...died on this day (March 7) in 1999. I still list the movie "Dr. Strangelove" on my list of favorites. This is the war-room scene from that movie.
Musings, observations, and written works from the publisher of Eckhartz Press, the media critic for the Illinois Entertainer, co-host of Minutia Men, Minutia Men Celebrity Interview and Free Kicks, and the author of "Back in the D.D.R", "EveryCubEver", "The Living Wills", "$everance," "Father Knows Nothing," "The Radio Producer's Handbook," "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", and "Gruen Weiss Vor".
Friday, March 07, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Media Notebook (March 6, 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
FCC official wants probe of blacked out 60 Minutes report
(Reuters) A U.S. Federal Communications Commission official is seeking an inquiry into the blacking out of a politically charged segment of the CBS News magazine "60 Minutes" by a local television station in Alabama. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said he had asked the chairman of the FCC to open an inquiry into the February 24 incident at WHNT, a CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama, in which civil rights footage from the 1960s was blacked out. "The FCC now needs to find out if something analogous is going on here," Copps said at a luncheon with media watchdog groups. "Was this an attempt to suppress information on the public airwaves, or was it really just a technical problem?"
Dan Rather left out of 48 Hours anniversary party
(New York Magazine) Everybody who is anybody in television news — with one glaring omission — showed up for last week’s twentieth-anniversary blowout for 48 Hours, which, after 60 Minutes, is CBS News’ most durable magazine program. On hand for the party in the twentieth-floor lounge at 230 Fifth Avenue were CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, CBS News president Sean McManus, 48 Hours executive producer Susan Zirinsky, former CBS president Sir Howard Stringer, and former news president Andrew Heyward. Missing was Dan Rather.
CNN is beating Fox News again
(NY Times) Tim Arango writes: "After a long malaise, CNN is finally getting its swagger back. In the last four years CNN, which includes not just the flagship American network, but Headline News, CNN International and CNN.com, doubled its profits. 'There are not a lot of 27-year-old companies in America that can make that claim,' Mr. Walton said. All three cable news networks — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — have enjoyed ratings bumps during the primaries. But CNN is able to brag about something it had not been able to since 2001: it topped Fox News in the prime-time ratings for a single month in the 25 to 54 age category, the group most coveted by advertisers."
How Self-Censorship Works in the Rupert Murdoch Empire
(The Guardian) Roy Greenslade writes: "In the run-up to Rupert Murdoch's takeover of Dow Jones, he went to great lengths to assure the staff of the Wall Street Journal , not to mention the wider journalistic community, that his editors are able to exercise editorial freedom. The WSJ would be safe in his hands. But, as we all know, editors are always aware that their freedom to edit relies on having an editorship. Their jobs depend on the owner, and that tends to encourage them to second-guess his desires. So Hugo Restall, editor of a small former Dow Jones asset, the Far Eastern Economic Review, knew exactly what to do when confronted by a review of a book about Murdoch's Chinese business forays, Rupert's adventures in China: How Murdoch lost a fortune and found a wife. He spiked it."
Murdoch tell-all book nears publication
(Publisher's Weekly) Lynn Andriani writes: "Tuttle Publishing, the independent house that specializes in Asian-interest books, is considering moving the publication of the book, which they have re-titled Rupert Murdoch's China Adventures: How the World's Most Powerful Media Mogul Lost a Fortune and Found a Wife, from July to May because of the media interest. Publicist Rowan Muelling-Auer said Tuttle has not made changes to the book’s content, aside from Americanized English, and at this time does not have plans to vet the book from a legal perspective. 'It’s not something that we’re particularly worried about,' she said."
