Tag Archives: Broadcasting

Ghosts Of Legends Past ©

Last Thursday, I found myself sitting in my office putting the finishing touches on this month’s column. Every “I” had been dotted, every “t” had been crossed. A problem made this column difficult to write. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to write about, it’s that, with Halloween around the corner, I couldn’t stop thinking about the peculiar conversation I had with Barkley Michaels, WZBZ’s Mega-Radio’s disc jockey.
I had been away from my desk for almost two weeks. I had been in La Mancha at the Cineplex for a week helping finalize the plans for the upcoming Fall Film Festival. Immediately after that I grabbed Emmaline and we headed off to Tahiti to attend the Marlon Brando Film Festival. I went every year, especially after Letongaloosa County Community Junior College, where I teach, acquired a research grant to study the topography of the island where Brando once lived.
I also began writing the weekly movie review for the Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle after Dexter Dolby, winner of the Fall Film Festival, went out to Hollywood. The Marlon Brando Film Festival in Tahiti was always a reader favorite.
I know what you’re thinking–how many reviews can a person read (or write) about an iconic movie legend, especially since the body of work hasn’t changed in decades?
But you would be surprised. Marlon Brando films are just an element of the festivities. There is food, there is fun, and there is just an overall celebration of life in Tahiti. And that brings me back to a vexing problem and to a conversation I had with Barkley.
“I don’t understand how my listeners can be so fascinated about the fact that the station is haunted. It’s the same year after year. The former station owner Reginald Wicker watches over the station. I get tired of hearing the same old stories, along with the corny “running refrigerator” jokes that listeners like to tell, Barkley said.
The legend is that since Reginald dropped dead in the control booth, there have been strange manifestations. Control room lights grow brighter then dimmer, then go out altogether. Announcers’ throats suddenly tighten up and they sounded like Minnie Mouse for a few seconds. Then their voices would go back to normal. It was pretty non-scary haunting. It was not threatening or scary, but something new had occurred, and while still not frightening, was definitely peculiar.
While reading promotions for the Fall Film Festival, trick-or-treating schedules, and other Halloween activities occurring around town, Barkley said, everything seemed normal. Then he read the announcement about my upcoming piece showcasing my time at the Marlon Brando Film Festival. Then the haunting activity picks up.
“It’s weird–every time I play the sound bite that Isabella sent over from the newspaper office, the lights in the studio flash on the back wall like you’d see at a movie premiere”, Barkley looked perplexed.
Isabella Frost, the Letongaloosa Register-Journal-Challenger-Sun Chronicle’s managing editor had the college interns put together sound bites that used lines from well-known Brando films to showcase my review. She thought it would be a good way to get people in Letongaloosa excited about the upcoming fall film festival.
“Hmm, well, Reginald was a huge Brando film buff. I guess he still is…,” I said.
If you think about it, Halloween is more than snack-sized candy bars, haunted radio stations and toilet paper tossed into the trees in front yards. It’s about the legacy and memories that those before us have left behind—whether it is an iconic movie legend or a ghostly station manager watching over things.
“It’s not so bad, you know. And neither are the corny appliance jokes,” I said.
You may roll your eyes, but you could also embrace what’s happening and realize that the people of Letongaloosa remember the past.”
With those thoughts in mind and Barkley’s problem solved, I went home to finish my column. Barkley headed home, too. He put on his favorite Tahitian shirt, popped a large bowl of popcorn, and turned on a Marlon Brando movie. Then he sat back on his couch, and smiled.
Maybe Barkley couldn’t tell the stories of his old pal, Reginald Wicker, but I can wish everybody a Happy Halloween!
-30-

-Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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A Christmas Luau in Letongaloosa©

