Thursday, September 04, 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
What Republican pundits are saying when they think they're mics aren't on anymore...this is Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy, off-mic on MSNBC
The conventions belong to Cable News
(LA Times) Scott Collins writes: "A record total of 38.3 million viewers watched Obama's acceptance speech Thursday, according to Nielsen Media Research. An average of 8 million watched on CNN alone, easily besting the broadcast competition on ABC, CBS and NBC. Of course, nobody on the Republican side approaches the media star power of Obama; McCain himself takes potshots at his own speaking skills. But last week, the three news cable networks each posted average prime-time gains of more than 50% compared with the '04 convention; those gains are unlikely to fade away entirely in Minnesota. The conventions are making it clearer than ever before that the broadcast networks have, for better or worse, permanently ceded to the cable outlets their role as the nation's political prognosticators. That was the historic role that NBC first carved out more than 50 years ago for anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley."
John McCain cancels CNN appearance because of previous tough interview
(Broadcasting & Cable) John Eggerton writes: "According to CNN, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) pulled out of a scheduled interview with the network after a segment with Campbell Brown and a top McCain spokesman Monday night in which Brown asked for examples of a foreign-policy decision made by Republican vice president pick Sarah Palin. McCain was scheduled to appear on Larry King Live, but CNN's Wolf Blitzer said Tuesday that the campaign told the news network they thought Brown's interview with spokesman Tucker Bounds was 'over the line.' CNN said it disagreed and it is committed to covering both sides of issues."
(Video of the "over the line" interview at the link)
AP issues talking points over Fournier
(Politico) Michael Calderone writes: "AP Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier has been targeted by MoveOn, Media Matters and many liberal blogs this campaign cycle for what they consider light treatment of John McCain at the expense of other candidates — especially Barack Obama. In July, I reported that Fournier had discussions with the McCain campaign in late 2006 — while not at the AP — about taking a senior level communications job with the campaign. Fournier spoke with Mark Salter, Rick Davis, John Weaver and other campaign staffers, but did not take the job. He returned to the AP in March 2007. So with the blogosphere enraged over Fournier, FishbowlDC writes today that Ellen Hale, the AP’s vice president for corporate communications, has e-mailed talking points to managers on how to deal with questions about the wire's D.C. bureau chief. But the contents of the memo were not yet revealed. I’ve now obtained the full talking points..."(click on the link to read it)
"In a world" announcer dead at 68
(National Post) You may not recognize the name Don LaFontaine but you definitely know the voice. LaFontaine, who passed away Monday at the age of 68, was THE voice of movie trailers for almost 30 years. The Minnesota-born LaFontaine reportedly voiced over 5,000 trailers and almost 350,000 commercials. He's responsible for the ubiquitous trailer-opening phrase "In a world..."
Obama had secret meeting with Fox News executives
(Washington Post) Howard Kurtz writes: "At a secret meeting with Barack Obama three months ago, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes says, he tried to clear the air with the Democratic senator by saying that his organization was determined to be fair but would not be "in the tank" for Obama's campaign. During the sit-down in a Waldorf-Astoria hotel suite in Manhattan that included Rupert Murdoch, the network's owner, Obama expressed concern about the way Fox was covering him. 'I just wanted to know if I'm going to get a fair shake from Fox News Channel,' Ailes recalled him saying."
Mr. Rogers dumped by PBS
(Chicago Tribune) Steve Schmadake writes: "Seven years have passed since new episodes of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" were taped and five since the show's iconic, sweater-clad host died. But news that, starting Monday, "Mister Rogers" will disappear from the schedules of many PBS stations—including WTTW-Ch. 11 in Chicago, as well as stations in Los Angeles and apparently New York—has legions of parents and other fans lamenting what they see as a timeless show's end. They are wondering, as Mr. Rogers himself might say: What do you do with the mad that you feel?"
