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Archive for July, 2012

Atlanta’s Vern Yip joins ‘HGTV Design Star All Stars’

Vern Yip is back with "HGTV Design Star All Stars"as a judge. CREDIT: HGTV

Vern Yip is back with "HGTV Design Star All Stars"as a judge. CREDIT: HGTV

HGTV is one of the few networks taking a risk by debuting a new series during the Olympics, but at least it’s an offshoot of an existing hit: “HGTV Design Star All Stars.”

But it’s an oddly modest effort. It only features six past contestants and debuts a week after the finale of season seven. Why only six and why so soon after the regular “HGTV Design Star” just ended?

In an interview last week, Atlanta interior designer and HGTV judge Vern Yip didn’t  have an answer for either question because these were decisions made above him. And the winner doesn’t get a very big prize: $25,000 and a guest spot on another HGTV show. There are no guarantees of their own show like the winners of “HGTV Design Star” – just publicity to perhaps boost their own interior design businesses.

Here are Yip’s thoughts on the six contestants:

Hilari Younger (season seven, third place): Wait — didn’t we just see her? Yes. In …

Continue reading Atlanta’s Vern Yip joins ‘HGTV Design Star All Stars’ »

Confirmed: rock station 92.9/Dave FM going sports talk in the early fall

dave_fm

The rumors began circulating heavily about a month ago: 92.9/Dave FM was going sports talk.

This morning, the rumors became truth. General manager Rick Caffey gathered the entire staff to inform them that in late September or early October, the rock station will become an FM sports talk station.

Management did not let anybody go this morning. At least for the next few weeks, the on-air staff and music mix shall remain the same.

Caffey, in an exclusive interview this morning, said he’d like to have a local presence in all key time slots but that may not be the case in the very beginning.

“Our accent will be local personalities,” he said, noting that personalities are what has helped carry sister hip-hop station V-103 all these years. “The fundamentals will be finding interesting, compelling personalities that not only do great radio but are out and about in the community. We’re looking at a combination of ex jocks, ex coaches and broadcasters.” He’d like them to have local …

Continue reading Confirmed: rock station 92.9/Dave FM going sports talk in the early fall »

The judge speculation keeps on coming: Nick Jonas, Pharrell Williams in the mix

Producer, songwriter and rapper Pharrell Williams accepts the ASCAP Golden Note Award at the 25th Annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on Friday June 29, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Producer, songwriter and rapper Pharrell Williams accepts the ASCAP Golden Note Award at the 25th Annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards on Friday June 29, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Who the heck is leaking names willy nilly? We’re all getting weary about the constant speculation, aren’t we?

The latest celebrity judge possibilities are Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers and producer Pharrell Williams. The rumors come from Us magazine, which is not the most reliable source for news. (I’d say it’s a significant step below People and even below TMZ but on par with Radaronline.)

Nick Jonas is part of a group that was hot for a few minutes in 2009 but have been eclipsed by the likes of the Wanted and One Direction. His brother Joe guest judged a couple years ago and was a bore so I can’t say I’m too hopeful on this one. Then again, I know little to nothing about Nick so who knows? If “Idol” is seeking some sort of youthful resurgence, maybe …

Continue reading The judge speculation keeps on coming: Nick Jonas, Pharrell Williams in the mix »

A talk with the founder of Pandora Tim Westergren about his push into local advertising

pandora1I first met Pandora founder and creator Tim Westergren in 2007. He held a “meet up” with fans at Defoor Center. About 150 enthusiasts showed up.

The company was ultra cool but losing money and fighting over royalty payments that were sucking the company dry. In 2008, Apple released the iPhone - and saved Pandora.

In the not-so-distant past, people were tethered to their desktops and laptops to listen to Pandora. Now they could be anywhere. And as Wi-Fi, 3G and ubiquitous access to the Web became the norm, Pandora’s app became a standard pick up. Registered users, regular users and actual listening time soared.

More than 150 million people are registered and at least 50 million check in at least once a month.  The average person who tunes in spends 18 hours a week with Pandora, much of it via smartphone. It’s the second most popular app out there.

I caught up with Tim again last month while he was in Atlanta for a special Pandora concert featuring rapper Yelawolf at the …

Continue reading A talk with the founder of Pandora Tim Westergren about his push into local advertising »

‘Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’ recap, season 1, episode 7: cry me a river

stevie

Stevie J: the scalawag of the show. CREDIT: VH1

I’m late to this “Love & Hip Hip Atlanta” (runaway) train (wreck).

I tried to stay away. I really did. I wrote a preview before the show launched, hoping it would just fade away. But viewership has  nearly doubled since the first week as word of mouth spread.

The show hit a ratings high last week (3.5 million viewers, 5.5 million if you count the 10 p.m. repeat), compelling me to take this ignominious position of writing recaps.

Fans have dubbed this a guilty pleasure, pure and simple entertainment. Foes consider it an abomination to Atlanta.

Since I’m not quite up to date with the storylines, having not seen all the episodes, let me provide my impressions of the show in general, especially compared to the “Housewives” shows:

- Background or foreground? The producers embed the music much more aggressively than the “Housewives” shows, often featuring songs with vocals, which can be distracting. They’ll even highlight the songs …

Continue reading ‘Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’ recap, season 1, episode 7: cry me a river »

CNN’s poor choice of song (’Stupid Girls’) introducing Sarah Palin & Chick-fil-A controversy

Sarah Palin visited a Chick-Fil-A recently to support the Atlanta-based chain. CREDIT: AP

Sarah Palin visited a Chick-Fil-A recently to support the Atlanta-based chain. CREDIT: AP

CNN apologized for playing Pink’s song “Stupid Girls” as an intro Sunday into a segment about Sarah Palin visiting a Chick-fil-A outside Houston.

