Buyers Market In Radio, And A Bloodletting In Bristol

I mentioned a few weeks back in my hypothetical three wishes that one such wish was to own a radio station.

Then I read this week that there is speculation that the IHeart Radio ownership group may not be able to survive another year financially.

In my area, the Tampa Bay market, IHeart owns somewhere around eight AM and FM stations. When you add Beasley, Cox, and what CBS owns, it’s about 80-90 percent of the market wrapped up in four media conglomerates.

I don’t care if it’s radio stations or any other business.  When so few own so many, something has to give sooner or later. But in the business I used to be in, it only means a new wave of owners will find new ways to lose listeners, as was what happened in my era.

Speaking of eras, it was an ending of several eras in Bristol, Connecticut yesterday, home to sports cable TV giant ESPN.  Some big names at the “worldwide leader” got their walking papers in a wave of layoffs said to have been around 100 employees.

It was another sad example of what happens in the media industry in general. ESPN, owned by Disney, was just another company who thought they were too big to fail, and some very able employees, not the execs, paid the price with their services no longer being needed. Some will find work at other places or on outlets locally or nationally, but I suspect many others won’t.

For the time being, their lives change dramatically. Something I can relate to.

Drinks With The Nature Boy

I was working at the Sun Radio Network in 1991 when talk show host Tom Donahue told me one day in May that wrestling champ Ric Flair would be a guest on the show by phone. This is back when SRN and local affiliate WEND were operated out of the same facility in Feather Sound off of Ulmerton Road in Clearwater. In fact, the boards themselves were in the same room, right next to each other.

That day, I was running the WEND board, unfortunately. The SRN board op was from the northeast, and didn’t know anything about wrestling, and is asking me who Ric was. I looked at him like he had worms coming out of his ears. He couldn’t imagine why someone would invest so much time into something watching so choreographed, I suppose.

I responded that yes, there’s a stagecraft involved in all of this, and that you really couldn’t not notice it. But I also pointed out that these guys do this on the road night in and night out, and they do get hurt and injured doing so, just like any other sport. Thus, I’ve always considered wrestling a sport, or better put, a hybrid of sports and entertainment.

Ric’s been in the news lately, getting out of a bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Last year on Brian Last’s 6:05 Superpodcast, frequent contributor Tom “TRShock” Robinson had an experience similar to the one that led to Flair’s ouster from one of Fort Wayne’s watering holes.

It’d be easy to say that Flair needs some sort of sobriety help. But, between the recent loss of one his sons, and the plane crash he endured in 1975, he’s been through a lot, too.

No Longer A Factor At Fox News

Imagine being a shareholder of Fox News corporation stock, and reading in the past month or so that FNC has spent $80,000,000 in legal fees, hush money, and settlements. That money mostly going to defend someone who used his power to harass his female colleagues, trading sexual harassment, if not worse, for a place higher in the chain of command.

Many thought that man, one Bill O’Reilly, was untouchable. Last week, the so called untouchable one was given the axe.

I have no respect for any man who uses sex as a weapon (to borrow the old Pat Benatar song title) to find who climbs up the ladder. I’ve always been a believer that people should advance on their merits, not because of who they latch on to.

As for the Republicans, they no doubt know that having all the political power is kind of like owning a car. The minute you own it is the moment it has maximum value. With time, what you own is worth less and less.

FNC finally did the right thing. The big question is, what took them so long?  Are the Feds interested in investigating this, with similar complaints now surfacing about Sean Hannity? We’ll see.

Mr. O’Reilly is not retiring from the scene, far from it. Announcements were made over the weekend for the launch of a podcast that premiered last night, April 24th. It’ll be a good way to introduce older generations to the on-demand audio world, and advertisers who still want to do business with Bill can do so.

Meanwhile, could it be that Fox News actually hurts the conservative cause more than it helps it?

Another Computer Kerfuffle Or Ten


I was alerted on my Windows 10 computer (now with the Creators update) that it wanted to update a driver or two, and it needed to reboot.

So it did. My machine, which usually boots very quickly, sat there for a good 20 minutes not moving from its starting screen. Luckily, I’d been down this road before a couple of years ago.

My solution was to reinstall Windows, even though I had an ISO file on my hard drive ready to go. In the “fog of war” I had forgotten it was there, and I’ve since moved it over to a thumb drive in case of a further emergency.

The bad news with the reinstall is that all the programs that didn’t come with Windows were wiped, and most had to be installed again. I cleared some time to reinstall the printer, which I thought would be a real bitch.

Five hours later, and trying to figure out why the drivers in the installation disc wouldn’t install, I discovered why the printer and computer weren’t talking to each other. The drivers weren’t wiped with the reinstall. All I had to do is tell the computer where the printer was.

The machine again works well, although it’s now an “old fart” in computer years. Most hard drives die in two years. I’ve had this machine almost four and a half. It’s now survived two scares, and it still goes.

“We’ll do it live… WE’LL DO IT LIVE! F*** IT! DO IT LIVE… look, I’ll write it and we’ll do it live! F***ing thing SUCKS!”

Bill O’Reilly, talk show host, 1949-, on the set of news show Inside Edition

Just Another Major Malfunction

When I woke up yesterday morning and heard that disgraced former football player Aaron Hernandez had killed himself in prison, I have to admit that I was surprised.

Not totally shocked, mind you. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten used to football players doing crazy things in their lives.

Does it add to the idea that these guys take too many shots to the head in their careers? Probably. But that, as they say in the Godfather movies, is the business they chose.

Researchers have made great strides in the past few years on the whole CTE/brain damage playing football issue. But I imagine this is something that’s going to take years to fully figure out. Until then, I see a few more “major malfunctions” as was the case with Mr. Hernandez. His suicide was a senseless waste of human life already wasted by committing murder, but at least the taxpayers won’t be further burdened paying for his room and board.

His life has come to a close.