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April 1, 2007 - April 7, 2007 Archives

April 1, 2007


More scans from old TV Guides? Why, sure. From December, 1976, believe it or not, in Fargo:

This one looks like it could be from 1956, but the Fargo and Grand Forks markets always lagged, TV-wise. "Dependable Dewey" was Dewey Bergquist, who was on the air there for decades- there's an interview here with him about a long-gone hotel in which he worked while at KVOX. Anyway, he was "sweeping the sky for impending turbulence," which, I suppose, is a good thing. WDAY-WDAZ are now the ABC affiliates for eastern North Dakota, for what it's worth.

From March 1979 in Philadelphia:

Bill Currie was a flamboyant sportscaster with a southern accent, huge glasses and sometimes a bowtie who'd been a hit at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh when Westinghouse imported him to KDKA's sister station in Philadelphia, KYW-TV, in 1978. He was there in '78-'79 before they threw in the towel- he just didn't fit in Philly. I remember watching him and thinking that someone had made a horrible mistake- he didn't know the local teams and personalities, he didn't really seem to know all that much about sports, and his whole schtick seemed to be geared towards making a lot of noise and fake controversy without really saying anything. He'd been a legend in North Carolina as the voice of the Tar Heels, the "Mouth of the South," but you can't walk into Philly with an act like that and succeed.

That was one of the first incidents to teach me a lesson that served me well in radio- heed the local customs. Don't come in and assume you'll show 'em how it's done in the big time. KYW sent Currie packing that year; last I heard, he'd been a lay preacher, then fell into ill health and was in a nursing home in Olympia, Washington. Googling brought up a few folks in Pittsburgh and Carolina with fond memories and curiosity about him; I don't think you'd find that in Philly. Can't please everyone. But if you're gonna do sports in Philadelphia, do your homework.


April 2, 2007


It is a good day, because...

...hope springs eternal. It's warm and sunny everywhere.

('Course, it would have been better had the Phillies won...)


April 3, 2007


Back to September 3, 1968 for this special on NBC:

It was the final episode of a summer talent contest. "American Idol"? Check out who competed in this series: The New Colony Six, the Pozo Seco Singers (including country star Don Williams), the American Breed, Tom Rush, Tammy Wynette, the Craig Hundley Trio (featuring the kid who played Kirk's nephew on "Star Trek"!), Archie Bell and the Drells, the Cryan Shames, Julie Budd (that's her in the picture with host Lloyd Thaxton), Sly and the Family Stone, Andrea Marcovicci, and the 1910 Fruitgum Co., all of whom went on to varying stages of success. Guests included Neil Diamond, Jackie Vernon (!), London Lee (!!), Della Reese, Bobby Vinton, the Box Tops, and Carmen McRae.

The winner? Sly. The prize? $10,000. (He already had a contract and records- a top 10 hit that year with "Dance To the Music")

And Lloyd Thaxton, well, I remember watching his syndicated dance show in the late 60s- he was the west coast equivalent of Clay Cole or Jerry Blavat. The big thing on his show was how he'd lip sync songs- the show was loose and kinda weird, as if "American Bandstand" had been taken over by some guy off the street. After the show disappeared from syndication, I often wondered whatever happened to him. Turns out he never really went away, moving on to produce and write and direct TV shows, and he's blogging, too. In 1968, he was the equivalent of Ryan Seacrest. Let's see what Seacrest's doing in 2047.


April 4, 2007


Busy night tonight- had a lot to do. So content yourself with this from 1976:

Oh, but you want that Fonzie Doll. Who wouldn't? $2.95 plus an end flap from Junior Mints- a bargain. And it was a 16 inch doll, not that eight inch Mego deal with the oddly narrow waist. Throw in a buck and you got a Fonz Fling, too. Here's a Fonz Fling. Hey, for a buck, a cheap plastic Not-Frisbee (R) is a bargain.

But check out the trademark slogan on the coupon. "Ay-Ay!" TM ? He didn't say "Ay-Ay!" He said "Aaaaaaaaaayyyyy!" One syllable, eloquent and simple.

And why is there a picture of a slightly melted Fred Gwynne in the upper right of this ad?

I'd love to know who won the trip to Hollywood and the cameo on "Happy Days." I checked- nothing on the Net. And there are none of these Fonzie Dolls on eBay, either- just the commercially available Mego dolls. You're too late for this promotion, unless you're reading this before May 31, 1977.

They don't make schlocky promotions like this anymore.


