Take a close look.
Yeah, sure, the combination of the granny glasses, the soul patch and the quasi-shag haircut make him look like the aging crate-digger that he's supposed to be. But it's still Steve Zahn. Minnesota guy. Perpetually tweaked out. I know dudes who are crusty indie-radio types, and they're never as wound up as Zahn is when he's actually trying to act mellow.
Love you, Steve. Love the character. Love the fact that WWOZ is a character in the show, too. But you gotta go to Heroin Factor 9 for this role, and right now you're at like Factor 3.
ADDENDUM: Forgot to mention that I did think the ass-shot was bold, yo.
There are many, many possible reactions to this ad: Disbelief that Imus still has a show; laughter at the fact that a business news channel hired him; general pity; complete indifference; and so on. Behold:
But here's what I'm thinking: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, GENIUS FOX NETWORK PEOPLE, FOR NOT MAKING ME LOOK AT AN ACTUAL PICTURE OF THAT NASTY OLD FART. The hat is skeevy enough, but I guess they had to put some sort of signature image.
Man, this usually isn't a forum for "OMG GUESS WHAT I HEARD ON NPR TODAY," but damn, guess what I heard on NPR today: Some middle-aged writer guy who sounds like he believes most of his own Baby Boomer bullshit. The highly successful James Ellroy says lots of slyly self-aggrandizing things that *might* be intended as a parody of cockiness, but probably are just plain-old cockiness (even though he says self-deprecatory things, too). But he's not funny the way that, say, David Lee Roth can be in very brief instances. Maybe Ellroy's cockiness is warranted (or completely calculated), but still, ugh, he's hard to listen to, precisely because he's an author, and he has too much time to think about what to say when the time comes to hype a book. Some allegedly deft verbalizations just cannot qualify as "microphone skills," no matter how you slice 'em. NPR: "James Ellroy Divulges A Few Dirty Secrets"
UPDATE: The commenters on npr.org largely feel the same way.
This NFL Huddle doll from the '80s:
Is actually a junior member of Fleet Foxes:
I am implying, of course, that Fleet Foxes are crypto-hippies, i.e., they've got something to hide. I'm probably wrong about that. I think they're just real fuckin' hippies.
No disrespect intended, dude. You've seen things and done things that I cannot fathom. You probably know people who would kneecap me just because you're thinking about it. You don't even have to say it. Bang, somebody shows up and kneecaps me.
You are probably responsible for a significant number of the romances that led to the procreation of my friends and known associates.
In summation, you are famous and people get laid because of you. I totally admire this.
But dude, I'm seeing this head shot more frequently these days, and the more I see it, the less I like it. Everything about it is stiff: your jacket, your hat, your smile, the tilt of your head, and so on. You look like an action figure or a wax statue. You're the Geator: a lively, vibrant radio god. Your head shot should say, "if you come near me, you might catch on fire from the blazing force of my record-selection skills and verbal improvisations."
This head shot says, "take the damn picture already so I can go eat lunch."
Anyway, please don't hurt me.
Sorry that it had to happen in D.C.
Some 2008 style:
ADDENDUM: At the time, I was like, "well, Harry got paid." But in hindsight, I'm like, "these muthafuckin' bitches didn't deserve to be in a commercial with him." Chumps:
I think I'm tired of Ira Glass, but that doesn't mean I dislike him. And, funny enough, he kinda has a similar view of Rush Limbaugh:
“Rush is just an amazing radio performer,” says Ira Glass, a star of the younger generation of public-radio personalities. “Years ago, I used to listen in the car on my way to reporting gigs, and I’d notice that I disagreed with everything he was saying, yet I not only wanted to keep listening, I actually liked him. That is some chops. You can count on two hands the number of public figures in America who can pull that trick off.”
