Thursday, December 23, 2010

Follow The Exploits Of Santa Right Here

Thanks to the brave men and women of NORAD, you'll be able to follow Santa as he makes his rounds Christmas Eve from the comfort of this website. 

 

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Friday, December 03, 2010

R.I.P. Ron Santo, My All Time Favorite Cub

From Mark's Cub Worship Pulpit Official MLB Blog

santo.jpeg

We lost one of the greatest Cubs of all time Thursday as Ron Santo passed away at the age of 70.  I'm not here to recap his brilliant career as a player, broadcaster, and one of the world's biggest Cubs fans. You can find that kind of entry at this page created by the Chicago Tribune

Santo fought many battles in his life.  First, a lifelong battle with Diabetes, something that would have prevented most people from playing pro sports in the '60's, but not Ron Santo.  The Diabetes finally robbed Ron of his legs and he bravely dealt with the disease all his life.  But finally it was Cancer that took him from us. Ron fought hard to be included in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, but never got enough votes, either as a player, Veteran, or Broadcaster.  That was one of the great injustices in baseball history.  But worst of all, I don't think anyone wanted to see the Cubs win the World Series more than Ron Santo, and he never got to see that happen.

In case you don't remember or understand the importance of Ron Santo to the Cubs, listen to this audio tribute, courtesy of WGN Radio in Chicago.

wgnam-ron-santo-audio-tribute-pat-hughes_58062989.mp3

If you've read this blog, you know I spent much of last season trying to get into the WGN Radio broadcast booth to help call a game.  Sure, I wanted to get on the radio to broadcast my heroes, but more than that, I wanted to have the memory of sitting in the same cramped Wrigley Field booth with my favorite baseball player of all time, the man whose number I proudly wore as the worst player on the Buffalo Grove Hippos, and a man I admired for so many reasons. 

Ron Santo never got into the Hall Of Fame.  He never saw his beloved Cubs win a World Series, but his spirit will be with the team and its fans for many years to come.  Here's hoping the 2011 Cubs dedicate their season to Ron Santo and work hard to give Ronnie at least one of the two things he really wanted, the World Series Trophy or a plaque in Cooperstown.

Rest in peace Ron.  Your fans thank you, love you, and miss you already.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Happy Hanukkah-5 Famous Christmas Songs Written by Jewish Songwriters

bloghead_onmusic1.gif

[and while we're stuck on number 5, here's an oldie-but-goodie from last Christmas...]

1. “White Christmas” – While there are more than five Christmas carols written by Jewish songwriters, I thought I’d just cover my favorites, starting with not only the most famous Christmas song written in modern times, but according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the best-selling single of all-time.

irving_berlin.jpgWritten by: Irving Berlin in 1940

Actually written by: Israel Isidore Baline (Irving’s real name)

Written while: seated poolside at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona (talk about your White Christmas)

Made famous by: Bing Crosby in the movie Holiday Inn
Cool Irving Berlin fact: Refusing to make money off his deep-seated patriotism, Berlin donated all the royalties from “God Bless America” (just another little ditty he penned) to the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Campfire Girls

jmarks.gif2. “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

Written by: Johnny Marks in 1949

Based on: a poem/story penned by Marks’ brother-in-law, who invented Rudolph

Made famous by: Gene Autry, whose recording sold over 2 million copies in the first year alone

Famous Rudolph mondegreen: “Olive, the other reindeer” (see our post on mondegreens if you don’t know what they are)

Cool Johnny Marks fact: He is the great-uncle of economist Steven Levitt, co-author of one of my favorite books of all time, Freakonomics

styne_j_pic2.jpg3. “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

Written by: composer Jule Styne in 1945 with lyrics by Sammy Cahn

Actually written by: Julius Kerwin Stein and Samuel Cohen (real names)

Made Famous by: Vaughn Monroe, hitting #1 on Billboard in ’46

Curious “Let it Snow” fact: the lyric never once mentions Christmas

Cool Jule Styne fact: he also wrote the music for the musicals Gypsy and Funny Girl

livingston_evans2.jpg4. “Silver Bells”

Written by: Jay Livingston and Ray Evans in 1951

Actually written by: Jacob Harold Levison and Raymond Bernard Evans (real names)

Introduced by: Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the movie The Lemon Drop Kid

Made Famous by: Bing Crosby and Carol Richards

Cool “Silver Bells” fact: the song was inspired by the silver bells of the Salvation Army bell ringers, thus making it one of the few Christmas carols about the city, as opposed to the usual rural countryside setting

ahague1.gif5. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”

Written by: Albert Hague in 1966 (with words/lyrics by Dr. Seuss, of course)

Actually written by: Albert Marcuse, who was born in Berlin, but his family raised him Lutheran with the last name Hague in order to avoid the raging anti-Semitism in the 1920/30s (He got out of Europe just in time, landing in America in 1939)

Made Famous by: Thurl Arthur Ravenscroft, who made a name for himself singing and doing voice-overs for Disney

Curious Albert Hague fact:
He was also an actor! You can see him in both the movie and TV series, Fame, playing the role of Shorofsky

* * * * *

[Pssst...Have you been thinking about subscribing to mental_floss magazine, for yourself or as a gift? This week you'll save big with our subscription t-shirt for $25.97 deal. That's like buying a subscription and getting a t-shirt for only $4! Offer ends December 6th. U.S. subscriptions only.]

