Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tuesday Vintage Commercial: Hair Wiz

There are 4 things about this commercial (allegedly made in 1974) that are simply amazing:

1. The product itself
2. The fact that the ad is 90 seconds long!
3. The sideburns on the adult male
4. The price!



After my fond farewell to woxy.com, and listening to their heartfelt signoff of the MC5's "Kick Out the Jams", it appears a white knight has been found! Bill Nguyen of Lala.com posted this on the woxy.com message boards:

Over the last week, I’ve seen the best parts of community online. While many websites describe themselves as a community, they’re no more than a bulletin board for folks to catch up. It doesn’t matter if it’s called GeoCities or MySpace, it’s just a big email account.

WOXY is dramatically different. Started by Doug and Linda and carried on the airwaves for more than two decades, WOXY became a place where people built memories and shared experiences through music.

While WOXY is broadcasted across the Internet to far reaching places, it always carries a bit of Cincinnati, OH and the incredible kind spirit of the people here. They’re independent and believe that music is more than just some form of content but it’s a part of their culture and their lives.

Over the next year, I’ll work to tell music fans across the States and the globe that independent music started in Oxford, OH and it foster in your city through WOXY.com. The music scene in San Francisco during the 60’s changed a generation and believe that what’s happening at WOXY could turn the tide of ‘one size fits all’ music.

What was started in Ohio may change music forever and define it’s future.

We’ll be providing some ideas for how you can help WOXY later this week and next week will be an amazing moment for WOXY and the future of Rock and Roll.

More than ever, I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue the tradition you’ve built.


An amazing third life for an outstanding operation. And it comes on the same day that episodes of the "The State" are avaiable on iTunes! It's like an unofficial holiday. Go ahead, take the rest of the day off, America. You deserve it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Road Warrior

And now, a list of things that I have wondered about the past few days inbetween traveling to fish for sharks in San Diego:

- The "Dick Clark's American Bandstand Restaurant" in the Denver airport had 3 full bottle of Courvoisier sitting on the shelf. This seemed unnecessary. I'm sure a decent amount of people have indulged in Courvoisier while tearing through Dick's "wango tango nachos", but they could probably keep at least 2 of the bottles down below with the excess liquor. Or maybe they were just trying to impress me with all the bottles there? If so, color me impressed.

- Take a look at that boat in the picture. Doesn't it seem a little small to be fishing for sharks 20 miles out in the Pacific Ocean? Or is it just me? By the way, I'm the blob in the orange shirt and white hat trying not to throw up.

- After hearing Tim McGraw's version of "When the Stars Go Blue", I've come to the conclusion that country music radio would be well served if a Ryan Adams cover was played once an hour. Actually, I would recommend country radio stations actually play Ryan Adams songs, but we'll keep this suggestion realistic.

- The Dateline sting shows are still going on! What do you think Chris Hansen's parents tell their friends about what their son does for a living? There must be a nice way to sugar coat the phrase "self promoting journalistically retarded hack" when referring to your son, wouldn't you think?

- On my redeye flight back to Indy, I was reminded of a doctrine put forth by fellow BIBJ contributor Ross that there should be an upgrade option to fly on a baby-free flight. I'm not proud to admit that I was wondering if I should punch a screaming 2-year-old in the face, but I ultimately thought better of it and repressed those urges. I did, however, help security forcibly subdue a woman in her mid-70's trying to smuggle liquid lip balm onto a flight. These colors don't run, grandma! Take your liquid induced jihad somewhere else.

- When traveling alone, there are few things more entertaining than having a hotel bar chat with someone who has a foreign accent, especially Irish lasses who tell you to quit "having a laugh" when you make fun of them. Brilliant phrase, that one.

- If these clips are any indication, the new season of Extras should be outstanding.

- I saw "The Last Kiss" and can sum it up with this review: Good director, great actors (I never thought I would be impressed with the acting chops of a Real World cast member), but an ungodly terrible script ruins everything (much like "Crash" - hey the same guy wrote both movies!) Yet the soundtrack seems to have gotten more hype than the film, as it follows "Garden State" in the catalogue of Zach Braff mixtapes. This is an amazing perk of being famous - your mixtapes win you Grammy awards. Grammy awards! Most music geeks would be happy if their mixtape got them an awkward handjob.

