Do you know the feeling when you actually try to clean up a junk drawer, but end up with more “stuff” in there than when you started? The longer you are on this planet, the more junk accumulates.
This is why Marie Kondo and her acolytes have enjoyed such a nice run. Many of us simply cannot purge stuff. Hence, that catch-all of interesting things – the junk drawer.
Since I started the junk drawer feature here on JacoBLOG that appears on some Fridays, my inbox has been inundated with worthy items of interest. Stories that are compelling for some reason, but don't merit a dedicated post.
And so today's edition of the “junk drawer” actually has a couple more items than usual because there's so much to talk about.
Item #1: You Can Call Me Al (Roker): Yes, this one's been collecting a little dust these past couple weeks, but it's a dandy. NBC weather icon, Al Roker, is the man. Along with the recently departed Willard Scott, Roker is TV weather.
So when Hurricane Ida hit landfall, Al didn't assign its coverage to some young newbie – he followed part of the hurricane itself. Here he is with NBC's Jonathan Capehart via Twitter:
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) August 30, 2021
More proof positive the classics are timeless and have stood the test of time.
Item #2: Out, Damn Spotify: I'm flying again – nowhere near the old days (pre-COVID), but my friends at Delta in Detroit are waving and welcoming me back to the fray. And I'm rediscovering the joyous isolation of being on a plane with no phone calls for a few hours listening to Delta's music channels while brainstorming and creating.
But then I bumped into this news story: Spotify has taken over Delta's entire music service. A recent story in Engadget reveals the scope of the deal – a full complement of playlists, in addition to more than 40 podcasts.
Delta is picking up the licensing fees, making the audio service free to all passengers – a wonderful “cume building” campaign for Spotify.
Item #3: It's Still Black Rock To Me: And this from the New York Post, CBS is no longer in the CBS building. That's because Viacom's bean counters made the calculus that this iconic building – dubbed “Black Rock” – was an asset with more cash value than cachet.
$760 million dollars to be precise. The 36-story monolith on 51 W. 52nd Street has been on the market for nearly two years. You might have noticed it while scrolling the listings on Zillow.
Viacom actually referred to “Black Rock” as a “non-core asset,” thus making it expendable. And that's a sad final act for a Manhattan icon that once symbolized media greatness.
On top of that, the numbers crunchers may have waited too long. Wall Street analysts set its value at more than $1 billion before COVID hit. Now, the former CBS headquarters is yielding considerably less.
How can you put a value on a building? Is it part of a company or a station's identity?
I think of WGN moving out of the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue as another one of these budget moves that further stripped the brand of its identity and charm. In the case of “Black Rock,” a storied network that once housed Murrow, Cronkite, Rather, Sullivan, and Letterman.
Grab a hankie for the weeping CBS “eye.”
And you have to wonder if the sale price included light fixtures and window treatments. Or are those negotiable?
Item #4: Basketball Bob: In the worlds of book publishing and radio, this was indeed a special week. Bob McCurdy's book, The Quest for Excellence, is now on sale on Amazon. Buzz Knight – who worked closely with Bob at Beasley – wrote a great review of the book this week for Radio Ink.
Bob passed away in 2020, influencing hundreds of fledgling broadcasters during his many years with Katz and later, the Beasley group. Subtitled “The Chase for Self Mastery and Leadership Distinction,” Buzz writes about McCurdy's well-known quest for continuous improvement.
Why the basketball angle? Bob McCurdy was a college star at the University of Richmond, leading the nation in scoring in 1975 with an impressive 32.9 points per game. He was a superstar, on and off the court.
They should retire his number. In fact, if there were a way to do it in radio, we should, too.
I'll focus on cleaning out that drawer over the weekend, but I have a sneaking suspicion I'll have more odds and ends for you next week.
A shout out to Steve Goldstein.
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