Friday, April 28, 2006

The Brian Pierce Interview

Mike Marino is an L.A. Radio Programmer & Consultant and interviewed Bri for his website. Here is the transcript.

THE SHOW: "Brian & Kellie"
THE CITY: Springfield, IL
THE CAST OF CHARACTERS: Brian Pierce, Kellie Michaels.
CREATE THE SCENE: Name the one thing about your city most folk’ don’t know?
Brian: Springfield, Illinois is the final resting place for Santa Ana’s LEG. (Get in a history book.)

And the one thing about radio in your market, that impresses you (or, does NOT impress you)?
Brian: I’m impressed by my own company – Midwest Family Broadcasting. We break all the rules – remembering we made the rules in the first place. Our programming is a throw back to the days when this business was fun. I can’t imagine working anywhere else. My company operates it’s own 40,000 sq. ft. venue – and we promote virtually all the live music here.

If the radio station disappeared tomorrow, what’s the ONE thing listeners would miss most about your show?
Brian: Brian & Kellie are the grown up’s on the radio. We’re that show you can’t beat – because we’ve been together so long (just passed 13 years)
In Dallas – I wanted to be Ron Chapman. In San Antonio – I wanted to be Sonny Melendrez. In Boston I wanted to be Dave Maynard. Here I am that guy.

Give us brief rundown on both of you, your personal history, your radio bio, and what brought you together.
Brian Pierce: Springfield local who went to B97 New Orleans, WOAI, KAJA, KLLS & KSMG San Antonio, KLUV Dallas, WZOU Boston & ABC/Dallas SMN. I came back home in 1991 I felt I’d accomplished what I set out to do.
Kellie Michaels: WYBR Rockford, WMIX Mt. Vernon. WILS Lansing – Springfield 1981 and here at WNNS since 1989.

Briefly describe your show your personalities and the “premise” listeners wake up to every morning.
Brian: Full service adult talk, Hot A/C music. We have our noses in everything. It’s the kind of radio our women grew up with.

Segue to the show planning, how much of it is prepared before you walk into the studio? How much left to spontaneity?
Brian: I’ve prepped 3 hours the day before – but will throw it all out for anything better. We “ride the crest of the moment”. The morning “unfolds” in real time.

Who makes up your pop-culture VIBE team, in terms of the creative brain trust?
Brian: I do. Bri. It’s 32 years of experience that comes in handy. I spend my day inside the minds of “our women” – literally every woman over 30 - for 60 miles.
When does the PD, or marketing director get a say?
Brian: My co – host is PD – and target audience – sitting right there. I play to her. Her input is vital – and she does often. Marketing Director? No.

Name your most memorable radio moment. (Good or bad!)
Brian: I sent this comedian into Copley Plaza with a handful of dollar bills & a walkie talkie. He was to simply give the dollar bills away. No one would take them. It was a scream. The comedian? Jerry Seinfeld WZOU/BOSTON.

CELEB Interviews… do you do ‘em? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em?
Brian: Yes & No. Only if they’re pretty big. We don’t get many press agents banging on the door here in Central Illinois.

Name your most memorable CELEB interview. (Good or bad!)
Brian: I almost got into a fist fight with Richard Simmons at B97 New Orleans. Same deal with Jackson Browne. I’m the nicest guy in the world – these guys just weren’t in the mood.

**Quick Word Association:
Politics -
Brian: Bush.
‘American Idol’
Brian: Seacrest.
Gas Prices
Brian: Mr. Refinery (A million dollar idea).
Tom Cruise
Brian: Goofball.
Morning Radio
Brian: Beddy Beddy good to me.

If there was one facet of radio you’d like to see change, what would it be… and what kind of change?
Brian: Frankly – my company has adopted my philosophy. This isn’t brain surgery. Work hard – think it through – have fun. Be different. The same old shit – doesn’t cut it anymore.

Tell us about your best weekly or daily on-air Benchmarks?
Brian: Our longest running bit is “Brian & Kellie to the rescue”. Simple “Dear Abby” bit – but we get a shit-load of mail.

How 'bout GAMES or TRIVIA you like to play with or ON your audience?
Brian: "Password", "Think Fast" (a 10 in :30), "Battle of the Sexes" – “Wheel of Worry” (:30 sec to worry about anything….Go!)
We do a trivia question everyday – but it’s custom written & designed to appeal to adult women.