A place for angry journalists
(Editor & Publisher) Steve Outing writes: "Earlier this month, Kiyoshi Martinez started an experimental website that gives journalists a chance to vent their feelings about their profession and their work lives. And have they ever. AngryJournalist.com is a simple yet powerful concept: a gripe board where journalists are asked to say what's making them angry today. It's the modern-day equivalent of the anonymous suggestion box in the company lunchroom. All posts to the site are anonymous. Everything submitted goes through Martinez, who screens out trolls and spammers and non-relevant stuff. Most of the gripes are from journalists, though a few non-journalists manage to get their comments through Martinez' filter. (He spends about an hour a night on moderation duties.) The postings appear to come mostly from newspaper and TV news people (traditional and new media sides), with the occasional magazine or radio journalist chiming in."
FCC has chilling effect on shows
(TV Week) Ira Teinowitz writes: "Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin may be winning the fight he has picked with TV networks that air racy programming. Mr. Martin’s agency lost the last major indecency court case in federal appeals court and he’s awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on whether it will resuscitate that action against Fox. But the FCC’s legal setbacks aside, groups that represent show creators say the agency’s crackdown is affecting which shows end up on broadcast TV, and which shots or lines get pulled. Does that mean that without winning a decisive battle, the FCC is winning the war?"
The Real Media Bias
(Newsweek) I think Evan Thomas is right on the money when he writes this..."The mainstream media (the "MSM" the bloggers love to rail against) are prejudiced, but not ideologically. The press's real bias is for conflict. Editors, even ones who marched in antiwar demonstrations during the Vietnam era, have a weakness for war, the ultimate conflict. Inveterate gossips and snoops, journalists also share a yen for scandal, preferably sexual. But mostly they are looking for narratives that reveal something of character. It is the human drama that most compels our attention."
The British Media and the Prince Harry secret
(NY Times) Stelter and Lyall write: "Every morning for 10 weeks, Bob Satchwell typed the words 'Prince Harry' and 'Afghanistan' into Google, and every morning, the top result was the same: 'Prince Harry Is Forbidden To Fight Alongside Soldiers In Afghanistan.' Mr. Satchwell was relieved; as the executive director of the Society of Editors in Britain, he had brokered a top-secret agreement to keep the prince’s presence in Afghanistan out of the cutthroat British papers and off the airwaves to reduce the chances that the prince or his fellow soldiers would become special targets of enemy fighters."
Sun-Times launches Oprah blog
(suntimes.com) This site is all about Oprah all the time, for those people who just don't get enough Oprah Winfrey. Here's what it says on the site about the blogger: "Mark Bieganski is an online content guru for the Chicago Sun-Times and RogerEbert.com. He follows the Oprah phenom like it's a religion. He's been to the show three times as an audience member (he'll make the show as a guest someday) and has had the Oprah show on season pass ever since getting a Tivo two years ago."
Bloodbath at WLS Radio
(Chicago Tribune) Jim Kirk writes: "In what staffers referred to as a "bloodbath'' Friday, WLS-AM 890 fired a number of staffers, including several news veterans, as owner Citadel Broadcasting slashed costs nationwide during one of the biggest advertising downturns in radio history. Among those let go were station news director and longtime Chicago radio news journalist Jennifer Keiper and longtime City Hall reporter Bill Cameron, sources said. Also among the group let go were news reporter David Jennings, a producer on the Don Wade & Roma morning show and various ad sales and support staff. Saturday morning host, Jake Hartford, was also shown the door, sources said."
WLS' Roe Conn reacts to bloodbath
(Roeconn.com) "On Leap Day, the barbarians breached the gate. WLS News was stripped to its core. Leaving only morning and afternoon drive anchors and a single reporter. This will be lamented by newspapermen who have watched their newsrooms similarly dismantled. Television newsroom staffs will avert their eyes with ominous awareness. Bloggers will anonymously crow about the dismantling of the old order with the schadenfreud-induced ferocity of those once cast aside by the medium they now decry...The magic and power of radio may be lost on Wall Street analysts, but it is not lost on you. According to those who monitor such things, more people listen to Chicago radio than ever before. 7,784,000 people over the age of 12 listen to terrestrial radio in this market alone. A record number despite the competition for your attention provided by cell phones, satellites and potholes."