From Garrison Storm’s earliest memories, Christmastime in Letongaloosa meant
sledding and snowball fights in down at Ol’ Man Connelly’s farm, hot cider and
skating with the Duggins kids, and sampling the cookies that he and his Mom
baked for Santa on Christmas Eve. Garrison has countless wonderfully, nostalgic,
childhood memories, but his most memorable holiday memory happened last
year when he and Clara Vidente, Letongaloosa’s resident psychic, saved
Christmas.
Typical days at MEGA-TV are an odd mix of terribly busy, and nothing much to
do. Everyone works in ebbs and flows. Some days are calm. Others are frantic.
Holidays are just plain crazy.
Garrison, the station’s lead meteorologist, was in the middle of a frantic stretch
which meant he would be working over the weekend to get forecasts ready for
Christmas. By Sunday, despite the lure and distraction of the yuletide activities in
town, Garrison had had a productive day. He had managed to deliver the
forecast for the upcoming week. He tweaked the layouts of the night’s
weathercast and even made time to go online to order a shiny, snow racer sled
for his nephew, Parker. He then walked across the street to eat at the diner
where he struck up a conversation with his psychic friend, Clara.
Clara had lived in Letongaloosa for years. She had a shop on Main Street that
lured passersby to come in to have their futures told. Garrison always walked by
on his way to go sledding with Paul and Tommy Duggins. She’d wave at him
through the bright yellow and green neon sign hanging in her store window.
That afternoon, as he waited for his roasted turkey sandwich and potato salad,
Clara told him she was concerned about the weather. It had been a bit
blustery, but after pouring over the radar all weekend Garrison saw nothing out
of the ordinary. Weather conditions were normal for that time of year, cold and
snowy. In other words, perfect weather for warm cider, cookies and sledding.
“I’ve been consulting my crystal ball and I don’t see snow at all,” Clara told
Garrison.
Garrison could tell she really believed in what she had “seen”, so he just sat and
listened. He had known this sweet lady his whole life.
“Go on,” he said.
“I see flowers blooming, children eating the snow, instead of throwing it. This is
going to be unlike any Christmas Letongaloosa has ever seen. We’ve got to do
something!”
“Tell you what,” Garrison said. “I’m going back to my office and I will check
every forecast again. I promise to issue a special weather bulletin if anything
other than snow happens on Christmas day.”
After lunch, Garrison took a short walk down Main Street to stretch his legs. It felt
good after the frantic pace he’d been on. He looked down at the snow on the
ground, took a deep breath, and thought about what Clara had said.
Garrison didn’t consider himself a haruspex. He couldn’t predict the weather.
And all of his data and experience as a meteorologist told him that everything
would be normal.
Walking back to the station, Garrison met Merry Duggins. She’s Paul and
Tommy’s mother who volunteers at the courthouse as a guardian ad-Litem.
Merry always had a kind word, a smile, and a pat on the back for kids in need.
Merry was as level-headed as Clara was psychically inclined. As they chatted,
Merry told Garrison that the winter festival would have a bit of a twist. He
promised he’d be there. He thought she had given him a peculiar smile as she
continued down Main Street.
Weeks later, Garrison walked into the courthouse meeting hall. He couldn’t
believe his eyes. Tropical flowers were everywhere. The good folks of
Letongaloosa had donned Hawaiian shirts. Their kids were chomping snow
cones. Garrison had walked into a Christmas Luau.
Clara’s crystal ball predictions had come true. He glanced around the room
taking it all in. Then he spotted her.
“You were right!”
“I can get used to this. It’s nice.”
“Merry Christmas, Clara! Now let’s go sledding.”
-30-

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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The Bleep Awards

 

Before viewing the Oscar Award Ceremony brought to you by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, you had sat through television broadcasts of the Golden Globe Awards, the People’s Choice Awards, the Grammy Awards, and 15 different televised country music award ceremonies.  You assumed that was that as far as television award ceremonies were concerned.

Not quite.  Still to come are the “Bleep Awards,” a television special brought to you by the American Academy of Cell Phone Lunacy.   If you want to watch the “Bleep Awards,” you may have to upgrade your current cable system contract or your direct satellite system service. The “Bleep Awards” will be broadcast exclusively by the Weirdness Network on channel 2347.  You can tune in at 10 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Mountain, 5 p.m. West Coast time, or 7 a.m. the following day  Bora Bora South Pacific time.  If you live on the planet Regma in the Alpha Centauri star system, the show will be broadcast about 4.2 light years from now. Check your local listings for the exact date and time.

