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Archive for October, 2010

First interview with NPR CEO Vivian Schiller on Juan Williams firing

20090302_schiller_33Call me lucky. I had a pre-scheduled interview this morning with NPR CEO Vivian Schiller this morning before her speech at the Atlanta Press Club Newsmakers luncheon at the 191 Club in downtown Atlanta.

So lo and behold, the entire Juan Williams firing blew up the past 24 hours. I happen to be the first person to talk to her about it. She basically said he was on NPR as a news analyst and wasn’t supposed to express opinions, something he had done time and time again on Fox News. This was just the final straw. Commentators, in contrast, are specifically called that on NPR and are supposed to be opinionated.

She said this has nothing to do with Fox News or his particular views of Muslims. She is also sorry NPR did this while most public radio stations (including WABE-FM) are in the middle of their fall pledge drives.

After the luncheon, John Weatherford, senior chief operating officer at WABE-FM, acknowledged the Williams flap has been a “distraction” for the pledge drive, and …

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Atlanta songwriters helped with top Atlanta radio song ‘Just the Way You Are’

Bruno Mars, vocalist on "Just the Way You Are"

Bruno Mars, vocalist on "Just the Way You Are"

For the second week, Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” is tops on Atlanta radio – and nationwide. It possesses a beautiful timelessness and a universal sentiment largely lacking on the current top 40 charts packed with more throwaway songs such as “Dynamite,” “Cooler Than Me” and “Like a G6.”

I also found out two of the songwriters are from Atlanta: Cassius D. Kalb (Khalil Walton) and Needlz (Khari Cain), who is behind Lil Wayne and Drake’s “I’m Goin’ In.” (The others were the Smeezingtons, which is Bruno’s team, which also helped write “Nothin’ on You” for Atlanta’s B.o.B. and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire.”)

On Wednesday, I spoke with Walton, whose dad played with the Knicks legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, also a saxophonist and keyboardist. “I came out of the womb playing the keys,” he said, noting he’s a classically trained pianist. He moved to Atlanta at age 13 and graduated from Southwest DeKalb  High School. (You’ll be able …

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Interview with Dagmar Midcap’s replacement Markina Brown

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Broadcast news is almost like the military. Many people’s careers involve moving from city to city every few years, always hoping there is a point where they can truly settle down. Markina Brown isn’t unusual that way.

She has been at TV stations in Lansing, Mich., St. Louis, Cleveland, Chicago and Los Angeles. Now she lands in Atlanta, her first Southern stop.

Brown replaces Dagmar Midcap, who left last month in the middle of her contract for personal reasons. (The sad story is here.)

Brown started her job last week, October 11 and was supposed to start on air this past Monday. But by last Wednesday, she was already champing on the bit and got started for the evening news. “This isn’t my first rodeo,” she said and the equipment was the same she used in L.A. and Cleveland.

In an interview this week, Brown had nothing to say about the Dagmar situation and was cautious across the board. But what is there to say? She’s replacing a popular weather reader and can only do her job …

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First VH1 scripted show ‘Single Ladies’ to be shot in Atlanta

First announced as a movie in May, “Single Ladies” will become VH1’s first scripted drama series, set to debut in July, 2011.

Better yet, it’s going to be shot in Atlanta next spring. The film was shot over the summer and is set to air before the series starts.

Executive produced by Queen Latifah (who will guest star), the series is about three best friends with different points of views on sex and relationships.

stacey-dashThe press release provides a synopsis:

Val ( Stacey Dash-right) is an ambitious aspiring fashion mogul who wants to find a true partner. Keisha (LisaRaye McCoy), on the other hand, is a former video dancer just looking for a rich man to keep her in style. April (Charity Shea) has supposedly found the perfect man and the perfect marriage – but is learning that marriage isn’t necessarily a happy ending. Single Ladies is a modern, sexy series set in the world of Atlanta fashion, music, and celebrity that will constantly explore which woman has the right …

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Who was fifth out on ‘Dancing With the Stars’?

florenceAge may just be a number but it’s also a hindrance for the token senior citizen who is cast on “Dancing With the Stars.”.

And trying to dance a tango to “The Brady Bunch” TV theme sure doesn’t help either.

Florence Henderson, saddled with that memorably silly song, scored a 21 out of 30 among the judges, which was actually better than former Atlantan Kyle Massey and Bristol Palin, the two  youngest contestants. It was also her best score yet. But she didn’t get the viewer votes and found herself out after five weeks.

Was Florence Henderson the right one to go home?

  • Yes. She was amazing for her age but her time has come.
  • No. There were others who should have gone home first.

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“This is one of the best produced shows I’ve ever been on,” Henderson said after her elimination. “The best crew, the best hair, the best makeup, even the judges.” She said she hoped she inspired people to get off their duffs and enjoy life.