Mike North returns...on a restaurant website
(Chicago Tribune) Phil Rosenthal writes: "Perhaps the only person outrageous enough to suggest that former WSCR-AM 670 mainstay Mike North has anything in common with Barry Manilow would be North himself, and guess who's tryin' to get the feeling again. 'What Rich Melman is paying me to do is what the Las Vegas Hilton pays Barry Manilow to do,' the hot-dog-man-turned-sports-talker explained Tuesday, in announcing his latest venture, a two-hour, five-day-a-week Internet program that will stream on the Lettuce Entertain You Web site of Melman's Wildfire restaurants, starting Monday. 'He wants people to visit the Wildfire Web site.' This experiment in Internet radio is innovation born out of necessity for North, a signature voice for The Score since its launch 16 years ago. When he left the all-sports station in late June after contract talks with CBS Radio broke down, a non-compete clause was supposed to keep him from taking a TV or radio job for six months. Out of sight and out of mind diminishes one's value in the marketplace, the theory goes."
Letterman baffled by NBC's treatment of Leno
(New York Times) Brian Stelter writes: "David Letterman, the CBS host who has competed with Jay Leno every weeknight for 15 years, now feels empathy for his late-night challenger. In an interview with Rolling Stone on newsstands this week, Mr. Letterman, the longtime Late Show host, expresses bewilderment about NBC’s decision, first announced four years ago, to replace Mr. Leno next year with Conan O’Brien, the current host of Late Night. 'Unless I’m misunderstanding something, I don’t know why, after the job Jay has done for them, why they would relinquish that,' Mr. Letterman said in the interview. 'I guess they thought it was a less messy way to handle what happened to me at NBC. I don’t know.'”
Mini Interview: John Jurkovic
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Every week I'm featuring excerpts from my SHORE Magazine article about 14 local radio voices. This week: John Jurkovic from ESPN Radio. Coming this weekend--a full interview with Eddie Volkman of B-96.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
By Rick Kaempfer
Back to school.
I started dreaming about this day on the second day of summer vacation. The first day it was kind of nice to have all three boys at home with me for the entire day.
The second day, not so much.
That’s when the “back to school” dreams started for me. It happened nearly every day. I would drift off into a peaceful daydream about how it used to be. Ah, six hours of no kids in the house. Ah, six hours of blissful silence so I can get some work done. Ah, six hours of . . .
That’s as far as the daydream would go. At that point I would get interrupted by some sort of squeal, scream, crash or wail. “Whoever made that noise better start running,” I would say. “Or it’s hammer time.”
My oldest boy, the preteen, would look at my hand, defiantly unafraid. “You don’t have a hammer.”
“Not yet,” I’d threaten.
“What if you did have a hammer?”
Little did he know I had been waiting for someone to ask me that question since 1968. “If I had a hammer,” I answered, “I’d hammer in the morning. I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land. I’d hammer out justice. I’d hammer out freedom. I’d hammer out love between your brother and your other brother . . . all over this land.”
He never asked again.
But as much as I was looking forward to the first day of school, I began to notice in the middle of summer that there was one person in my house looking forward to it even more than me: my five-year-old son, Sean. This year all the “kids’ stuff” of preschool would be done forever. This year he would be going to real school (kindergarten!), and he honestly couldn’t wait. The excitement and anticipation were too much for him to handle.
I got the same question every day: “How many days until school starts?”
“Why are you so excited about school?” I asked him.
He looked at me like that was the dumbest question of all time. “Because I want to learn,” he said. The “duh” in his eyes added an exclamation point.
Wow. A child that actually can’t wait to learn! I was very proud of him. I’m not a big kid-bragger, but I couldn’t help myself. I began to tell everyone I knew about my eager-to-learn child.
People would ask him a question like, “What do you want to learn?” and he would up the ante by being even more prototypically scholarly: “I want to learn how to read. It’s my dream.” (He really said that.)
I was really beginning to puff out my chest until someone dug a little deeper into Sean’s desire to read. “After you learn how to read, what will you read first?” one aunt asked him.
That was the magic question. His face lit up with excitement. “The video game instructions!” he screamed.
Oh, well. At least he’s actually excited about school. We still have that in common.