JacoBLOG regulars know what this means – a handful of stories on a Friday, none of which are necessarily worthy of a full-length post. But (hopefully), these brief tales from the music and media world will inform, entertain, and perhaps, even surprise you.
You may have already noted the blue tint applied to the photo of my drawer full of miscellany above.
All of today's stories have a tinge of the blues. Not depressing mind you, but stories that don't necessarily have a It's A Wonderful Life ending.
So, cue up a little B.B. King, and let's rummage inside my drawer of junk:
Item #1: Is Jeopardy in jeopardy? In what has become the longest running talent search in showbiz history (Alex Trebek passed away 10 months ago), the producers of TV's most successful game show are proving they don't know what they're doing.
First, there was the overwrought guest host sweepstakes featuring a total of 15 potential hosts – news anchors, a quarterback, actors and actresses, former Jeopardy winners, and other celebrity odds and ends. And that concluded with executive producer, Mike Richards, declaring himself the winner last month. Holy Dick Cheney.
But it wasn't over – not by a long shot. That's because podcasts Richards hosted years ago were dug up by Internet detectives contained language apparently unbefitting the host of a TV game show, thus nullifying Richards' choice to name himself winner of the Jeopardy hosting crown.
He returned to his executive producer role only to be canned by the powers-that-be at Sony late last month. And in the process, he lost his position of overseeing Wheel of Fortune as well.
And the search sadly is back on to replace Trebek, who must be rolling those signature eyes from on high. The LeVar Burton movement has been rekindled, while others have resurrected the Ken Jennings campaign, the guy who is the all-time winner on the show.
Yesterday, Good Housekeeping revealed their social media “analysis” shows a groundswell effort is underway to name Tournament of Champions finalist Buzzy Cohen. Here's a sizzle real of Buzzy's greatest Jeopardy hits:
At moments like this, your friendly consultant guiding an important client like Sony about their franchise asset would probably invoke this piece of sage advice:
MAKE A DECISION ALREADY
If nothing else for the sake of the millions of fans of the show, patiently waiting to see the puff of white smoke wafting over Sony's corporate headquarters in L.A., hopefully they'll make their choice before the one year anniversary of Trebek's death.
Item #2: The worst rock band dispute ever? That's a lofty claim because as fans of rock music know, there have been some epic wars waged by members of the same band throughout the history of the genre. What is it about rock n' roll that seems to bring out the vitriol and pettiness of otherwise brilliant musicians and singers?
Oftentimes, these mano a mano battles have been fought between brothers – Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks or Noel and Liam Gallagher, the band known as Oasis. Of course, there was the cage match between Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, the pissing war between Lennon and McCartney, and let's not forget the ugliness that broke up Pink Floyd between David Gilmour and Roger Waters.
But the crown for perhaps the nastiest feud may go to Steve Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham who continue to duke it out in virtually every media outlet since the latter was unceremoniously ousted from Fleetwood Mac three years ago. The battle royal between Buckingham and his band mates has festered over these many months, but reached a new low last week.
Much of the back and forth nastiness has been between former lovers Nicks and Buckingham, credited with mainstreaming the once-progressive rock band when they joined the team in 1974.
It all came to an ugly head this past week when a story in Rolling Stone revealed an all-time nasty quote, this time by Nicks, explaining her decades-long dispute with Buckingham:
“Following an exceedingly difficult time with Lindsey at MusiCares in New York in 2018, I decided for myself that I was no longer willing to work with him. I could publicly reflect on the many reasons why, and perhaps I will do that someday in a memoir, but suffice it to say we could start in 1968 and work up to 2018 with a litany of very precise reasons why I will not work with him.”
Fans and critics had the same reaction to this next chapter of ugliness:
Hours later, I am still thinking about this Stevie Nicks quote. https://t.co/BTnsLidPE0
— Annie Zaleski (@anniezaleski) September 9, 2021
The winners? Fleetwood Mac tribute bands – with names like Tusk and Rumours – assuming of course their lead singers can tolerate being in the same area code with their lead guitarists.
Item #3: I'm not in love with my car That is, if it has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It turns out the #1 complaint about new vehicles – and there are a lot of them – is smartphone connections linking the vehicle to Apple and Android phones.
According to J.D. Power's annual survey of auto quality, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are at the root of consumer frustration with their new rides. And what an honor. Because for the past decade the most-whined about feature was voice recognition.
At our DASH Conference in 2013, J.D. Power's VP of automotive quality, Dave Sargent, gave a great presentation on this same topic. All these year's later, here's Dave's take on this year's survey:
“People see that their phone works fine by itself, but when they come to connect it to the vehicle, go through the Wi-Fi system, that’s where the problems exist.”
Frustrating, right? Consumers pay an average price of nearly $40,000 for a new car, and something as fundamentally simple as phone pairing is this year's quality culprit.
I have a solution.
Turn on the radio.
Item #4: It was 20 years ago tomorrow You know exactly what I'm talking about, because many of you were on the air or working in radio when the Twin Towers went down. Tomorrow marks another milestone day of remembrance of this truly tragic event.
I actually flew that morning, landing in Buffalo before 8 a.m. I was to do focus groups that night for one of my favorite clients, 97Rock. I headed right to my downtown hotel and pulled out my consultant radio to monitor the market.
And that's when my brother Paul called (he was about to host a sales breakfast in Denver), and told me to turn on my TV. I did so in time to see the second tower get hit, and it was at that moment I called home, realizing there would be no focus groups that evening.
Our business manager reserved the last Hertz car rental, and PD John Hager ran me over to a Best Buy to purchase a charger for my Nokia phone, and then we headed to the airport to pick up my car.
I drove home to Detroit that day – and it was a spectacularly beautiful one in the Midwest – eerily noting the total lack of airplanes in the deep blue sky.
Paul ended up driving home from Colorado a couple days later, fueled by following the scary event by listening to one public radio station after another on his journey back to the Motor City.
Oddly, that's when our email survey methodology was born. I wrote a questionnaire later that week, and we launched it among 40 or so client stations to take a nervous audience's temperature during that tumultuous time.
Three years later, we put together our very first Techsurvey (called Tech Poll), and we were off to the research races.
For those of you who lost a friend, co-worker, or loved one in perhaps the most tragic day in U.S. history, my sincere condolences.
For the rest of us, tomorrow will be a time to reflect and remember.
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