Thursday, November 27, 2008

Media Notebook (November 27, 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

Happy Thanksgiving! No media notebook today. If you'd like to read Tuesday's column, click on the link above.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Suburban Man: Oh Stewardess, I speak Pokemon

By Rick Kaempfer

Remember that scene in airplane when the stewardess can't understand what the two African-American gentlemen are saying because they are using thick slang? June Cleaver taps her on the shoulder to say: "Oh stewardess, I speak jive."

Well, I feel the same way whenever strangers are listening to Sean and Johnny talk to each other in Pokemon. It's a foreign language that no-one above the age of 14 is supposed to understand. And like the reaction June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) gets when she speaks jive, I get a few double-takes when I speak Pokemon to the boys in public.

Here's a sample conversation:

Sean: How come you get to be parasect but I'm goldeen?
Johnny: Goldeen has 60HP. That's not bad.
Dad: Johnny, be fair. One's water and one's grass.
Johnny: Then let's do fire.
Sean: I'm Magmortar.
Johnny: OK, then I'm Charizard.
Sean: NO!
Dad: That's fair, Sean. Both of them have over 100HP.
Sean: But...
Dad: Sean, he gave you first choice.
Johnny: Pokebattle!
Sean: Smoke Bomb!
Johnny: Aaaaah. Combustion!
Sean: Aaaaah. Flame Drum!
Johnny: Missed me.
Dad: Johnny! You know you can't do that.
Johnny: What?
Dad: How did it miss you?
Sean: Yeah! That has 80HP!
Johnny: Charizard can use a bursting inferno to deflect.
Dad: You know it's only 50HP. Cmon, now. Play fair.

It's taken me years to figure it out, mind you, but I think I've finally gotten it down. I learned it for the same reason I learned everything else in my house.

To break up fights.

I'm sure all the translators at the State Department learned their languages for the same reason. And while you may laugh at the meaninglessness of my Pokemon knowledge, I'd like you to keep one thing in mind: If kids take over the world, who do you think they'll want to keep around more? You or me?

I always keep an extra Machamp in my pocket, just in case.

It's got 130HP.

Monday, November 24, 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 "B". Check out these new products!

BANANA GUARD - Protect Your Banana!

Are you fed up with bringing bananas to work or school only to find them bruised and squashed? Banana Guard allows you to safely transport and store individual bananas letting you enjoy perfect bananas anytime, anywhere.


Lock Cup - Anti-Theft Coffee Cup. Are you tired of others stealing your coffee cup? Well now there's a solution. The Lock - Cup has a hole which prevents most people from using it. Only the owner of the cup can use his/hers shaped key to close the hole.


You love toast, but you always burn it? Than, this invention us for you. This transparent toaster allows you to see the bread while it is toasting so you just have to take it out when the color is right. This idea is based on a transparent heating glass technology.


One Click Butter Cutter controls your portion as an important part of staying healthy. This ingenious butter cutter delivers one standard pat with each click of the handle.


Never lose your remote again! With giant buttons, this extra-large remote is easy to use and impossible to lose. It's a 6-in-1 remote so you can use it to control your TV, VCR, DVD player, satellite, cable and auxiliary A/V device. It even features glow-in-the-dark buttons, so you can easily find the remote in the dark. (You can buy them at WalGreen's for $10 and give it to the person who usually holds same in a death grip but when detached always asks . Have you seen ...?)


What day is today? You don't know? Then you need a Day Clock. It's uniquely designed to keep track of weekly events like your golf day, card night, movie night, and so much more. It's ideal for vacations and cruises when it's easy to lose track of the day.


Chalk outline crime scene beach towel - be the coolest person on the beach!


Laser Scissors Cutting a straight line has never been easier. Just aim the pin-point laser and follow the line. The scissor blades are stainless steel and cut very clean with a micro edge.


'Who left the Toilet Seat up?' The Peace Maker will end the battle of the toilet seat. Merely step on the pedal to activate the lifting mechanism. When finished, remove your foot from the pedal and the seat gently comes to a rest where it started.


