Thursday, August 07, 2008

Media Notebook (August 7, 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

Presidential Debate Moderators Set

(Huffington Post) PBS will host two of the four debates this presidential cycle, with Jim Lehrer hosting the first Presidential debate and Gwen Ifill hosting the only Vice Presidential debate, it was announced Tuesday. NBC's Tom Brokaw and CBS' Bob Schieffer will host the remaining two Presidential debates. ABC News is noticeably left without a debate, perhaps a response to what many perceived as a "Gotcha!"-style debate hosted by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.

Does Rupert Murdoch's WSJ have a problem with women?
(Portfolio) Jeff Bercovici writes: "Some at the paper have begun to say so, albeit quietly, in the weeks since managing editor Robert Thomson put his leadership team in place...As that shuffle was going on, Laurie Hays, the deputy managing editor in charge of investigations, was leaving for a job at Bloomberg. Her departure -- said to be at least partly the result of marginalization from above -- left the paper with only two women among its nine deputy m.e.'s, neither of them with a news job: Alix Freedman, the editor in charge of standards and ethics, and Cathy Panagoulias, who oversees staffing. And then there was the recent buyout of Carol Hymowitz, the management columnist who doubles as the paper's point person on women's workplace issues...Put it all together and you have, if not the makings of a clear pattern, then at least a confluence worthy of comment -- especially in light of the questionable sexual politics at other Murdoch-owned outlets. At Fox News, it's an all-but-official rule that women must show their legs, while at the New York Post, political correctness exists only to be mocked."

Circuit City apologizes to Mad Magazine
(Consumerist) After a thin-skinned Circuit City exec ordered stores carrying Mad Magazine to search and destroy all copies of a recent issue featuring a 4-page parody of "Sucker City," someone with a brain stopped the madness. (The entire apology letter to Mad Magazine is at the link)


Why aren't cable talk shows covering the John Edwards story?
(TV Newser) Since the John Edwards National Enquirer story broke more than a week ago, the cablers have largely ignored it. There are various theories as to why that's the case. But as time goes on, producers are finding creative ways to work the story in. Fox News Channel has covered the story the most, although still only four times. Hannity & Colmes aired a segment on the story July 25, the day advanced the details first reported in the Enquirer. Bill O'Reilly mentioned the story on Thursday's show, saying, "The Factor's trying to decide exactly how to cover the story responsibly, and it is not easy," before playing a Jay Leno clip. Then, during Friday's Special Report, Bret Baier reported a different angle to the story, about the Charlotte Observer obtaining the birth certificate of the child in question. MSNBC used a late night talk show to bring up the story as well. Its only two mentions came on Thursday by playing part of a David Letterman's Top 10 list, in which the top answer to "Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident," was: "Been cruising for chicks with John Edwards." CNN has not covered the story yet.

Dana Milbank leaves Countdown for CNN
(Daily Kos) Keith Olbermann writes about Milbank's decision in the Daily Kos thusly: "Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, who notified us today that after four years appearing with us, he had accepted another television offer. This saved your crack Countdown staff an increasingly difficult decision. For nearly a week we'd been waiting for him to offer a correction or an explanation for his column from last week in which he apparently reported an Obama quote without a full context turned the meaning of the quote inside-out. Then he called criticisms of his column "whines" even though the dispute was over whether Obama said the self-deprecating: "It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign -- that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have just become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions" -- or only the part about "I have just become a symbol..." We had decided not to have Dana on this news-hour again until this was cleared up, and, sadly after some very happy years, he's apparently chosen to make that cloud permanent. Good luck, Dana."

The rich get richer
(Mel Phillips) Mel writes: "Under the chapter ”The Rich Get Richer” comes word that Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius XM Radio Inc. was not content owning a measly 6.5 million shares of the company he runs so he went out and bought 2 million more shares. Karmazin now owns $11.8 million in stock and an additional 33,800 shares through a retirement plan. Yikes! I mean does anyone need that much wealth? The Sirius all-stock takeover of XM was worth $2.76 billion and Mel is on his way to buying enough stock to eventually reach that figure."


