon drive would all be shifted to coincide with more Blue Collar friendly hours, making everything seem earlier. Non-blue collar folks wouldn’t be alienated but this format is designed for a very specific psychographic that we think is very underserved in many markets.
Rick: You've got a unique perspective on the business because you're one of the few from your generation that's working in the business--especially here in Chicago. What does radio have to do to attract young talent?
Matt: I think radio needs to attract new talent, whether they are old or young. Rush isn’t that good. Bob & Tom aren’t that good. There are many show’s that are just not that bad. I believe there is talent everywhere, and one of the biggest mistakes we make is looking for radio talent. Sales does it and programming does it. Now that doesn’t mean that Whoopi Goldberg is the answer, but it was a good try. That waitress that is personality plus and knows how to upsell at Lonestar should be in radio sales! That Wendella driver who’s tours always sell out because he’s always got something to say and knows how to have a one on one conversation with people, should have a show……..on the weekend….overnight…until he gets good. We need entertainers and we really need talented sellers. When we add “radio” to the front we limit ourselves.
We need communicators, entertainers, relationship builders, hosts and hostesses, and they’re all over. More importantly, we need sellers ready and willing to build businesses for our clients using the talent we have. Too often we have the talent, or the numbers, but no one to turn it into money. It’s a very delicate ying/yang. There’s a lot of talent podcasting, and building streaming stations. They don’t need radio.
The other million dollar question is, “What will radio do to keep the talent we already have?”