Thursday, July 19, 2007

The summer, so far

As the summer season reaches its peak, it seems that news in the media biz has slumped somewhat. Like last summer, there just isn't a whole heck of a lot going on. At least not a whole lot to write about. Meaning that I've been taking a bit of a break (as it often seems like I'm handcuffed to this crazy thing). Now, I'm not saying that I'm about to ditch LTR and venture off into the sunset, but a little break now and then is never a bad thing, right?

I've been keeping busy, doing stuff such as learning how to outdo Maaco on the car with house paint and a roller and how to build a sideways bicycle. Oh, the fun of summer!

In today's fun-filled episode of LTR, I felt it would be a good idea to bring you all up to date on various goings-on across the land.

First off, a breaking news story in the Mike Webb case. KIRO-TV reports that police have arrested a suspect in the murder of the Seattle talk radio host. Scott White, 28, was previously described as a "person of interest" in the case. Police said he was arrested without incident last night. White was allegedly one of the last people to see Webb alive.

Speaking of Seattle, the city's Town Hall was the location last Saturday night for a big standing room only shindig featuring some of the biggest names in liberal talk. Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Mike Malloy, and the Young Turks (Ben Mankiewicz, and Cenk Uygur) were all there at the event, and there weren't even any fights. Just kidding. The event was sponsored by local libtalker KPTK (1090). If you missed it (and I'm sure many of you did), you can catch podcasts of the event at KPTK's website.

Elsewhere, Bob and the gang at Air America Place have been quite busy. As of earlier this week, they are now hosting free archives of just about every single show ever broadcast on Air America Radio. That means you can hear what Randi Rhodes was talking about three years ago. Or listen to long-forgotten shows like "Unfiltered" or "So What Else Is News" with Marty Kaplan, or even old favorites like "Morning Sedition" and Jerry Springer. In short, Air America Premium carries newer shows done in the past month. After that, they go to Air America Place. The shows in the deep archives are free, but if you plan on going on a wild downloading spree, consider flipping them a few bucks, since bandwidth can get a bit expensive. This is all donation-driven, so keep that in mind or it will be gone. You can start exploring the vast Air America archives here.

As stated before, the bandwidth for podcasting costs money. Some sites, such as White Rose Society, rely on donations. Some have sponsor-supported underwriting to cover expenses. Others do it for free (such as Clear Channel and CBS-owned radio stations, which offer a generous amount of podcasts). And others, such as Air America, Nova M and Stephanie Miller, have to charge money in some cases to offset bandwidth costs. Add to the latter Ed Schultz. Podcasts and audio highlights from Schultz' show are from here on out available only to subscribers. The price tag? A mere $5.95 per month. Now, I've never been a fan of charging for podcasts and audio archives, but I do realize that this stuff costs money. One idea would be to offer lower quality files, which take up less space and use less bandwidth. Sure, Mike Malloy's show sounds great at near soundboard quality 128k. But 64k would do the job nearly as well, and use up less space. Nova M does offer a 24k version of the show, which gets the job done and can fit easier on an iPod Nano. Another solution would be the underwriting method, where a sponsor helps to pay for it, in exchange for a commercial at the beginning and/or end. Emmis does this with Jonathan Brandmeier's morning show clips from WLUP in Chicago, and I think it works well. And this way, the audio clips can reach many more ears.

Sadly, ESPN Radio's best on-air host, Dan Patrick, is leaving both the radio and TV sides of the network after a total of 18 years. He currently holds down a three hour afternoon show on the radio end, and still hosts the afternoon version of TV's SportsCenter. Patrick felt that his efforts as of late have not been up to his personal standards, and he's been feeling a bit burned out. He also wants to spend more time with his children. He won't be replacing Bob Barker on The Price Is Right, as had been rumored. In fact, he's signed a new deal with a company called The Content Factory, which will produce various multimedia projects featuring Patrick, including a radio show. The first person to be offered Patrick's ESPN Radio gig was old friend and frequent co-host Keith Olbermann. Olbermann, citing his busy schedule with his main gig, MSNBC's Countdown, declined. He may however resurface on the radio, in the same role as before on Patrick's new show. Patrick's final ESPN Radio show and SportsCenter appearance will be August 17. No word on when his new one will begin. In the meantime, Patrick will still be hawking sub sandwiches.

Speaking of Olbermann, he'll be moderating the AFL-CIO's Democratic Presidential Forum on August 7. Congrats!

Back in May, former Air America Radio VP John Manzo was hired by upstart rival Nova M Radio to be their Chief Operating Officer (COO). And now, he has moved up the corporate food chain to the CEO position. "What took you so long?" quipped Manzo. "Seriously though, what I viewed as a plucky company with exciting potential just a month ago has quickly been shaped into a well-focused organization with a fresh, incredibly sound business strategy going forward." Manzo will continue to oversee all aspects of programming, sales, operations, affiliate relations and web strategy for the Nova M Radio Network and its flagship Phoenix affiliate, KPHX. In addition to Nova M and Air America, Manzo is a 20-year veteran of Saga, Jacor and Clear Channel.

And finally, speaking of Nova M Radio, since news has been traveling slow as of late, LTR failed to notice that nighttime host Mike Malloy celebrated his 65th birthday on July 1. One gift he received was what he referred to as "geezer slippers." Happy belated birthday, Mike.


Jim said...

what happened to stephanie miller's testimony to the democrats today? she announced iton her show yesterday -- where's the coverage? or did it not happen?

Corie said...

She will most likely talk about it on her show tomorrow morning...did Ed even mention she was there with him?

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