Due to (moderately) popular demand, it's time once again to open the JacoBLOG junk drawer. After all, it's a Friday in late summer, and I wouldn't want to overburden you on a day like this.
In case you missed last week's post, the junk drawer gives us a chance to check out a handful of interesting, weird media stories that probably aren't worth an entire blog post. That's why they've ended up here.
Here's what we've dug up this week:
Item #1: The MRC and Nielsen TV are on the rocks – In a story that didn't generate a whole lot of coverage in radio's trades, Nielsen television and the Media Rating Council have bid adieu to one another – at least for now. Like many relationships, it's not entirely clear who broke up with whom, but Nielsen reportedly communicated to the MRC they're taking a break.
In case you don't know, the MRC is the body that reviews media ratings and research. Their accreditation is considered important, not unlike the FDA giving the green light to a vaccine or the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on a Roomba.
In a Wall Street Journal story a couple weeks ago, journalist Alexandra Bruell reported that Nielsen asked the MRC to put its TV ratings on hiatus. The suspicion is that there may be issues with the panel, and that Nielsen may have wanted to get ahead of the problem. This pause could have a duration of six months. This is significant because Nielsen's measurement service for television has earned MRC accreditation since the '60s.
There were no mentions in the story about Nielsen's PPM radio measurement service, but of course, it also uses the panel system to collect its ratings. This story raises the question whether a similar pause is in the offing for radio. It's worth an ask.
Seth Resler shows you how to use webinars to generate leads for your radio station's sales team.
Item #2: Another sad day in Classic Rockville – As you probably know, the Rolling Stones' erudite drummer, Charlie Watts, passed away earlier this week. While Mick and Keith may be the best known and most flamboyant members of the band, Watts provided his patented rhythmic foundation to their songs. I can only think of a handful of drummers whose sound and style you can simply recognize when you hear it. Charlie fell right into that category.
In recent days, much has been written about his life and role in the band, especially because Watts was one of its original members. Ultimate Classic Rock did a cool story – “10 Things You Didn't Know About Charlie Watts.” These are great, easy-to-read (and write) features that any radio company could put together during these mournful music moments of which there will sadly be more of in the days, months, and years ahead.
Among these fun facts, Charlie sketched every hotel room he stayed in (as UCR suggests, that would make a great coffee table book). And unlike his erstwhile band mates, Watts was married to the same woman for his entire adult life, Shirley Ann Shepherd in 1964. They had one daughter, Serafina.
But here's an item UCR may have missed. According to Grunge, Charlie Watts was an avid vintage car collector. Thanks to his runaway success with the Stones, Charlie amassed an amazing fleet of classic cars.
Among them, a 1937 Lagonda Rapide Cabriolet – one of just 25 ever manufactured. Another was the James Bond car in For Your Eyes Only, a classic Citroen 2CV (similar to the one at right).
But here's the kicker – Charlie Watts didn't have a driver's license. As Classic Cars News reported, he was “content to sit in his garage and listen to those priceless engines purr.” Maybe this is where “Start Me Up” originated.
Item #3: “Nevermind,” we're suing you – In another rock n' roll story that is hard to fathom, the baby – now a man – photographed on Nirvana's iconic album cover, Nevermind, is suing the band. Why?
The now grown-up Spencer Elden is claiming his photo qualifies as child pornography. (Funny, I always thought it was about capitalism).
According to a story in Variety, Elden's lawyer, Robert Y. Lewis is trying to make the case the baby is being treated “like a sex worker.”
Where is Judge Judy when we need her? More importantly, where was Geffen Records' legal department?
Elden – now 30 – is suing the surviving members of Nirvana, including Dave Grohl and Courtney Love, executor of Kurt Cobain's estate.
Interestingly, Elden has recreated the Nevermind cover on several of its anniversaries (more modestly wearing a swim suit) each time.
But here's the rub. His parents were apparently paid $200 when the photo was shot at a pool party at their home, but they may not have signed a release granting the band and the label permission to use it. Elden says that over the years he has reached out to band members and other representatives who have never responded.
Geffen did send young Spencer a platinum record and a teddy bear when he was a year old. Of course, many of you have that platinum record as well.
See you in court.
Item #4: Reboots Run Amok – Last – and most certainly least – a megatrend in television, movies, and music is reboots, remakes, or covers of original smash hits. These days, there's an insatiable market for nostalgia, as those of us in radio know very well.
Old heartstrings and memories are powerful. But there's an important caveat: if you dare to reproduce an original, your new version better be damn good. Oftentimes, that's a high bar.
When you remake a classic like Psycho, or even a Charlie's Angels, or if you record William Shatner singing any song, you're skating on very thin nostalgic ice. It seems like the critics can be especially scathing when it comes to rehashed versions of the originals.
But The Dating Game? How hard is to replicate one of TV's classic 1960's game shows, first hosted by Jim Lange (pictured right, a former radio DJ in San Francisco)?
Apparently, harder than it looks.
A new reboot of the classic bachelor/bachelorette “shell game” is on the air on ABC. Dubbed The Celebrity Dating Game, it may set a new low in TV remakes. The co-stars are unlikely…and out of their element: the perennially cute Zooey Deschanel and the talented, but kitschy Michael Bolton.
The ratings have been…well, unspectacular. A TV Ratings report released earlier this week tracks The New Celebrity Dating Game at #118 among all shows in 18-49 year-old adults (about a .4 rating). In this reboot, celebrities (OK, pretty B and C-level) interview three bachelors/bachelorettes.
Rather than chemistry, the odd match of Deschanel and Bolton seems to generate anti-matter. She doesn't seem particularly well cast for game show antics, while he mostly sits around, waiting to croon parody songs ahead of the big decision while she awkwardly dances behind him. In this trailer, you can see how this attempt at combining the current dating culture with an old school game show may have been doomed from the start. See if you can get through it:
The lesson? Just because it was a hit in the '60s, '70s, or '80s, don't assume that new packaging and celebrity or two can save it.
Knowing television works, it will probably get renewed for a second season, based on those incisive Nielsen TV ratings, of course.
Thanks to Keith Cunningham and Holland Cooke for the nudges.
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