Do you get up at night to drink water, go to the toilet.... Do you wish you could see in the dark? Remarkably bright LED lights are triggered by your footsteps and light up the floor 30 feet in front of you; ultra-soft plush style are extra comfortable and cozy warm. (Now I would clarify this as a necessity!)

The Zaky is an ergonomic infant pillow designed by a mom to mimic the size, weight, touch, and feel of her hand and forearm to help her baby with comfort, support, protection, and development. The Zaky can help calm your baby and help your baby sleep better through the night.


If you are traveling a lot and don't always know the language of the country you are visiting, then this T-shirt is for you. It has a phrase book printed on it so just point a finger at the pictogram you need and then point it twice at the question mark, which means, 'Where is it?' and in no time you have found what you were looking for... Or not. (Another possibility for the foreign language impaired)


Whether you want to sit on the sun or in the shade, near the river or under the tree.. Now you have your movable bench, to sit wherever you like.

Stories you might have missed

1. The Matrix runs on Windows
(There may be a few bugs...)

2. Recession hits World's Oldest Profession
(I guess when you're getting screwed at work, you suddenly don't crave it elsewhere.)

3. Bob Woodward analyzes the difference between Obama and Bush
(And this is a guy who has written 4 books about Bush.)

4. Panda attacks man who wanted to cuddle
(Even I would attack a man who wanted to cuddle...)

5. Denny Diamond & the Family Jewels
(The very talented Jeff Hoover from the WGN-TV morning show)

Video of the week: Contributed by "S". An interesting fountain.

Photo of the week: Don't forget it's Christmas shopping season, and the Cubs fan on your list will love this t-shirt (which perfectly represents the way they feel after 100 years.)

Get yours today!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chicago Radio Spotlight: Koz

Kevin Koz Koske is the afternoon host at the Mix, WTMX (101.9 FM)

Rick: Despite the fact that you've worked all over the country (L.A., Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Denver), you're a Chicago boy. Compare the degree of difficulty integrating your show into a market you don't know at all to doing a show in your home town.

Koz: I think it was easier to do a show in a market I hadn’t grown up in. Growing up listening to major-market radio here in Chicago and Los Angeles made it easy to bring a big market approach to smaller markets. I always want things to sound bigger than life.

As far as my show, it’s been easy to plug myself into a new market because the same rule applies no matter where you are. Talk about what other people are talking about. I’ve never been a “guy from Chicago” doing a show in Palm Springs (Photo: KCMJ-Palm Springs studios 1991), L.A., Denver or anywhere else I’ve been. I’m just a guy on the radio who involves listeners in the show, taps into their lifestyle and keeps things local with the overall goal being to “marry the market.”

Being on the air in Chicago, my hometown, has been a dream come true. There’s a sense of pride that comes with it along with a dose of humility. A lot of the personalities I grew up listening to are still a big part of this city. It’s privilege to be on the air along with them.

Rick: You grew up in Chicago during the 70s and 80s, during a time when some pretty outstanding radio personalities graced the airwaves. Who were your favorites growing up?

Koz: I was always glued to ‘LS as a kid. Everything about it was magical and bigger than life. I loved listening to Larry Lujack and Tommy Edwards for “Animal Stories” and, of course, “Boogie Check” with Landecker.

But when I was 13, I discovered “Steve and Garry” and that’s when I fell in love with radio. I would run home everyday from Grove Jr. High to listen to them and I taped everything they did, so I could listen to it when they weren’t on. Of course, my mom didn’t think the show was appropiate and I lost my radio more than once while listening to “The Worst Seat in the House.” It only made me listen more.

Then came Brandmeier. A group of us would sit around a lunch table at school and talk about his show like you would talk about a TV show. Exploding Phone Booths, Mouth Guitar Contests, Piranha Man and, like Steve Dahl, Brandmeier had a band! Life was good and radio was great until I moved to L.A. when I was 15, but I had friends send me tapes of Steve & Garry, Brandmeier, Kevin Matthews, Alan Kabel, Spike O’Dell and anything else I could get my hands on.