Listeners Lash Out At WLS
(Chicago Sun Times) Robert Feder printed letters in his column today from outraged listeners. Judging by the tone and tenor of these letters, the management at WLS is getting an earful these days.
It was 20 years ago this week...
(Richsamuels.com) ...that WMAQ (Chicago's oldest radio station) went all news (March 1, 1988). If you've never checked it out before, and you're interested in WMAQ history at all, you really should check out Rich Samuel's excellent history of the frequency at the link above. It's very well done.
An interview with Lisa Greene
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with the midday personality at Chicago's newest radio station (Fresh FM), Lisa Greene. We talked about the new radio station, her previous stops on the radio dial, and the passing of her friend Mark Sullivan. Coming this weekend, WLS Radio's Dobie Maxwell.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Suburban Man: The Oscars through the eyes of a 12-year-old
By Rick Kaempfer
I never miss the Academy Awards even if I haven’t seen a single one of the movies up for best picture. This year, I believe, marked the third straight year that I hadn't seen any of them. I’m sure they were all fine films, but well, we don’t get out much.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching the show with my oldest son Tommy. It was fun watching an event like this through the eyes of someone who doesn’t have any of the pop culture reference points I do.
John Travolta? Yawn. Steven Spielberg? Yawn. Jack Nicholson? Yawn.
Tom Hanks? “Hey, that’s the voice of Woody!”
Owen Wilson? “Hey, that’s the voice of Lightning McQueen!”
Miley Cyrus? “Hey, that’s Hannah Montana.”
The categories that didn’t interest me at all were his favorites. Achievement in sound? Now you’re talkin’. Best Special Effects? Whoa, cool. Best Animated feature? He actually yelled “SWEET!” when Ratatouille was announced as the winner.
He loved the songs. He loved the short film categories. He loved the technical categories. During the screenwriting categories he looked at me and nodded toward the TV set. It was a “Hey Dad, that’s your category, nod.” It was cute. He doesn’t realize the difference between a writer and an Academy Award winning screenwriter. It’s all the same thing, right?
But I thought we had our biggest bonding moment when the Honorary Oscar was awarded to Robert Boyle. He was so old he had to be helped to the podium.
“See that guy right there, Tommy?” I said. “They said he was 98 years old. That means he was born in 1909 or 1910.”
“Yeah, so?” Tommy said.
“That means he was born after the Cubs last won the World Series.”
That put a face on it for him. Maybe, just maybe, he is beginning to understand his father’s pain.
Monday, March 03, 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 of the Week: Contributed by "B"
Sometimes in life it's comes down to a simple decision. Should we get a dog?
Or should we have kids?
I understand that some people choose to have neither. I wonder why?
Stories you might have missed
1. Washington state detectives say man asked friend to shoot him in the arm so he could skip work
(And you thought you hated your boss.)
2. Judge orders Re-Do on Barry Bonds Indictment
(Why do I have a feeling that Barry is going to walk?)
3. Baby falls through train toilet, lands on the tracks, and survives
(Some people can claim they were born on the wrong side of the tracks. How many can claim they were born "on" the tracks.)
4. Boy George Denies Handcuffing Male Escort to Wall
(Although he does admit to singing "Do you really want to hurt me. Do you really want to make me cry?")
5. A $25 bottle of mini-bar water
(I wish this was available before I wrote my book. I brainstormed for hours about the most needlessly expensive mini-bar items before settling on "cashews." If you've got $everance, check chapter 9, page 64.)
Video of the week:
My boys and I watched this live on February 20th. Maybe you did too. Here's a time-lapse video of the lunar eclipse.
Picture of the week: Contributed by "T". In honor of election day tomorrow in Texas and Ohio. Do you think Bill is ready for this campaign to end? "A picture is worth a thousand words."
Regarding Monday Musings
"I don't know if you've gotten any feedback on this new Monday feature, but I really like the multi-media presentation. It's a good combination of your two features from last year (Jokes, This Week News & Views)."