Proof again that without us Jews there would be no Christmas. Happy Hanukkah to all! And thanks to the Mental Floss blog for the assist!

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leslie Nielsen's Greatest Work

I tend to blog about people who have left us, and while I know I'm far behind on blogging about my adventures in Kansas City, I had to acknowledge the passing of Leslie Nielsen

Nielsen was a versatile and accomplished actor who had a distinguished career before finding a second life in the 1980's as a deadpan funnyman in films like Airplane! and the Naked Gun series.  But perhaps some of his funniest work was in a six episode series that aired on ABC in 1982 called Police Squad!.Police_Squad_zaz_aff.jpgActually, the first four episodes of the show aired in March of that year, and the braintrust at ABC decided to shelve the show because of dismal ratings, only to bring back the remaining two episodes in July of that year.  This was cult TV at its best, and in many ways far too advanced for its time, at least on ABC.  The series was the springboard for the Naked Gun movies, and is one of the funniest shows to never become a hit.

The good news is that the website TV.com has preserved the six episodes of the show for your viewing pleasure.  So while everyone around you is looking for deals on the Internet on Cyber Monday, I suggest you check out some true comedy gold right here

Thank me later.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

There is only ONE way to celebrate Thanksgiving, and in my book its kicking back and watching the perfect marriage of bad radio promotion and good comedy, featuring perhaps the best payoff line EVER in a situation comedy.  Through the magic of the still awesome Hulu.com, I present to you my Thanksgiving gift.



No matter where you may be or who you're with, I hope you have a happy, peaceful, Thanksgiving.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Next Chapter Begins Monday In Kansas City

From www.allaccess.com

  • Mark Edwards To Program KUDL & KGEX

    October 28, 2010 at 6:24 AM (PT)

Former CBS AC KEZK & Hot AC KYKY (KY 98)/ST. LOUIS PD MARK EDWARDS bounces back fast (NET NEWS 10/1) landing the PD post at ENTERCOM AC KUDL & Adult Hits KGEX/KANSAS CITY. He's replacing MARK HAMLIN who left the post recently (NET NEWS 10/28).

EDWARDS, who worked had previously worked for ENTERCOM as PD of AC KOSI/DENVER, and also as served as PD of AC WLIT/CHICAGO, told ALL ACCESS, "I couldn't be more excited to be rejoining ENTERCOM as PD of KUDL and GenX in KANSAS CITY.

"I want to thank (VP/Market Mgr.) DAVE ALPERT, (SVPP) PAT PAXTON, (Regional President) WEEZIE KRAMER, and the entire ENTERCOM team for giving me the opportunity to revitalize another heritage AC with KUDL and develop GenX into a huge player in the KANSAS CITY market. The team in KC is tremendous, and I'm looking forward to working with everyone there to make truly great radio. And the CUBS are playing THE ROYAL in KC this SUMMER! Yeahhhhhhh!"

« back to Net News

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Event to Offer Local Band Opportunity to Open for Multi-Platium Artists - Live In The Ballpark

(ROUND ROCK, TX) – Officials from LIVE IN THE BALLPARK have announced a contest that will allow any local or regional artist the opportunity to open for this Saturday’s music festival. Saturday’s day-two line-up currently includes three back-to-back multi-platinum artists and two solid gold hit-makers including Collective Soul, Tonic, Five For Fighting, Gin Blossoms and Green River Ordinance.

In addition to the winner getting to open the show, each participating band will also share in revenue from their ticket sales. The contest starts at 10am today (Wednesday) and ends at 2pm on Friday, with the winner will be notified at 3pm. The winning band will open the show with an approximate 1/2 hour set at 3:30pm on Saturday.

After bands go thru a short, initial approval process, they will be given a special offer code that they can then send to their friends and followers. The band will receive credit for every ticket sold to the event using that special offer code. The band that sells the most tickets will get to open the show, and also keep 75% of sales from their special offer code ($30 from each $40 ticket). The bands that don’t win won’t get left out, as they will receive 50% of sales from their offer code ($20 from each $40 ticket).

"Austin is the live music capital of the world, so we don't think we'll have any shortage of bands that want to participate." said one of the event's directors. "With their ability to reach their fans and followers quickly via all the social networking platforms, we're excited to see how quick they can react."

Approved formats would include Modern Rock, Alternative Rock, Adult Alternative, Rock AC, Hot AC, CHR, Classic Rock, AC, AOR, Country, Texas Country, Red Dirt Country or any other family friendly music.