- Moving sucks. That's all.

This is how I direct sharks.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday Vintage Commercial: Burger Me

Is there anything more American than hamburgers? Yes there is - hamburger advertisements. McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King - their advertisements have become a part of the culture (And how about the Burger King laying out Torry Holt in the newest ad? You go, King!)

But does the work of Ronald, Dave Thomas, or the King hold up to some of the less famous burger joints? This 1971 ad from the Red Barn is second to none. Not only does it apparently feature the southern, less successful puppet brother of Sesame Street's Ernie, but it features my favorite staple of the advertising medium - testimonials given by actors playing real people. It a little disturbing how much larger the puppet's head is next to the blond kid, but the ad is saved from this logistical disaster with the end comment informing everybody that "for ladies and little people we'll cut it in half." Are they being condescending toward women? Or midgets? Or both? Regardless, The phrase just sounds disturbing on a few levels doesn't it?

Watching this ad made me immediately think of one of the greatest Mr. Show sketches ever. The 2:15 mark of the following video features a dead on satire of the Red Barn testimonials, but somehow the customers here just sell it a little bit better. (By the way, listen to this either by yourself, or with headphones if you're at the workplace)

A 2-for-1 bonus on the vintage commericals today! Take it from me. I love you!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tuesday Vintage Commercial: Go Gophers!

After totally spacing on the Tuesday Vintage Commercial last week, I am back with a vengeance. This clip from the late 1980's is a commercial for Captain Ken's Beef Stew, which I'm guessing must have been a staple of Minnesota households of the era. It appears as if this product is no longer on the market, considering that google and wikipedia searches turned up no leads. This is a shame considering that the young boy in the commercial takes quite a shining to the stew (though he apparently hates every other product he gets his grubby little hands on. God bless.

What's the best part of the ad? The background extras staring at the camera? The old man in the fireman's helmet giving stew to random toddlers? The terrible overdub of the grandma's voice with the amazing accent? It's a perfect storm of entertainment. Godspeed, Captain Ken.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Apology accepted...for now

This quarter-page ad ran in today's Indianapolis Star, and quite frankly, it looks like Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh is "bringin' mea culpa back," a la Justin Timberlake.

Donnie notes that he's been around the longest and it's his duty to give the fans "a team that's fun, exciting and something to be proud of." Gee, you think the locals are a bit disgruntled after a brawl in Detroit (which still doesn't fall hard enough on Stephen Jackson, as Dirk Calloway will aptly note), the agonizingly protracted departure of Artest, and the lackluster performance this season punctuated with the listless get-me-out-of-here play of Peja Stojakovic?

Either way, I trust Donnie Walsh and I trust the promises from this ad. Why? First he's comforting an older woman that no doubt had season tickets back in the ABA barnstorming days at the Pepsi Coliseum. If she hasn't given up neither will I. Secondly, Donnie has brought back well-loved, get-me-back-to-Indiana Al Harrington. Lastly, you've got to trust any ad with Reggie Miller's face and name.

I still trust you Donnie, even though there are homers who think you should have drafted Steve Alford. Tell me though, isn't it a bit odd that a formal apology makes use of no current players? Can't we at least throw Jamaal Tinsley under the bus? Who cares. Reg-gie! Reg-gie! Reg-gie!

Joe Tiller's Foxy Secretary

On a very steamy day in September 1997 I hugged a soaking wet and slightly disoriented Joe Tiller, head football coach at Purdue University, after having stormed the field at Ross-Ade Stadium. Tiller had led the Boilermakers to a 28-17 victory over Notre Dame, Purdue's first victory over the Irish in thirteen seasons. He was 1 - 1 at Purdue but already a god. Tiller went on to take the Boilers to a bowl that season and the subsequent seven that followed. Things were good.