What in your mind is your favorite on-air PROMOTION, Contest or giveaway?
Brian: “Miss Lite Rock 99” – a station QUEEN. We have talent competition only and the winner rides in a convertible in the Christmas parade. We never know what the Queen looks like – until the parade.

And Stunts?
Brian: I created my own marketing campaign at B97 New Orleans. I took beer commercials – and replaced the word “Beer” with “Radio” – and completely re-cut a bunch. They were a scream – and I surged to a 20 share.

Throw us a freakin’ bone, name one thing about yourself or about each other, that most people don’t know.
Brian: I did a parody song in San Antonio with the line “Come on you guys” – and my bud – Scott Chapin @ WGTR Miami liked the inflection sooo much – they developed an entire imaging campaign around those four words. I eventually saw it on TV, Billboards & T-shirts.

Parting Thoughts on anything, from the radio industry to the world we live in, marriage to this painful interview.
Brian: Young people in this business are waaaaay too pissed off. Young people aren’t willing to pay dues. They want it all right now – and seem less likely to work their way up. I recall starving for nearly 7 years before I made a living doing this.

I know, a little behind the scenes, but there's nothing wrong with "pulling the curtain back" once and a while.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

White Trash has gone Mainstream. Uggh.

White Trash has gone mainstream. It's now officially trendy to be White Trash. I know something about White Trash. WT is all around me. I encounter WT everyday. WT is what makes me nervous about Wal Mart. WT is in the car in front of me, at the table next to me in restaurants and where I work.

I've joked all of my life that I too - was WT in denial. That's only partly true. I have never been WT - nor were my parents. But, go back a generation - and there is some WT sharing my last name.

I worked at a Radio Station in New Orleans back in the 80's. WT was everywhere. The black population far outnumbered Anglos, but the whites there are predominately WT. The dictionary defines WT this way:
White Trash n. Offensive Slang.
Used as a disparaging term for a poor white person or poor white people.
Used as a disparaging term for a white person or white people perceived as being lazy and ignorant.

Poor, Lazy & Ignorant? Partly. Today, it's a "look". This "look" is the WT that's "trendy".

Blame it all on Britney Spears. Brit is the WT poster child. She's barefoot, pregnant (for the 2nd. time), in short short cut off jeans. She's in a tube top or sleeveless tank most of the time. Her baby falls out of the highchair and cracks it's skull. Her home is a mess. Her husband is scum. Britney Spears is worth close to $100 million. Money no longer defines WT.

My Name is Earl. Jerry Springer. Paris Hilton. Toby Keith. Kid Rock. Jewel Encrusted Cell Phones. Trucker hats. These are the things that are taking WT mainstream. It's tatoos, piercings & bad hair-cuts.

What Rosanne Barr began 20 years ago, Larry the Cable Guy is finishing up. WT is here to stay.

It used to be WT lived in trailers. WT call them trailers, not mobile homes. Look closely at those under your roof. Maybe you have WT in your home. Show them the way before it's too late.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I wanna be a Doorman.

I wanna be a Doorman. In New York City – Doorman is a Union gig – and there are 28,000 of them! Doormen make no less than $700 a week. The union guarantees it. This past week, a Doorman strike was averted – when representatives of hundreds of buildings – caved – to the Doorman Union demands. The Doormen wanted a pay raise, guaranteed contract, 401k’s, the whole Doorman enchilada. The Doormen got what they wanted. New Yorkers can rest easy knowing their door will be opened by New York’s professional Doormen. What makes a Doorman a “professional Doorman” besides the paycheck? It’s most likely attention to details. A Union Doorman knows the precise pressure at which to push or pull a door in order to operate it at factory specifications. They know the factory specifications of every door ever made. They’ve attended classes on hinges – and know the weights each door hinge ever manufactured can hold. They mix special solutions to keep their doors windows clean – and mix their own oil to lubricate them. Union Doormen know all about locks and can likely open any lock in just seconds. Doormen must be weathermen – so they have umbrella’s handy when it rains. Doormen would shovel around their doors when it snows – and shade their door-handle when it’s hot – so no one gets burned.
Doormen likely help with groceries & luggage. Doormen sweep just inside their doors to make their “door experience” as pleasant as possible. Doormen must have incredible memories – so to know each face & name of everyone coming or going from his door. Doormen must endure the Doorman uniform in hot weather, the expense of keeping it clean, and the silly Doorman hat. This is my impression of a $700 a week Doorman. If I were a Doorman – this is the kind of Doorman I’d be. You just know this isn’t the case.