Hosts for this year’s Bleep Award Ceremony will be the alluring Miss Hoja Blanca, star of the after midnight soap opera “The Young and the Feckless,” and the ever macho veteran star of “One Life to Splurge,” Dude Henchman. The Bleep Award Show has a gold plated line-up of commercial sponsors:: Shylock Mortgage & Loan, Ptomaine Foods, No Show Insurance, and Limon Auto, makers of Noanda  SUVs and  Sinanimo pickup trucks.

This year’s “Bleep Awards,” will be broadcast from the Grand Hotel in the luxurious Wobbly Islands.  The Wobbly Islands, known as “The Cannes of the Caribbean,” recently hosted the 2013 International Mouth Harp Competition.

Here are this year’s Bleep Award categories:

Best Response to People Who Talk Loudly on Cell Phones in Public Places:

The nominees are:

* Point to the person (man or a woman) and yell “Hey everyone, it’s Kim Kardasian, let’s get her autograph.”

* Yell:  “That’s him (her) officer, ” and point to the person on the phone.

* Walk up to the person and say, “You’ll have to speak up, they can’t hear you in Bangladesh.”

Best reply to people whose e-mails or text messages conclude with the pretentious phrase, “Sent from my Z-Phone.”

The nominees are:

* “Sent from my Green Lantern Decoder Ring”

* “Sent from my Aunt Bessie’s Cookie Jar”

* “Sent from a filling in my third molar”

* “Sent from a wad of chewing gum on the bottom of my shoe”

Best “I’m breaking up with you” text message:

The nominees are:

* “I have three new pets–a tarantula, a wombat and a python.”

* “My parole officer wants to meet you.”

* “Can you lend me $9,000? My bookie is threatening  to break my legs”

* “I have joined the French Foreign Legion.”

Best Gross Sounding Ringtones

The nominees are:

* Someone calling the hogs to dinner on a pig farm.

* The magnified buzz of an angry mosquito.

* A belching hippopotamus

* Lindsay Lohan sitting on a whoopee cushion.

Best thing to do on an annoying robo call  after you have pressed one, and you are speaking to a live operator:

The nominees are:

* Say “You have reached the Federal Communications Commission. Please hold while we trace this phone call.”

* Hold your phone over a toilet bowl and flush.

* Play a gross ring tone (see above) into the mouthpiece.

* You shout “Martha, your Uncle Zeke is on the phone.”

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Fill the Screen With SOMETHING

Twenty-four hour television news channels have to fill the screen with SOMETHING.  I like it when there’s no real news and the news channels have to make bricks without straw, and news without news.  You see the darndest  stuff:  like an hour-long birthday tribute to Gene Ahern, the creator of the one-panel 1930s cartoon “Our Boarding House.”

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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I Wonder…

I wonder about TV news. As a newspaper journalist I covered the Falkland Island conflict in 1983. I remember seeing a fledging CNN news channel correspondent doing a stand-up report. He didn’t mention Donald Trump once.

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Cosmic Prime Time Television

 

 

Here in Letongaloosa, a humid, sweaty July gave way to what

everyone expects to be a humid, sweaty August. We all hope that

August will give way to a sweet September, and that then will come

a glorious new prime time television season.

The other night I asked two of my best friends what they

thought about prime time television, things got weird in a hurry.

That’s not surprising since my two friends were a robot from outer

space, KB11.2, and Biggley Masters, the legendary writer/producer

of prime time network television shows.

The three of us were having soft drinks in a back booth at the

Enchantment, a dingy roadhouse north of here. The Enchantment is

the kind of joint that every college town has to have to maintain its

academic accreditation.

My Alien friend Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector

Set arms sprout from the curved sides of his body. Three spindly legs

drop from the flat underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball

bearing wheels for feet, and three sensor-eyes wave at you from the

ends of floppy antennae on the top his lid.

No one at the Enchantment even notices when Kaybe rolls up

to my booth. Half the patrons, including the waitress, Four Finger

Fannie, are aliens themselves.

