Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Geek trys out Frat Life in ABC Family's Greek

ABC Family has a new series and they are taking college life by storm. It is called Greek. It is about Rusty who is a new Freshman from Chicago who is trying to "start over" and stray away from the geek community and to do that he wants to join the Greeks. (Did you see how I did that, it just shows that I am still a geek) His overly religious roommate thinks that Rusty is not making the right choice, but Rusty does not care, he is bound and determined to succeed.

It is only 3 weeks in, but I have been hooked since episode 1. I don't know why I like shows like this. Maybe it shows me what I missed out on, but I know that it definitely reminds me of the good times that I did have in college, especially while I was living in the residence halls.

There are a lot of twists and turns, so if you watch, you will definitely need to back track to catch up. Some of these include Rusty's sister, who is in a sorority (Zeta Beta Zeta) and at first denied Rusty's existence. Rusty is currently dating the president of another frat (Omega something) and her first love is the president of the competing frat (Kappa Tau). Lots of other things happen, but my brain is a little fried right now, so I can't think clearly.

There are a couple of Metroplex connections to this show. The guy who plays Casey's (Rusty's sister) boyfriend is from Dallas, his name is Jake McDorman and the guy who plays Cappy (Casey's first love), Scott Michael Foster is from Collin county and performed at the Quad C Theatre.

Greek is on Monday nights at 8pm on ABC Family.

Feeling Lighter at 103.7 Lite FM

I am loving this station! I have it programmed into my car radio, but I have not really listened to this station. They play a great mix; a little bit of everything, which is funny because you would think that the Mix Station would do this, but it seems like I keep hearing the same things over and over. Anyways, I needed something to listen to yesterday, and I was trying to think of local stations that I could listen to. With all of the events that were happening yesterday with the Fox 4 helicopter (which contained the traffic reporter for KRLD and KVIL) I was checking out their website to get information to see if Julie DeHarty was ok and I just took a chance and clicked the "listen now" button and I am glad that I did. I have heard a lot of songs that I have not heard in years like Bryan Adams' song from Robin Hood and many others that I cannot think of right now. They even mixed a bit of MercyMe into the repertoire and that was awesome.

This is kinda weird because it is NOT a Clear Channel station, it is actually a CBS owned and operated station. I was thinking about it yesterday on a slow drive to work and I found that I have an even amount of Clear Channel/CBS stations in my radio presets. 3 are Clear Channel (102.1 FM, 102.9FM, and 106.1FM) and the other 3 are CBS (100.3 FM, 103.7 FM and 107.5FM). First off, how does that happen? Secondly, who thinks that way? If I were in Houston, it would be filled with 60% of Clear Channel stations (96.5FM, 94.5FM, 99.1FM) and Cox Radio owned 106.9FM and Cumulus owned 104.1FM (I only had 5 presets in my old car).

I have grown up with Clear Channel stations (and 104KRBE) and that was what I was used to. When I moved to the Metroplex, I immediately sought out the Clear Channel because as we all know, Clear Channel stations are all "formatted" and are virtually the same in the major markets so it would be easy to find.

Anyways, if you are in the 'plex or need a good radio stream, check 103.7 LiteFM out. If you don't like one song, just wait 3 minutes for the next.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer session is dangerous

Summer sessions suck at work. Why is that you may ask? Because I HAVE NOTHING TO DO! I have only done 6 applications today, which has allowed me to surf the web, research random things that pop into my head and maintain this blog (although I have been sucking at that). I have 2 folders full of links in my favorites in Internet Explorer, but I have only 5 or 6 that I check daily and those are my blogs that I like to read. All of my other links are blogs that are not updated daily or just random web pages that I would like to hold on to. I read the newspaper online, The Houston Chronicle because you do not have to login to it like other newspapers *coughs: Dallas Morning News*. After reading the daily blogs and newspaper/local news sites, I try to then come up with something to blog about. I try to find something that is interesting, as you can tell, most times it is not. My research topics are only interesting to me, so for those of you who read this are thinking, "So what?" "What does this have to do with me?" Most times it doesn't, it is just random things that I come up with or just stupid stuff that I research on wikipedia and then produce some paragraphs to try to make it interesting. But when there are no creative juices flowing, like now, I come up with crap like this or nothing at all. I even try to think of interesting websites that I would like to investigate, but I cannot even do that. I have a radio station streaming at most times, and yes, sometimes that does retard thinking, but even pulling it out of my ear does not help. I do work occasionally, but it usually does not take me very long to complete, which them allows me to go back to whatever I was doing.