“The music selection was a poor choice and was not intended to be linked to any news story,” a CNN spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “We regret any perception that they were planned together.”

According to Politico, she told a crowd: “We drive by a Chick-fil-A. We don’t have that in Alaska. Love me some Chick-fil-A. So we’ll go there, Jason, on the way, OK?” (She was referencing an aide Jason Recher.)

Later, she  Tweeted a photo of her and her husband Todd with some Chick-fil-A sandwiches, noting: “Stopped by Chick-fil-A in the Woodlands to support a great business.”

The Atlanta-based restaurant chain after Chik-fil-A president Dan Cathy made comments a few weeks back construed by gay rights activists as anti-gay marriage by …

Continue reading CNN’s poor choice of song (’Stupid Girls’) introducing Sarah Palin & Chick-fil-A controversy »

TV best bets with Olympics, Olympics and more Olympics

CREDIT: AP

CREDIT: AP

Ratings have been solid so far for the 2012 London Summer Olympics despite controversy over NBC’s choice to not air everything live.

This week, there is plenty of gymnastics and beach volleyball, as well as some track and field.

A handful of new shows are debuting, the most notable HGTV’s “HGTV Design Star All Stars,” which features a very modest pool of six all stars Tuesday night.

MONDAY

“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” 8 p.m. VH1 — Horrifying but true: this show is pulling in huge numbers.

“2012 Summer Olympics” 8 p.m. NBC —Men’s gymnastics, swimming and beach volleyball.

“The Closer” 9 p.m. TNT —The squad investigates the slaying of a priest, stirring up friction with the Catholic Church.

“About Face: Supermodels, Then and Now” 9 p.m. HBO — Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova and Cheryl Tiegs are among those interviewed.

“Single Ladies” 9 p.m. VH1 — Raquel wonders why her boyfriend isn’t as interested in her in bed. And Queen Latifah …

Continue reading TV best bets with Olympics, Olympics and more Olympics »

Phillip Phillips interview for ‘Idols Live’ tour August 5: ‘I’m not trying to be a huge star.’

Phillip Phillips will perform Damian Rice's "Volcano," Usher's "Nice & Slow" and Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," along with his hit single "Home" at Gwinnett Arena August 5 on the "Idols Live" tour. CREDIT: AP

Phillip Phillips will perform Damien Rice's "Volcano," Usher's "Nice & Slow" and Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," along with his hit single "Home" at Gwinnett Arena August 5 on the "Idols Live" tour. CREDIT: AP

“American Idol” winner and Leesburg native Phillip Phillips is a man of few words.

But he’s not a brooding, Clint Eastwood type. He’s more of the aw-shucks, happy-go-lucky variety of star.

He’ll bring his humble charm and musical chops Sunday to the sold-out “Idols Live” tour stop at Gwinnett Arena in Duluth.

And since he’s still recuperating from intensive kidney stone removal surgery a few weeks ago, he’s also going to be a man of economy in terms of movement. You won’t be seeing him running around or busting out any fancy dance steps on stage – or off.

“I’m just getting as much rest as I can, taking it slow,” he said, in a phone interview last week from a tour date in Glendale, Ariz.

During the interview, he discussed his “Idol” experience, desire to be a …

Continue reading Phillip Phillips interview for ‘Idols Live’ tour August 5: ‘I’m not trying to be a huge star.’ »

Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ tops Atlanta radio for 10 weeks

If you're not starting to get sick of the Gotye song, you aren't listening to top 40 radio. CREDIT: AP

If you're not starting to get sick of the Gotye song, you aren't listening to top 40 radio. CREDIT: AP

Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”

  • Still love it
  • Used to love it, now tired of it
  • It’s just okay
  • Never liked it

View Results

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I’ve been tracking Atlanta radio airplay every other week for more than two years but was on vacation two weeks ago. So this is my first update in a month: Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” is still on top after 10 weeks. That’s the longest run of any song at least since 2010.

The song was spun 287 times this past week, with maximum airplay on four stations: Star 94 (70), B98.5 (42), Q100 (75) and Wild (91), with 9 more spins with Dave FM.

The only song that might overtake it next week is Maroon 5′s “Payphone,” also receiving top airplay on those said four stations but nothing from Dave. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is a close third, with high rotation airplay on B98.5, Q100 and Wild but only …

Continue reading Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ tops Atlanta radio for 10 weeks »

Toby Keith turns down ‘Idol’

Toby Keith said no to an "Idol" judge job. CREDIT: AP

CREDIT: AP

Clearly, “Idol” is considering a country star on its panel: Toby Keith has turned down the gig. His reason? Too busy.

Keith is a hit-making and tour machine and has been for years. His career has shown no signs of waning. He’s been an A-list country since “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” came out in 1993. About 55 singles later, he’s still going strong. His past three singles (including the hilarious “Red Solo Cup”) went top 10. He comes off kind of gruff, might have made an interesting panelist. He’s had his share of controversies over the year, especially his tiff with the Dixie Chicks a few years back.

No word yet on any new panelists as of now or where Randy Jackson is going (or not).

- I’m speaking to Philliip Phillips at 6 p.m. EST to talk about the “Idol” tour coming to Gwinnett Arena August 5. Will post the interview on Monday. Enjoy the weekend!

Continue reading Toby Keith turns down ‘Idol’ »