Regarding "Just One Bad Century" merchandise
Just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that Just One Bad Century recently won an award for Best Cubs Merchandise/Clothing Site in our inaugural Best Cubs Website Awards, or "The Strodes" as we like to call them.
Regarding "Chicago Radio Spotlight: John Calhoun"
"I always wondered what he looked like and his picture cracked me up with his big laughing smile. I also liked the links to the Karen Hand & Catherine Johns stories."
323 days until we get a new president.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Chicago Radio Spotlight: Lisa Greene
Lisa Greene is the midday personality on WCFS-Chicago, 105.9 FM.
1992-1994: News anchor/DJ/Production director, WIUS/Bloomington, IN
1994/95: Fill-in personality, WLUW/Chicago
Aug 93-Dec 93: Continuity assistant, WFIU (NPR Bloomington)
Oct 94-Dec 94: Music research, Q101
Jan 95-Dec 96: Traffic/news reporter, Metro Traffic Chicago
Jan 96-Aug 96: PT personality, WXLC
Aug 96-Dec 96: PT personality, WMYX/Milwaukee
Jan 97-Jun 97: Evening personality, WQLH/Green Bay
Jul 97-Dec 98: Evening personality/Music Coordinator, WPNT/Milwaukee
Dec 98-Sep 99: APD/MD/Middays, WMXB/Richmond
Sep 99-Dec 99: PT personality, WWZZ/Washington, DC
Jun 00-Jan 01: PT feature host/Larry Lujack prod. asst, WUBT/Chicago
Jan 01-Jun 06: News/traffic anchor/co-host, Shadow Broadcast Services
Apr 01-pres: PT feature host (Oldies)/producer (Jack-FM), WJMK/Chicago
Jun 06-Feb 07: PT personality, WILV/Chicago
Feb 07-pres: Midday personality, WCFS/Chicago
Rick: First of all, congrats on the new gig at "Fresh FM." I know this was all a very secretive hiring process. How long had you been talking with Fresh, and how did it all play out?
Lisa: Thank you! It's all very exciting. Kind of a funny beginning for me: It all started last November when I bumped into (my former WJMK GM/current Fresh GM) Dave Robbins--literally. It was pretty clear at the time that WCKG was going to flip to some kind of AC format. Though I loved working part-time at Love-FM, I wanted to get back to jocking full-time, and got my package ready. The day after I put it together, they flipped to the "The New Fresh 105.9."
The music was GREAT! Right up the alley of someone in my age group, and similar to formats I had worked in in the past, so it was something that I clearly was appropriate for. Since I still work for CBS on the 9th floor at WJMK, I walked my package upstairs to drop it off for Dave, instead of risking delays from the glorious Chicago mail system! Dave wasn't in so I left it on his desk and headed out toward the elevator.
As I walked, I heard voices around the corner but it was a blind spot. It turned out to be Dave and a sales guy; we practically crashed, but when he saw me, he had his typical huge smile on his face and hugged me! Can't ask for a better reception than that from a former manager! We were laughing and he asked who I was visiting up there. When I told him I left a demo package for *him*, he said great, that he wanted to talk to me about that--another good sign!
As we caught up, he mentioned some of their initial plans for putting jocks on, which was still a while away, and said he'd put me in touch with Mike (Peterson, Fresh and US99 PD). There was a little phone tag, of course, as it was holiday time and I later learned Mike's wife had given birth to their third baby just then! Hectic time for him. We had a good meeting, I auditioned around Christmas, and though there were some corporate delays mixed in, it was good news from there! It's been a relatively smooth process and will be a great place to work. Dave has a great ability to create a positive working environment, and Mike has been so supportive in getting Mike LeBaron and me all set every step of the way to do our jobs individually, and getting the all departments working as a team.
Rick: You've been a music director during your radio career, and you've worked at nearly every music station in Chicago in some capacity, which may make you uniquely qualified to answer this question. How would you describe the music being played at Fresh Fm, compared to it's competitors in town?
