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!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
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.
About The Author
Robert Federhas 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
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
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
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.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Saturday, September 04, 2010
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.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Study: St. Louis lags in transit spending
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.
- Services set for soldier from Jefferson County killed in Afghanistan
- Juvenile charged for East St. Louis murder
- One killed, three injured when car trying to elude Hazelwood police crashes
- Motorcyclist killed in Jersey County crash
- Westbound Boone Bridge to close - again
- Arson suspected in East Carondelet fire that killed 13 dogs
- Track work will disrupt St. Louis-Chicago Amtrak service
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.