April 5, 2007


This week's All Access newsletter was prompted by hearing an infomercial-style radio show hosted by a non-infomercial-style host, and my musing about integrity and what it's worth to sell it:

If there's something that bothers me more than the performance of the Phillies bullpen, it's... well, actually, nothing's bothering me more than the Phillies bullpen right now. If there's anything that bothers me close to how much I'm bothered by the Phillies bullpen, it's... well, it's a lot of other stuff about the Phillies, so let's just skip down the list to the latest thing that's bothering me about radio, which involves, in a way, infomercials and brokered programming. Sure, you know what I'd say about those things- they hurt stations long term and give a bad image to your station and blah blah blah. You could just as easily write that for me. And it's all for naught- if your GM can get $500 or $1,000 or even $1,500 for a half hour that the sales department says it can't sell anyway, your arguments against selling the time will go unheeded. Money is money, especially when it's cash up front. But that's not the topic for this letter.

No, this is for hosts and PDs who might be tempted by some quick, easy money (and who among us isn't?). When I'm driving around on the weekends, I occasionally hear infomercials and brokered shows with familiar voices. They're "co-hosted" by some of the same hosts who do regular, non-brokered, non-infomercial shows on the same stations. You get hours of selling "health products" or financial products or whatever, and the doctor selling the colon cleanser or the guy selling adjustable rate no-money-down mortgages are accompanied by a host who you'll hear during the week talking about, well, other things, but definitely not medicine or loan rates. I don't know how prevalent this is in smaller markets, but I've heard it in a few major and medium markets. And I know it's also been done within regular weekday shows, too- a "guest" is really a client, and the "topic" is really a sales pitch or promotion.

A talk host has to have integrity. Your appeal to listeners includes your believability, no matter what you're talking about, no matter what your act may be. Even if you're a comedian, even if all you do is goof on stuff, your listeners want to believe- NEED to believe- that you're real and you're honest. And then they hear you sell some snake oil, and they discover you're quite willing to do anything for a buck.

Listen, I don't begrudge anyone a living. And I don't think this is the same as doing live reads and endorsements... although radio people ought to be a LOT more careful about that (need I remind you about certain weight loss products heavily advertised on radio shows that took a lot of hosts' reputations down a few notches when the FTC got involved?). People know that a commercial is a commercial, even when read live by a host. But an infomercial is a different animal, and when a familiar host is feigning interest in a miracle cure for joint pain or reverse mortgages and revocable living trusts, you're just not going to hear that host in the same way again.

That's not worth the extra paycheck. It really isn't. If you're a host, think about that before you say yes to one of these things. And if you're a PD, do whatever you can to dissuade your sales department from using your regular talent to co-host with Dr. Bombay on the ColonExplosion (TM) Hour of Health. If you have to run those things, you're best off keeping everything about your station- your talent, your production elements, your call letters, even your phone number- far, far away from them.

And now that I've shamed you into poverty, let's talk about preparing your regular show, and specifically where you can find the kind of material that you can use when you're not talking about intestinal problems or home equity loans, Talk Topics at All Access News-Talk-Sports. This week, the topics include whether multiple marriages are more of a stigma for women than men, the Sanjaya crisis dissected and analyzed and fricasseed into submission, why it's always a good time for pancakes, how Craigslist can be used for evil, Miami's unusual solution on where to put sex offenders, why New York City is launching a big promotional campaign for circumcision, the curious case of the cross-dressing fireman, why you might want to run a background check before your next date, another engagement ring dispute, why you don't want to ride a horse while under the influence but it's okay to scrape an ice rink while intoxicated, why the words "unlicensed day-care" are never the sign of anything good in a news story, the heartwarming story of Ynot Bubba, and way more than anyone needed to know about the pet food recall or what Keith Richards may or may not have sent up his nose. After that, check out "10 Questions With..." Jones Radio Networks syndicated morning host Bill Press, the Talent Toolkit with some baseball sites worth bookmarking, and the rest of All Access with Net News (first/fastest/best insudtry coverage), the Industry Directory, ratings, Mediabase charts, columns, message boards, job listings, and much more, all free. All the cool kids do it.

Next week: a special edition of the Letter- find out how you can lower your cholesterol, pay off your debt, and achieve the kind of bedroom performance of which you have always dreamed. Or maybe not.


April 6, 2007


I was in a bad mood all day.

What might snap me out of this?

A Phillies win? Maybe.

Larry Hagman wearing wacky hats? Definitely.

Well, then, from July 1979:

Much better.


April 7, 2007


It was only after I shut the computer off in disgust- Ryan Madson and Clay Condrey, and Ryan Howard continuing his epic slump- that I realized I'd not posted anything here today. It's just as well, considering my lousy mood. And I'm not turning the computer back on, either. Or doing anything other that pecking this out on the cell phone while catching up with the TV we missed this week- "The Shield" is on now, and we're only about eight hours behind on "24" (and not caring much).

Saw a provocative piece on the future of media that echoes some of what I've written, but I'm not going to do it on the cell phone. Maybe tomorrow, maybe this week. Tonight, I'm off... in more ways than one.


About April 2007

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in April 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 25, 2007 - March 31, 2007 is the previous archive.

April 8, 2007 - April 14, 2007 is the next archive.

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