Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Think Very Carefully...Do You Really Want A Smart Ass Disc Jockey Coming Into Your Cubicle And Telling You How To Make That PowerPoint Presentation Better...?"

Old joke.

Doctor, it hurts when I do that.

Well, then, don't do that.

New twist on old joke.

Coming momentarily.

I came across an article on the entertainment sites detailing a change in the writing staff of David Letterman's show.

The article used, of course, the word "shake-up" as opposed to "change" because, of course, change might be the correct word but lacks the hyperbolic panache deemed mandatory these days when reporting pretty much anything.

After scanning and/or speed reading through the information and validating my opening suspicion that said information would matter next to nothing to the average TV viewer, I scanned on down to that almost always guaranteed cornucopia of wit, wisdom and perspective... ...the readers comments.

Here are the first five comments posted.

The show is junk. Time to retire Dave.

Sick of him making faces, showing his bad teeth, worst of all, NOT funny...  

letterman hasnt been funny since the 90's
What writing? Lettermans pieces are pure pig swill. The only thing that comes close to funny is the top 10 list. By the way has anyone noticed that all 3 shows are identical? They come on with a monologue, have guests, then a musical guest, then end of show. How about a big change. Be like Barbara Walters say what you will. Go spend the day with the quest, at their home or vacation spot. Find out something about them. The guests on these shows are just promoting something. Book or movie, documentary.
I wish his liberal attitude and hiself would just go away. I was a fan for MANY YEARS GROWING UP IN iNDIANA, but I never knew he was so political and so much of a socialist. Yes, he promotes a socialistic agenda, easy when you have all the money he has. The Irony!
Assuming that these five commentators are civilians with no experience in writing and/ or peforming and are, in fact, simply your average everyday couch potato-ish flatscreen devotees, please allow me, on behalf of those who do have experience in writing and/or performing, to inquire...
Who the hell asked you?
Throughout my years in broadcasting, I have, as you might imagine, been subject to a fair amount of "input" from my audience at any given time. This is an inevitable, and expected, price of doing business when the business is offering up humor, entertainment, perspective, opinion, etc in the form of either print, radio and/or television.
And, in the same spirit that gun wing nuts exhibit when they spew "my rights" everytime their behavior is even suggested to be in need of a tweak, let me assure one and all that one and all are, without equivication, entitled to his or her opinion.
There is, though, a key distinction that deserves mention. Something that seems to fly far and high above the heads of the average reader, listener and/or viewer when it comes to the value of the two cents they so eagerly and, in their own minds, rightfully, throw in every chance they get.
Said distinction goes a little like this.
If you read something or hear something or see something that offends you, say a song with objectionable lyrics, then, by all means, if you must give in to the urge to prove that you alone are the lone voice of morality in a lost culture, give that jock a call and exercise your God, and Supreme Court, given right to express your indignation.
If the broadcaster at the moment is worth his or her salt, they will respectfully listen to your objection, thank you for your opinion and move on with their efforts to inform and/or entertain.
On the other hand, if you should then feel the need to critique the style, means, method and/or any detail of the overall presentation of said broadcast, then, please, with all due respect, please anticipate the possibility that what you will experience is the sound of a phone hanging up on you in mid sentence, preceded, possibly, by what you might incredulously suspect (and you would be right, by the way) was the sound of a voice on the other end suggesting that you accomplish the remarkable feat of engaging in sexual intercourse although you're the only person in the room.
Because, simply put, for those in need of things being simply put, those of us who broadcast are totally respectful of your opinion when it comes to content.
But, and, hey, this is said with all the love we can muster, when it comes to how we can "do a better show"...or "why don't we do this instead of that?"...or "why don't you play more music and talk less?"...we couldn't give a rat's ass about your opinion.
For a few reasons.
First, you're probably a civilian with no experience in writing and/or peforming, so, at what point did you suddenly realize that you were an expert on the subject or subjects?
Second, where can we listen to your show, so that we can return the favor and let you know how you can do it better?
For that matter, just let us know what it is that you are doing for a living, so we can drop by the office and point out how you can be more efficient.
And, third, and here comes the knockout punch, you crazy critiquers, nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read, listen or watch what any writer, broadcaster or performer is offering up at any given time.
The five "experts" offering their respective two cents's re' Dave's show are textbook examples of the point being made here.
If the joke offends you, then say so.
Better yet, if the joke offends you and/or you feel the whole show could use an overhaul, do tens of thousands of hard working writers, broadcasters and/or performers a much appreciated favor.
Spare us your expertise and change the channel.
Doctor, it hurts when I listen to that.
Well, then, don't listen to that.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Horse and Buggy, AM and FM....Lemmings Of A Feather..."

I quit.

More about that in a moment.

Some years ago, a top flight studio and concert musician that I had the privilege of knowing and working with told me that the best musicians he had ever experienced were unique in that they understood one very important, often overlooked, fact.

"What it takes to be a world class musician," he offered, "isn't knowing when to play...'s knowing when not to play."

Being the astute type, I honed right in on those transporter co-ordinates.

And thought back to the musicians, stage performers, comics, even politicians...and, especially, radio personalities that I have experienced over the last forty or fifty years.

The ones I remember most readily, and vividly, were the ones who knew about subtlety, nuance, timing and, more importantly, when to shut the hell up.

There's a reason, it turns out, why the old expression "always leave them wanting more" is an old expression.

Yesterday, I "retired" from my third career, to date, in this lifetime.

And said a symbolic, if not literal, farewell to the occupation of conventional radio broadcasting.

Career number four looms imminent.

And, to paraphrase George Harrison's wonderful line in A Hard Day's Night re' Ringo's drum kit, I hope, one day, for that career to loom large in my legend.

The what, why and how's about it of said career will be the subject of my semi-regular ramblings here.

If you're aware of my work, you know what to expect.

If you're new to the playground, welcome.

Either way, I promise to be a champion of the people, a voice......oh....wait.....

That was Charles Foster Kane's declaration of principles.

My bad.

This collection of essays will offer my insight (read: two cents) about the current state of broadcasting, media, et al, where they've been and where I think they're headed.

As with any blog, obviously, with my opinion and seven bucks you can buy cigarettes.

So, don't feel any obligation to drink the Kool Aid here.

Take it for what it's worth.

And I promise to be nothing more, or less, than true to whatever insight finds its way from my assorted cortexes to the fingers typing these words at this moment.

Every good new movie or show begins with a pitch of premise.

As it should be with any good new blog.

So here you go.

The premise is that I think conventional radio is dying.

And that it has joined the ranks of the Pony Express, Ma Bell and eight track tape player factories.

Out with the old, in with the new.

That's why I retired yesterday.

Putting a dull blade into the display case.

And signing on to wield a little cutting edge.

Put simply, as I said at the outset...

I quit.

And, so it begins.