What do you do when you are bored at work? I know that some of us do not have as much downtime as I do, but it does occasionally happen for some.
Fall session starts soon with the opening of the Fall 2008 application.. That will be an exciting time for Processing...

Exercise and Big Brother

I was bored this Saturday and I have been wanting to get back to exercising regularly. I really need to so I can get healthy and maybe get off some of my pills. Well, last Sunday, Dustin from the Big Brother House led a ab workout with some of the other house guests. Guess what I did, I did the workout with them. It was a non traditional way of working out, in terms of the source of the workout, but it was still good. I still sore from it, so obviously it worked something. It was hard when ever they switched the feeds back inside the house to the other house guests, but fortunately, they did not stay with them long as they were just munching on cookies. It was funny because one of the house guests said that there were probably watching them and doing the workout with them. I was probably one of a couple hundred of those people. Afterwards, I tried one of the more "traditional" workout videos from the Time Warner on demand option, but it was too hard, and I was already pooped from the other work out, so I abandoned it for another time.

Who knew that you could combine reality tv and exercise?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Just nod and shake your head yes..

This is a quick moment of venting.. I just got off the phone with a student who was not satisfied with their situation. They are a major flip flopper about which term they want to start and are mad at me because they have to pay their application fee again. Then the student had the audacity to ask me who I was. I replied with my name. She then was like, "Are you one of those federal work study students?" I calmly replied, "No, I am a full time employee." She then starting asking questions about financial aid and when I said "I don't think that you will have a problem" with that situation, she said "Well I need a definite answer" I replied with, "Then you need to contact financial aid. I do not handle that and I cannot be positive." I then asked her if she wanted to be transferred to finaid and she said yes which was good for her because by that point, I was about to loose it.

The thing that really set me off was her asking me about my job status. I know that my voice is not deep and it doesn't have that "manly-man" ring to it, but that does not give anybody the right to call me out and question my ability to do my job. I gave her all of the right answers. There was no reason for her to question my authority. Even if I was a student, she was transferred to me for a reason, the reason being that I was the best person to help her with her situation. Age does not dictate an ability to do a job. I am 22 years old, why do I still have to deal with this? I have encountered this before, so it is not entirely new to me, but I have the same blood boiling reaction every time. The last time that I really had this I worked at a grocery store and was 16/17 and was young for my managerial position, so that was a little more understanding, but it still hurt a bit. Still yet, it is not an excuse to assume that if someone if younger that they do not know how to do their job.

Sorry, had to get it off the chest. The blood is not back down to 140 degrees from 212, so it helped..

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Big Business vs. the American Dream

Everyday when I get into my car to go to work, it is always time for "Business News with David Johnson" on 1080 AM KRLD. I enjoy this segment because I like to know what is going on in the business world, who is doing well, what sector of business is starting to sag, etc. Lately, everyday David has been talking about mergers. It seems like somebody is always buying somebody else. AlCan and ALCOA USA, IHOP and Applebee's, Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp and The Wall Street Journal and many others.

It is necessary for all companies to be affiliated or stem from a major conglomerate? I was in my closet this morning getting ready for work when I saw one of my boardgames, "Dallas in a Box". It has a Six Flags logo for Six Flags over Texas and under the logo, it said, "A Time Warner amusement park," or something similar. I never knew that. I knew that Six Flags and Time Warner had some sort of relationship with each other because they use Warner Brother's characters in the park. I researched them just now, and found that this was old, but at one time, Six Flags properties were once a Time Warner property (incidentally, I found out that Time Warner has 50% control of one radio station, one that I used to listen to in Houston a long time ago...werid..).

