Jim Walsh's Big Hairy Weblog Thingy

Friday, March 31, 2006

Not that I'm cynical in my old age, but...

Quote of the week, from the great Phil Hendrie, interviewed in this week's All Access, a radio industry web site:

"One must be mindful of the fact that 97% of all radio management people, at every level, wouldn't recognize great radio if it walked up to them and kissed them full on the mouth."

Other than the 97% figure being a bit low...


Livin' On A Prayer

A study fails to prove that prayer works (which I realize is not necessarily the same as proving it fails to work, though that's probably true).

My view on the subject is summed up by a great disc jockey I remember from my childhood, one Bill Wright, who closed his show every day thus:

"Prayer doesn't change things. Prayer changes people; people change things."

Works for me...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's, Like, Soooooooooooooo Over...

As you know if you have any experience in the squawk radio genre, there are certain topics that it's best to stay away from, e.g. abortion, gun control, etc. These are the topics that are played out as talk fodder and attract the "organized callers," repeating the same talking points ad nauseum, boring the rest of us to tears.

To that list I would now add: Immigration, illegal or otherwise. Damn near every host on the planet is talking about it, and not a single one of them has anything fresh or original to say on the subject.

I would propose a moratorium on immigration as a topic. Yeah, I know: dream on. In an industry where most hosts seem to think people in the real world actually give a rat's patoot about the finer points of national politics, I'm sure it'll be more of the same ol' same ol'...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Cryin' Time

Buck Owens passed away this weekend. He's remembered mostly for his part in a cheesy syndicated TV show, and that's unfortunate because in his day the Buckster was a true groundbreaker in what was then called Country & Western. Buck's lead guitarist, the late Don Rich, was in his own right one of the unsung heroes of the Americana/alternative/progressive/outlaw/No Depression/X-Country movement.

For a better appreciation of Buck and the Buckaroos, a good place to start is here...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"Juicy" Quote Of The Week

Mike Lupica on the Barry Bonds mess:

Do we now set the bar so low for our sports stars that somebody gets to be called a standup guy because he DOESN'T lie to grand juries? Because he does what you're SUPPOSED to do?

Sports stars, hell; how about politicians...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Dead On

Now here's a psychic I can endorse...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Remembering Dana


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Slobodan Milosevic R.I.P. (not)

Welly welly well. Look who just assumed room temprature....

Consider yourself cleansed, muthahfuckah...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Stumbling Over The Truth

I mentioned the talk radio powwow in DC last week. From that event comes a glimmer of hope, via Radio & Records Online:

Monday, March 6, 2006
Talk Study: 'Talent Trumps Ideology'

In the third edition of his company's "Talk Radio in America" survey series, Benchmark Co. CEO Dr. Rob Balon said listener response demonstrates that who's on the air is more important than the topics being discussed. "The fact that you label yourself doesn't mean a hoot to listeners," Balon said during the R&R Talk Radio Seminar session dubbed, "Exploding the Myths of Talk Radio."
Balon also said that with the ever-growing pool of Talk hosts, branding your station's talent is more important than ever. "People relate to talent," he said. "If I can't remember who's on that station, I am less likely to push that [preset] button. Awareness can trigger selection."
In fact, he said it was R&R TRS keynote speaker and Premiere Radio Networks host Rush Limbaugh's talent — not his politics — that lead him to success. "Rush could have been a liberal," said Balon. "What makes him go is show prep and the talent he brings to that microphone every day. If other hosts had a fraction of his preparedness, they'd be better."
Still, Balon pointed to study results that show a decline in listenership to Limbaugh's brand of conservative Talk and suggested that the number of similar hosts may be hitting a "saturation point." In this latest study, the number of respondents who label themselves as conservatives, compared to the 2003 edition of the "Talk Radio in America" survey, fell 4%, to 39%, while the number of moderates rose 5%, to 34%. "If you look at the decline in conservative listeners, the perception that all Talk Radio listeners are conservative isn't true," said Balon. "You'd better reach the others, too, and make sure they're listening and engaged."

