Thursday, October 23, 2008

More news for short-attention spans

As we mark the 12 day mark until the presidential election, here's some of the stuff I haven't covered yet.

Maddow in the New York Times

Catching up with some various tidbits over the past week, we start with yet another profile of Air America and MSNBC phenom Rachel Maddow, this one a New York Times piece published Monday. Here's an excerpt:

Rachel Maddow, a woman who does not own a television set, has done something that is virtually unheard of: she has doubled the audience for a cable news channel’s 9 p.m. hour in a matter of days.

More important for her bosses at MSNBC is that “The Rachel Maddow Show,” her left-leaning news and commentary program, has averaged a higher rating among 25- to 54-year-olds than “Larry King Live” on CNN for 13 of the 25 nights she has been host. While the average total audience of her program remains slightly smaller than that of Mr. King’s, Ms. Maddow, 35, has made MSNBC competitive in that time slot for the first time in a decade. The channel at that hour has an average viewership of 1.7 million since she started on Sept. 8, compared with 800,000 before.

Given that advertising dollars — and the reputations of networks — rise and fall on prime-time ratings, Ms. Maddow’s rise has been closely watched by media executives.

“I’m pinching myself,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, who used to caution that it “takes two or three years for a show to find its audience.” That was certainly true for Keith Olbermann, whose five-year-old “Countdown” program at 8 p.m. (which leads into Ms. Maddow’s program) now beats CNN in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic segment every evening.

Air America announces video contest

Air America Media has announced a video contest, asking people to create an original “Obama for President” commercial. Through Sunday, 10/26, contestants can post their entry to Air America’s You Tube site. The top ten most viewed entries will become finalists, and featured on Air America’s Web site on Monday, 10/27, where final voting will occur through 10/31. The winning video will be awarded $500, streamed on Air America’s Web site and promoted on-air.
You can find out more on Air America’s You Tube page, and on

Marc Maron – the comic

And here's an interview with another Air America host, one not named Rachel Maddow. The Comic's Comic, a comedy-oriented blog, has a profile of on-again, off-again, and now on-again host Marc Maron. He's doing the online video show with Sam Seder, and is also on the road working for both Air America and London newspaper The Guardian commenting on the upcoming election:

"Everything's pretty good, man. The road trip has been good in a lot of ways, like I needed to get out. I just moved back to New York City from Los Angeles, everything has been up in the air, and the past couple of years for me personally have been miserable. So nothing is better than running away!" Maron tells me. "If given the opportunity, it's always fun to run."

It's not as if the satirical stand-up comedian hasn't criss-crossed the country before, either for road work or with friends. But this time feels very different.

"It's interesting to do it for a reason," he says. "We're interviewing people. Shooting video. And right now we're checking out the meteor crater. I've never seen my producer get so excited for something. I guess it's interesting to see what could happen that's entirely out of our control." He looks out at the massive 4,000-foot wide, 550-foot deep Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff and finds perspective. "There's no reason that can't happen again. So it just makes everything seem small and insignificant," he says.

Comedian gets death threat after mocking Bush

While on the subject of comedians, here's proof positive that some people out there still hate you for your freedom. British comedian Russell Brand received a death threat after ridiculing President George W. Bush as host of last month's MTV Video Music Awards.

Brand evidently ruffled a few right-wing feathers when he called Bush a "retard" during the ceremony.

He let news of the threat slip while appearing on Britain's Radio 1, "(Hosting the awards) was a lot of fun, especially the death threat.

He joked, "If you are going to kill someone, don't give them advance notice, that gives you a chance to prepare.

"How can you, while watching the telly, think 'Oh, I don't enjoy this. No, I'm not enjoying this at all. Right, I'm going to kill him'. That's a huge jump."

Is that their idea of 'freedom?'

Good news/bad news

Speaking of thin-skinned Republicans, I’ve got both good news and bad news.

Here’s the good: Bill O’Reilly is ditching his radio show. Boo hoo.

“I can’t work 60 hours a day”, he said. Besides, his radio show, launched in 2002, around the time Rush Limbaugh blew out his eardrums with Oxycontin, has never really caught on – he’s mostly on weaker stations and was just dropped in the Washington, DC market.

The bad news? O’Reilly just signed a big contract with FOX Noise, for roughly $10 million a year.

As P.T. Barnum once said…


FSL said...
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