To participate, bands should send two songs (MP3 format) to bands@markedwardsworldwide.com, along with contact information.

For more information on LIVE IN THE BALLPARK go to www.liveintheballpark.com.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a compensated consultant to this event.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Bacon Gift Wrap | Foodbeast Bacon Gift Wrap | Because We're Hungry.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tower of Doom Burger | Why I Like St. Louis Via Foodbeast.com

Cravings News // October 13, 2010 at 7:41 am, by Elie Ayrouth

The Tower of Doom is a monstrous burger from the St. Louis Brewhouse. It’s stacked high with 3 pounds of meat, 1/2 pound of bacon, 1/2 pound of cheese, BBQ sauce, jalapeƱo, and a 1-lb. side of fries. People who dare eat this in under 30 minutes will get their meal free, plus a t-shirt.
Apparently, about 36 have tried, and the only one to complete the taks was a man by the name of Randy Santel. Of course, he did it in 11 minutes. Game on!

Friday, October 08, 2010

A Week "On The Beach"

Its been a week since I was relieved of my duties after a long run programming radio stations in St. Louis.  To say I was shocked by the news would be an understatement, and it's taken the bulk of the last eight days to process what this all means.

First, I have to thank all the friends and people I don't even know for the very kind words of support and encouragement.  A very smart man I once worked for used to say that "all you have is your reputation", and I can see again how that makes complete sense.  I guess that other than a few cases, I've managed to keep my reputation intact and not honk off too many people along the way.

I've had a lot of time to think about what's next for me and my family, and have been contacted about a couple of very interesting opportunities.  I'm a "radio animal" at heart, and will always have the media in my blood.  But after a quarter century of programming radio stations, perhaps its time to do something else.  I'm a firm believer in the fact that things happen for a reason, and I am convinced that while a door has closed, a new and exciting one is about to open.

All my profiles on the Interwebz are updated, like LinkedInmy Google Profile, and even my website, Mark Edwards Online, where I've taken the liberty of posting my resume for your viewing pleasure.  That's the resume as of this minute.  I've gotten very valuable advice from a couple of career consultants on how to "punch it up" to show that I've had actual real world job experience while working in radio.  The updated resumes are to come.

The bulk of what I've been doing is working the phones and email looking for the right opportunity.  Most of the time, I've gotten calls returned and e mails answered, and I'm grateful for hiring managers (and a few auto-responding bots) for at least acknowledging that I've inquired about a job. 

Make no mistake about it, I'm treating looking for a job AS my job, getting up early in the morning, getting out of my jammies, and going to work at the computer and on the phone.  Its not easy, and I still have to deal with the boxes of stuff I brought home from my office of the last 6 1/2 years, but getting the word out and finding the next big thing are the top priorities now. 

Thanks to those who have stood by me and shared my shock and disbelief over this situation.  Thanks to those who have already spoken with me about opportunities and to those that might reach out after reading this.  Let me be brutally honest.  I need a job and can bring a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the right company, whether it be in broadcasting or other media platforms. 

Please look over all my information by following the links in this post or on the blog.  Let's make next week "Find Mark A Job" week in this great land of ours.  My whole family thanks you.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Greetings From The Land Of The Unemployed

So I finally took a vacation last week.  Even got the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, pretty much a dream come true.  I came back yesterday rested and feeling great.  Then today my employer of the last 6 1/2 years decided they were no longer in need of my services. 

Soooooooooooooooooooooo....here I am looking for "the next opportunity".  I could tell you how during my time with CBS in St. Louis KYKY turned in its best ratings ever or how KEZK reached number 1 6+ with a cume of over a million people on my watch.  Or I could go into gory details about all the Web 2.0, Social Media, and Interactive Marketing things I've learned over the last few years.  I could even opine on all the different kinds of platforms that could benefit from my skills, experience, and leadership.  But you're probably looking at this on a handheld device and its hard to read long e mails on those itsy bitsy screens.

Bottom line is I'm not a big fan of sitting around and I'm ready to climb on a new horse.  Maybe you know of a job that is just screaming for a guy like me.  Perhaps you are acquainted with someone who should get to know me.  Please feel free to share my contact information, which is below, with every person you have ever met.  The quicker I get back to work, the less chance there will be of you getting another e mail like this. 

The info below will shows the many ways in which you can get in touch with me.  It also links to some of my droppings on the Interwebz so you and your contacts can learn a bit more about me. Its time to move on, and I'd love to both share my thoughts on how I can help the right organization and hear what you and your friends might have up your sleeves.

I look forward to what's ahead and to connecting with you soon! 

Mark Edwards
Worldwide Headquarters-St. Louis, MO
edwardsmark@gmail.com
773.33.MARKE

My profiles: Facebook LinkedIn Blogger Twitter Google Delicious
Contact me: Google Talk/ EdwardsMark Skype/ MarkECubFan AIM/ MarkHeyNow

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Untitled

Not a good day Thursday. My employer decided it was time for us to part ways. Time to think about the next phase of my life. Any ideas?