Lisa: You know that old commercial, "This isn't your father's Oldsmobile?" I think of it that way: "This isn't your parents' soft music station." "Today's Soft Music, The New Fresh 105.9" is imaged to be familiar and pleasant, though you'll notice not all the songs can be called "soft," individually! It's an interesting comparison to twenty-some years ago, when 35-54-aged people were having kids and working in offices: stations like WLIT here became popular and established the traditional Adult Contemporary (AC) sound, but artists like Barry Manilow, James Taylor, Streisand, Celine Dion, etc., were contemporary for those listeners.
Over time into the '90s, as you know, traditional AC's spun off into Modern AC thanks to Modern Rock radio, and Hot AC thanks to pop-leaning stations. Traditional AC's maintained the "lite" label, and type of "easy listening" is still how the heritage AC presents itself, today. So now, twenty years later, when people my age are card-carrying adults, working and/or with kids, it's natural to be drawn to styles of music from their college or early-adult years and today, because they grew up with more musical choices and it's all contemporary to them. Even I was surprised when I started hearing songs that are heavy on guitar by Lenny Kravitz or Kelly Clarkson after the launch, here on a station with "soft" in the slogan. But the fact of the matter is, people of my age group grew up with more musical choices, and no one I know in my demo talks about an "easy listening" preference these days!
My take is that "soft"="familiar" here. For the average 30- or 40-something mom driving her kids around, it's obviously recognizable as NOT thumpy like a dance station, not loud like a rock station, doesn't try to be too-cool-for-the-room like a Modern AC. What it IS, is familiar music--all hits--with pleasant imaging, and content and personalities which relate to their lifestyle. People in my demo are digging it.
Rick: My guess is that you are right smack in the middle of the target demo. What do you think Fresh needs to do to get women to start listening to a station that had been programming to a male audience for the past twenty years?
Lisa: I don't know that they have to do anything differently than they're already doing, for now. The TV spots started running immediately after the launch, which even existing stations run a few times a year in order to create awareness. Billboards are up; typical stuff. However, you're correct about the demo: I'm 36, and naturally I have lots of friends and family of similar age. Some are single, married with kids, or divorced, but I've heard from nearly all of them between November and now, telling me they've just...found Fresh 105.9.
Honestly, I think part of it is that we're a nation of button-punchers when it comes to, for example, listening to the radio while driving around in the car. If you hit that "seek" button and land on a station that plays enjoyable tunes from the '90s that were contemporary during your early adult years, plus similar female-friendly songs from recent years and today, you're going to stay there. I'm hearing, "I've added it on my pre-sets!" a lot. Much of the feedback I've gotten is from women outside the industry who didn't know the male-targeted WCKG Talk format was even there. They skipped right over it and have found a station they enjoy, now. The rest is happening by word of mouth.
Rick: As of right now, you and Mike LeBaron are the only two live voices on the air at Fresh FM. Did you know each other before you started there? Is it a little odd signing off and not having a live voice on the air after you?
Lisa: I have heard Mike LeBaron (photo) on the air in the market for a long time, but no, we had never crossed paths til we started at Fresh. Lots of my colleagues down the hall at the Mix have asked me recently to send him congratulations, and have said what a talented, great guy he is--and he is! I want to say he's been kicking around the market as a part-time jock longer than I have, so we're both well-prepared and excited for this opportunity.
Is it odd signing off without a live voice after me? Not really. Back when I was doing the "Saturday Night Dance Party" at WJMK, after my first year, you were there and might remember that they eliminated overnight jock positions. I had to sign off by saying "see you next week" and flip it to automation, which was a bummer after Doug Johnson came on after me for a year. I once had another PD elsewhere who decided we should not formally sign off or introduce the next jock at the end of our show. No disrespect to that PD; I like him and when the PD asks you to do something, you just do it. But it felt weirder to me to just leave without introducing the next person when there's a full staff of jocks than it feels when there's no one to introduce. It's my understanding that there will be an afternoon driver at Fresh in due time, though!