The Doorman Union just protected the jobs of thousands of half ass Doormen. Why? Because I, (an untrained rookie Doorman) could open doors too – but I’d open them with passion. I’d rise to the top of the Doorman food-chain quickly. People would remember me. I’d be famous among the Doorman ranks – because I feel any job worth doing – is worth doing well.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Big Love - Big Problems

"Big Love" is the HBO series starring Bill Paxton as a husband with three wives. He's a Polygamist, and apparently pulling it off. I've seen the show just a few times, but the concept - I've often contemplated. What if? How on Earth do the women get along? How does a man keep all these wives satisfied?

Here's how this man sees multiple marriage.

*You'd never be able to see ANYTHING on TV you want. Your remote would be divided among your wives.
*You'd never be able to make a decision. You'd be too concerned with how the other wives would react, to firmly decide on anything.
*Your car would be wrecked almost all the time. Three wives would increase your chance of damage by 300%.
*Remembering anniversaries? Birthdays? Forget it. It's too difficult for a man to remember just one, let alone three or more.
*Getting in the bathroom? Hope you can "hold it".
*What about those times you're "sent to the couch?" There's a wife THERE already.
*You're always out of shampoo.
*Odds you'll be sent to the store for tampons every now & then - goes up 300%.
*You buy chocolate cookies, thinking you might get to eat one or two. Forget it.
*The hair dryer is heated up to the point it blows electrical circuits - almost every day.
*No hot water - ever.
*You're up to your eyeballs in Good Housekeeping, Better Homes & Gardens & Star magazines.
*Cell phone bills that actually collapse your kitchen table just like on TV.
*Not a moment of silence, ever. It'd be like tag team talking. One wife would wind down, tag the next wife, and she'd pick up the conversation mid sentence.
*Kids. I love kids, but 10? 15? 30? If I had 10 wives, I'd have 30 kids easy.
*Headaches. "Not tonight, I have a headache". After hearing this repeatedly, by each wife, one by one, one right after the other, you might develop "esteem" issues.

*Having to say, "You look great in those pants, over and over.
*Impossible to drive. Directions coming from every seat in the car.
*Candles out the Wazoo.

Bill Paxton is the better man.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Damn Jack, I just blowed up!

Gasoline prices are about to go over $3 a gallon. We just passed $70 a barrel for crude. I've heard experts spout that crude could top $100 a barrel. $5 a gallon gasoline can't be far off.

With prices so high - gasoline theft is up too. Drive offs at Gas Stations and siphoning of tanks. Let's look at the latter - gas siphoning.

You have a full tank of gas, let's say 18 gallons. It's just sitting there ripe to siphon, because you don't have a locking gas cap do you? Thieves in the middle of the night are squatting behind parked cars looking for cars with full tanks. They insert hoses into the tanks, suck on the hose, start the flow, and drain the gas into tanks or cans they've brought along. In the last few years several of these gas thieves have been burned because they struck matches to see in the dark. Surrounded by fumes, these dipshits exploded. They avoid flashlights because they increase the chance of being caught. Makes sense - and stupid at the same time. The Government is considering stepping in to help these goofballs.

The feeling is - it would be cheaper to educate the thieves than treat their life threatening burns - so - "Flash some light on your siphon bottle" - is the theme of a proposed advertising campaign. Idea is - if you're gonna steal gas, don't light a match - use a flashlight. Another slogan : "Safety is as safety does. When you steal gasoline, use a Flashlight." (They also wanted to add artwork depicting a lighted match with a large X through it.)

Politicians continue to debate this campaign behind closed doors. The soonest we'll see the ads will be this summer. KABOOM.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The future of Television is here

I'm a radio man. I've never had a handle on what people will watch on TV. I remember laughing when Ted Turner launched CNN. "How on Earth can they find enough news to broadcast around the clock?" My thinking just wasn't progressive enough. I laughed when they introduced the Weather Channel. I smirked when ESPN launched. OK, so network television isn't my bag.