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Clear Channel dims Lite FM luster by outsourcing talent | Feder | blogs.vocalo.org

For a good part of the ’90s, a crown jewel of Chicago radio was WLIT-FM (93.9). The adult-contemporary station known as Lite FM not only dominated the ratings among adult listeners, but did so with quality, consistency and class.
It took a savvy program director named Mark Edwards seven years to turn the soft and sleepy station he inherited from a 14th place also-ran in its target 25-to-54 demographic into the No. 1 music powerhouse in the market. Everything about the joint — from its personalities to its playlist to its promotions — sounded just right. And it didn’t hurt that Edwards’ bosses spent a ton on advertising and marketing the station throughout that time. (Remember those incessant “Turn on the Lite” television commercials?) It was the station on in every office.
But then came the sale of Lite FM in 1997 by Viacom Inc. to Evergreen Media Corp., which begat Chancellor Media Corp., which begat AMFM Inc., which begat Clear Channel Communications. A series of horrendous management decisions followed (including the incomprehensible ouster of Edwards), resulting in the decline of what long had been a ratings and advertising juggernaut.
Today, under Clear Channel ownership — and in the new world of consolidation and Portable People Meter ratings — Lite FM is far from the blue chip brand it used to be. Barely hitting the Top 10 in the 25-to-54 demo, it’s known more now for its annual Christmas music stunting (which seems to run practically from Halloween to Groundhog Day) than for anything else.
What brings this to mind is the latest talent change at the station. After almost two years as afternoon personality, Kevin Gossett signed off from Lite FM Tuesday to devote full-time to his job in Phoenix as digital program director for the eight Clear Channel stations there while continuing to host afternoons at KESZ-FM. Chicago, you see, was nothing more than a spot on the map where Gossett sent his recorded voice tracks each day.
That’s also the case in mornings, when Lite FM imports the voice of some guy named Sean Valentine from Los Angeles. And at night, too, when that strange Delilah woman comes to us from who knows where.
At least Gossett used to work in Chicago when he hosted mornings for five years on the former WNND. So whenever he’d mention something about the Water Tower or Walter Jacobson, he wasn’t just reading off a liner card. But starting today, his replacement is expected to be Chris Davis, who’ll phone it in from WNCI-FM in Columbus, Ohio. According to his station’s website, Davis also voice-tracks for Clear Channel stations in Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Anchorage.
I’m not saying you have to be born and raised in Chicago in order to talk on the radio here. It’s true that many of our greatest broadcast legends came from somewhere else. But unlike the current crop of carpetbaggers at a certain news/talk station in town, they all paid their dues, learned about the market, and got to know the audience before stepping into the most lofty positions.
It’s no accident that the top-rated adult stations here these days are all owned by Bonneville International and all have live local personalities from morning to night.
In the case of Lite FM, Clear Channel doesn’t even require most of its hosts to set foot in Chicago — ever. The company pats itself on the back for its “local spirit” with a self-serving “Clear Choice” public service campaign, but can’t see fit to staff all of its stations in the third largest market in America with real live human beings.
What’s good for Anchorage, you might say, is good for Chicago.
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About The Author

Robert Feder

has been keeping tabs on the media in Chicago for 30 years. A lifelong Chicagoan and graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, he was television and radio columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. At age 14, he founded the first and only Walter Cronkite Fan Club.
Other posts byRobert Feder
Many thanks to the esteemed Robert Feder for the kind words. Programming WLIT was a once in a lifetime experience, and I couldn't have succeeded there without the support of Phil Redo, our General Manager, and the entire Viacom team.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My most favorite place on earth, the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field

Mark Edwards
Worldwide Headquarters-St. Louis, MO
edwardsmark@gmail.com
773.33.MARKE
Twitter: MarkEdwards
AIM MarkHeyNow

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blind Man Breaks Speed Record

Sure, they let this man drive a car at high speeds, but the weasels at WGN Radio won't let me, a legally blind man, call half an inning of a Cubs game. Where is the justice?

Memo to WGN: I'll be at the Cubs games Friday and Saturday. This is your last chance to have me in the broadcast boof during the Cubs Season Of Shame. For once, do the right thing.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cubs Sweep Cards, No Sane Person Cares

For the first time since 1988, the Cubs have swept the hapless Cardinals in a three game series in St. Louis.  The 2010 season record in the Cubs/Cards series is now 8-4 in favor of the Cubs. I know it means absolutely nothing as the Cubs have been eliminated from the playoffs and the Cardinals are hanging on by a thread and sure to be playing golf instead of baseball in October.  But nothing makes a Cubs fan happier than a sweep of ANY team, and brooming the hapless Cardinals is a bonus.

The Cubs and Cards have three more games to play this year, starting September 24 at the Friendly Confines Of Wrigley Field.  I'm planning on attending those games as I bid a fond adieu to the Cubs Season Of Shame and hope for more Cardinals losses at the hands of the Cubs.