Just think of the companies that you interact with everyday.. Walmart (a major worldwide chain), Target (Nationwide chain), Old Navy (division of Gap Inc., nationwide chain), McDonalds (worldwide chain), UNT Bookstore (division of Follett Corporation, serving in many educational outlets), Voertman's (owned by Nebraska Book Company), KXAS NBC-5 in Dallas (owned by NBC/Universal, major network) all are a part of a major corporation. Approximately 99.5% of the stores that we shop or the companies that we deal with on a daily basis are a part of a major corporation. Nobody goes deals with small family owned stores or local companies.

A part of the "American Dream" is the ability to own your own business and participate in the capitalist society that we live in. It is getting harder and harder to do that these days because of these major chains and major corporations that divert customers and saturate markets. What about the little guy? Does the "American Dream" today still include the hopes of owning a business? It seems that the only industry where the small businessman can prevail over big chains is in the convenience industry including gas stations and mini-marts, but even that gap is closing in. Yes, many are franchised, but with petrol prices rising and profits soaring, it is just a matter of time when the big oil companies will start turning some stores into company owned & operated stores.

Are all of these mergers in the best interest of consumers? It is definitely in the best interest of the purchasing business (most of the time), but what about the merger's effects on consumers? The Federal Trade Commission is the governmental entity that is supposed to keep that in mind when approving or disapproving mergers, but there are still some that slip through. In addition, they do not regulate where stores go to prevent saturation, that is up to the local city/county council, but those guys only care about the tax revenue that the new business will generate.

I know that in our society today, we do not want the government to be watching over what we do with our businesses and some will say that they are too involved as it is. However, there needs to be somebody to protect the consumers from big business. It is not fair to those who are uneducated and also unfair to those hard working Americans who are trying to take part in the so-called "American Dream" and own their own business and put their hand in the capitalist economy. Many who do this do not come out successful and end up closing shop within a year. Here in Denton, there was a burger restaurant called "Big Time Bob's". They served some great hamburgers, but I was informed recently that they were closed. Why did they close? It is not known for sure, but in front of their store was a Chili's, Black Eyed Pea and across the street was a Jack in the Box. Could this have played a part in Bob's demise? It is definitely possible.

What can we do about all of this? Nothing. I would say boycott by not shopping a big box store, but it is virtually impossible. If one store does not have it, the big box does and they are probably the only one in town that does have that one needed item. There are not enough Mom & Pops out there with all of the goods that one may need. Something that we can do is go to a Mom & Pop shop when you can. We all have seen a locally owned business as we drive around town. Next time that you need something that they may offer, stop on in and see what they have. You never know, they may have it. Making a purchase at that store will give you a good feeling knowing that your dollars are staying in the community. Big Boxes say that most of their money goes back into the community, and some of it does through good deeds projects, but most goes back to the corporate office, most of which are outside of Texas. I know for sure that the local entrepreneur will appreciate your purchase. Your purchase can mean the difference between closing and staying open for that store.

Photo Credit : Boston.com

Why do we love reality?

What is it about watching people living their lives do we find fascinating? We live similar lives as them, eat mostly the same foods, encounter the same problems, have friends or ourselves act the same way as these people "picked to live in a house," what is it?

The reason that I did not blog yesterday was that I was totally consumed with this year's newest season of Big Brother. This is my first season to watch Big Brother and I cannot seem to get enough. The production company gives us unlimited access to the "house guests" via video streams online and also limited access through Viacom's Showtime 2 Monday through Friday from 12am - 3 am, which means 9pm - 12pm Big Brother time. With all of this access, you can see much more than what is shown on the regularly scheduled programs on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Because I was not satisfied with Sunday's episode, I went on a search for more video and more content and found a plethora of videos on You tube. Now I am content with hearing stories and knowing what has already happened in the BB house that will be airing on CBS tonight.

It was so weird because I could not pull myself away from it yesterday. Even when I went to lunch, I could not stop thinking about it. I am almost at the end of a really good book and the whole time I was reading it, I was still thinking about what I had just learned from the Big Brother house. Once I had finished watching all of the videos available, I asked several co-workers if they watched BB so I could have somebody to talk to about it, and could not find a soul who did. By the end of the day, I was still wanting more.