Rick: Before you started at Fresh you were working at Love-FM. I know you were close to Mark Sullivan, who tragically passed away a few months ago. I thought you wrote a beautiful tribute to him on your blog. How would you describe Mark to those of us who never got to know him?
Lisa: Thank you. He was a pain in my ass!! But you know, in a fun way. Those who read the blog would get a more accurate picture because I needed to get it out of my system, there were important stories to share, and I could be more detailed. We were determined to be pains in each other's asses, ribbing each other all the time--you know: friends.
I would not claim to be so close to him as his childhood buddies or anything, but we had a lot in common. From interests (yoga, music, radio), to lifestyles (single, from Chicago, close in age, got let go from radio job and lived back with parents before getting back on our feet with gigs here), to personality traits (ambitious, a sensitive side, compatible senses of humor, and yes, compatible egos, too). I hadn't given it much thought in those terms until last Fall when he was sick and on all of our minds constantly. We had a lot to talk about. I think we saw a little of ourselves in each other. We always talked about getting together outside of work, but radio breeds opposite schedules, so it never happened, and I'm very sad for that.
Mark (photo) was a good guy, very talented jock and musician, made sure the people special to him knew it. Sometimes he talked about his lifelong condition, sometimes he didn't, but imagine what it must have been like, even as a young child, to have a bunch of surgeries and know you might not make it very long. His mother told me 40 years was a gift and that he had cheated death three times before, so they had faith he would recover this time, too. He made an effort to spread smiles and to do what made him happy most of the time. Wouldn't you? I was psyched to give him the ol' teaser about the process moving along with Fresh, in December. I know he'd be very happy for me, as I was for him, about getting full-time here at home. I told him last month when it was officially announced. I like to think he heard me.
Rick: Let's talk about some of your previous stops on the radio dial in Chicago. I mentioned that you had been working at Love-FM (WILV 100.3)
which is a rhythmic oldies station, but you've also worked at WJMK when it was an oldies station, and WUBT ("The Beat") when it was a rhythmic
oldies station. How were each of those stations the same or different from each other?
Lisa: Well, all of those stations hired me and the rest of their airstaff for our CHR backgrounds, in terms of delivery. The Beat was called "Jammin' Oldies," which essentially was Urban Oldies. So, musically, very Motown- and disco-based, and played artists like Wilson Pickett, Prince, Irene Cara, Bee Gees, and the Time to fill it in. It was a fun station but they flipped to Kiss 103.5 after I was there seven months, and the canned everyone despite being initially hired for our CHR backgrounds! Clean slate, I guess.
WJMK's regular format, as you know, played traditional Oldies, including the Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, the usual Motown stuff. It was intended to remind folks who grew up in the 60's of how their favorite Top 40 station sounded at the time. When I was hired, Kevin Robinson wanted a '70s party feature, and heard me adapt to it well on the Beat. (Photo: Lisa with WJMK legend Dick Biondi) So, on my show, I got to play some of the traditional artists that had songs in that decade, plus the disco stuff I played on the Beat, plus cool novelty tunes by the Partridge Family and the Osmonds, which always, personally, make me smile. It morphed into the "Saturday Night Dance Party," so away went some of the novelty tunes and in came more soul music, but I loved that too. I rocked out in the studio in between playing ringmaster, taking phone calls from all over Chicagoland. It was only part-time but was one of the best gigs I ever had!
Love-FM was Motown/disco/soul-based for a while as well, but in recent months scattered some '80s and '90s songs, like "Safety Dance" and artists like Duran Duran, Toni Basil, and even Rick Springfield. All party-ish hit songs that people know and can sing along to. They've struck a good, energy-filled balance, now. All were enjoyable versions of the format to work in.
Rick: You've also had a long stint at Shadow Traffic. People that work at Shadow end up working on just about every station in town. What are some of your fondest moments with Shadow, and what shows were the most fun for you?