Speaking of hope, I still have high hopes for the 2011 season, even though the 2010 campaign still isn't over.  That's the joy of being a Cubs fan.  You always look forward to next year

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Saturday, September 04, 2010

RIP Robert Schimmel, Gone Too Soon At 60

It seems that many of my blog posts are about people who have passed away, and while I'm far from obsessed with death, I tend to move at such a pace that I don't take the time to appreciate people while they are alive or I take for granted that we'll all always be around forever.  This is another one of those "Death Posts", as I woke up this morning to learn about the tragic death of comedian Robert Schimmel.

Robert Schimmel 1950-2010
Schimmel first came to my attention with appearances on HBO and Showtime in the late 80's and early 90's.  But his first TV appearance was some years before that on The Gong Show.



Robert Schimmel's comedy was not for the easily offended or the faint of heart, as he proves in this clip from a 1994 cable special.


Schimmel was diagnosed with cancer, took a couple years off of the standup circuit, and returned to the road with a different act, talking about his cancer, his treatment, and what it meant to be a survivor.  I had the chance to see him a couple times after the cancer, and his comedy was somewhat less edgy, but still brilliant.

About a year ago, he sat down with the editor of Punchline magazine

Here's the story of Robert Schimmel's death, and life, courtesy of E! Online
Standup comic Robert Schimmel passed away Friday after a week-long battle with injuries sustained in an Aug. 26 car accident, his rep confirms to E! News. He was 60.
Known for is his raunchy HBO specials, as well as countless, equally explicit appearances on Howard Stern's radio show (as was his style), Schimmel was well loved by his peers in the comedy realm.
While traveling in Arizona last Thursday, Schimmel's 19-year-old daughter Aliyah swerved to avoid an oncoming car, causing the vehicle containing herself and her father to flip multiple times. Aliyah survived the accident and is currently in stable condition.
No stranger to health woes (or tragedy), Schimmel lost his son Derek to cancer at age 11, then won his own a battle with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma back in in 2000. The comic was currently awaiting a liver transplant, after learning in January that he'd contracted cirrhosis from a Hepatitis C-infected blood transfusion. No word on whether the diseased liver played into his untimely death.
The comedy community was rocked by Schimmel's sudden passing Friday, and took to various social media outlets to say a sad so long to their friend.
"Robert Schimmel was one of the funniest and nicest guys in comedy," Jimmy Kimmel tweeted Friday night, noting that he hoped he'd be given "bad information" regarding the loss. Added his friend Dane Cook: "Robert Schimmel was one the first people in comedy to call when my folks were fighting cancer. No ego no bs no small talk just inspiration."
Schimmel's brother Jeff Schimmel also took to his Facebook page, confirming the death with an emotional tribute to his sibling:
"ROBERT SCHIMMEL. Son, Brother, Father, Grandfather, Comedian, Generous Man. I have always loved you, admired you, and was proud to be your biggest fan. I will never forget a single moment. R.I.P."
Schimmel is survived by his six children.
Robert Schimmel.  Brilliantly funny, cancer survivor, amazing storyteller, and gone too soon.  If you're not familiar with him, take a few minutes to watch him on YouTube.  He's definitely for mature audiences only, but his work will make you laugh, and much of his post-cancer work will make you think.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Study: St. Louis dead LAST in transit spending

Study: St. Louis lags in transit spending

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By Ken Leiser • kleiser@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8215 | Posted: Thursday, September 2, 2010 1:57 pm | (10) Comments

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Nobody had to tell St. Louis-area transit riders how bad things got for public transportation in recent years.

But dead last?

A new study released today by the Transportation Equity Network showed St. Louis ranked 20th out of 20 metro areas for the percentage of transportation spending dedicated to transit.

The St. Louis region spent 15 percent of its transportation improvement program funding on transit. By comparison, New York spent 75 percent while Honolulu spent 66 percent.

"The average across all of these metropolitan areas is about 37 percent," said Will Winter, a co-author of the "More Transit = More Jobs" study and a research analyst at the Public Policy Research Center at University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Winter and others who spoke at today's news conference, outside a state unemployment office on Delmar Boulevard, equated transit spending with job creation and economic development.

Similar news conferences were held in other U.S. cities.

"These jobs will create monies that will stimulate the economy," said Darrell Pulliam, a veteran Metro bus operator. "They will bring people up from the dredges and despair of poverty."

It is unclear whether the snapshot of St. Louis transportation spending lines up with other metropolitan areas. For instance, Metro's operating budget is not reflected in the multiyear spending blueprint, according to the East-West Gateway Council of Governments. The TIP does reflect capital spending, which has taken a hit in recent years while Metro grapped with its financial woes.

Of course, the overall spending picture has brightened somewhat. In April, St. Louis County voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase for transit. The successful tax vote triggered collections of a similar sales tax hike in the city of St. Louis.

