Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Little of the Old In and Out


In: Howard Stern Versus Opie and Anthony. The relatively serene space of satellite radio is about to be filled with the cacophony of insane violence. (The Corsair pours himself a glass of Chateau D'Yquem) Here's the backstory: Howard Stern was the primary influence on Opie and Anthony, their symbolic radio father, but when the two brash radio pranksters started gaining buzz and ratings -- mostly by talking on-air about the goings on on the Stern Show, extending his bits -- Howard angrily demanded of Mel Karmazin that the duo be barred from mentioning his show on air. Soon afterwards they were kicked off of Infinity radio to the gloating of an obviously pleased Stern. In that time, the talented Opie and Anthony, who regard themselves as the heirs -- pretenders? -- of Stern, have grown bitter and remarkably resourceful.

In the old days there would be no competetion between the two. On terrestrial radio, Stern had over 10 million loyal listeners. That was then, this is now; Howard Stern is, essentially, starting from scratch (he has now about 2 million satellite listeners; Opie and Anthony, who have been in the space almost a year, have probably about the same, perhaps a whisper less). The young and ambitious Opie and Anthony are the rogue-rebellious Shakespearean Princes trying -- perhaps in vain -- to dethrone the rightful King of all Media, Howard Stern, whom, they contend, is past his prime.

As they both compete in the niche of satellite radio (a limited pay-niche that cannot sustain such similar programming and expect to grow audience), O and A, which probably has less audience, have resorted to guerilla tactics, namely: phone bombing. Stern returns the volley in a positively citric diatribe this morning. According to Marksfriggin:

"Howard started off the morning talking about what went on with XM while they were off. He had tons of articles that he wanted to read and he was laughing about them already. Artie said he saw that XM dropped two and a half bucks in the stock market. Howard said he told those guys at XM what they should have been doing back when they approached him and they just sat there like big puds. He said their board looked at him with this arrogance when he told them what they could be doing. They were very arrogant according to Howard and had all kinds of charts and graphs that they were using and it didn't do a thing.

"Howard read some articles about XM and how one of their board of directors stepped down over the weekend because of the amount of money they were spending on advertising. They were trying to compete with SIRIUS while Howard was moving there and the ads just didn't work.

"Howard said that the XM ads were a bunch of lies because they shows Snoop Dogg and Ellen Degeneres at the studios and that never happens like that. When you're at SIRIUS you see Howard Stern and Martha Stewart hanging out there. He said they spent $196.5 million on advertising and it got them nowhere. They signed Oprah Winfrey for $55 million to do one half hour show a week which is another horrible deal. Now they're floundering over there at XM.

"Howard said that his friend who owns a car dealer told him that he hasn't moved XM radios in months, it's just sitting there gathering dust. Howard was also complaining about being pictured next to Opie and Anthony. He said it makes him sick because they didn't do anything for XM when they went over there. He said their 'army' of five listeners were calling Scott Farrell calling him a traitor. He said their fans are probably all subscribers because they'd have to be to hear the prank calls they're making. He said they're more like a cub scout troop than an 'army.'"


(image via gothamist)

Out: YouTube. Imagine how much money NBC could have made if, say, they made "Lazy Sunday" downloadable with an advertiser on board. Ka-ching! Alas, it was not to be; but Lorne Michaels and Co. are finally getting -- no pun intended -- "digitized." (We're really trying not to imagine the visual on that one) According to paidcontent:

"This had to happen sooner or later: NBC has asked video sharing site YouTube to take down clips from the hit SNL sketch 'Lazy Sunday,' and the company has complied. NBC sent a notice to the compay askig to remove about 500 clips of NBC material from its site or face legal action under DMCA.

"News.com: The video continues to reside on NBC's official 'SNL' site, though its embedded video player appears to work only with Windows. Curiously, the skit remains downloadable for free through Google's video service. It's also available for $1.99 at iTunes store. NBC has contacted a number of other sites but declined to name which ones.

"Jason Calacanis wrote about this earlier this month and had an interesting point: 'These type of companies are leeches. They know that their business is predicated on people stealing content and they hide behind this silly disclaimer that users agreed that they owned the content they submitted. Yeah, right... the dozens of Saturday Night Live clips on your site are owned by the people who submitted them. Sure... whatever....Flickr is a community for people who create content, YouTube feels like a community build off people stealing content.' But the last point is most important: 'That being said, the people who own these videos are learning the hard lesson of the Internet: either you can make your content available, or your customers can.'"