Skip Caray dead at 69
( Mark Bowman writes: "The Braves family lost one of its most beloved members on Sunday, when Skip Caray passed away at his Atlanta-area home. Caray, who would have celebrated his 69th birthday on Aug. 12, went to take a nap Sunday afternoon and didn't awaken. He is survived by his wife, Paula, two sons, Chip and Josh, two daughters, Shayelyn and Cindy, and seven grandchildren. 'Our baseball community has lost a legend today,' said Braves president John Schuerholz. 'The Braves family and Braves fans everywhere will sadly miss him. Our thoughts are with his wife Paula and his children.' The two sons will carry on the family's rich broadcasting tradition, which began with Skip's father, Harry Caray, a Hall of Fame announcer who remains one of the most popular figures in baseball history."

CBS plans to sell radio stations
(Radio Online) CBS Radio announced Thursday that it would divest 50 mid-size market radio outlets so the company can focus on its major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The company sold 40 stations in several smaller markets in 2007. During its a conference call to discuss earnings, CFO Fred Reynolds said CBS has already had "preliminary discussions with strategic buyers." "We continue to see proof that focusing on better content in our largest radio markets is working," said CEO Les Moonves during the call. "The 15 major market stations that have been reformatted have dramatically improved their profits, underscoring radio's potential."
(This is good news for smaller markets)


Luke Russert hired by NBC News

(NY Times) Brian Stelter writes: "The late “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert’s imprint will remain with NBC News for some time to come: his son Luke will serve as a correspondent at large for the network. The elder Mr. Russert, 58, died of a heart attack on June 13. He frequently mentioned Luke, his only son, in television appearances. The younger Mr. Russert’s first assignment will be at the Democratic National Convention in Denver at the end of August and at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul at the beginning of September. A 2008 Boston College graduate, he will focus on youth issues for NBC."

Network and Cable Ratings getting closer
(LA Times) Scott Collins writes: "AND THEN, the audience parted. Here's what has happened to TV viewing this summer: People who want reality shows have stuck with the broadcast networks. Viewers who prefer scripted series have migrated to the cable channels. And in terms of ratings, the once-vast gap between the two worlds is shrinking like never before."

BBC fined for faking contests
(Independent) Sherna Noah writes: "The BBC has been fined £400,000 by Ofcom, the media regulator, for faking winners and misleading audiences in viewer and listener competitions. The penalty, for flagship TV shows such as Comic Relief, Sport Relief and Children in Need as well as the Jo Whiley and Russell Brand radio shows, is a record for the corporation. Comic Relief and Sport Relief were each fined £45,000, Children in Need £35,000, and the children's show TMi £50,000."


Morning Fix fired at Q-101
(Chicago Tribune) Phil Rosenthal writes; "Alan Cox and Jim Lynam's "The Morning Fix" has been bounced from Emmis Communication's WKQX-FM's 101.1, with afternoon hosts Brian Sherman and Steve Tingle set to take over in morning drive, effective Aug. 11, the station said August 1. WKQX Program Director Marc Young plans to hire a new afternoon personality for a new program, heavy on Alternative Rock music.Cox and Lynam were the only survivors last November when WKQX ditched its original "Morning Fix," a bold but flawed 14-month experiment with ensemble comedy in morning drive after the 2006 ouster of Erich "Mancow" Muller. In the last eight months, the "Fix" was more focused on music with Cox as host and Lynam handling headlines, sports and traffic."

Clark Weber interview
(Chicago Sun Times) Rob Feder beat me to a Clark Weber interview about his new book. His interview is excellent. You can read it at the link above. Mine will be posted this Sunday at Chicago Radio Spotlight.

Chicago Radio Spotlight interview with KC Lupp
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with Actor/Broadcaster KC Lupp. When he worked in Chicago radio he was known as KC White; so named because he was only white guy on the WGCI Morning show. He's currently in town performing in The Full Monty, and we talked about that too. Coming this weekend: Radio legend Clark Weber talks about his new book.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Suburban Man: An Old Soul

By Rick Kaempfer

My middle son Johnny is 10 years old, but he speaks about life like someone who has seen it all. He's just wired that way--he's always been an old soul.