— Joe Howard, R&R Washington Bureau Chief

Unfortunately, I suspect that in this case Sir Winston was right - that having stumbled over the truth, the bulk of talk programmers will merely hurry off and get on with business as usual...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Ain't It Scary...

...just how much free time some folks seem to have...

UPDATE: Ah-hah...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Random Notes From The Academy Awards Show

Jon Stewart’s opener had its moments, but went on about five minutes too long.

I did like the montage of “gay” cowboy moments.

Nice small moment: Jacquin Phoenix bristling at some Jon Stewart crack about Walk The Line

The two Wallace and Gromit guys were genuinely charming and refreshingly unpolished. They made for the kind of moment that makes this stupid show halfway worth watching. Sometimes.

All right, really…what the hell is Jennifer Aniston doing there?

An hour into this, and already the George Clooney jokes are getting reeeeealy old…

It was sad watching Lauren Bacall struggle through her intro to the film noir tribute.

The backdrop to the song from Crash was a bit much.

Please, please, please…never again with montage of “socially relevant” films - it’s self-congratulatory, bourgeois-liberal bullshit. (I loved Stewart’s mocking response: “And none of those issues were ever a problem again.”)

…and while we’re at it, somebody tell the president of the academy that nobody really wants to hear his crap. Shut up and sit down, dude.

Itzhak Perlman…cool!

Bob Altman...also cool!

Memo to Selma Hayek: two words…diction lessons!

I honestly had no idea that Meryl Streep was the most-nominated actor of all-time. Geez, the one day I don’t read the papers…

Lily Tomlin makes a joke about the movie Nashville. The camera goes right to Dolly Parton. Yeah, tell me that wasn’t staged…

I’m delighted that It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp got Song Of The Year, if only so we all could see what had to be the Best! Acceptance! Speech! Ever!

Genuinely moving: the acceptance of the award for Foreign Language Film.

Nice little moment when Dustin Hoffman stumbled and laughed it off.

Ang Lee is one director who knows how to insert politics into an acceptance speech without coming off as a heavy-handed asshole. Actually, he’s probably the only one…

After all these years, Jack Nicholson is still Captain Cool…

One final nice moment: you could tell the producers of Crash didn't really expect to win.

Not that it really hikes my skirt one way or another, but I was kinda hoping Brokeback would win, if only for the thoroughly entertaining right-wing spectacle we could look forward to the next day...

We’re done. Go to bed...

Paris Layout (no, not THAT Paris)

Click here (loading may take some time) for a panorama of The City Of Lights. Super-neato stuff (but what's the deal with the big oil well in the middle of town)...

Night Of Ten Thousand Rushes

The Nation's Capitol hosted another Talk Radio convention this weekend. I didn't go, but some friends of mine did, and from what I hear and read, I'm kinda glad I stayed home.

I've weighed in on these conventions before; check it out here.

And if you really wanna know what it's like, listen to this...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Mr. Mojo Rising

This past week marked the anniversary (if you want to call it that) of the day the Lizard King throttled his gecko, committing the original Wardrobe Malfunction before an audience of ten-thousand some in Miami. Ever since, hard-core rock fans and other people with too much time on their hands have debated whether he actually did it (one thing on which everybody agrees is that the show itself sucked to high heaven; Riders On The Storm notwithstanding, 1969 was already well beyond Jump The Shark time for Jimmy and the boys).

Let me put the controversy to rest: I have it from a reliable source (i.e. a friend of my brother) who was actually there. No two ways about it…he did it.

Nativists, Go Home!

The Southern Poverty Law (the civil rights law group run by Morris Dees) has an excellent series of articles on their site exposing the true, ugly nature of the "close the borders" gang.

And for more on Squawk Radio's preoccupation with the subject go here.

I don't endorse Morris Dees on every issue, but in this case he's on the money.

Insert Your Own "Brokeback Penguin" Joke Here

This week's "oh, for crying out loud" story from Yahoo News via AP:

A children's book about two male penguins that raise a baby penguin has been moved to the nonfiction section of two public library branches after parents complained it had homosexual undertones.
The illustrated book, "And Tango Makes Three," is based on a true story of two male penguins, named Roy and Silo, who adopted an abandoned egg at New York City's Central Park Zoo in the late 1990s.
The book, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, was moved from the children's section at two Rolling Hills' Consolidated Library's branches in Savannah and St. Joseph in northwest Missouri.
Two parents had expressed concerns about the book last month.
Barbara Read, the Rolling Hills' director, said experts report that adoptions aren't unusual in the penguin world. However, moving the book to the nonfiction section would decrease the chance that it would "blindside" readers, she said.

