Monday, April 14, 2008

A Time Before Blogging

In the early days of Premiere Radio Networks, we achieved journalistic excellence by publishing the Premiere News & World Report from 1988 through 1992. This fine periodical began as the top sheet of the Plain Wrap Countdown and emerged into a strong, independent newsletter which was both received and ignored by radio stations, record labels, celebrities, TV shows and movie studios.

The PNAWR was a circular, hailed by "Jimmy Kimmel Live Producer," Steve O'Donnell, as, "better than it needs to be." Steve, then head writer for Letterman, put action behind his words by giving our little newsletter a place of honor on the cover of a Late Nigh With David Letterman script.

We, naturally, exploited the hell out that situation. And to the best of my recollection and my ability to scan recently unearthed documents, here is the way events unfolded.

1) This edition of the weekly newsletter reached the desk of Steve O'Donnell.

2) Steve O'Donnell (or a staffer acting upon his instruction) cut out the classy photo of Bob and Jeff (seen above) and affixed it to the Letterman script (seen below) which was then, without explanation, slipped into an envelope and shipped to me. (Thank you, Steve, or intern acting upon his instruction)

3) Honored and delighted, we rushed to press with the Letterman script cover as our front page photo and a daring caption challenging O'Donnell to use this newsletter as his next script cover.

4) O'Donnell didn't blink.

5) Now, the challenge was ours. We were up to it.

6) Volley not returned. O'Donnell was bested and he knew it.

Or... he's still considering his response.

Our weekly publication was lovingly cut and pasted together using glue, scissors and a typewriter (look it up on wiki) I laid the whole thing out with ruler, pencil and glue stick in the back of a local Hollywood print shop. They ran off 500 copies, we hauled them back to Premiere, folded them into threes, stapled them, stuck labels on them, fed them through the stamp machine and off they went to clutter the floor of every passing business acquaintance unfortunate enough to populate our Rolodex.

Those newsletters, like this or any blog, serve to document not just ourselves and our loved ones but the times in which we live. The fashion, the politics, the hair-do's, the pop culture, and the very technologies which give them life. The PNAWR was born in a time before clip art, where we pressed stamp to ink to page in pursuit of decorative accents.

And now, through this new techno-form, I am able to bring it to you. And once again, we demonstrate how the Internet has affected miraculous change. Tear, crumple, toss has become control-alt-delete.

Jury Duty?

I'm on call all week for jury duty which has me beginning every sentence with the qualifiers: "if I do get called," and "if I don't get called." So, this week, I've got the plan, and the backup plan. Today, I did not get called for jury duty and the backup plan included blogging. Lucky you.

The jury duty summons is strongly worded. It says, "Failure to respond may subject you to a fine, incarceration or both, as well as performance of jury service."

This implies that there are citizens of Los Angeles who remain unfazed by the threat of fine or incarceration but would bristle upon the receipt of these penalties, topped off by jury service. "Your Honor, I'll take the caning, the pillorying, the scarlet J, the water boarding and the naked human pyramid, but for the love of God, not the jury duty."

Stateside Stand Up

Tuesday is stand up comedy night at Stateside Restaurant & Lounge and we are proudly instituting a new tradition whereby we take photos of comedians and audience members together in post comedic bliss. I then post these photos on myspace and facebook so that all can proclaim, "Haze of alcohol be damned. I was there!"

Happy, satisfied Stateside StandUp customers with Bret Ernst and Iliza Schlesinger

Bagg of Noize

These guys are less blurry in the flesh but this is a cool photo

My cousin, Patricia Bock manages a band called Bagg of NoiZe. For no apparent reason, I take great delight in calling them Bucket of Clatter and my sister Joann seems to heartily enjoy calling them Bagg of Boys. You may choose to call them Satchel of Sound. Do not, however, mislabel their quality. They are awesome. At a recent Battle of the Bands at the Good Hurt Club, they brought it and rocked it.

Olivia's Bat Mitzvah

Was loud.

What loud looks like

There was a charming gentleman at my table whose only word the entire evening was, "Huh?" At least I think that's what he said. It was loud. Olivia and her parents were beautiful. There was a photo booth. The food was wonderful. Little brother, Max was adorable. Another precious milestone was marked as we danced to the music high above the city lights.

The doorman let us in because we looked this good.
Jam I must. Go read the rest of your internet.

Jury Duty?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Premiere: The Early Years

We started Premiere Radio Networks in 1985. My partners included Steve Lehman, Tim Kelly, Ed Mann and Kraig Kitchin. We had three shows. They were The Plain Rap Countdown (later changed to Plain "Wrap" after it was deemed we were far too white to rock the other spelling), National Lampoon's True Facts (a mini feature) and The Cla'ence All My Children Update, (starring Brad Sanders)

Virgie Chica, circa 1986, holds an archaic data storage device known as "the floppy."