Glass compares Limbaugh to another exceptional free-form radio monologist, Howard Stern. “A lot of people dismiss them both as pandering and proselytizing and playing to the lowest common denominator, but I think that misses everything important about their shows,” he says. “They both think through their ideas in real time on the air, they both have a lot more warmth than they’re generally given credit for, they both created an entire radio aesthetic.” (NYT Magazine)
I think I'm tired of Stern, too.
And I know you think I'm lazy and lame for quoting last Sunday's magazine on a Thursday.
It's a circle of frickin' love around here, I tell ya.
The playlist-grinders at WHQT-FM are pumping this Sheek Louch song endlessly. I was never much of a LOX sympathizer, but this is one of those no-duh kinda hits:
BONUS REPORTAGE: It took us about 6 hours to go the entire length of a rainy, clusterfucked Connecticut on Friday night; I could stomach about 2 hours of Angie Martinez before I grew weary of hearing the same 8 songs repeatedly and decided to switch over to some news/talk. The Hot 97 Redundancy List looks something like this: "Milli" and "Lollipop" by Lil' Wayne, "Superstar" by Lupe Fiasco, that Usher/Jeezy song, "Roc Boys" by Jay-Z, a Chris Brown tune that I don't care about, "Flashing Lights" by Kanye West, and Sheek's track.
“I have a mathematical equation for all this,” said Mr. Wilmore. “White guy plus black slang equals comedy. But here’s where the equation breaks down. White guy plus black slang minus common sense equals tragedy.”
“I think he failed comedically more than anything else,” he added.
Background: "The Sports Junkies" became simply "The Junkies" well before all this Free FM crap kicked into gear. I know this for one reason only: Before Stern left the regular airwaves, his show used to spill into The Junkies' show every morning. Inevitably, that godawful "Junkies Intro" song, with its it's-still-1999-and-rap-rock-is-the-bomb-yo refrain of "Gues who's back/The Junkies, The Junkies, The Junkies," would burble out of my clock radio, and I'd think, "I want to rip out my eyeballs, coat them in napalm, light them on fire, and then shove them into my ear canals. Hopefully this will not only dull my senses, but kill me as well."
Annoyance: Calling themselves simply "The Junkies" is an affront to actual junkies everywhere. Real junkies take deathly risks and are slaves to a destructive lifestyle. These Junkies take few risks and are slaves to golf.
Idealism: A radio show with actual junkies would be thrillingly unpredictable. Would they show up for work? Would they be able to talk once they got there? Would they elect a functional addict as their frontman? Would the fuzz be constantly bustin' up the joint? Ah, sweet junk!
I love it that when anybody in the Philly media writes about the Phillies' broadcasters -- and particularly about how Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler don't get along -- the unspoken assumption is that Wheeler is definitely the jerk, and not Kalas.
The thing I'll miss most about Howard Stern's FM days: His spots for various products. Think about it: Just about every other facet of the show will translate to Sirius. But with no need to constantly sell ad time, Stern won't be doing much copy-reading.
When Howard does do an ad, the layers of assumptions are waist-deep. First, you get the impression that he really doesn't care if you buy the product or not. Don't like Snapple? Oh well. Can't stand Heineken? Whatev. Have no interest in a Vermont Teddy Bear? Life goes on, because even in this day and age, some other semi-fringe product will come along to pay him shill money. Just keep listening to the show.
Digging a little deeper: The slight deadpan quality of Howard's voice, the one-take vibe of the commercials, and the half-competent "ad-libs" by Robin, Artie, Fred or Gary communicate a general sense of indifference, but without disparaging the product itself. The point is that you know Heineken is some sort of official sponsor of the show. Drinking it is not your obligation, because you are not a sucker.
Howard's goal, then, is to keep you constantly aware of the fact that reading ad-copy is a friggin' necessary nuisance, and nothing more. And it's one of the show's ultimate lessons: You, the consumer, are not as important as you, the member of the Howard club. Any influence he has over your buying habits should come with full awareness. If that isn't audience-love, I don't know what is.