Rick: I think it's safe to say that your show has a certain level of irreverence. I love your show rules. Would you mind sharing those with people who may not be familiar with your show?

Koz: I think any hint of irreverence came from doing the “Sorry List” at the end of my show. Apologizing to people while playing Patsy Cline has left it’s mark.

The show rules were created on the train one night. I came up with 10 because 3 didn’t seem like enough. A few of the rules…
Rule 1: What happens on the show stays on the show.
I don’t have a podcast. So obviously, everything that happens stays on the show.

Rule 2: I always answer my own phone.
I’ve never had a phone-op or a producer. Nothing is better than an unprompted listener and their reactions. I don’t ever want to miss an opportunity to make a listener a star.

Rules 6 and 7: Indiana calls are subject to humor and Wisconsin calls are subject to “stereo-type.” These are in the spirit of good old Chicago rivalry.

Rule 9: Friday email must be sent in ALL CAPS. It’s FRIDAY! If it arrives in lower case, it gets answered on Monday.

Rick: How would you describe your show to people who have never heard it before?

Koz: (Photo: Koz and friends at Wrigley) I joke around that my job description is to make sure that you are not doing your job. My “Kill a Half Hour” (3:20p-3:50p) is themed around that and there’s a web element to the show with Koz’s Corner for anyone who wants to screw around at work or just dive deeper into something mentioned on the show. I like to think I give people an escape from the everyday worries of life. If I can take somebody’s mind off their problems for a minute then it’s been a good day.

Rick: In the PPM ratings, the Mix is a powerhouse. PPM ratings have also shown that middays and afternoons may be just as important (if not even more important) as morning drive. Has that changed your approach in anyway?

Koz: My approach has always been to do every show as if it were my last. That hasn’t changed with PPM. You still have to make every break count and you still have to relate to your audience. You have to work hard to leave an impression with them that keeps them wanting more.

Rick: The Mix is owned by Bonneville. You've worked for all sorts of different companies (Entercom, CBS, Gannett, Salem) so you can answer this better than anyone. Working for Bonneville really is a different experience than working for any other radio company, isn't it? What are the differences as you see them?

Koz: I’ve had the privilege of working for some great companies during my career and to now be working for Bonneville is a blessing. Bonneville has an exceptional work environment and their commitment to this industry, as well as the community, is really something special.

Rick: Recently one major company announced that they would start voice-tracking evenings in addition to overnights (which many companies already voice-track). Are you worried about the future of music jocking?

Koz: I was sad to hear about this because traditionally, nights have been a testing ground for new talent in smaller markets. You still have to put talent on your radio station to be successful, so I think there’s always going to be a need for jocks. But consolidation weeded out a lot of “C” students and now economic budget cuts are taking their toll. No question it’s a tough time. For me, as a former programmer, I’m concerned about where the next generation of talent is going to come from and what opportunities they will be presented with because they are the future of our industry.

Rick: You've been in Chicago now for four years. What have been a few of your favorite moments on the air?

Koz: Here are a few...

• Asking Gwen Stefani what her favorite cuss word was.
• Pitching Simon Cowell on the idea of turning the presidential election into a reality competition called “American President.” He liked it.
• As a father, being a part of “Eric and Kathy’s 36-Hour Radiothon” for Children’s Memorial Hospital here in Chicago.
• Putting my mom on the air for the first time (right after I started at The Mix) only to have her put me on hold. It was her way of telling me to never do it again.

Rick: We share a sickness. I saw the picture of you and your son dressed in full Cubbie-regalia--which means you've also passed along this sickness to the next generation (as I have). Is it ever going to happen for us or are we both engaging in a form of child abuse by making our children into Cubs fans?

Koz: You know the Chicago rule, “You are what your dad is.” Austin just turned 2 and he’s already seen the Cubs in the play-offs twice and the Bears play in the Super Bowl. How long did we have to wait to see that? This child is leading a charmed life. But as much as I want the Cubs to win the World Series, I’m terrified of the thought. Can you imagine? If we finally win it, what the hell are we gonna do?