(VIDEO) From Mississippi Teenage DJ to Media Mogul, the Amazing Journey of Bob Pittman

August 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

Now the chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc., Bob Pittman got his start in the media business as a 15-year-old disc jockey in Mississippi, where he grew up.

Motivated to earn money so he could take airplane flying lessons, he first applied to the local men’s clothing store and then tried to get a job bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly. When that failed, he walked into the local radio station, where the owner asked him to read some wire copy into a tape recorder.

“He goes, ‘That’s good enough, go to New Orleans and get your third class radio telephone operator’s license, and you’re hired.’ And that began my career,” says Pittman in an interview with Beet.TV. He’s held a variety of jobs in the media industry, from co-founding MTV to being COO of America Online, Inc. (later AOL Time Warner).

After his first break, Pittman worked as a disc jockey in Milwaukee and Detroit before getting an opportunity to program a radio station in Pittsburgh at age 19. Then he was hired by NBC in Chicago, and, at 23, he was transferred to WNBC, the flagship station, in New York.

Asked about his greatest career setback, he says he believes there’s no such thing, and you only learn and grow by doing.

“In our place we preach, at iHeart, that mistakes are the byproduct of innovation. If you’re going to try something new, there’s no way you’re going to think it through on paper,” he says.

Considering the future of the business five or six years down the road, Pittman thinks it’s going to continue to be transformed by data.

“It’s going to look very data-driven, it’s going to look very consumer-centric,” he says. “It’s going to be a wonderful mix of the math, which is the quantitative stuff, and the magic, which is the creativity.”

This segment is part of Beet.TV’s “Media Revolutionaries,” a 50-part series of interviews with key innovators and leaders in the media, technology and advertising industries, sponsored by Xaxis and AOL. Xaxis is a unit of WPP.

Pittman was interviewed for Beet.TV by David J. Moore, Chairman of Xaxis and President of WPP Digital.

You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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Reality Show Production Companies Provide Networks High-End Casting

August 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

When producing daytime talk shows in the late ’90s to the ’00s, we used to produce every genre of pre-dated reality shows in one-hour talk-show formats (46 minutes of actual show time). Topics included: Wishes and Dreams, where — pre-Oprah’s “Favorite Things” — we’d give away a free house or a new car; find a lost love (thank you, Troy Dunn, host of TNT’s “APB”); and arrange meetings with celebrities (even if it was Maury’s wife, news anchor Connie Chung). In 46 minutes we’d give five sets of twins complete makeovers, making a quick change on a Broadway show look like eternity, and we had plenty of stories about little people and paternity tests. Now each topic practically has its own network.

Those segments have spawned a decade and a half of unscripted reality content to the extreme. Some of the folks who came out of the talk-show world to rule the reality world include execs like We tv President Marc Juris (“Rolonda”); Holly Jacobs, SVP of Programming and Development at Sony Domestic Television (“Sally Jesse Raphael”); and A&E and History Channel President Paul Buccieri (“Arthel & Fred”).

“We are all familiar with Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey. Archetypes are the delivery vehicle for story. Casting can be the most important part of storytelling in film and TV,” said Darren Campo, SVP Programming Strategy Food Network. “Great characters instantly convey a world of emotions and expectations from which the story unfolds.”

When a network sends a mandate out to us at TVGuestpert, or other producers and production companies, the veil is of a story line or range of which practically defines a personality type of person. This has many production companies scouring the country like a large casting call. In fact, sizzles have turned into talent reels.

“It’s all about, ‘Can this character carry a whole show?’” said Jordan Mallari, VP of Development for Stage 3 Productions with such shows as LMN’s upcoming launch of The Last Goodbye with medium Rebecca Rosen. “It’s 1) find great, fresh talent and lock them under contract, 2) develop a unique format around them, 3) showcase the talent and format.”

If you are paying close attention, you can spot the next trend. They come in waves of police shows, brides, unusual people, truck stops and diner types, survivalists to psychics. So the question here is: Have we simply become one uber-sized casting department or are we still producing story and television?

“It’s also knowing that the competition from production companies to digital media are doing the exact same thing,” added Mallari, a veteran reality show producer. “We are all looking for the next big name.”