Preachers, infomercialists and AM right-wingers, on the other hand, generally want you to believe. (Even G. Gordon Liddy, with his "crass commercial messages" schtick, probably takes a lot of pride in his ad-man skills.) Your attention isn't enough -- you must be one with the godhead. Howard has been skewering that notion, oh so subtly, for years.
ADDENDUM: Stern himself pretty much made a similar, more overt point in chastising Bill O'Reilly for having so much O'Reilly-themed merch.
Tha Mrs. checked in with this:
Had such a crappy drive to work today. First, I started choking on my english muffin, immediately followed by an eyelash that felt like a sharp stick in my eye -- so bad, in fact, that I couldn't see and had to pull over! AND I think Artie is leaving the Stern show....what the F?!!!
(No "choking on muffin" or "stick in the eye" jokes, please. I already made them. Maybe not verbally, but in my heart, at least.)
"Remember how Jor-El's parents put him in the rocket because Krypton was crumbling? Same deal." Stern on moving to Sirius satellite radio when his current contract is up. Score one for freedom of speech, but at the same time, thousands of listeners will be screwed, no doubt. Anybody who drives a company vehicle will no longer have free, unfettered access to the show. Will Sirius come up with some way to get Stern to people who absolutely cannot install Sirius gear where they work? Who knows. Don't wanna be a killjoy here I've been wanting try satellite radio for a couple of years but a lot of burned-out dudes in delivery trucks won't be part of the audience anymore. That's the crowd that made Stern in the early days.
In a Washington Post article about how the FCC ruled that Howard Stern's show is exempt from "equal time" rules for political candidates, communications lawyer Andrew Jay Schwartzman, head of the Media Access Project, had this to say:
What this means is that every 'morning zoo' disc jockey whose brother-in-law is running for city council can put him on the air without worrying about giving equal time to anyone else.Fair enough, Mr. Schwartzman, but you blew it with the next line:
They've removed the notion that a bona fide news interview show is supposed to apply to journalists. If Howard Stern is a real journalist, real journalists should be upset.That's exactly the kind of elitist claptrap that Stern does his damndest to counterbalance. Stern just might be the best entertainment journalist around -- he gets celebrities (and the politicians brave enough to come on his show) to say what they mean. How many entertainment "journalists" on CNN, MSNBC, MTV, Fox News and E! can say the same thing?
So we were running some errands last night, and we had one of the local NPR stations on in the background. The afternoon jazz show had given way to a classic radio broadcast. It was Jack Benny and Bing Crosby, but at first, Katherine thought it was Bob Hope. "Bob Hope must have died," she said. I said, "No, I think that's Jack Benny." Bob Hope died this morning. He wasn't dead when we were talking about him last night. Of course, any time you're talking about a 100-year-old dude, there's always the possibility that he might die within 12 hours. (Side note: If you do a Google search for "Bob Hope is not funny," you don't get any hits. Well, except maybe this page.)
Started walking to the train today, and about 100 feet from my front door, the heel of my left shoe caught a golf-ball-sized stone, and I turned my ankle hard. I was wearing my beat-up pair of black wingtips, which have been resoled several times with hard-ass Goodyear oil-resistant rubber. Long life, but no bounce or give, thus my injury. It hurt so bad that I had to sit on the sidewalk for about 30 seconds until my brain recovered. Mind you, I've broken both arms, my left leg, my nose, two fingers and a bone in my right hand, and over the years I've developed a high threshhold for sprain-pain. But this one was killer. A guy passed me on the sidewalk, and asked if he could help, but I couldn't even look at him. After the initial shock wore off, I stumbled back to the apartment and called a cab. The cabbie was listening to Howard Stern, who was playing an Ali G clip where the wacky Brit was grilling some former U.S. official about foreign policy (I think it was Brent Scowcroft). A brief respite. Then it came time to get out of the vehicle. After I paid the cabbie ($1.55 tip), he said, "I have some Thai rub if you want it?" And I was like, "what's that?" He rooted around in the little compartment at the base of the driver's side door, and pulled out a little tin with Asian writing all over it. In the middle of the lid was a monkey, sort of a cross between Curious George and something more feral. A quick Google search for the product landed me only this, which really has nothing to do with what the cabbie showed me. Anyway, he said, "You rub this on, it takes out the blue," meaning bruises, I guess. The first thing that popped into my head was that I'd walk into work smelling like Monkey Vicks Thai Go-Go No-Blue Vapo Paste, so I kindly turned down the offer. Now I regret being so unadventurous.