Jump ahead to last season. Tiller has a highly regarded defense and a strong-armed quarterback, yet only manages a quite disappointing 5 - 6 year. The cavalcade of poor news begins: no bowl, off the field drama with a team increasingly sans chemistry, players leaving early for the NFL. Tiller does what any coach who still has a job after a season like that does: he shakes things up. The staff sees many new faces along with departures of stalwart assistants from the glory days. Lucky for us though, one member of the Boilermaker football organization survived the cut, and she just might hold the key to success this season.

Above is page 62 of the program to this year's season. Mixed in with ticket manager George Ade and Cheer and Mascot Coach Elvis Moya is a Football Secretary on the edge of the second row. Someone might want to check to see if her resume mentions any roles in Bond/Austin Powers movies. I hope the Boiler faithful are ready for another bowl jaunt, because there's no stopping Foxy Lafon.

BAM! The future has no future

Last week brought the genuinely sad news that woxy.com will be shutting down for good on September 15th, barring a last-minute sponsorship of extreme proportions. For non-Midwesterners, the station was made infamous in Rain Man as Dustin Hoffman repeatedly shouted the catchprase "97X - BAM! The future of Rock n Roll!" At the time, WOXY was an FM radio station in Oxford, Ohio. Innovative programming is expected on the east and west coasts, but to have a legitimately "cool" radio station in the Midwest was frankly baffling, and apparently too good to be true. 2004 brought the failure of WOXY as a radio enterprise, unable to compete against the Clear Channel and Emmis giants. 2 years as an internet-only enterprise have once again failed to pay off, leaving WOXY no choice but to shut down their broadcasts for good, failing a miracle last-minute benefactor. It bears mentioning that WOXY was rescued at the 11th hour from an identical fate in 2004, but the odds of lightning striking twice are quite slim.

While spending my college days at Flyer Radio at the University of Dayton, WOXY served as a constant source of inspiration. My freshman year, we were an AM radio station that couldn't even be heard in certain dorms, so on-air content wasn't a major worry. After getting an FM transmitter that allowed us to carry through the city and suburbs, WOXY was our guide to a good product. They provided the proof that people would listen to bands like Guided By Voices, Swearing at Motorists, Sunny Day Real Estate, Elliott Smith, At the Drive-In, Belle & Sebastian, Roni Size, and Modest Mouse on the radio. Looking back, I naively thought that any station could have the impact that WOXY had on it's community, if the people working there were willing to take a shot. I had it all planned out - once I got out of school, I could work for a radio station, work my way up, and eventually put good music on the air that people wouldn't hear otherwise (much like WOXY did.) As it was, my cruel introduction to the world of actual radio came in my first post-graduation interview, where a WFBQ promotions director asked me (with a straight face) "What would you do if you were working on a remote, ran out of giveaway items, and were being berated by a drunk guy who demanded a Q95 keychain?" In that distressing moment, it became clear to me that stations like WOXY are few and far between. It also became clear that I wanted nothing to do with employment in the radio industry - a sentiment that is confirmed twice every day as I stroll past the Emmis building in downtown Indy walking to and from work.

As an internet-only venture, woxy.com apparently didn't fare any better financially than their FM incarnation. Upon reading their "end of days" announcement, I wondered if theirs is a business model that is just simply irrelevant in today's society. There are a number of particularly well done music blogs on the net nowadays to serve a purpose of introducing new music in downloads that people can choose to listen to at any time. While I still listen to woxy.com occasionally, I must admit that I listen to my iPod more (which is increasingly filled with mp3s procured from said music blogs), and I'm sure I'm not in the minority in this method. Yet there's something different about the information and flow that Barb, Mike, and Shiv had on-air that made listening to them much more exciting and ear-opening than listening to your own pre-determined playlist. While all these blogs and podcasts are worthy in their intentions, there can be no doubt that they have played a part in tearing down the remnants of a station and format that probably motivated them to start their blogs in the first place.

The bottom line is this: the legacy of WOXY is that they were a radio station that mattered. Many businesses succeed, and many businesses fail, but how many businesses are truly important? Hardly any. WOXY was important, and the people behind the station know that's was matters in the end.