I used to laugh at bowling on TV. I watched it alright. Chris Schenkel (above left) on ABC on Saturday afternoons. I watched - I just thought it was dumb. I've never liked televised golf. I turned my nose up at televised Poker. C'mon! Cards on TV? Yep, and all of the above got or continue to get - RATINGS. I clearly know nothing about Television - so the news that I got today - I will embrace. I will not make fun. I will acknowledge that todays news just might change TV forever.

USA Network is about to launch MLG. Major League Gaming. Televised Video Game competition. Profiles, behind the scenes with the players, stats, slo-mo replays, a blimp overhead - the whole friggin' deal. Close-ups of thumbs on controllers and players hints on how to take meals in front of the television as they continue to play. Maybe you sense I'm being sarcastic. I'm not - this will be big. And if Major League Gaming isn't enough,

ESPN just announced that they're about to cover DOMINO tournaments. I'm serious. Shoot me. It's come to Dominos on TV. I have too many channels if there's a slot for Dominos. Makes Chris Schenkel look good doesn't it?

I can't believe it's not Fabio

So you think you're havin' a bad day? Not as bad a day as Fabio. You know, Fabio, the 6 pack abs - shirtless hunk from the romance novel covers. Fabio was just fired from his "I can't believe it's not Butter" gig. Fab-man had been the commercial spokeshunk for ICBINB for the last several years. When asked to comment Fabio said, "I can't believe I got fired from I can't Believe it's not Butter." Believe it Fabio. "It's hard to believe that it is not butter and that I will not be pitching I can't Believe it's not Butter." Fabio. Is it just me - or does he look kinda dumb? He looks like he's gotten by on his looks his whole life - and that he indeed doesn't know the difference between whipped oil & water & fresh creamery butter. Only a dolt of Fabio magnitude wouldn't know the difference. That's what made Fabio the perfect spokeshunk for ICBINB. Who will be next to pitch the yellow tubs?

I'd like to get the chance. I will promote ICBINB for a fraction of the cost of Fabio. If necessary, I'll even do the TV commercials shirtless. Maybe that's part of their marketing strategy. Man boobs. Maybe they have polls that show buyers of margarine want it served by a shirtless man. I can be that man. Just one problem as I see it.

The minute I spoke, "Hi this is Brian Pierce for I can't Believe it's not Butter" - many viewers would immediately say, "No, I do believe it's butter." "Look at that guy, it's obviously Butter." The fact that it really isn't - makes a strong case for me to be named the new spokeshunk.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Ultimate Tornado Siren

Springfield Illinois is considering purchasing new Tornado sirens in the wake of two tornadoes that touched down here last month. The sirens we have now are old and unreliable. Each test, several don't work. The Mayor is proposing a massive upgrade. I don't know much about sirens. If you are a siren company - how do you price your sirens? The deluxe model is louder? Do all sirens sound the same? Can you special order sirens that blast a certain note? How about the key of "F"? Can I get a siren that screams an "F?" Have studies been done on how humans respond to sirens? Maybe sirens that blow in the key of "A" will send us to our basements sooner. Research must be done. How about sirens that don't blast a siren at all - but play music? Maybe play "Windy" by the Association when it's going to be really windy. Play "Riders on the Storm" when it's gonna rain. The mayor is actually considering connecting a microphone to the sirens. This means somewhere, probably City Hall, there would be a microphone that would be capable of announcing to the whole city. We could have announcements every morning just like High School or any episode of M*A*S*H. In this otherwise non progressive city - I propose progressive sirens. If we're going to spend the money, let's spend it on the latest greatest siren technology. And while I'm at it - if the city needs a mature seasoned trained announcer to be the "voice of the city", I throw my hat in the ring.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Clorox Easter Basket

Easter Baskets. Girls dig Easter baskets. Girls never outgrow Easter baskets. Trust me on this. If you have a girl in your life, Sunday is the day. It's up to you. BUT, whatever you do - don't give the typical Easter basket. Grown up girls have no interest in hollow chocolate rabbits & fake plastic grass. They want unique baskets tailored to their personality. It's easy to do. Think about what your girl obsesses about. This will be the theme of your basket. My girl obsesses about cleaning. Here is my Sunday basket plan.