April 02, 2003 at 13:22 | Permalink
Does anybody find yucky-sweet justice in the fact that Clear Channel, which loves to screw over the nation's radio listeners by inflicting tightass playlists on its stations, is now getting screwed over by a typically insubordinate Axl Rose? One might argue that the fans ultimatley are takin' it in the cornhole in this case, but I have no sympathy for whiny would-be GNR concertgoers. Caveat emptor, y'know? I do, however, respect an educated decision to behold the traveling circus, consequences be damned. Word to Eskimo on that front. He had the right approach.
December 11, 2002 at 18:34 | Permalink
I used to love it when Howard Stern would tell fake Vietnam stories just to get people riled up -- half the audience knew he was never in the Army, and the other half didn't. It made for some high comedy at times, especially when tweaked-out vets would talk to him like he was a brother in arms. This guy takes the cake, though. Ah, the Brits. All I can think of is Sylvester Stallone in a big puddle of pig shit in one of the "Rambo" movies. Except, like, he wasn't British.
November 20, 2002 at 18:50 | Permalink
There's a Baltimore radio commentator named Lester Kinsolving who often gets the last question at White House briefings with press secretary Ari Fleischer. Kinsolving's questions are rarely dull, and Fleischer rarely answers them with more than a yes or a no. Here's a transcript of today's exchange -- I think it's the first time anybody has said the word "necrophilia" during a White House briefing:
QUESTION: The Raleigh News and Observer reports another notable speech in North Carolina where Tipper Gore called for what she termed, quote, "ripping up of our armed force's policy of don't ask, don't tell," and "We cannot rest until Congress adopts federal hate crime legislation that includes sexual orientation, period." And my question, is the president giving any consideration to such a ripping up of the don't ask, don't tell, or for hate crime legislation, including all sexual orientations, like S&M and necrophilia and that sort of thing?
FLEISCHER: No. There's no change in the president's position. Thank you.
February 28, 2002 at 17:30 | Permalink
Big ups to my man Len Righi for following up on the Clear Channel playlist story. Anybody raised in or around the Lehigh Valley knows how terrible its commercial radio stations are. I'm not surprised Clear Channel has such a heavy presence there. It's too bad Lehigh U.'s WLVR-FM lacks the gear to broadcast online. Muhlenberg College's WMUH-FM has a Real Player feed, though. Those two stations can keep a Valley dude from going crazy.
September 19, 2001 at 18:25 | Permalink
I find it interesting that Clear Channel Inc., perhaps the most obnoxious and greedy media company in existence (and that's sayin' somethin'), suddenly has a conscience about the playlists of its radio stations, most of which are crappily programmed excuses for FM hipness.
September 18, 2001 at 20:07 | Permalink
Rapper Jay-Z's latest single, which I presume is titled "HOVA," was played at least three times in a row on Tuesday evening by D.C. station WKYS-FM. It's summer-sweat-catchy and much less preoccupied with luxury goods than his recent hits. The people on the KYS phone lines were absolutely nuts for it. I was hoping that he'd run out of rhymes about Cristal, diamonds and Bentleys sooner or later. Hip-hop escapism combined with free advertising gets a little annoying after awhile.
July 05, 2001 at 18:05 | Permalink