Now, can someone please inform Howard Stern on the marvels --and profit potential -- of making ones content available online?


(image via rams263)

In: Katie's Successor. It's a well-known secret that CBS is pitching woo to Katie (we, like Rebecca Dana, would rather Diane Sawyer, though, whose "poised, creamy insincerity" is darkly attractive). One can almost imagine Master of the Universe and expert-seducer Les Moonves luridly offering Couric, bon-bons, nylons and the CBS Evening News slot between lascivious whispers and lewd gam-caresses. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) TVNewser notes:

"'Executives at NBC News are getting serious about grooming a successor for Today coanchor Katie Couric,' Stephen Battaglio reports in the latest issue of TV Guide.

"'They are close to signing a long-term deal with MSNBC's Natalie Morales.' She will 'become a full-time correspondent' for Today and earn more airtime in the 9 a.m. hour.

"But Morales isn't a shoo-in for the seat. 'While the charming Morales is a favorite within NBC News, Weekend Today co anchor Campbell Brown has more experience in hard-news reporting and would also be a serious candidate to join Matt Lauer on the weekday show. Says one person familiar with the talks, 'I think they would like to morph Natalie and Campbell together.'"

Yes, frankly, The Corsair would also not be averse to seeing a little Campbell Brown-Natalie Morales twosome, so to speak. It would be so much more arousing than, say, an unwieldy commingling of Charlie Rose and Bob Schieffer's quivering manflesh (eew).

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(image via jbs.cam)

Out: Bruce Wasserstein. In the smouldering aftermath of the conclusion of the Time Warner clash of the titans, Bruce Wasserstein, it appears, came off almost as bad as Carl Icahn, who left the fucking tea party ass-a-dragging. (Averted Gaze) It is, curiously, still unknown as to what precise role Barry Diller actually played in all of this thusness (or if, as we suspect, he was approached for Biondi's role, and, wisely, declined). The mini-media mogul and owner of New York Magazine got, quite frankly, spanked (Welcome to the New York Media playground). According to Marketwatch --link via paidcontent:

"In early January, Bruce Wasserstein made a prediction about the battle for Time Warner in a rare interview with Charlie Rose, the late-night television news show host. The chief executive of Lazard said it was 'inevitable' there would be "material changes in the structure" of the world's largest media company.

"That may still come true. But for now Mr Wasserstein, often praised on Wall Street as a veteran investment banker with extraordinary tactical genius, appears to have been proved wrong.

"Last week, Carl Icahn, the activist investor and Lazard client who had been waging the campaign against Time Warner on a platform that sought a break-up of the company, agreed to lay down his arms. He called Dick Parsons, Time Warner chief executive, and after a meeting on Thursday afternoon, the sides agreed to a settlement that did not include any changes to the company's structure.

"Since then, the chatter has been all about the winners and losers in the six-month-long duel.

"Mr Parsons most often comes out on top, having survived the biggest ever challenge to his leadership. Next comes Mr Icahn, who scaled back his ambitions but still won a few significant concessions from Time Warner, such as $1bn in cost cuts and an accelerated stock buy-back programme.

"In the most precarious position seems to be Mr Wasserstein, who controversially agreed to advise Mr Icahn in late November, staking his own reputation, and that of Lazard, on the assignment.

"'When you sign up for the role you have to be right,' says one senior mergers and acquisitions banker at a competitor. 'If you don't have a well grounded position in terms of the truth then you're just a show, a hired mouthpiece. Bruce was visibly and painfully wrong.'"


(image via myspace)

In: Harold Hunter. Sadly, we note that Harold Hunter, Downtown Manhattan fixture, has passed on to the big skate park in the sky due to a cocaine overdose. According to Kim Hastreiter of the Papermag Blog:

"Sad news this weekend. New York City skateboard legend and Zoo York posterboy Harold Hunter passed away on Friday. Hunter first came on the scene downtown in Larry Clark's film, Kids. And, of course, we photographed him for PAPER at the time and many times after that all throughout his ZOO YORK days. Harold was one of those kids I'd always run into. He was always popping into our parties and was always a fan of our magazine. He always had a sweet hello for me whenever I saw him. In fact, I just saw a photo in Ari Marcopoulis new book of Harold holding up a PAPER cover kissing it!

