Monthly Archives: September 2007

"Who Put the "Freak" in French Fries?"

An Addendum for WYSP

An addendum, a correction and perhaps a not-so-polite request to get your head out of your ass to WYSP-FM.

Within WYSP’s not-yet-two-hours old new format they have been running interesting bits between the songs.

For instance, the announcer says that on such-and-such a date WMMR played “Heart of Glass” by Blondie. They only play rock on YSP, blah blah blah, etc.

Nice ploy, considering that WMMR and WYSP have been bitter rivals and competitors in the Philadelphia radio market for well over three decades.

The problem with that promotion is that it is, of course, pure bullshit.

Yes, WMMR might very well have played “Heart of Glass” maybe half a dozen times in its history, but if they did, I guarantee it was because WYSP did it first. They did it to keep up.

Anyone who was around in the late seventies and early eighties can easily tell you how it was with WMMR and WYSP. MMR was the dinosaur, playing Grateful Dead, Traffic and Eric Clapton until the cows came home. YSP was the innovator, testing the edge and always at least trying to be progressive. MMR listeners sat in the sun and smoked pot while YSP listeners were out dancing and hitting clubs.

I have tapes made from the radio that prove as much. WYSP played Blondie, they played Adam and the Ants. Also Devo, Talking Heads, the Clash, Elvis Costello, even, ahem, Rick Springfield. I have tape proof, remember? I heard my first Sex Pistols song on WYSP. WYSP was always on the verge of the new.

It was only when WIFI 92 changed from top 40 to new wave in 1982 that WMMR decided it had better get in gear and pay attention because music had changed. But before then, it was all WYSP.

So, WYSP, do your homework and quit lying to the public. And maybe if you did start playing some of that music you used to play circa 1980, more folks would listen.

Cyndy Drue, where are you now that we need you?

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The Rock Is Back

The rock is back.

Um, yeah.

*yawn*

Just in time. ‘Cause I just got XM Radio for my birthday.

At 5 PM today WYSP 94 FM in Philadelphia changed its format. Again. Now we’re back to rock, progressive hard rock from all indications, and away from talk as it had been for a few months. Two hours into the the Kidd Chris Show, with guests Opie & Anthony in town for a special event, the format changed. The first three songs played were “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘n’ Roses, “Back in Black” by AC/DC and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana as if to strengthen the point. Most notably, Kidd Chris did not come back to finish his show.

Now I’m a talk radio fan just as much as I’m a radio fan. I love music and I love radio.

I was the kid in high school who carried a boombox with me everywhere. I was the kid who knew all the new music, sometimes before the radio played it. I knew and listened to every station on the dial FM and AM. I bought everything and made mix-tapes on an almost daily basis. In college I embarked on dual careers in radio and in music journalism. I have several thousands of songs on my iTunes and reload my iPod almost daily. Nothing makes me happier than my music. So another decent music station in the normally dead zone of Philadelphia radio is a good thing, right?

Maybe.

As I said I’m also a talk radio fan. I’ve been one since the mid-1970s listening to Larry King and then WWDB-FM with their all-talk format. I know talk show hosts as well as I know music. I have as many fond memories of Irv Homer and Richard Hayes as I do of Kate Bush and David Bowie. Over the years, talk radio flourished and changed, mostly in part to the wildly successful efforts of Howard Stern, along with his imitators and innovators. Stern at WYSP soon led to Opie & Anthony coming there as well. My tastes soon followed, more in line with O&A than Stern.

When Stern left for Sirius satellite radio, some said that was the end of terrestrial radio. Having listened to David Lee Roth, who replaced Howard here in Philly, I would tend to agree. Fortunately O&A returned to replace Roth, and suddenly I didn’t miss Stern all that much anymore, if at all.

The part that excited me was that along with the return of O&A, WYSP seemed to be making a stand as a talk station. The Barsky Show that followed O&A was certainly better than the immature tripe going on over at NJ 101.5 FM and had a fun quality to it, always enjoyable to have on. Even Matt & Huggy had an endearing quality. My real faves though had to be Loveline and John and Jeff shows that covered overnights.

I love Loveline, not just for the information given or the entertainment value of the hosts and guests, but for the callers. Callers to these types of shows are demented. The same appeal holds for me with both Drs. Joy and laura, neither host do I like, but their callers provide me with hours of entertainment. I’ll also miss John and Jeff who were an intriguing second choice when Coast to Coast AM had an uninteresting topic that night.

Of course all of this is a shame. I highly doubt WYSP’s new rock format will be enough to regain the ratings edge they may have lost, and no matter how good the music is, it won’t anywhere near as interesting as any talk program could be. I wish them luck, because other than listening to an Eagles game in the car I probably won’t be listening to WYSP again in the near future.

As I said, I recent got XM satellite radio. With that I can listen to Opie and Anthony (as well as full broadcasts of Coast to Coast – damn you 1210 AM) so I don’t see much use any longer in WYSP. And besides, there’s so much programming I’d rather listen to on the XM, I don’t need many terrestrial stations that much anymore.