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Greg Schwem: Jeff Bezos, Please Check Your Inbox

August 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Humor

So I guess it’s time for me to send a few questions and suggestions Bezos’ way. Maybe it will improve his reputation and force the New York Times to eat its words. I’ll send them from my Gmail account proving my intentions to be friends with Bezos.

Read more: Comedy Gossip, Humor, Satire, Amazon, Jeff Bezos, Online Shopping, Relationships, Business, Comedy News

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Spencer Green: Democrats Plan to Exhume Adlai Stevenson to Run for President

August 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Humor

Democratic insiders immediately hailed Stevenson’s credentials and his charmingly well-worn shoes, while scholars and historians noted the Constitution says nothing about living people who were once previously dead being ineligible to serve as president.

Read more: Joe Biden, Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Democrats, 2016 Election, Democratic Party, White House, Adlai Stevenson, Democratic Presidential Candidate, Satire, Political Satire, Comedy News

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Iconic Ferguson Photo Subjects Are Being Charged A Year Later

August 25, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

ST. LOUIS COUNTY — Two young men featured in iconic photos taken during the Ferguson, Missouri, protests of August 2014 are among a whole swath of demonstrators and observers whom St. Louis County authorities chose to prosecute nearly a full year later.

Others who were recently charged by the St. Louis County Counselor’s office include a pastor, a “peace poet,” a young student muralist and a legal observer. At least three professional journalists (including one of the authors of this story) also recently found out they would have to appear in St. Louis County Municipal Court.

Authorities have not said precisely how many people have been charged just under the statute of limitations, but court records examined by The Huffington Post indicated that over two dozen individuals had court dates Monday for allegedly “interfering with a police officer in performance of his duties.” An unknown number of other individuals have court dates on Wednesday and next month.

It’s noteworthy that so many have been charged with little more than “interfering.” That’s the type of vaguely defined offense that policing experts say should be closely scrutinized by law enforcement agencies and by prosecutors because of the wide potential for misuse.

Edward Crawford — also known as “da man wit the chips” — is one of those now being charged. He was arrested in Ferguson on Aug. 13, 2014. Shortly before that, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer snapped a photo of Crawford, wearing an American flag T-shirt and holding a bag of chips, as he threw a police tear gas canister away from the crowd. The picture went viral.

Crawford, a 26-year-old waiter and father of three, told HuffPost that he recently received a summons in connection with the year-old incident. At the time, he was arrested on an officer interference charge, and a court official said he is also facing an assault charge. His court date is next month.  

Earlier this month, Crawford came to the aid of Robert Cohen, the photographer who took the famous shot, after St. Louis County police hit Cohen with pepper spray. Crawford hopes to take classes to become an emergency medical technician, according to the Post-Dispatch, and is considering getting a tattoo of that picture of himself.

He recently told HuffPost that he thinks all the videos and social media furor have helped ensure that the police abuse of the past year hasn’t been ignored.

“In some parts of the world, this is unfamiliar,” Crawford said. “The police crimes are very low, police officers are respectable in a lot of places. Every police officer isn’t bad. There’s a lot of good police officers out there who protect and serve. But you also have some who seem to not.”

Police officers in riot gear confronted a man Monday night during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting of…

Posted by The New York Times on Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another protester whose image became famous, Rashaad Davis, was arrested on Aug. 11, 2014. Photographer Whitney Curtis captured a stunning picture (above) of Davis with his hands in the air being confronted by heavily armed police officers in riot gear and gas masks. The photo gathered attention after it ran in The New York Times, and Curtis eventually won a 1st place award from the National Press Photographers Association.

Another angle on that confrontation (below) was caught by Scott Olson, a Getty photographer and former Marine who was later arrested in Ferguson simply for leaving a designated “media zone.” Olson does not appear to be facing charges in connection with that arrest.

But Davis, 24, has been charged with “interfering” with a police officer in performance of his duties.  

Luke Nephew, a member of a group called the Peace Poets, is also facing an “interfering” charge, according to court records. Nephew previously wrote that he and others had been “talking, praying, listening, chanting” last August. Then “police broke into the crowd and started grabbing people,” he said, and everyone started to run.

