Friday, June 12, 2015

Is 105 The Ticket finally done in Minneapolis?

It hasn't even been a complete week since afternoon talk hosts Bob Sansevere, Mike Morris and Ben Holsen were given their walking papers at third tier Minneapolis-St. Paul sports talker 105 The Ticket but when a barely noticeable radio station cuts the only paid and local on-air staff they have, the writing is usually on the wall.

To begin with, nobody was clamoring for a third sports talk radio station in the Twin Cities -- much less, one spread across three FM frequencies which seem to be a better fit for a niche music format as opposed to fulfilling a contract which owner Cumulus made with CBS Sports to give them an outlet for their national sports talk network.

I know all too well that sports is where the money is and that while a talk format -- especially one using local talent -- isn't cheap to launch, maintain, nurture and grow; it is a gold mine when it comes to advertising because of the ad availability in a talk format. With Cumulus management axing their five hours of local sports talk, they seem to be sending a signal that they either don't care that these three small FM signals could actually make some money with local content even with microscopic ratings or that a new format is on its way.

If the new format route is the future for the stations that, when run as a trimulcast, have featured alternative rock, hard rock, alternative rock, classic R&B, alternative rock, soft oldies, oldies, adult contemporary and now sports talk; the next likely step is the Cumulus broadcasting format of classic country billed as NASH Icons or a return to adult contemporary as they were at the end of the Love 105 format. Cumulus has been sitting on a pile of web domains registered for the NASH Icons format -- one of which seems to coincide with the Minneapolis-area 105 signals so that is at least a possibility.

If Cumulus decides to ride out the CBS Sports format, though, the company is using three frequencies to fulfill a contract. Not knowing the language of the contract with CBS Sports, I am curious if Cumulus could use just one of the frequencies -- 105.7 has the best coverage of the immediate Minneapolis-St. Paul metro -- to broadcast sports talk and throw a music format on the 105.1 and 105.3 frequencies which could actually appeal to listeners and make this clusterfuck of an ownership group some money.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CBS fall 2015 schedule thoughts

In the past two or three years, network television's quality has both declined and increased. I have The Walking Dead) being shown on AMC -- a cable channel.
seen a number of great ideas with an almost infinite amount of potential completely squandered and left to wither and die. I have also seen dreck and lowbrow, low-concept programs become middling hits. To find a hit nowadays, though, is a challenge as television viewing is more fragmented than ever before with the continuing rise of Netflix, Amazon becoming a player and the most popular series (

CBS (aka The Tiffany Network) had been able -- until the past year or two -- to avoid the sliding ratings and rarely had more than two series which turned out to be complete dogs. They continually churned out crime dramas which pulled in steady ratings and spawned spinoffs. On the comedy side, their multi-camera shows followed a formula of set-up, easy joke, laughter. It worked and they built on their Monday comedy success with a solidly watched Thursday comedy block. That new Thursday block quickly laid waste to NBC's once-popular Thursday comedy block.

But the success of the CBS Thursday comedy block came at a price. Failing to find a big hit after How I Met Your Mother began its decline and eventually ended its run, the two-hour Monday comedy block was scaled back to a mere hour for the 2014-15 season. The anchor 2 Broke Girls  failed to improve or even maintain its viewership levels.

The schedule for the fall 2015 season on CBS is the most disappointing and lackluster of all of the networks -- and that says a lot given the bottom-of-the-barrel crap NBC is rolling out.

CBS FALL 2015-16 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
MONDAY
8-8:30 PM The Big Bang Theory
8:30-9 PM LIFE IN PIECES
8-9 PM SUPERGIRL (Starting in November)
9-10 PM Scorpion
10-11 PM NCIS: Los Angeles
TUESDAY
8-9 PM NCIS
9-10 PM NCIS: New Orleans
10-11 PM LIMITLESS
WEDNESDAY
8-9 PM Survivor
9-10 PM Criminal Minds
10-11 PM CODE BLACK
THURSDAY
8-11 PM, ET/ NFL Thursday Night Football (Premieres Sept. 17)
5-8 PM, PT
8-8:30 PM The Big Bang Theory (RTP) (Starting in November)
8:30-9 PM LIFE IN PIECES (Starting in November)
9-9:30 PM Mom (Starting in November)
9:30-10 PM ANGEL FROM HELL (Starting in November)
10-11 PM Elementary(Starting in November)
FRIDAY
8-9 PM The Amazing Race
9-10 PM Hawaii Five-O
10-11 PM Blue Bloods
SATURDAY
8-9 PM Crimetime Saturday
9-10 PM Crimetime Saturday
10-11 PM 48 Hours
SUNDAY
7-9 PM 60 Minutes
8-9 PM Madam Secretary
9-10 PM The Good Wife
10-11 PM CSI: CYBER

 The biggest shock is that beginning in November, CBS will have no comedies on it Monday night lineup for the first time in over 60 years. This is not just the end of an era, it also marks the continued slide of sitcoms on network television. There will be a mere 12 hours of comedies each week on network television when November rolls around. I am sure that the number has been far lower before but when spread across four major networks it is definitely a low point for televised comedies.