The whole thing about this is that I watch other reality programming and have not really acted this way before. I watch the Real World and Road Rules and other similar shows. There is information on the Internet about these shows, but I don't find myself searching all over the Internet for information about their newest seasons. Maybe this is because they are really tight lipped about their new seasons and they are not "as live" as Big Brother, where BB airs a live House guest eviction on Sunday nights.

Overall, do I relate somewhat with the characters? Definitely. And the thing is that if I were ever to meet any of these people, it would be such an awkward encounter because I would know so much about these people and they would know nothing about me. I would ask them specific questions about their life that I learned from the show and they would give me a look of "you don't know me" and be really hesitant to respond. The moral is, we cannot make friends from TV. It is hard to invest time in a show and get to know about people and receive nothing but a passage of time and some entertainment in return. Maybe this is the psychological response to Reality TV.

I guess that it also speaks a lot about the person. If you can watch the show and just live your life ok without watching it one day, then you are ok. There are no. You are not crazy. If you find yourself not being able to function without knowing what happened on the latest episode of your favorite reality show or how a character responded or need that daily dose of your favorite character, then I would think that some life changes would need to be changed. Go outside and play. Go meet up with some friends. Make your own reality show.

With that said, do I need to make some life changes? Yes. Is it going to happen immediately? No. Will it be easy? Definitely not.

Photo Credit : CBS

Friday, July 13, 2007

The countdown for Troy has begun

Troy Dungan, our faithful News 8 weathercaster will be stepping down for good this Wednesday, July 18th. He has been with Channel 8 for 31 years, informing Metroplex viewers about the weather and calming us down in those severe weather events. He has had a great run with the station and other events, including the Santa's Helpers Toy Drive at Christmas time. Channel 8 is giving him a great sendoff with providing us with memories of Troy from the past 31 years each night at 6pm. Pete Delkus, who has been gradually taking over the weather center with the 5pm and 10pm weathercasts will now take over the 6pm as well on Thursday, July 19th.

When I first came into town, I did not watch WFAA much in the beginning. My loyalty was with another station. After a while, I did make the switch from that station to Channel 8 because I could not take the hype from their news department anymore. I came to like the way that Troy presented the weather because it was very clear, slow and precise. There was no fluff, just the essentials. He also showed a lot of confidence in his forecast and relayed that confidence to the viewer so you could actually "Trust Troy" as Channel 8 wanted you too. Troy will be missed in this market. He has provided a great service to this area and he has definitely made his mark.

Troy will still be around. He is contracted to have at least 25 days on-air (most likely when Pete needs a vacation) at Channel 8 and will be helping out with Santa's Helpers. He has mentioned writing a book (not about weather) and maybe putting together some pieces for the station.
You can watch some goodbyes from Troy's on-air co-workers at his website. It is cool to hear some of the stories that his fellow staff have about him "behind the scenes".
Picture from WFAA

Thursday, July 12, 2007

KTBZ and KLDE did a flip too...

Last night as I was thinking about other things to write about, I remembered that I could write about another radio change that I vaguely remember. Back in 2000 in Houston, 2 radio stations swapped frequencies due to a merger between Clear Channel Radio and AMFM, Inc. Both 107.5 KTBZ (The Buzz/same as the Edge) and 94.5 KLDE (Oldies) were owned by Clear Channel and with the merger, the FCC said that Clear Channel had to dump a station. They chose to get rid of 94.5 KLDE and sell it to Cox Radio. Included in the sale was the frequencies. So they started to advertise the swap. I remember commercials all over the radio and on tv. It was pretty cool. Initially, it was said that KTBZ (The Buzz) was going off the air. This caused outrage by the public because there were a lot of new alternative listeners out there and there was/is not another station like it in Houston. Clear Channel even held a press conference about it and started a campaign to "Save the Buzz". It was later leaked that the swap was going to happen and the campaign sizzled away with the Houston heat.