Beautiful basket containing:
Bed of cleaning rags. Large bottle of Clorox Cleanup. Bottle of Bleach alternative Dawn dishwashing liquid. Several Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. A couple Chore Boy scrubbing sponges. Scrubbing Bubbles. Febreeze & about a dozen bar soaps.

Sunday will be magical as my girl awakens to her basket of cleaning goodies. Her eyes will open wide with anticipation of cleaning with her special Easter cleaners. I love this woman. I really do. My house smells great and my Easter girl smells like cleansers.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Farts of the Brain

Brain Farts. The older you get - the more gaseous your brain becomes. My Brain Farts materialize in bits of information I'm no longer able to call up at a moments notice. It's a face on TV - or in a movie. Who is that guy? It's on the tip of my tongue. Some people can let it go. I can't. I obsess about it. A few years ago I'd go through many of the reference books I keep on hand (for moments like these) - until I got the answer I was looking for. You know, the woman who was in the movie with the dog. I'd think of it all day - sometimes sitting straight up in bed at 3am and blurting out BONNIE HUNT!!!! I do this with game show questions - comedians - even jokes comedians told 40 years ago. Remember that bit with the phone and the stick of butter? Sometimes weeks go by before I get to the bottom of these Brain Farts. I used to have a great brain for trivia. Oh, I still do - just not as good as it used to be - because the information is locked away behind 30 years of BS. Thank God for the internet. Rarely a day goes by that I don't almost run to a computer to solve a Brain Fart. Just the other day it was: You know - the concert promoter that ran the Fillmore in San Francisco? Oh God, he was huge - the posters - the rock shows - he just died I think. Yep - he just died - Bill! Bill Bill Bill Bill Bill - uhhhhhhhhhh.

Music is a problem too. Specifically when I know a tune - and can't produce the title. I can name any song almost instantly from just a one second clue. I really can. I haven't lost that ability. What I can't do is - do put a melody in my head to a song title. A few years ago I had a song in my head. It drove me nuts. I told everyone about my dilemma. I hummed it for people all day. I couldn't name the song. I couldn't let it go. I mumbled to myself for hours - with the melody running over and over and over in my mind. Then - without warning - TOWN WITHOUT PITY BY GENE PITNEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I need medication. Help me.
By the way, Gene Pitney just died - and the promoter from above is Bill Graham.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mistake of Couric magnetude

Katie Couric is will anchor the CBS Evening News. Count on it. The announcement is coming any minute. She'll sign a deal for even more than the $65 Million NBC paid her to do the Today Show. This will go down as the biggest media blunder of all time. This post is just to "go on the record" - that I see catastrophe on the horizon. Frankly, I'm amazed that CBS executives don't see this coming. Maybe it's because CBS executives are executives and not broadcasters. That's the way it is these days. Maybe a bunch of young "suits" are pulling the strings at CBS. I don't know. What I do know is this.

CBS veteran newspeople are outraged. Outraged that not one of their own got the anchor seat. Katie is, after all, from across the street. White House correspondent John Roberts was the first to jump ship. Who can blame him. It was rumored for years that he'd replace Rather. When it didn't happen he called his agent. There are many agents being called this week. Contracts will not be renegotiated. Staffers will flat out quit. The ones that stay will want to see Couric fail. Why wouldn't they? She'll get the spotlight, the cash & the short workday.

Why else will CBS staff want to hang Katie out to dry? Because she comes from the wasteland on morning television. In the credibility wars, pre - 9am doesn't get alot of respect. The Today Show signed on with a sidekick monkey. Today is cooking segments & showbiz fluff peppered with the headlines of the day. Katie's on Skis!!!! You never saw Edward R. Murrow on skis. The hallowed halls of the Tiffany network, built by Murrow & Cronkite will smell of perky - any day now.

You thought CBS ratings were bad with Rather? Look for ratings to sink to new depths. Sure, I'll tune in to see how she does - we all will - and early ratings will indicate this - but they won't last. CBS certainly is figuring out how feature her gams on camera. It'd be ashame to hide those legs behind a desk.

I don't even work at CBS and I wanna call my Agent. "You haven't had an agent for 20 years Bri." OK - I'll hire one again just for this occasion.