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Archives: December 2007

Sirius Left Takes Listeners Into The Iowa Caucus


Sirius Left, the progressive satellite radio channel, is taking listeners inside the labyrinthine caucuse process in Iowa. ”All of our hosts on SIRIUS Left will be covering Iowa and New Hampshire in their own ways on their shows — I will keep you posted on specifics,” emails Hillary Schupf of Sirius. ”(host Alex) Bennett will take listeners across America ‘inside’ two actual Iowa Caucuses, bringing a firsthand account of the debate, discussion, and procedure by which America’s first political choices are made for the 2008 presidential campaign. Bennett will share Caucus results and all the late breaking news from politically influential Iowa on January 3rd and January 4th.”

(image via clipart)

Russian Santas To Invade Times Square


Russian state news channel Russia Today recently inked a multi-million dollar deal to have their English-language news service aired on Time Warner cable.

Russia Today, which has extremely close ties to the Kremlin, has been embarking on some publicity stunts to increase their viewership in New York.

Which is why, we suppose, they’re going to flood Times Square with Russian Santas on Sunday in advance of the Russian Orthodox Christmas on January 7. A bus containing 100 costumed Grandfather Frosts (aka Russian Santas) will be stopping in Times Square from 1pm-2pm to take pictures with the usual Times Square tourist n’ kiddies crowd.

Hell, it’s a better idea than those Stalin ads Russia Today was doing before.

Photos of the Russian Santa Bus from its last Times Square run after the jump, courtesy of Russia Today.

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Americans Want To Be Stranded On A Desert Island With Colbert

colbert3.jpg’s latest pop culture poll has found that people, when stranded on an island, want satire. ”When asked which ‘politico’ Americans would most want to be stranded with on an island,” the press release begins, ”’truthiness’ prevailed! Twenty-nine percent of respondents chose Stephen Colbert over Hillary Clinton (23%), Barack Obama (19%), George W. Bush (17%) and Rudy Giuliani (12%).”

(image via wsj via comedycentral)

Sundown on Sunset: Ring Out the Old


Artist/filmmaker Melinda Hunt adds to the Theresa Duncan/Jeremy Blake saga and challenges Frank Morales’ version.

Anjelica Huston to play Benazir Bhutto in biopic?

When Manuel Mollinedo ran the LA Zoo, animals managed to escape a number of times. Maybe he’s a PETA mole? Or just an incompetent bureaucrat?

Bonnie Fuller picks scandalicious celebs, but her readers like Lana Turner and Liz Taylor better. Maybe Britney can get one of the kids to stab someone.

Sean Penn is available, which means so is Robin, which means fans of The Princess Bride can rekindle their hopes.

Tony Bourdain is Eater of the Year, followed by the cleverly-named Joel Chestnut. Padme Lakshmi, a chesty nut, is third.

Jodie Foster wins the IMDB least screwed-up former child star poll.

AFI needs to stop with the lame-ass lists already.

Ten Things I Hate about Ten Things: Jason Burns goes meta.

(Photo by Eccentric Scholar)

WNYC Responds To Listener Anger

FishbowlNY spoke to WNYC’s Program Director, Chris Bannon, this afternoon about yesterday’s one day fundraising drive and how some listeners reacted negatively to the interruption of the Bhutto assassination story. ”We have a big audience,” he noted, ” (the reaction) is totally understandable. For some people it was a huge story.” Bannon also said, ”we plan these things months ahead of time … (fundraisers are) carefully premeditated”

The sudden and early timing of the story, Bannon told me, also had a lot to do with the lack of an understanding of how fundraising on a major news story may be perceived by the audience. Bannon was busy booking relevant guests and putting together the 2 p.m. special with Neal Conan. ”We were on auto-pilot.” Finally, Bannon notes that fundraising is the lifeblood of public radio, done so that WNYC can ”stay on track for what we need in ’08.”

Bloomberg Buys Ads In Iowa, New Hampshire


The full-page advertisement shown above just appeared in the Des Monies Register and the New Hampshire Union Leader. It appears to have been funded by a non-profit called Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Except… Mayors Against Illegal Guns was founded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is the organization’s primary source of funding.

Yessir, ladies and gentlemen, Michael Bloomberg is totally buying campaign ads in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The advertisements can be found in PDF format here and they demand presidential candidates take a survey on their views concerning gun control.