Shame. Good luck, WYSP.

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In Case You Didn’t Know…


In case you didn’t know… there is a Yahoo! discussion group for this blog.

For discussion of pop culture of all types, times and genres.

Feel free to post your own reviews of what you’ve seen or critique the reviews on Glenn Walker’s Welcome to Hell: Pop Culture Reviews weblog.

Glenn Walker is a writer with too much time on his hands, or depending on the day, not enough time on his hands. He loves, hates and lives pop culture. He knows too freaking much about pop culture. Given that, he has to vomit up his voluminous opinions on them here. Welcome to Hell. If you need to agree, disagree or make him shut up, please feel free to make your voice heard here.

This group will also serve as an announcement list for Glenn Walker’s projects.

All comments invited.


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Apple Fries???

Poor Britney

Now supposedly this blog is about pop culture so any pop culture critic worth his or her salt this week is talking about Britney Spears. Britney Spears and her tragic, drunken, bored, sleepwalkin’ call-it-in-from-home performance at the VMAs, see it here.

Now of course I just think the performance speaks for itself, but I found something even better. A passionate fan defending the fallen pop star:

Wow.

Thanks to Sara for hipping me to the links.

Jane Wyman 1917-2007

Actress Jane Wyman Dead

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Jane Wyman, the Oscar-winning actress who was Ronald Reagan’s first wife and starred in the popular 1980s television drama “Falcon Crest,” died on Monday at age 90, her longtime manager said.

Wyman married fellow actor and future U.S. President Reagan in 1940 but divorced him in 1948. She died at her home in Palm Springs, California, having been in failing health for several years, business manager Michael Mesnick said in a statement.

Known as “one-take Wyman” for her professional work ethic, Wyman appeared in more than 80 films during a career spanning four decades. Her last movie was the 1969 musical comedy “How to Commit Marriage” with Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason.

Starting out as a radio singer, the Missouri-born Wyman broke into the movies in the 1930s as a Goldwyn Girl and signed with Warner Bros. studio in 1936. Her film acting debut came with a bit part in “Gold Diggers of 1937.”

Initially typecast as a perky, sometimes flaky or tart-tongued blonde, Wyman toiled for a decade in mostly B-movie fare and supporting roles in bigger films. She gained notice in 1945 for her role as the girlfriend of a chronic alcoholic in Billy Wilder’s drama “The Lost Weekend.”

Generally appearing as a brunette after that film, Wyman went on to give a string of Oscar-nominated performances as a leading lady, beginning with “The Yearling” opposite Gregory Peck in 1946.

OSCAR TIME AND DIVORCE

She won the Oscar as best actress for her 1948 role — played when she was 34 — as a teenage deaf-mute raped in “Johnny Belinda.” She and Reagan, once hailed by the Hollywood publicity machine as the ideal couple, saw their marriage collapse.

Wyman’s two other Oscar nominations came for the 1951 drama “The Blue Veil,” in which she played a self-sacrificing nursemaid, and the 1954 Douglas Sirk-directed romance “Magnificent Obsession,” opposite Rock Hudson.

She sang in duet with Bing Crosby on the Oscar-winning song, “In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening,” from Frank Capra’s 1951 musical comedy “Here Comes the Groom,” and shared the screen with Marlene Dietrich in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 thriller “Stage Fright.”

Wyman began a television career in the 1950s, hosting the drama anthology series “The Jane Wyman Theater.” She became best known to a later generation of viewers as the ruthless family matriarch Angela Channing in the CBS melodrama “Falcon Crest.”

The show was a 1980s hit during the White House administration of her former second husband, Reagan, with whom Wyman had a daughter, Maureen, who died in 2001, and adopted a son, Michael, who became a conservative radio host.

By then Reagan, whom Wyman had met and began dating during their work together on the 1938 film “Brother Rat,” had long been married to another of his onetime co-stars, Nancy Davis.

Despite concerns in Reagan’s camp during his first White House bid about winning election as the first divorced president, Wyman remained scrupulously silent about her ex-husband, as she had during his time as California governor.

Michael Reagan wrote years later that his father “wouldn’t have been president being married to Jane Wyman. He needed a Nancy, who was willing to give up her career to be there, by his side.”

While her birthdate was widely cited as being in January 1914, her manager Mesnick said Wyman was actually born three years later, a fact she had long obscured for professional reasons because she had wanted to be seen as older.

She was herself married a total of four times to three different men, divorcing the last in 1965.

Avengers Forever/Quantum Zone Team-Up

In the Mighty Marvel Tradition, the Quantum Zone is pleased to announce a team-up with Avengers Forever. Together we will be promoting both Quasar and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers.

This titanic team-up (no, we won’t be fighting each other first) will highlight the Quantum Zone’s over 11 years online, as well as the recent Reprint Quasar and Quasar Month campaigns that have grown out of the Quantum Zone Forum.

Meanwhile, after almost 9 years online, Avengers Forever remains the premiere Avengers site on the internet, with its exhaustive Avengers information, popular forum and excellent reviews.

Alexia Yukon Gold French Fries