And you will kindly keep your Chilly Willy jokes to yourself, thank you very much...

Cool & Strange

Mike Rogers is a former musician turned writer living in Japan; periodically, he writes on his favorite subject, Cool and Strange Music, which inspired me to list some of my own C&S faves. Enjoy:

Makoche Company

The Makoche is a world-class recording studio (right here in North Dakota) that specializes in preserving the music and spoken-word traditions of Native-American culture in the Dakotas and beyond. I give their catalogue the highest possible recommendation.

Hamilton Camp

Best known as an actor (particularly his work in the Star Trek franchise) the late Hamilton Camp also made a mark as a singer-songwriter in the sixties in the vein of folkies like Bob Lind and the early Neil Diamond. Camp’s collaborations with Bob Gibson hold their own with the best neo-folk of the era, and his one Top Forty hit, Here’s To You, is the essence of trippy late-sixties pop.

Beach Music

“In 1954 our music wasn’t known to any white people, outside of a few kids at the University Of Virginia.”
-Jerry Wexler on the rise of Atlantic Records

The story of how white kids in the segregated South discovered what was then called “race” music is a fascinating one; which brings us to Beach Music.
Beach Music is not, as one would expect, synonymous with Surf Music; it’s literally a continent away. Specifically it’s the blend of pop, early rock and light R&B indigenous to the Virginia and Carolina resort areas. Though the genre includes some legitimate hits, like General Johnson’s Give Me Just A Little More Time, and Bruce Channel’s Hey Baby, most of the stuff is rather obscure.
The acid test for any Beach song is simple: can you shag to it? The Shag is a looser, sexier variation on the Lindy three-step – tailor made for dancing in the sand by campfire light. Generations of Carolina kids have memories of learning to shag partnerless in their bedroom, holding onto a doorknob!
The Ocean Boulevard box set is among the definitive Beach Music collections.

Charlie Feathers

Totally lacking Elvis’s TV-friendly looks, Charlie Feathers made up for it in the power of his music. Among fans of hard-core rockabilly, Feathers is the Real Deal.

Atomic Platters

Something to listen to during your next Civil Defense drill…Nuclear-themed ditties along with snippets of Cold War poplorica (like the PSA with Groucho Marx, explaining how “excellent” one's chances were of surviving the Big One). The adjective “Strangelovian” was made for stuff like this.

The Crusin’ Series

Produced in the seventies by radio programmer Ron Jacobs, this year-by-year series of Top-40 radio “recreations” features some of the actual DJs of the era. One volume of the series, the 1957 album featuring Philly’s Joe Niagara, was actually incorporated into the stage version of Grease in the mid-seventies. WARNING: the original pressings have the genuine hit versions of the songs; when the series was reissued in later years, many of the original hit versions were replaced, presumably for legal or production reasons, with cheesy re-recordings. Try to get the vinyl originals, if you can; otherwise, carpe diem...

The Golden Age Of Underground Radio Vols. I and II

The FM “underground” version of the Crusin’ series, these two volumes do it one better by including airchecks (snippets of the actual shows) of San Francisco DJ Tom Donahue (who literally invented the FM album-oriented rock format) and LA’s B. Mitchell Reed. A must for fans of classic rock radio.

More to come. Happy listenin'...

Welcome Back

Good to be back. Seems we were having some kinda problem with the ol' blogware, and I couldn't even sign in for a week or so. Whatever it was is apparently now fixed.

Among items of interest from the past few days: the passings of Dennis Weaver, Curt Gowdy, Jack Wild (of Oliver and H.R. Pufnstuff fame) and author Harry Browne, who ran for president on the Libertarian ticket (yes, I voted for him) and wrote one of the few truly useful self-help books of the seventies, How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World. R.I.P. all.