The additional tax proceeds aren't expected to reach the Metro transit agency's coffers until this fall.

Posted in Along-for-the-ride, Local on Thursday, September 2, 2010 1:57 pm Updated: 3:27 pm. | Tags: Transportation Equity Network, Metro, St. Louis County, Transit,

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This is where I'm supposed to make a commend, but I have nothing to say. Dead last out of 20 metropolitan areas for transit spending. Its no wonder we're in the shape we're in when it comes to transit in St. Louis. Oh, and don't overshoot that bus stop "its only my second day driving alone" bus operator.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Monday, August 30, 2010

Metro Bus Restoration Is Here-Is Everybody Ready? Metro May Not Be

St. Louis Metro Transit Missouri System Map 08 30 2010
 St. Louis' Metro mass transit agency will roll out the final phase of bus service restoration since the passage of Proposition A, a sales tax increase to fund the agency, today.  The service restoration will bring bus service to thousands who lost it after the disastrous mishandled campaign and defeat of a much needed tax increase in 2008. It will also make getting around on the bus more difficult for some, as Metro had to make some hard decisions as to what changes would serve the most people the best.

 I've written much in the last few weeks about the challenges facing Metro and the immense number of hurdles they face in getting service restored today.  They have accelerated their original service restoration schedule and added more routes than even they thought they could have up and running by now.  Of course, that means they have issues of scale to deal with.  Not enough buses, not enough drivers who are fully trained, and a less than stellar promotional effort all are potential problems the agency must face and fix in order to make the transit restoration work the way the Metro brass wants it to.

I'll spare you the details, as you can find them elsewhere on my main blog, Mark Edwards Uncensored.  But as Metro has been ramping up for the restoration of service today, I've personally experienced reckless driving, new operators getting lost while transporting passengers, and drivers speeding 10 to 15 miles above the speed limit on a winding St. Louis County road on numerous occasions.  None of that bodes well for an efficient or pleasurable customer experience.

Metro has spent considerable time and effort educating its current users to the changes, but has done only a marginal (and I think that's generous) job of  informing people who DON'T use their system that there will be all this new service.  They've put up a few billboards that simply say GET ON BOARD, but doesn't even say something like "New Service Starts August 30".  They could have taken the billboard money and put a Mylar balloon on EVERY  bus stop sign that is on a new or changed route and gotten the attention of riders AND non-riders that a bus would be available for them to ride.  The agency's outreach to those who are not their customers already or who have a negative feeling about Metro was simply dismal. 

Metro COO Ray Friem said in a recent STLToday.com chat that the agency was some fifty buses short of what they need to operate and that they are aware of the problems with all the new operators they have hired.

Regarding the safety of our bus operators... we are very selective in those we accept into training. Then we put the potential operators through a rigorous training period. Included are defensive driving and customers service. All operators must obtain a commercial drivers license issued by the State and must pass written and on-the-road tests. We continue to monitor and supervise all operators. The new drivers may not be able to give you all the Metro system information immediately. That will take some days/weeks/months of on the job training.
Metro's own blog NextStopSTL wisely acknowledges that there might be problems as the transit restoration kicks in today.


What to do if you get lost or miss a connection?


Even with careful planning, there is always a chance you could get lost or miss a connection and need to figure out what to do next.  Here are some options to help you find your way.

1. Customer service. The Metro Customer Service line will be open as usual from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Missouri: 314-231-2345
TTY: 314-982-1555
2.  Email transit information questions to transitinfo@metrostlouis.org.
3.  Via Twitter use “@STLMetro” with your question. We will be available with a Google Maps app and transit information to help Twitter users.
4.  Locate a Transit Service Manager throughout the system. TSMs and other available personnel will be out Monday to help customers.  TSMs wear yellow Metro polo shirts, and Metro ambassadors have white Metro polo shirts.
Also, please help one another.  If you find someone on your bus who is confused or needs some help, please consider reaching out and lending a hand.  You may just make someone’s day.
Please don't get me wrong.  I'm happy that the new schedule is now in effect.  I personally will benefit from the schedule, with the bus I take to work coming almost a mile closer to my home than it did before.  I'll have a bus that actually passes my office for the first time in two years, and that's a good thing as well.    But again Metro has failed to adequately prepare for the service changes and has done their usual amateurish half-baked effort to let the masses know what is going to be happening starting today.

I hope the buses are full, drivers don't get lost, nobody gets hurt, and the system, partially changed to make transfers easier as long as the buses are running on schedule, runs somewhere close to the schedules Metro's very devoted Planning Department has issued.

But I'm a realist, and this is Metro we're talking about.  Be ready for anything today.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

In-N-Out Burger by Terry Richardson | FOODBEAST - Because we're hungry.

The colors in this photo really give a definition to why In-N-Out is so incredible. Terry Richardson, one of my favorite photographers known for his obscure random fashion photos, shot this. Not much needs to be said about this picture, so how about you just continue to drool. (Thx Wallychamp)

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Oh man, its a good thing there are no In-N-Out's in St. Louis. But I will be out West soon to find you, you fast food fantasy. Oh yes...