“I was tackled to the ground,” he recalled. “Multiple cops jumped on me. One grabbed my face and smashed it into the concrete. I felt one of them slam his knee onto the back of my neck. All around, the police were doing the same thing to innocent people. My brothers were laid flat on the ground with automatic weapons pointed at their heads.”

Nephew wrote the lyrics to the song “I Can’t Breathe,” which has become popular in protest circles and was sung by road-blocking demonstrators in New York following the decision not to indict the officer who used a chokehold on Eric Garner. The Peace Poets did not respond to a request for comment.

Dennis Black, a legal observer originally arrested on a “failure to disperse” charge last year, has now been charged with “interfering” with a police officer as well. Rev. Melissa Bennett, who is often seen playing the drums during St. Louis area protests, was charged with “interfering” in connection with her October 2014 arrest, but that case was dismissed on Monday. A high school student who helped paint a mural on the Ferguson movement is facing an “interfering” charge.

And they are not the only ones whom St. Louis County authorities decided to prosecute for “interfering.” The number of people so charged is troubling. Christie Lopez, the Justice Department official overseeing the Civil Rights Division investigation into the unconstitutional practices of the Ferguson Police Department, noted in a 2010 paper on “contempt of cop” arrests that many federal settlement agreements require local law enforcement to track disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and other such charges that are frequently misused.

“There is widespread misunderstanding of police authority to arrest individuals who passively or verbally defy them. There is abundant evidence that police overuse disorderly conduct and similar statutes to arrest people who ‘disrespect’ them or express disagreement with their actions. These abusive arrests cause direct and significant harm to those arrested and, more generally, undermine the appropriate balance between police authority and individual prerogative to question the exercise of that authority,” Lopez wrote.

Ryan Reilly, one of the authors of this story, is facing charges, along with Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post, in connection with their arrests inside a McDonald’s in Ferguson on Aug. 13, 2014. Other journalists who recently received summonses from the St. Louis County Counselor include Tom Walters of the Canadian network CTV and Matty Giles, a New York University journalism student. (Videographer Mary Moore still faces charges in Ferguson Municipal Court brought by a different set of prosecutors.) 

A joint statement from the American Civil Liberties Union and several other organizations called the sudden flood of charges nearly a year after the Ferguson protests “a blatant violation of constitutional rights and an appalling misuse of our already overburdened court system.” The St. Louis County Counselor is mostly responsible for defending county officials from lawsuits. The office recently agreed to a settlement with reporter Trey Yingst, who was unlawfully arrested by the St. Louis County Police Department in November.

A county spokesman told HuffPost that most of the new cases are “probably not even that serious.” The charges, however, could lead to arrest warrants for individuals who are unaware they’ve been charged or unable to make their court date — a very likely scenario given the length of time between the incidents and the prosecutor’s response.

“No matter what we do as lawyers, there are going to be … young people who end up with warrants or end up locked up because of this,” said Brendan Roediger, a law professor at St. Louis University. 

Ryan Reilly reported from Washington; Mariah Stewart reported from St. Louis County.

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St. Louis County v. The Press: Round 1 Begins Without The Reporters

August 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

The showdown between St. Louis County and the two reporters who were charged with essentially doing their jobs in Ferguson, Missouri, last August began quietly enough on Monday. Court activity in the case was postponed until Oct. 5 as the lawyers maneuver.

It’s too soon to say what that means for The Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly and The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery, but the prosecuting authority in their case, the St. Louis County Counselor, has clearly been busy.

And judging from the “hundreds“ of court summonses that defense attorneys say were recently sent out, it appears that County Counselor Peter Krane is ready to argue that a lot of good arrests were made amid the turmoil in Ferguson last year.

Despite widespread complaints from media organizations that Reilly and Lowery in particular did nothing to merit the charges, Krane doesn’t seem convinced.

“I’m not surprised that they would claim that they were not doing anything wrong,” Krane said last week, according to St. Louis Public Radio. “But I looked at the police report, and I feel that they did do something wrong.”

So how serious are the charges that Reilly and Lowery face in the North Division of the St. Louis County Municipal Court?

The reporters were each charged with trespassing on private property and interfering with a police officer during the performance of his duty. All this stems from an encounter at the Ferguson McDonald’s on Aug. 13, 2014, when the journalists allegedly did not vacate the fast-food establishment as fast as the police wanted.