So will Bloomberg run for President? Who cares. It’s kinda great regardless. He’s even more of a spoiler than Mario Cuomo was back in the day, only 100% wishy-washiness free. God 2008′s going to be a good election year.

(And wanna see another Bloomberg-funded political front? Click here. You know you want to.)

Mystery Weight Loss Expert Offers Writers Diet Advice

image001.jpg We get weird story pitches in our in-box all the time. Most of the time, we just trash them, but here’s one we couldn’t pass up: Healthy Eating Tips for the Hollywood Writers!

From the press release:

With the Writers’ Strike entering its seventh week, many out of work writers are finding it difficult to fill the time. With the heavy holiday eating and lack of a steady schedule, it is hard for some to keep off unwanted pounds and avoid the temptation of becoming a coach potato. So why not let this extra time off be a chance to slim down and get into great shape!

I’d love to book our renowned dietician and weight loss expert (who has helped over 500,000 people lose weight throughout his career) on your show to share some healthy eating tips and delicious nutritional snacks with your audience and the writers at home that will whip them into shape and keep them fit for their return to the writing board!

Sounds great. Of course, we suspect that if this strike goes on any longer, writers will come up with a weight loss plan of their own: Not eating.

60-Year-Old Reader’s Digest Employee Sues 8-Year-Old Boy

A 60-year-old Reader’s Digest employee has sued an eight-year-old boy for bumping into him while skiing. David Pfahler, 60, of Allentown Pennsylvania, is suing eight-year-old Scott Swimm of Vail, Co. and his father Robb Swimm.

Pfahler, who fell on the slopes, claims that eight-year-old Scott, who weighs just 48 pounds, was “skiing fast and recklessly.” In a lawsuit filed in Colorado, the 60-year-old is seeking more than $75,000 in damages for physical therapy, vacation time, nursing and medical services provided by his wife.

We’re really not kidding. Also, Pfahler’s only physical injury was a torn rotator cuff and a procedure to repair part of his clavicle.

The lawsuit itself is a work of art:

In the lawsuit, Pfahler says that Scott was “…skiing at a slow pace ahead of the defendant, Mr. Pfahler was plainly and readily visible…Swimm was skiing negligently and recklessly, at a high rate of speed. He collided into Mr. Pfahler causing him to be injured…the collision caused Mr. Pfahler to suffer a massive anterior rotator cuff tear….he has had to engage in an extensive and continuous course of physical theraphy…Mr. Pfahler may sustain permanent disability, impairment, and disfigurement and heightened risks of arthritic changes in his shoulder.”

Except he’s claiming an additional $40,000 for “physical therapy, vacation time, nursing and medical services provided by his wife.” C’mon.

Before suing Swimm and his father, Pfahler demanded that they help him pay $35,000 in medical bills via mail.

Except, here’s the thing we don’t get. Reader’s Digest offers one of the best health insurance packages in the industry. Not to mention the fact that anyone who can afford a skiing holiday in Vail has money to spare.. Throw in the fact that Scott has been skiing since age three?

Yup. Frivolous, evil lawsuit… all the way. I mean, who sues an eight-year-old?

The Year In Radio


David Hinkley of The Daily News sums up the tumultuous year in radio. There were, as there always are in radio, dramatic exits: the entire Free FM format (with a little help from Jacques Sternberg’s reporting), Dom Imus (for a few months, anyway), Whoopi Goldberg, Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, Air America’s Sam Greenfield and Armstrong Williams. And, this being the mercurial business of radio, there were returns: Richard Bey and Mark Green (as a President and a host) to Air America, Bob Grant and Don Imus, among others. Afternoon drive time host Randi Rhodes had an interesting moment in October. Hinkley zeros in on the two big radio sories of the year in The Daily News:

”Two important radio stories this year were less immediately visible to the average listener: the proposed merger of XM and Sirius satellite radios, which is still pending, and the arrival of Arbitron’s Personal People Meter (PPM) rating system. The first PPM numbers showed such a dramatic decline for black and ethnic stations that the resulting protest caused Arbitron to postpone full implementation of the PPM system.

”In the larger picture, New York radio and traditional radio everywhere struggled with the question of how to counter the new competition that seems to spring up daily from satellite, iPods, Internet radio and other devices.

”Traditional AM and FM still reach more than 90% of the city. But advertising revenue is down and audiences are listening for shorter stretches of time – particularly younger audiences.”

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