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

FOLLOW UP 2-The Kiosk Of Shame


In an earlier blog post and stltoday.com chat from last week, the CEO of Metro mentioned he would remove the unsafe and embarrassing computer kiosk at the Ballas Transfer Center. Look what I found at 7:15PM on Tuesday, August 24. The SAME decrepit terminal. Right where it was when Ray Friem said it would be removed. Nice to know Metro keeps its promises.

Monday, August 23, 2010

FOLLOW UP: Buses Still Might Not Be Safe, But Metro Makes Brilliant Choice For New CEO

Well Well Well

This just in from the St. Louis Post Dispatch and www.stltoday.com

Metro taps Chesterfield Mayor John Nations as new chief

BY DAVID HUNN > dhunn@post-dispatch.com > 314-436-2239 | Posted: Monday, August 23, 2010 6:59 pm

Chesterfield Mayor John Nations has been tapped to head Metro, the taxpayer-funded regional bus and light rail agency, according to several close to the decision.

He will be announced at a press conference tomorrow morning.

Nations is a partner at the law firm Armstrong Teasdale, with an expertise in city planning and land use regulations. But he also just finished leading the successful campaign to pass the half-cent transit sales tax in St. Louis County, which is expected to generate $75 million a year and restore services cut more than a year ago. Without the funding, the region may well have faced a transit meltdown.

Nations did not return a phone call seeking comment. It is not clear who else was a finalist.

This is not the first time Metro leaders have reached outside of the agency, or even outside of the field, to choose their chief.

Two-and-a-half years ago, Metro picked Robert Baer, a retired United Van Lines chairman, to turn the agency around.

 

I still have my issues with Metro, and the agency needs a lot of work.  But I've worked with John Nations and respect his understanding of the importance of mass transit to our region and its residents, his strong will to keep the St. Louis region vibrant and attractive to employers and workers alike, and his willingness to fight for what he believes in.

I said in my previous post that the new person in charge of Metro is in for a bumpy ride, and I stand by that comment.  Mayor Nations is a good man, and I wish him well in what will be a very challenging new job.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Metro St. Louis Bus Changes Are 8 Days Away. Are Riders Safe On The Buses?

The St. Louis public transit agency, Metro will be instituting the final phase of its service restoration program on August 30th.  That's eight days from today, and I'm seriously concerned that Metro has sacrificed customer service and safety in the interest of getting new service up and running ahead of the original schedule they gave their patrons.

My impressions of Metro's management and staff have gone up and down in the years I've used their system.  I do think there are some very committed and well meaning people in the plush offices Metro occupies on Laclede's Landing in St. Louis, but I think they're too concerned with getting the service we so desperately need  restored as quickly as possible and have less regard for the level of training of new employees and the conduct of existing operators than they should have. 

Metro wants to get their new routes implemented, but that's meant that they have had to hire a small army of operators, mechanics, and other personnel.  It also means that they're restoring the service with some FIFTY less buses than they'd like to have in order to provide service with the right sized, properly maintained buses they'd like to have. 

Maybe its just my bad luck, but in the last couple of weeks, I've experienced these disturbing incidents on Metro Buses:
  • I was thrown from my seat as a careless operator turned his bus at a high rate of speed, injuring my knee and having some of my belongings damaged.  After well over a dozen calls with various Metro people, this case remains unresolved.  In the interest of getting this situation behind me, I think I should not go into details of the accident or the calls with Metro employees.
  • A new driver had no idea where he was supposed to go, and despite the fact he was holding turning  directions in his hand, had to ask passengers where and when to turn.
  • Buses have been clocked going ten to fifteen miles over the speed limit on a busy winding road in St. Louis County on multiple occasions.
  • An operator completely missed going into a Park and Ride lot, part of the route he had driven for months.
I'm happy that Metro has accelerated their rollout of service changes, but have they done so at the potential risk of passenger safety and customer service?  I'm guessing I can't just pick up the phone and chat with the people who run Metro about this.  So I took advantage of a public bi-weekly chat the local newspaper runs.

Here's a conversation I had with Metro's COO Ray Friem during an STL Today Web chat last week. 
MarkE: I saw the same thing at the Ballas Center last night. That computer is an embarrassment, has been vandalized, and should be removed. On another note, are you comfortable with the level of safety your riders are experiencing based on the large number of new bus operators?

Ray Friem: We are committed to taking care of the kiosk you mention. Regarding the safety of our bus operators... we are very selective in those we accept into training. Then we put the potential operators through a rigorous training period. Included are defensive driving and customers service. All operators must obtain a commercial drivers license issued by the State and must pass written and on-the-road tests. We continue to monitor and supervise all operators. The new drivers may not be able to give you all the Metro system information immediately. That will take some days/weeks/months of on the job training.
 Do we have "days/weeks/months" to train people driving 40 foot buses?  How many other people get injured on Metro buses due to (what I contend is) operator error?  Would the same thing that happened to me be a bigger problem for an elderly person?  