On July 18th, 2000 at 8 pm, the swap happened. Each station was unique with their transfer. KLDE chose as "space" theme where the DJ's took a space ship up the dial from Oldies 94.5 to Oldies 107.5. KTBZ took a different approach and threw a party to celebrate their new frequency. They enlisted the help of the Stone Temple Pilots at the Ariel Theatre (Now Verizon Wireless Theatre) and just played countdown music as they faded away from 107.5 to 94.5. They broadcasted the enitre concert as their introduction to the new frequency.

You can find some cool audio with all of this action at FormatChange. I found these earlier and downloaded them from another website, but this one includes a statement from KTBZ's general manager from the period where they were still campaigning to "Save the Buzz". It is pretty cool and like I said yesterday, it is not everyday when radio station change formats, so take a listen.
Today, things still are the same over at 94.5. The Buzz still lives there and is as strong as ever. Over at 106.9, they have changed things up a little bit and are now 107.5 KHTC, K-Hits playing 60's and 70's music. The old KLDE staff is gone and is now staffed by old friends in Houston radio including Scott Sparks formerly of KRBE (104.1), Dave E Crockett of KKBQ (92.9) and KIKK (95.7) and Paul Christy of KHMX (96.5).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More terrorism in the states?

Today on Good Morning America, they reported that the possibility for more terror attack within the United States is possible and that this may be the calm before the storm. The Department of Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff says that he has a "gut feeling" about possible terrorism in our nations future. There has not been any reports of any specifics, but with the recent events in the UK with the attempted car bombings, they are definitely on alert.

My question is : As a nation, are we ready for another attack? I know that it is not something that you can necessarily prepare for, but unfortunately in this day in age, we have to know that it is possible anywhere. Our police force and military are doing a great job to protect its citizens from terror, but sometimes somethings slip through the cracks. Can we, as citizens, react in a way that will not give into the terrorists desires or can we have an attitude that some of the British have adopted where they just take things day by day and live vigilantly without letting terror run their lives. I know that with the way that our media treats us, there will be some who totally freak out and say that the sky is falling, but can we as a whole react with vigilance and not let it affect our everyday practices?

What do you think? Can we be like the British and not let it affect our daily life or will it be another nationwide attack of daily practices?
Image : Department of Homeland Security

Oldies radio is returning to NYC

CBS-FM is returning to the airwaves in New York City and it is replacing the Jack-FM format. This change will be taking place at 1:01 pm EDT (12:01 PM CDT). For those who are not in the know, CBS-FM is an oldies format radio station that was replaced in NYC abruptly by the Jack-FM format back in June of 2005. CBS-FM was a hit amongst listeners as it played "good time" music from the 60's and 70's. After the switch, listeners had to log on to the Internet or have a HD radio to tune into the station. Recently, the station staff made the decision to return to its Oldies roots and has made a quiet decision to change formats. Jack will still be around, but it will now be found on the web or on the HD station.

It will be cool to listen in as the station makes the switch. It is not everyday that a radio station makes a format change. Usually, close to the time of the switch, there are songs that "define" the station or goodbyes from DJ's (in this case, there will be no goodbyes, because there are only 2 DJ's for the Jack format and they only do traffic and news for the station). When CBS-FM converted to Jack, the last song played before the intro to Jack was Fontella Bass' "Rescure Me" and the DJ maid a comment that he may need rescuing because of a meeting that he had to go to after his show (which ended up being one that informed them that they did not have a job anymore due to the change..)

To listen in, go to http://www.ilikejack.com/ prior to 1pm EDT or 12pm CDT tomorrow morning. After the switch, you may need to change tuners and load the player for CBS-FM at http://www.wcbsfm.com/. I would load both just to be on the safe side and just mute one. If you are in the New York City DMA, just tune the radio dial to 101.1 FM and enjoy!
Image: www.ilikejack.com - WCBS-FM

So I have obviously made some changes...

What do you think? I have been thinking about making some changes to the good 'ole blog. I was not quite liking the old face. I love the background, but they layout was just not working out.. Sometimes the titles would not show and the text was not aligned properly.. Now everything looks pretty normal..