We had no employees and two interns. Bob Borquez and Tony Hudson. They both went on to become our first employees and they were followed, to the best of my recollection by Cathy Cogan, Dave Price, Paul Paradiso, Melinda Ruben, Virginia Tavera and others I am forgetting.

Bob Borquez and Pyp, circa 1985, demonstrate the ancient art of "juggling land lines."

That little company went on to become a monolith, now a gigantic arm of Clear Channel with nothing on its website to reflect that we were there. I don't know a lot about who works there now. It must be sort of like going to High School and giving no thought to the kids who went there before you.

But at High School, there would at least be a display case with a photo or a trophy. People began their careers at Premiere. That means a lot. My last original partner, Kraig Kitchin, recently stepped down. It's a good time to remember.

If you clicked on the link to Premiere above, please note that our little web site was created and launched by Eric Canale in 1998.

Eric created Premiere's original web site in 1996 using a 28.8 modem and some of his will to live.

And now, here we all are, out on the internet with blogs and
My Spaces and facebooks and podcasts and You Tubes, creating and writing and recording and viewing and listening and sharing and noticing that life has a way of spinning us around so that sometimes we land facing backwards and longing to pull some of our past into our future. That's what this blog is about.

Pyp circa 1989, looking very much like he had just narrowly escaped from Wham.

That's what happened when Melinda Ruben visited her local Verizon store last week and found Paul Paradiso (who we call Pyp, short for Pretty Young Paul). Melinda and I had been searching Google to find Pyp. We found him the old fashioned way. By accident. He has been living, for the past nine years, two blocks away from Melinda! (of course, we must give some credit for this find to technology, since she did find him at the Verizon store.)

Shocking? Yes it is and there is more. they both have the exact same kind of dog! Only Pyp dresses his dog, Joan up in stylish outfits which he claims she loves.

Melinda at the Premiere Christmas Party, circa 1990, torn between two dates.
Does she chose the dazzlingly gorgeous actor... or the tall dude? (young Gabriel Damon, from "Newsies," is the son of longtime Premiere Radio man, Dave Price.)
And so it was that we planned the reunion which inspired this blog. Melinda, who we call Mel wanted to bring Virginia who we call Virgie Chica (even though it's longer than just saying Virginia.)

They all came over with three dogs. Mel has two and Pyp has one. We talked and laughed over the din of the dogs. They were snarling, yapping and wrastling all night long. And then they suddenly all darted down the hall towards my office and bedroom. We were later to discover that either one dog took two dumps or two dogs took a dump apiece, but suffice it to say, I found a dump in the office and a dump in the bedroom which nearly scared the dump out of me which would have brought the total to three.

Mel, Pyp and Virgie, circa 2008.
After cleaning up after the dogs, the reunion then inspired me to begin looking through old photographs of which I had taken loads because back in the early days of Premiere, we published a weekly newsletter called The Premiere News and World Report and we would fold and staple and label and send this pithy little rag to radio stations and record companies and celebrities we had interviewed who would then either dump it in the trash and/or, in the case of Rob Schneider, actually call and tell us to stop sending it to him.

Doggie gone wild.

That having been said, it was a very funny and inventive publication (rivalling this blog) and one of my proudest moments came when we received a fax from Herb Sargent (Great Veteran Saturday Night Live Writer) asking to be placed on our mailing list because he dared not open Dana Carvey's mail while Dana Carvey was on vacation) I pinned that fax to my bulletin board.

Why am I blowing a whale, circa 1999? The fax from Herb Sargent is on that bulletin board... somewhere.

More about our newsletter next week when I have a chance to scan a copy for you. Right now, let's celebrate the wonderful team that created Premiere Radio Networks. The first 15 years were rare and special and I treasure that time and what we achieved together.

Premiere founding partners, Ed Mann and Tim Kelly (with Kelly Aquino and Michelle Cabral lurking)

Premiere Founding Partner, Steve Lehman, circa 1998, eating one of a drawer full of Power Bars.

Premiere Founding Partner, Kraig Kitchin struggled for the will to share his gift basket with Susan Gold Kovinsky, circa 1989.

In the photo above, circa 1988, I see Steve Lehman, Ed Mann, Tim Kelly, Joe Cipriano, Me, Brad Sanders and Cathy Cogan. Please Click Here for more Vintage Premiere Photos.

In this photo, circa 1992, I see Dave Price, Cathy Cogan, Chris Schell, Will Kohlschreiber, Susan Gold, Me sitting on Bob Borquez, Kelly Aquino, Ed Mann, Alan Wenkus and Danny Lang (I could be wrong about some of the faces.) And why were we wearing shorts? Maybe it was extremely casual Friday.

Help me identify us and remember what we did together. It was a blast.