The day he turned 5, as I put him to bed, he muttered: "I never thought this day would come."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Just yesterday I was four," he said. "And now..." He was getting choked up, just thinking about the implications. "And now I can't play at the mall playground anymore. The sign says 'For kids under 5."

He had that "my life is passing me by" look in his eyes.

When his younger brother Sean started pre-school, I overheard Johnny counseling him in their room one night.

"These are the best years of your life," he told him. "It's all playing all the time in pre-school. Tons of toys, and nothing but playing. Once you get to kindergarten, the fun ends."

Again, he was totally serious.

The other day we were at the doctor's office, and the doctor asked Johnny how old he was. He answered: "I'm three years away from being a teenager."

The doctor laughed and said "I guess you're really looking forward to it."

"No," he said sadly. "It's going to be here before you know it. This decade has gone by like this."

And he snapped his fingers.

Did I mention he was 10?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Monday Musings

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 of the Week: Contributed by my wife

Ever wondered how a woman's brain works?

It's finally explained here in one, easy-to-understand illustration:

Every one of those little blue balls is a thought about something that needs to be done, a decision or a problem that needs to be solved.

A man, of course, has only 2 balls and they take up all his thoughts

Stories you might have missed

1. 14 radio voices
(Another piece written by my favorite magazine writer)

2. Smugopedia
(Love's not a news story, but it should be)

3. John McCain's $520 shoes

(If they were Air Jordans, I could understand...)

4. Man gets two hole-in-ones in same round

("Why does he bring an extra pair of pants? In case he gets a hole in one." joke by Tommy Kaempfer, age 12)

5. Ex-Exterminator survives on bugs
(Good thing he wasn't a septic tank repairman. joke by "B")

Video of the week: "Turd Blossom Special" by Harry Shearer

Photo of the week: Now it's even happening in Green Bay...


Regarding Suburban Man: Pink Eye

"Well, at least it’s a cute-sounding disease. If chicken pox were called “Pink Pox” or if diaper rash was referred to as “Pink Butt,” wouldn’t the world be a much more civilized place? And it’s not head lice. Just trying to see the glass half full…"

"Dropped my son off at daycare this morning and they handed me a note telling me that one of the boys in his room has pinkeye...must be going around..."

"I just read your blog on the pink eye illness that has reared its head at your house, and I feel for you. My son has had it once or twice, and I've had it once as well. It's a real pain in the ass-once my son and I had it at the same time. I would come home, wash my hands, give him his drops, wash my hands again, and then do my drops for myself. I can get a laugh out of it now, but at the time it was not funny."

Regarding my song/video "We can wait 100 years"

"That's very funny."

"I loved it. I commented on the You Tube page. Good work!"

"Good one! I've heard this on Brandmeier's show...didn't know you did this."

"This is awesome! Also, I wear my t-shirt ALL the time!"

"awesome...steve goodman is laughing...leon durham, not so much."

"Lol :) nice song GO CUBS!"

Regarding "$everance"

"Rick--did you see this awesome review of your book?"

Rick responds: Thanks! No, I hadn't seen that. I appreciate it.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Chicago Radio Spotlight: KC Lupp

KC Lupp was part of the morning show at WGCI in the earlier part of this decade. He currently works as an actor/disc jockey in Oklahoma but is back in Chicago this summer starring in The Full Monty at the Marriott Lincolnshire. The Chicago Tribune gave him an excellent review.


Shadow/Metro ’98 – ’99
WGCI ’00 – ’03
ClearChannel Tulsa - ’04 – current - at:

Rick: KC, first of all, welcome back to Chicago. Have you been back much since you moved down to Oklahoma ?

KC: Unfortunately, after having children, a new mortgage, my radio job, voice over jobs, PA job with the Tulsa Talons Arena Football team…etc. I haven’t been back in Chicago since ’02.

Rick: People probably remember you best as KC White (so named because you were the white guy) on the morning show at WGCI in the earlier part of this decade. Looking back on those award-winning years there, what are a few of your favorite moments?