I am also trying to come up with more ideas for content.. I am not sure what, but something.. I am sure that it will be totally random like everything else has.. :)

Let me know what you think...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Will a reality show compromise journalistic integrity?

This summer, a reality show was filmed in Tyler, TX at CBS affiliate KYTX called "Anchorwoman". It was about an actress from Los Angeles trying to make it as a reporter and anchor at a local television affiliate. She had no journalistic abilities or training and has been trained buy the television station as she worked at the station. It has caused all kinds of a fuss with the people within the television industry and in East Texas itself. One thing to point out about the East Texas region is that this region is an extremely conservative area. I am talking about deeep in the heart of the bible belt.

In an effort to advertise her arrival in the region, the production company for the reality show purchased ad space on billboards with her picture in a swimsuit inviting viewers to watch CBS 19 news at 5pm where she would be participating in that broadcast. That received a lot of backlash from viewers because she was only wearing a swimsuit (however, all you could really see was her face). The television station received many phone calls and emails. The station management did not avoid viewer's complaints and the General Manager did face the music per-se on one of their morning news broadcasts (of which, you can watch at KYTX's website) Even other Tyler affiliates joined in with the complaints. Local ABC affiliate, KLTV, which has been vocal with other events (see Rosie vs. KLTV), jumped in criticizing KYTX :

"One of the last sacred grounds of integrity in local television is the local newsroom, so I guess I would say I'm disappointed to see a station, much less one in our own community, that has evidently sold its integrity," said Brad Streit, vp and GM for KLTV-TV, the ABC affiliate in Tyler. (Source: Hollywood Reporter)

The national media has also attacked them with reports on this new show. ABC's Good Morning America has done several reports as has Fox News Channel.

Does this show compromise journalistic integrity? Must somebody have a degree in Journalism just to report the news? What about those people just starting out in TV journalism? If television stations require experience before they hire people, how will anybody be hired in the first place? Where does anybody start?

Regarding KYTX..What will this do to their ratings? Will their ratings decline now that that "Anchorwoman" has now left the station? KYTX has only been operating since 2004, are they strong enough to survive the strife or will Dallas CBS affiliate KTVT be making a return to the Tyler/Longview DMA?

I guess only time will tell...

"Anchorwoman" will be airing on Fox this Fall beginning in August. It will be interesting to see what they show and what kind of local reaction they present to the "Anchorwoman" audience.
Photo Credit: (KYTX Website)
Update: Here is a clip of a news cast with the "Anchorwoman" from the Dallas Morning News

A Houston Legend's Battle with Cancer

It is rare for a whole city to support a local television reporter, especially in the nation's 4th largest city. These days, some reporters are seen as people who are just fighting to get the story, not ones that you would generally call friends or truly trust. This is also a day in age where TV news is over hyped and filled with drama. However, in Houston, viewers will be supporting a local TV personality in a battle for his life. Consumer reporter for local ABC affiliate, KTRK-TV, Marvin Zindler announced yesterday that he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This comes from a man who has battled prostate cancer, has had open heart surgery and his gall bladder removed, along with many cosmetic procedures that he has shared with the viewers for many years.

For those of us who have grown up or lived in Houston, Marvin is a character that we all know and love. We can all mimic his legendary tag-line, "Maaaaaaarrvin Zindler, Eyyyeewitness News.." We know him for his Slime in the Ice Machine and can sing that goes along with that. We know him for his work helping out the little guy against companies who try to cheat their customers. We also know him for his charitable work connecting doctors who want to do pro-bono work for children in foreign countries: cleft palates, heart transplants, the whole lot.

Nationally, he is is know for being the only person with a lifetime contract with ABC/Disney for his reporting where he brings in $1 million each year. Also he is well known as being the reporter who broke the news about the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, TX, also known as The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. There have been several movies and a musical made about the event.

Already on KTRK's and the Houston Chronicle's websites, there are messages of well wishes and love for this reporter who has been on the air in Houston since 1973. He is a great reporter and good man. The whole whole city will be pulling for him.

Photo Credit: The Houston Chronicle