Biggley Masters is a true television prodigy. At 19 he was lead

writer for a very popular network soap opera. In his mid-twenties he

wrote and produced several award-winning prime time series.

Biggley has principles. He held out against a network executive who

demanded that Biggley compromise a show’s plot so the network

could sell more commercials in that episode.

So there were Kaybe, Biggley Masters and I in a back booth at

the Enchantment discussing the upcoming prime time television

season.

 

“The folks on Hebe, a minor planet in the Andromeda galaxy,

love “Toast of the Town,” and “The Fred Warring Show,” said Kabye.

“Whoa,” said Biggley, who was something of a TV historian.

“Those shows aired in the 1949-1950 prime time season. They were

the first prime time television hits. How can you say that the folks on

Hebe are seeing those shows?”

“FM radio waves and television signals pierce the earth’s

ionosphere and travel through the vacuum of space at the speed of

light,” said Kaybe. The shows from the 1949-50 television seasons are

just now reaching outer space planets like Hebe.”

“So the folks on Hebe must have picked up Marconi’s first radio

signal, the letter “S” (three dots) that he transmitted in 1901,” I said.

“Oh, yes,” said Kaybe. “In fact, the Hebian Supreme Council

met in a special session to discuss a response to earth’s distress

signal. They decided, given time and distance, nothing could be

done.”

“I’ll bet the Hebians will love “M.A.S.H,” when it finally gets

there,” I said.

“Oh, yeh, ‘M.A.S.H. will be a big hit on Hebe,” said Kaybe.

Biggley took a folded paper from his jacket pocket.

“This is the new prime time network schedule,” he said. “Kaybe,

I’ll name a show that is going to be broadcast this fall on U.S.

Network TV. Then you can tell me the name of a show on that will be

airing this fall on some planet in the great Cosmos.”

“Wonderful,” said Kaybe .

“Grey’s Anatomy,” said Biggley. “That’s a long running medical

series on U.S. television.”

“Rick’s Robot Repair Shop,” said Kaybe. “That’s been airing on

the planet Relontov (in the Bode galaxy) for 200 earth years.”

“Criminal Minds,” said Biggley. It’s a cop show.”

“Zap! Crack! Blam!,” said Kaybe. The Marilians LOVE that cop

show.”

“Where is Marilia?” I asked.

“It’s a small planet in the Triangulum Constellation. There’s

been no crime on Marilia for centuries. There are no cops, no jails,

no courts, and no prisons on the planet. The Marilians are

fascinated by the concept of “badness.” But they have to import

their TV crime shows from Gobokovandan, a nearby planet that has

a ton of bad guys.

I finished my soft drink and slipped unnoticed from the booth. Kaybe

and Biggley were engrossed in a discussion of interstellar TV. I told

our waitress, Four Finger Fannie, to put the whole bill on my tab.

-30-

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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“Jump Shot Jim” Says Goodbye