"Anyway, there is a fund set up for his funeral expenses (it seems he had no family!) so if youre interested in donating it's here. Rest in peace, Harold."

We'll always remember the unforgettable Harold from this exchange a few years back: "

WYWS Magazine did an interview with African-American skateboarder Harold Hunter.Harold Hunter, who hangs out at the Astor Place Cube once dated the reptilian Rosario Dawson.

"But, as he will soon relate in agonizing detail to an unknown skateboarding magazine, things went terribly awry. Terribly. Awry. Oh yeah, that, and Leonardo DiCaprio is girlfriend-stealing puppy boy:Harold Hunter:

"'(Rosario Dawson) and I were going out and, like,she was attracted to actors and stuff like that.

"I remember one time, I went to a party and stuff like that, and I saw David Blaine sitting with Leonardo DiCaprio, and David was like, 'Yo, you know Leonardo's in love with Rosario Dawson.' I was like 'Yeah,' and I was like, 'Damn! He's gonna try and take my girl away, I know that.'"

The Corsair groans, knowing what is going to happen next.

"So we're all sitting together, drinking. So they were looking at each other and Rosario's looking at (Leonardo). And I was like 'damn, man I know somethings gonna happen.' So Rosario got up and had to use the bathroom. I was talking to David Blaine, we were drinking, you know talking. Then Leo gets up and walks away. And Rosario's gone for a long, long time."

The Corsair winces in pain for Harold.

"I was like 'Damn, where is this girl.' So I get up and go downstairs and she's making out with Leonardo DiCaprio."

"And that hurt my feelings, but I said, 'You know what, that's alright.

"... In my head I said that, because if Michelle Pfeiffer were around I would kiss her too. At the end of the day, Rosario and I walked home, and she tried to kiss me and I was like 'I don't want your leftovers.' She said, 'Why?' I said 'I saw you kissing Leonardo.' ... She told me the truth, she said, 'I'm attracted to celebrities.'"

RIP, Harold Hunter Memorial MySpace Blog here.


(image via johnbarth)

Out: Andrew Card. In both the Hurricane Katrina tragedy and, to a far lesser degree, in the Cheney Huntgate media pile-on, the lack of a strong Chief of Staff caused massive confusion where in the Executive branch of the United States ought to be none (especially after 5-plus years of continuous administration). Historians of the future will note, acidly, that Andy Card was not an effective Chief of Staff, nor did he at any point affix his own stamp of leadership style onto the post. Curiously, the unprecedented expansion of the powers of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney might be partally to blame. From the perfect Dickensian villain, Robert Novak:

"Actually, as (former Minnesota Congressman Vin) Weber surely would admit, the problems exposed by the Texas shooting were no aberration but, instead, are systemic. Andrew Card, as Bush's only presidential chief of staff, has had an extraordinarily long tenure in that post of more than five years but has not dominated the presidential office in the manner of Sherman Adams and James Baker. Card always seemed less formidable than Bush political adviser Karl Rove, who with his additional title of deputy chief of staff mixes politics and policy.

"If that is not complicated enough, Cheney is unique in the way he fills his constitutional office.

"Previous vice presidents either have been ignored or delegated specific duties, but Cheney is alone in emerging as an independent power center. A former White House chief of staff (in the Ford administration), Cheney is at least the equal of Card and Rove. Under this system, Cheney was able to keep quiet for 14 hours his accidental shooting of a fellow hunter.

"The result was a week full of embarrassment and confusion, but the broader message is a dysfunctional White House that helps bring about a second-term with an unclear domestic agenda and sagging party morale. Reports surfaced during 2005 that new faces would appear in the interest of a more orderly, more effective administration.

"Well-placed Republican sources reported that highly regarded Rob Portman, who resigned his congressional seat from Ohio to become U.S. trade representative, would come to the White House as chief of staff with expanded powers. As 2006 began, it was speculated that after the budget was presented former Sen. Phil Gramm would walk away from his lucrative commercial pursuits to become secretary of the Treasury and a major positive force in the administration. However, talk of Portman and Gramm arriving appears to be wishful thinking.

"The problem can be seen in the White House last week being more aggravated by Vin Weber's mild criticism than exposure of a dysfunctional staff system. The real cause for malaise is fear that the president will decide it is too late for a second-term reconstruction."

1 comment:

LifeIncome said...

Interesting. I learn something all the time. Thanks,Steve @Car Tips