Random thoughts for a Monday

A few things that happened to cross my mind…

Normally, I would have nothing to say about Rush Limbaugh.  The guy is a bad actor playing a conservative blowhard in order to make a ton of money.  I don’t know that he believes most of the crap he spouts, but he knows how to sell it and how to rake in enough profit out of it, so give him credit for that.  However, apparently, his lack of knowledge of why women might use birth control pills for something other than controlling birth – and his use of unnecessary language about a woman testifying about it on Capital Hill – has caused him to lose advertisers.  You’d think this was a bad thing – until you saw the advertisers that he lost.  From media trade blog AllAccess.com – he lost “CALIFORNIA regional mattress chain SLEEP TRAIN and national advertisers QUICKEN LOANS, CITRIX (GOTOMYPC), SLEEP NUMBER, PROFLOWERS.COM, CARBONITE (which initially said it would hold off pulling its ads until its CEO spoke to LIMBAUGH), and LEGAL ZOOM.”  Here’s the thing – almost all of these can best be described as bottom-feeders.  Most of their advertising runs at the lowest rates on the rate card (stations or syndicators take those ads when nobody respectable buys ad time), or runs as pay-per-response (the advertiser only pays when someone calls the 800 number in the ad).  Frankly, if these are the best advertisers Rush is attracting, he was already in trouble.  And the reality is, they probably were the best he could do.  Most major national advertisers already have a rider in their contracts with radio stations forbidding use of their ads in “controversial programming” – and Rush is always listed there.  If the PPR advertisers are pulling out of Rush’s show, there will be pretty much nobody left to advertise on the show – at least, nobody a self-respecting radio show would want to have.  He’d be down to the desperate scammers and barely-legal direct marketers… and at that point, stations have to wonder about his value to them.  It’ll be interesting to see if the PPR advertisers go back to him when the heat dies down.

Completely changing gears for a moment – as I type this, it’s snowing here in Richmond for the second time this winter.  As it did the first time, the snow is not sticking on the streets for the most part (it’s been far too warm for the snow to have a chance of lingering) – and as it did the first time, it’s expected to reach 70 degrees within 72 hours after the snow ends.  This has been the warmest and least snowy winter I’ve been through in 18 years here… which is why I have gone on record with the bold prediction that an April blizzard is coming.  Irony being what it is, it will probably be on Flying Squirrels’ opening day on April 12.  I’ll probably be wrong, but nature works in odd ways…

Elsewhere… if you were reading this blog during the run of X-Factor USA, you saw me constantly mock Steve Jones as a charisma vacuum.  Well, thanks to a YouTuber who’s got access to a ton of British TV, I’ve seen another side of Jones… and at least now, I can understand a little bit of what Simon Cowell thought he saw in Jones.  Over the weekend, I was able to watch the full 8-episode run of the UK version of 101 Ways To Leave A Game Show, which Jones hosted.  If you saw that show first, before Jones’ run on X-Factor, you’d have had no doubt that it could have worked out here.  Jones has a light touch, actually jokes with the contestants, clearly doesn’t take the game too seriously, and is able to direct traffic on the show without coming across as overbearing or confused.  Which begs the question – what happened over here?  My guess is that Jones never quite adapted to the American market – and that Cowell and his crack (ha!) production staff never figured out how to help him do so.  Hosting X-Factor shouldn’t have been all that different from hosting 101 Ways – Jones could definitely have used a lighter touch over here, for example.  I figure that he was given the idea that hosting in the USA was Serious Business… and was never able to recover.  The good part is that Jones has gone right back to hosting light entertainment for both BBC and ITV back home in the UK, and he’ll do just fine.  The bad part is that with auditions about to start and just a few months before season 2, Cowell still hasn’t cast replacement judges or host(s).  At this rate, there will be another round of desperation hires – and quite possibly, a cancellation notice at the end of season 2.

And, finally, speaking of singing competitions… my work schedule has changed again.  Starting this week, I’m working Wednesday through Sunday nights – which means my American Idol blogs will be done the morning after each show.  So I won’t have the first, freshest opinion of each show… but I’ll still mock the show as best I can, especially after they cast the least diverse and, frankly, least interesting finalists in the show’s 11 seasons.   Go ahead, look at the final 13, and tell me there’s anyone who’d have even made the top 13 last season.  Idol needs to rethink itself for season 12.   For the most part, the show has gotten stuck in a rut.  Blowing things up – perhaps allowing Seacrest to go on to something bigger… perhaps letting the Randy Jackson Cliché Factory retire… letting go of Horny Uncle Steven before he gets punched into a coma by a teenage contestant’s family… and producing audition-round shows that are actually compelling viewing, and that feature the 24 (or so) contestants we’ll be expected to vote on instead of train wrecks and performers who get cut during the Hollywood round… those might help.  Then again, no show lasts forever, and eventually Idol will end.  You can bet Simon Cowell is hoping that happens sooner rather than later…

See you Thursday morning for the Idol Top 13 recap.


Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, slightly less occasional improv player/ref/tech, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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