Jim Higgins reminisces as he looks down from the press box high above the court.  He is preparing to broadcast the last play-by-play of his long career as the voice of the Letongaloosa Community Junior College basketball team.  Fittingly, the Leopards are playing the La Mancha Mongrels.
In a game decades ago against the Mongrels, Jim earned the title “Jump Shot Jim.”  In that contest, Jim had launched a desperation shot from midcourt just as the buzzer sounded. The ball swished into the net, breaking a 41-41 tie and giving the Letongaloosa Leopards the game and the conference title.
Higgins has been known as “Jump Shot Jim,” ever since.  His transition from player to broadcaster was seamless.  He received a degree in Duplicative Communicology from LCJC, and landed a job at radio station LCNU- FM.  One night the station manager said:
“Zip down to the gym.  You’re going to do the play-by-play of the Leopard’s game.  Richard Handley’s voice cracked as he was doing the pregame show.  He sounds like Donald Duck.”
Jim zipped down to the gym, clattered up to the press box, and slid behind the microphone just as the announcer began introducing the players.  Jim scanned the names of the players on the other team.  The broadcast went well and Jim became the new voice of the Leopards.
Jim did play-by-play as the team competed for conference titles and in postseason championship games.
One of Jim’s favorite trips was to the Florida Keys. He did play-by-play as the Leopards competed in the Banyan Basketball Invitational.  He loved southern Florida. Now, standing in the Leopards’ press box preparing to broadcast his final game, Jim watches the team warm up and studies the Mongrel’s roster.
It turned out to be a great game.  The lead went back and forth and was tied at the end of regulation play.  In overtime the Leopards came out looking tired and the Mongrels dumped in six unanswered points.  The Leopard’s coach called time out.
As the game resumed disaster struck the Leopards.  Finney Fraser, the high scoring point guard, got hurt driving for a loose ball and had to come out.  Two Leopard players had fouled out. The young sub who came on the floor was playing in his first post-conference game.  Jim ran his finger down the Leopards’ roster looking for the sub’s name, and found it:  Kurt Curtis, walk-on from Letongaloosa High School.
After the huddle and before the referees called the teams back onto the court, young Curt looked up at the press box.  Jim couldn’t figure out why, but he waved and gave the boy a big thumbs up.
As the overtime minutes drained away the Leopards fell behind by four points. They picked up three on a jumper from the right side, and another on a free throw. The game was tied with seconds remaining. The coaches called time out.
The Leopard’s coach told his team to run down the clock and then feed the ball to their high scoring forward who would drive in for a buzzer-beating a lay-up.  The play went perfectly until a high jumping Mongrel defender batted the ball away.  The ball flew to mid court and landed in the hands of the Leopard’s substitute Kurt Curtis.   Jim described the scene to the radio audience as Kurt let fly a jumper  from mid court.
It was a swisher.  All net.  The Leopards won by three at the buzzer.
Jim lingered after everyone had left the triumphant Leopards  arena. As he emerged from the door of the gym, young  Kurt Curtis jumped down from the team bus and ran toward him.
“Sir, I’m  Kurt Curtis.  I’m a Duplicative Communicology major.   When I was a kid my grandpa told me about your shot from mid-court that won the conference title.  I want to be a play-by-play broadcaster.”
“You’ll be great one,” said Jim.  “Everyone is already calling you “Key Shot Kurt.”
-30-
This particular column is near and dear to this ol’ humor writer’s heart. The Kansas House declared April 28th, “Bob Davis Day” in honor of KU’s beloved broadcaster’s , Bob Davis’ recent retirement. Rock Chalk!!

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Sent From My…©

 

When you receive a message with a pretentious post-script  telling you that the sender was e-mailing you from a super-duper cell phone, you can reply with your own super-duper post script:

1.Sent from my 1943 Jack Armstrong Radio Show secret decoder ring.

2.Sent from my electrified chain link fence.

3.Sent from my Dog’s supper dish.

4.Sent from the drain spout on my Aunt Clara’s kitchen sink.

5.Sent from a cell phone I found in a dumpster behind Kelly’s Pizza Parlor.

6.Sent from my wife’s hair dryer. (from my girlfriend’s, from my boyfriend’s, from my grandpa’s hair dryer.)

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Hacked Off

It hacks me off when television news commentators and sport announcers say, “Who will be the next xxx-college player to opt for the NBA?  We’ll tell you when we come back.”  Then the station goes to a four-minute commercial.  I’m in mass communications.  I realize  that the station (or the network) needs to make a buck.  But the technique of  “Mommy will give you a cookie after you eat your turnips,” still hacks me off.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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Don’t Move

Hello, All,
 As promised, I’ve decided to share some adventures of my time as a foreign corespondent.
1962 during Argentina’s experiment with a post-Peron elected president–Arturo Frondizi.
“Dark cobble stoned area of low end metro Buenos Aires.  A 2nd rate radio station had been taken over by “rebels” who broadcast a proclamation calling for everyone to take to the streets and opposed the government..  A bus was jammed cross wise in the middle of the narrow street.  As I slid around between the bus and the wall, I heard a voice above me,  “No se mueve,”  (“Don’t Move”) I froze and looked up.  The nose of a stubby machine gun was 14 inches from my nose…

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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