Over the next week, Metro management and other employees will be taking time away from their jobs to promote the service changes.  Here's how their news release describes the campaign:
Metro will help customers prepare for changes to more than 50 bus routes starting on August 30 by delivering literally busloads of information to many of the Transit Centers across the region starting Monday, August 23, through Friday, August 27.
“Information Buses” – buses loaded with Metro transit experts, new route schedules and other information about the service changes that start August 30 – will be at many of the Transit Centers. Information tables staffed by transit experts with schedules and information to distribute to customers will be located at other centers.
I agree that it's important to let riders know what is about to happen to their bus routes and what kind of new service options are available to them.  But at a time when the COO of the organization admits that his employees are enduring "on the job training", couldn't these "Metro transit experts" be using their time to show employees how to drive safely and provide customers with decent service?

I want to ride Metro.  The new service on August 30 is a tremendous leap forward and will bring a bus much closer to my house and to thousands of other potential riders.  But I want to feel safe and confident that the operator knows what he or she is doing when I get on the bus.  Right now, I don't feel that way, and I find it hard to champion the work Metro is doing when I look behind the curtain and see what is really going on.

Metro is about to hire a new $200,000 a year CEO, perhaps before the restoration of service takes effect.  I hope this person has actually ridden a Metro bus as part of their research, because it looks like they're in for a very bumpy ride if the agency doesn't improve its safety and customer service.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roblox Gets It Right

I wrote a post earlier this week about the site roblox.com and how they were carrying ads for a St. Louis casino.  That wouldn't be an issue, except Roblox is a site aimed at 8-18 year old kids, including my three sons. 
I have to say that I am completely blown away by the response from Roblox to this unfortunate situation.  I had a very frank and meaningful chat with David Baszucki, the Founder and CEO or Roblox, and he was every bit as bothered by this situation as I was, perhaps even more.  Roblox is a site that takes its commitment to child safety and obeying the myriad of laws that govern web activities by children, and Mr. Baszucki's response to me, and his action of taking all display ads served by outside networks off of his website was incredibly impressive.
I also got a reply from Roxanne Kinkade from Ameristar Casinos, and they quickly took steps to make sure the ads were no longer appearing on this kid-targeted site. 
Its somewhat long and boring to explain how some ads get  on websites, but it involves third party providers of advertising, and it seems that some third party ad network was responsible for the casino ads appearing on Roblox.  I know that Roblox has gone far beyond the call of duty to make sure something like this doesn't happen again, and I commend them for their actions. 
Let's face it, there are a lot of scumbags doing business on the Interwebz.  However, I stand corrected and can now say with complete certainty that Roblox is not one of them.  Kudos to them for doing the right thing and doing it quickly.  My youngest son, who was playing on Roblox when this incident happened, is back on the site, and with my blessing. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

REAL Casino Advertises on Kids' Game Site

'm no prude, and I've been known to visit casinos in my lifetime, but imagine my surprise when my 10 year old was playing on a supposedly kid-safe site, www.roblox.com, and the screen looked like this:


REALLY? 
I know things are tough at this particular casino in St. Louis, but is it really necessary to go after 10 year olds as you try to build your customer base?
I sent a complaint to roblox.com through a link under every ad that lets you report ads.  Gave them my e mail address.  We'll see if I ever hear back from them.

Untitled

NEW MLB BLOG POST! The Answer To The Cubs Woes http://ping.fm/9ZCti

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Untitled

Thanks for the notes. Finally feeling semi-human after infection onset Thursday. Hope to be up and around Monday.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Fat Burger: XXXL Triple King | FOODBEAST - Because we're hungry.


Fat Burger is holding true to their name! This is their XXXL Triple King,  24 oz’s of pure 100% lean beef grilled to perfection, topped with cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes all in between two toasted buns! You trying to be the XXXL Triple King? Check out one Fat Burgers hot spots and take it down! (Thx Anita Scocs)

Sadly, no FatBurger close to me, which in this case is probably a good thing. Or is it?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Celebrate National Cheesecake Day at Eli’s Cheesecake World on Thurday, July 29th « Eli's Cheesecake

National Cheesecake Day at Eli's Cheesecake--July 29

I'd give anything to be there. Hopefully I can find a little Eli's cheesecake here in St. Louis. My late grandfather and Eli were friends, and I spent many a day in the old Eli's restaurant in downtown Chicago both with my Grandfather and later in life with the legendary Howard Bedno.

But back to the cheesecake. Eli's is perhaps the best on the planet, followed only by Junior's in Brooklyn. If you can find a grocery store or restaurant that carries Eli's cheesecake, you owe it to yourself to try it. And if you're anywhere near Eli's Cheesecake World, make plans to visit the epicenter of all things cheesecake.

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0