The offenses with which they’ve been charged are governed by the part of the St. Louis County municipal code that regulates “public safety and morals.” Each offense is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of $1,000 or both.

But the threat of jail time is likely only on paper. In real life, the alleged misdeeds under Missouri law barely rise to the level of “ordinance violations” — think of the kind of broken-windows policing that has been a hot topic in New York and elsewhere. A St. Louis County reference guide calls these ordinances “regulations that commonly affect everyday life.”

None of these quality-of-life offenses are being pursued by Robert McCulloch, St. Louis County’s prosecuting attorney. A spokesman for the county confirmed to The Huffington Post that McCulloch referred all the nonviolent cases stemming from the Ferguson unrest to the county counselor’s office.

“There were so many cases that came in,” said Cordell Whitlock, director of communications for St. Louis County. “The workload was such that it had to be divvied up.”

Last week, Krane had denied that McCulloch or the city of Ferguson turned down the prosecutions prior to the referral to his office. He said that the “charges came to my office and my office only for review.”

The county counselor’s office also defends the county and its agencies, like the police department, against lawsuits.

Whitlock said that most of these new cases against those once arrested are “probably not even that serious,” and he suggested that Krane would be seeking community service in many of them.

It isn’t clear if any offer of community service is on the table for Reilly and Lowery. Besides reducing potential punishment, any deal that the two reporters — or any of the others arrested and now charged — might strike with authorities could theoretically address their rights to bring related future cases, such as those alleging that the police violated their First Amendment rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has set up an online form to help find legal representation for anyone charged during the protests a year ago.

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James Napoli: Report: World Has Lost Over 100 Billion Hours Sitting Through DVD Anti-Piracy Warnings

August 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Humor

In a statement issued earlier this week, the President said, “Look, people, when you binge, all the episodes blend together anyway. Let’s be more sensible in the way we take in product with anti-piracy messages.”

Read more: Video, Piracy, Dvds, Blu-Ray, Entertainment, World Population, Satire, Comedy, Politics, Comedy News

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Lester & Charlie: Ho Lee Fuk Deez Nuts – When Can News Be Trusted?

August 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Humor

And does it really matter in the end? History — particularly autobiography, where a lot of history comes from — is often described by scholars as nothing more than distorted facts that are filtered through frail human memory to give meaning to the past. So maybe there is no “truth.”

Read more: Deez Nuts, Education, History, Media, Revisionist History, Television News, Truth, Weird, White House, Comedy, Comedy News, Political Humor, Politics, Lester & Charlie, Comedy News

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Inside The 3-Way Family Contest To Become The Next Publisher Of The Times

August 23, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

The issue of succession is a difficult matter not just for family-run businesses but for the families that run them. Take the Murdochs, for instance. Or the Binghams, the Kentucky newspaper clan that imploded in the 1980s. Historically speaking, transitions in the Sulzberger family, which has run the New York Times for 119 years, have not gone all that smoothly.

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Tucker Carlson: ‘Illegal Alien Is One Of My Favorite Terms’

August 22, 2015 by  
Filed under Videos

Controversy surrounding the term “anchor baby” to describe children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants spurred debate over another offensive term Friday on Fox News’ “The Five.”

“The term that I despise is ‘illegal alien,’” guest host Geraldo Rivera said. “‘Illegal alien’ is like ‘negro’ or ‘colored.’ It was appropriate maybe in the 1950s. Nowadays, it’s absolutely offensive.”

“I like it,” guest host Tucker Carlson, founder and editor-in-chief of conservative news website The Daily Caller, retorted. “It’s one of my favorite terms. I love it. It’s like, literally true, and that’s why people hate it.”

“Negro is literally true — do you still use that?” Rivera countered.

“No,” Carlson said. “There’s no comparison at all.”

“Illegal alien” is widely considered insulting because it suggests a human being’s existence may be illegal. Last month, The Associated Press Stylebook, which dictates editorial standards for the wire service and is followed by many of the world’s English language news publications, said it would stop using the phrase. 

“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person,” Kathleen Carroll, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor, said in an announcement. “Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”

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