“For the Love of Pete, Call Me David”

David SkortonDavid Skorton was probably one of the coolest people to head a huge organization that I have ever met. By coolest, I mean that in a very dude-like matter of way as well as just being so laid back. And by organization, I mean the University of Iowa. I can’t say that I’ve met a whole lot of people who were presidents of large universities, but Skorton was just a nice guy.

He’s smart, calm, and always relaxed, no matter what major issue is facing him. If you ask him a question that he doesn’t have all the answers for, he’ll admit it and promise to get back to you on it. I have yet to hear anyone say that he’s never followed up on his word either. Sure, it helps when you have a group of people helping you out and planning your day, but the guy wasn’t paid $300,000+ to sit on his rear all day long. He always had something going on and somewhere to go.

Sadly, he’s leaving the UI. I know my ties have been cut for a while now, but it makes me concerned to see him leave. These are massive shoes to fill, not to mention his devotion to the arts and education. One thing I always admired about him was his focus on equating spending on athletics with the rest of the university. Those roots run deep in terms of where the funding goes, but the arts really had chances to shine under his administration.

Skorton at KSUISkorton was named President in the last months before my time at KRUI was over. The first time I met him as president of the UI, he demanded that he have a tour of the new station facilities with me since he was told that I was the most knowledgeable about the new digs. It still bums me out that we never had that opportunity. I had many chances to talk with him before his promotion from a vice president position, having him on a few radio shows I either hosted or engineered. He always prefered that I call him by his first name and noted that every time he met me, I looked different either by weight or length of hair.

During my days at WSUI/KSUI, I had interaction with his latin jazz program that he loved more than anything to do. The show was a release for his always busy schedule. He always had something cool and new to play that he shared something about to you as he squeezed in a conversation with you between air breaks or while walking down the hall. I have yet to find anyone who is a better master of having a conversation while walking away from you without making you feel shunned.

Cornell University is where David Skorton will be heading to next. There is a reason that such a prestigious school wants this guy. He’s that good. Best of luck to him.

“That Wouldn’t Be a Home Run in a Phone Booth”

I grew up watching Harry Caray. It is nearly safe to say that he was the one who made me excited about baseball while I was growing up. He slurred, didn’t always get the calls right, and had some of the strangest references about some story from out of nowhere. It was brillant. He made you want to like the Cubs. We are fans of a different breed. It’s not about next year. It’s about having a good time. And baseball, too.

The guy who lost out on the job Harry held for a number of years still holds a grudge. Milo Hamilton feels the need to tell everyone that Caray was a miserable human being, a control freak, and hard to work with. The last part I can understand because the guy was nuts. Just watching him you had to wonder how this guy could do this job every single game of the season, switching between TV and radio the whole time.

All these years and this guy is still ticked off over the fact that Harry got the job that he didn’t. Maybe the issue is deeper, but he waits eight years after Caray’s passing to whine to the world. An attack on his character? What a load of crap. It almost shames me more that Milo is originally from Iowa. Harry’s gone. Get over it and get on with you life, Mr. Hamilton.

Corporate Radio in the Lower Mainland

I probably don’t listen to enough radio to make too many statements about the industry in and around Vancouver, but the market here seems to be easier to stomach than anywhere back in the states. This could be for the simple fact that everything here is still very new to me. Add to the fact that there is the Canadian Content regulation that requires a certain amount of Canadian material to be aired everyday.  This exposes me to all sorts of music that we simply do not have back in the states.  Within that, so much of what I am hearing is refreshing.  It’s new, and I like a lot of what I hear, minus the Nickleback.  I could really do without them.

That’s not to say that a lot of what I dislike about the American markets isn’t here either.  There is still a lot of the same programming techniques in the Vancouver market that grates on me like no other.  Over playing a single until you can’t stand it is just one of the many things that tends to drive you nuts.  Screaming DJ’s are here as well.  Seriously, who talks like that in real life?

Programming is just a slice of some of the insight that I’ve been able to gain about this market.  I’ll post more in the future as more of these thoughts get translated to here, but the tech side gets fairly interesting as well.  I need to learn more about it, obviously, but what really needs to happen is one of these stations just needs to have an opening when my work permit comes through so I can get in there and start playing again.