Lisa: Oh...I was there for 5 1/2 years, so there are a lot of them! You're thrown into a variety of situations there, so it's a great opportunity to diversify your skills and learn to play off of a talk host, rock host, and other formats. My favorite times include doing Seaver's Afternoon Drive traffic on the Loop for my first couple of years. The PD didn't want us to talk long, so it was good training to get some good, quick rock-friendly banter and the report in, and get back to the music. Seaver's a good guy who can do a rap or cross-talk concisely, while sounding like Mr. Cool at the same time, so you just follow that lead. The playlist rocked back then, so mostly he teased me off the air about singing along in cue before he turned my mic on!
Then there were the days when I frequently filled in on Midday traffic with Steve Cochran (Photo). Oh, man--definitely good times! Everything he says is funny! I think he found that I tapped into his timing and goofy personality well, so he had me contribute quite a bit in conversation and interviews. Another time I was doing WGN traffic on a Saturday morning with the big-voiced Lyle Dean on news. I called him ahead of time to alert him of a scanner report of a naked guy running in an intersection in Palatine, but couldn't confirm it yet. He said to run with the item and follow his lead. When I generically reported "police activity" in Palatine, he matter-of-factly asked, "and, *what* is the activity?" I replied, dryly with a smile, "that would be...a...naked guy running in the street. Details as they become available." He called me off-air and said, "that was SO good!" Maybe you had to hear it, but it was hilarious.
I also loved doing morning traffic and news with my buddy, former WRXQ/Joliet PD Rob Creighton. We go back since college so that was pretty loose and fun.
Rick: You are also involved in local theater. On the surface I know it seems like radio and theater are similar--but they're actually totally different. When you're on the radio you have a lot of people listening to you, but you're in a room all by yourself. When you're on stage, there's nowhere to hide. How has radio helped your theater work, and vice versa?
Lisa: Interesting question. I feel they're mainly different in venue, and method or structure of the entertainment: in theatre, you're on stage with a group of people, playing other people, in front of an audience of limited size, and you don't interact with the audience. In radio, you're in a studio alone, talking to hundreds of thousands of people (in Chicago), who feel like you're individually their companion, playing a version of yourself. They are pretty similar, in that the performers all have creative instincts, urges, and disciplines, want to entertain and contribute to the audience's day, and connect in some kind of meaningful way, however brief.
Hm...how have my radio and theatre experiences contributed to each other? Well, by the time I hit college and decided on radio as a path, I found that my voice lessons as a kid helped me warm up and get the breath and the sound out; most people don't think about that when they're listening to the radio, or thinking of pursuing a broadcast career! I once had a music teacher who said, "your body is your instrument." It's true in radio, absolutely. Both activities contribute to each other and to me as a person because--lots of people are shocked by this--but as a kid I was very shy for a long time, and still can be, today. I made a conscious decision as a teenager to literally get up there and try to find some way to express myself. I was nervous and sucked for a while, but found my way. Whether it's going on the air, hosting a bar gig, or dressing up like a 90-year-old dead woman on stage (photo), I realized in recent years that everything I do in those areas is to kind of..conquer the fear and prove to myself that I can do it!
Rick: Let's end this with a little "Fresh" quiz. If you can answer all of these questions successfully, we'll officially sanction you as a "Fresh" employee.
Lisa: OK, shoot.
Rick: Why would Will Smith be your favorite TV star?
Lisa: Oh my. Well, he was the FRESH Prince, of course!
Rick: Why did teenage boys get slapped by teenage girls in the 1950s?
Lisa: They were FRESH!
Rick: Why is Kool n the Gang your favorite artist?
Lisa: Haha. Um...could it be because they sing a song called, "FRESH?"
Rick: How would you describe your breath after eating a tic tac?
Lisa: Oh, Rick. It's minty!! That's my final answer.
Rick: Why did my mother used to threaten to wash my mouth out with soap?
Lisa: "How you do say 'stop being so FRESH or I'll tighten your lederhosen!' in German?"
Rick: Nicely done. Thanks for doing this, and best of luck with the new gig.
Lisa: Thank you!
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