The one series that sticks out like a sore thumb for CBS is Supergirl. It's not geared towards the silver hair crowd. It features a female lead. It could also be the beginning of CBS actively trying to attract younger viewers with the cheesy but young-skewing Scorpion pairing well with Supergirl. Two hours of dramas which could actually appeal to people under 50 years old. Or Supergirl could be a complete failure and vanish by February. Just wait and see.

Monday, April 06, 2015

How not to mess up Easter

Easter is one of those holidays which brings all parts of the family together. The host family spends hours cleaning their home, preparing food and planning this only to have it turn to shit in mere minutes.

 For us, hosting Easter dinner for the third time in ten years, we partially remodeled both our kitchen and living room, meticulously cleaned our money pit of a house and planned a pretty kick-ass meal. Of course, as luck would have it, the electricity had gone out when we arrived home from an excruciatingly long Easter morning mass. We hauled what we needed to my sister-in-law’s house and the wife cooked what she could there. I stayed home and minded the rugrats and waited for guests to show up.

 The guests showed up in a trickle. The electricity came back on at ten minutes before noon and we hustled to get everything on the table by noon. We missed the mark by about ten minutes but that was, by far, the most timely holiday meal which had been served in over a decade for this particular family by anyone hosting it.

 The problem, though, was that eleven people had yet to show up. I graciously waited five minutes and, after that time, calmly proclaimed “screw ‘em” and told everyone to eat. The food was as good as could be expected but where in the holy hell have people’s manners gone? I know that life gets in the way and kids can be a total bitch to get out the door in a timely fashion but it’s not like this was sprung on you a few hours ago. We told people months ago, followed up by a reminder a few weeks ago and a reminder about what to bring about two weeks ago.

So, why can’t people show up at a designated time? Everyone lives within ten minutes of our house. The wife’s dad showed up 50 minutes late. One of her brothers and his family showed up over an hour late. Her sister and family rolled up thirty minutes late. That accounts for a whopping fourteen guests showing up late. I get that holidays should be fun and relaxed but, shit, plan your time a bit better. While this isn’t a fucking job interview, have some respect for those who have the kindness to invite you lazy, untimely bastards into their house and feed you for free. Showing up on time is the least you can do.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Bunnies and eggs, an Easter question

Why are the two traditional symbols of the commercialized Easter holiday entirely unrelated?

Bunnies don't come from chicken eggs and chicken eggs don't come from bunnies. Sure, if my science here is correct, bunnies do in fact come from eggs but that involves freaky bunny sex which, amazingly, I know nothing about except that 'fucking like bunnies' is a popular term when describing your friends who have insane amounts of sex.

Great, I went off on a twisted tale involving humans fucking like bunnies while trying to decipher the symbols of easter. Just give me the ticket to hell, please.

Where is the relationship, folks? Why must we surround ourselves with an Easter basket full of varying types of eggs and fill the fucker out with an Easter bunny? Which came first, the bunny or the eggs? Huh? Wait a minute.

That old tale is about a chicken and an egg, two things which are related. Chickens come from eggs and vice versa. Not the same with bunnies. Bunnies are born alive, they are not hatched.

Maybe bunnies, in some corner of the world, give birth to eggs where pollution runs rampant and thus began the tradition. Or maybe they swim underwater at the Mall of America like Scuba Bunny does...

Enlighten me, please.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Last Man on Earth WAS promising

FOX comedy “The Last Man on Earth” started out with an explosion of greatness. A stunning and almost dangerous concept starring but one actor, the under appreciated Will Forte who was the bumbling MacGruber in numerous SNL sketches. The concept was risky but played out wonderfully — one solitary man leaving a bleak if not interesting existence after a virus wiped out 99.99999999% of humanity. It was a wonderful one-man show. Forte’s Phil Miller traveling the country in search of any glimmer of humanity.

I even liked the second episode where the moderately grating Kristen Schall was introduced. She is wonderful as the voice of Louise Belcher on another FOX comedy, the animated and overlooked “Bob’s Burgers” but just like  her role as Hazel Wassername on NBC’s “30 Rock” a few years ago, her acting simply rubs me the wrong way. Her characters are grating and borderline annoying but I suppose that’s why she is playing the characters she is playing.

But a comedy starring even two characters was too good to be true and too good to last for long. Future episodes saw the addition of two more characters. Hopefully that’s where the character additions stop because what quickly became a multi-faceted show focusing more on Phil Miller’s desire to be with the more attractive of the last two apparently living females in America showed just how much of a dickhead he is — even to the only other apparently living guy in America. Everyone needs friends, no matter how much they deny having such a need, and pushing them aside in an effort to have the more desirable of two women possibly shows why Phil Miller survived. He was left behind to suffer through a miserable and incomplete life.

He could choose to be a better friend and a better husband but instead he continually finds ways to alienate those around him. That is, until the most recent episode. Forte’s character chose to change his life to make a better life for those around him. He decided to clean up his poop pool, he reluctantly allowed his wife to move into his house and is beginning to realize that, for better or worse, this weird existence is his new life and that he needs to make the best of it or continue to be a self-loathing and shallow dickhead.

I know that even after a short while that television shows change and evolve but I hope to see more of the weirdness that comes with what is now a small group of  survivors left as the last people in America — possibly Earth — and less of the relationship drama. Check out “The Last Man on Earth” Sundays at 8 PM and/or 8:30 PM (C/T) on FOX.