At age 76, she …

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Henry Winkler’s career hasn’t really jumped the shark

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This interview was done three days before Tom Bosley, Mr. C on “Happy Days,” passed away at age 83 from heart failure.

Henry Winkler is about to turn 65 but that sure doesn’t mean retirement. In fact, the man known best as “The Fonz” remains very much on people’s radar. “A minute ago, I was 27!” he said.

He lived up to his reputation as the nicest guy in Hollywood. He was funny and personable and seemed to enjoy the interview.

Last Thursday, on the live “30 Rock” episode on NBC, his “Happy Days” character was a focal point of the plotline. A cleaning lady, played by Rachel Dratch, loves “Happy Days” and receives a birthday cake with The Fonz on it, but Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon gets the cake instead.

“I sent an email to Tina Fey.  I said you made me look great – even in cake!” said Winkler, who was in town this past weekend at the Abilities Expo at Cobb Galleria Center. He is a paid spokesman for Allergan, Inc. to promote the “Open Arms: Raising Awareness of Upper …

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‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ episode 3, season 3: Not too gay

All generalizations are false -  including this one. – Mark Twain

kim-zolciak-tardy-for-the-party-photosKim Zolciak is not a musician. She never will be. She’s more an accidental dabbler who can sing dance tunes with minimal range.

But a gay circuit party promoter figured her fame on “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and her catchy ditty “Tardy for the Party” were enough to pay Kim some bucks for a few minutes on stage.

This also gave the RHOA producers a hook for episode No. 3. We see Kim prepping for the show in semi-panic, semi-petulant mode. Kandi Burruss, the songwriter and producer who helped make “Tardy for the Party” palatable, meets her there to help her out.

Kim is seen running around (over) packing. She drives a yellow Lamborghini with her assistant and a separate limousine for her luggage. Yes, she rented a separate limousine just for her luggage. That’s worth repeating for the pure excessive absurdity, eh?

“Kim has one single and she’s acting like Lady Gaga – already,” Kandi says, in her eye-rolling …

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Sources: Tripp West replacing Freddie Brooks at True Oldies 106.7

CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Two reliable sources have told me that Tripp West will be taking over for Freddie Brooks in the late afternoons on True Oldies 106.7, perhaps starting as early as Wednesday.

This happened quickly so obviously, it was in the works even before Brooks was let go last week.

Brooks, the first jock hired by True Oldies in 2008, surmised last week that Scott Shannon, the man behind the format, may have had something to do with his ouster but nobody at Citadel Broadcasting is saying why he was shown the door.

West, who also runs a DJ business on the side called www.liquidmindproduction.com, spent 11 years at adult top 40 station Star 94, seven of them as mid-day host. He was let go from Star in early 2009. He briefly worked at Groove 105.7 this year, lasting all of seven months. He left on his own accord in early July.

No return calls or emails from Mark Richards, operations manager, or his boss Paul O’Malley. Tripp himself, in an email, could “neither …

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Interview with Adam Carolla, coming to the Punchline October 19-21

adam-carollaAdam Carolla has a varied comedic resume, including gigs on the radio show “Loveline” and TV’s “The Man Show,” plus a “Dancing With the Stars” stint.  And who could forgot those Lance cracker commercials?

But since he lost his Los Angeles radio gig last year after the station changed format, he has segued into… podcasting.

Podcasting is not exactly a path to riches compared to his radio gig, which paid well into the seven figures. But he has one of the more popular podcasts on iTunes (ranked No. 13 when I checked this morning) and has leveraged that into a modest money-making venture.

He is also bringing the podcast on the road. For $30 a show, you can watch him perform live at the Punchline.

“We monetize it,” he said. “We have sponsorships. We do live shows. We sell merchandise. We sell a CD/DVD best of. We’ve turned it into a business.”

Carolla is busy promoting his shows. He did this phone interview earlier this month while packing, taking a break to brush his teeth and …

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Betty White-mania comes to Atlanta

Actress Betty White poses for a portrait following her appearance on the television talk show "In the House," in Burbank, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Actress Betty White poses for a portrait following her appearance on the television talk show "In the House," in Burbank, Calif., Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

“Would you like some Snickers?”

Betty White, taking a break earlier this month between scenes for her current Hallmark/CBS film “The Lost Valentine” shooting in Atlanta, was in a giving mood.

And for good reason. Her career, at age 88, has been reborn for a new generation.

Known decades ago for her witticisms on game shows, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls,” White is suddenly everywhere. A buzz-worthy Super Bowl Snickers ad. Her Emmy-winning “Saturday Night Live” hosting turn, infused by a grassroots Facebook campaign. A starring gig on TV Land’s first scripted series ”Hot in Cleveland.” A role as a wacky grandma on the recent film “You Again.” Choking Joel McHale’s character as an anthropology professor last month on “Community.”

It seems the only thing she hasn’t done …

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