KC: Ah, the Blazin’ Caucasian..the Funky Honky…the Tryin’ to be Blacker Cracker…those were the days! I loved being at GCI, and I've run into a lot of old friends since I'm back. Thank you for saying they were award-winning years. That has to be a highlight: winning three AIR Awards. But honestly, my favorite moments were when I was at GCI events and seeing the passion the listeners have for their radio station. I brought a friend to an event on The Odyssey Boat trip…and watching people ask him if he was ‘the white guy’ was quite a kick. Also, the ins and outs of radio I learned from Elroy Smith (photo). He gave me a huge opportunity, not only to be on 107.5, but to jock…and even fill-in as morning host. That was a dream come true.

Rick: Other than Elroy Smith, who were some of your radio mentors or role models in town?

KC: I have to say, Kevin Matthews (photo) was…and still is an idol of mine. I was fascinated by a DJ…that was an entertainer. And he was successfully able to transfer theater and standup comedy to the airwaves. When I met Dorothy Humphrey as a co-worker when I started at Shadow/Metro, I was literally star struck. Being a student of theater, I came into radio later, mostly as a listener. It was exciting to me to step inside WLUP, to meet people from WBBM, XRT, and have drinks with all these talented radio people that I felt like I knew for so long.

Rick: You're back in town to perform in "The Full Monty" at the Marriott Lincolnshire. One of your former radio colleagues, Joe Collins (who is also an actor), told me that you are a very good actor-- truly a triple threat on stage. Do you consider yourself an actor first, and a radio guy second or vice versa?

KC: Wow, Joe (photo) is awesome. He is a fantastic talent and has such a passion for theater. He works very hard producing, directing and acting as well as being a traffic guru. I started theater when I was 8, and worked at it as a career full-time right out of high school. I was very fortunate to get work here in Chicago , and tour with shows like “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” which luckily stayed here in Chicago for over a year and a half. With not starting my performing ‘behind the mic’ until I was 29, I’d have to say actor first, radio second. But, it’s funny, as unstable as a career is in radio…theater is more unstable. I don’t mind not visiting the unemployment office every three months.

Rick: How do each of those facets of your career help or hurt the other?

KC: Great question. Being an actor helped with the ease of ‘being on’ when the mic is on.

Also with simple things like reading liners or voice overs in producing spots. It did have drawbacks though, and Don Cristi, OM of ClearChannel Tulsa said it perfectly. He said, that I have gotten by with my personality, which is great…but I need to learn basic radio formatics. When and why we do things a certain way. He has become such a huge mentor and I wouldn’t be surprised if you are interviewing him when he’s in Chicago running 5 stations.

My time in radio has helped my acting. I believe it has made me a more natural actor. The drawback there is that being behind a mic, you get used to no reaction at your delivery. Was it funny? Compelling? You hope. Now on stage again, the audience tells you immediately if what you did worked…or not.

Rick: Tell us a little bit about the show, and the part you play.

KC: I play Jerry Lukowski in Full Monty at Marriott Lincolnshire Theater. Tix available at 847-634-0200!!!

It’s a great musical adaptation of the film. It’s set in Buffalo , NY as opposed to England like the movie. It’s a great show about six guys putting on a strip show to make money after over a year from losing their jobs when the steel mill closed. The show is really about these guys stripping down to their honest obstacles in their life they need to overcome. My character sets it all up with the purpose of making enough money to not lose custody of his son. It’s a fantastic role and I’m unbelievably fortunate to have the opportunity.

Rick: I understand you're still hosting your afternoon radio show while you're in town. Where are you recording the voice tracks?

KC: I’m recording them at the ClearChannel Studios downtown. Don Cristi, OM in Tulsa …and also my PD on 97.5 KMOD told me I should pursue doing this show, that creatively it would be good to be back on stage for awhile. Tulsa CC, and Chicago CC worked hard to make the tracking seamless. My listeners think it’s pretty cool I’m doing my show from Michigan Avenue .

Rick: When the show ends at the end of September, what are your plans?

KC: I’m heading back to beautiful little town of Bristow , Oklahoma to be DJ and husband/dad. No plans on moving back to Chicago …unless some radio gig gets offered! My wife loves being back here…it really feels great to be back home. Chicago is the best city in the country. Hands down.