BEST SENSATIONALISTIC TOPICS FOR FOX 2 NEWS TO TACKLE NEXT
• Necklines plunge as local anchors fall victim to stalkers!
• Composting with beauty salon cut-hair waste!
• Bad hair days — what to do when they happen to you!
• Weather patio: It’s raining outside!
• The closets of our competitors’ anchors: Sex lives! Drug use! Shirts!
• The tilting of Hart Plaza!
• Hair spray & foundation: Can they damage your brain?
• Air, it’s all around you — A Fox News tip!
• Infants trading sex for guns!
• Gay lawyer pick-up bars!
• Cell phones — The silent killer!
BEST CANDIDATE FOR HIS/HER OWN TALK SHOW
Geoffrey Fieger/Monica Lewinsky
BEST NEW CABLE CHANNEL
Game Show Network
BEST TITLE FOR A LOCAL, REALITY-BASED TV SHOW
"Get in your car & drive"
"Panic in Detroit"
"White night in a black city"
"Road to bent rims and broken struts"
"Historical digging in Detroit"
"Pissy & cold"
"Our Hope: Chicago"
"Gang War: Live"
"King of Farmington Hills"
BEST LOCAL TV ANCHOR
MOST IGNORED LOCAL STORY
Why was the Detroit newspapers strike and lockout the "most ignored story" of 1998? If you mean "ignored by the media," the obvious answer is that the News and Free Press have no interest in reminding their dwindling readership of management’s law-breaking and union-busting, ongoing since 1995.
And for the local media that weren’t directly involved in the labor dispute, you don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to understand that corporate-owned media tend to side with other corporations when it comes to fights between workers and owners.
Locked-out printer Barb Ingalls has another conjecture: "People are just amazed that we’re still out here. I think it embarrasses them. It should be a no-brainer to support us, and it makes people ashamed that they’re not out there with us. They wish we would go away."
Of course, the strike is not nearly as visible as it used to be, back when picketing and even arrests were happening every week.
Now, most locked-out workers have been forced to find other jobs, leaving less time for harassment of newspaper moguls, although some are still holding on, with strike benefits, as full-time activists.
They held a rally on March 2, with more than 200 people blowing whistles as they marched around the combined News-Free Press building. Management handed out earplugs to employees inside.
"It was a perfect metaphor," says Teamster organizer Mike Zielinski. "The papers are deaf to what the community is telling them."
Meanwhile, the strikers plan more actions to make managers’ lives miserable while the legal appeals drag on, including an appearance at the Gannett stockholders meeting in May. — Jane Slaughter
MOST NEEDED RADIO STATION FORMAT
This one’s not going to go away any time soon, people. Last year’s Best Of Detroit winner for "Most Welcome Radio Station Format Switch" was the switch that turned classical dial-landmark WQRS into WXDG "The Edge" — an alternative rock station that, at the time, specialized in piquing the nostalgia of grown-up mallternateens. But the outrage at that result proved alternative rock won a Pyrrhic victory at best.
Conscientious classical music mavens have been forced to cobble together a listening schedule by switching among CBC radio, local public radio and WJR’s Saturday evening concerts (at least there’s one domestic, regular fixture serving this underserved audience).
There have been rumors flying loose and free about monied folks poking around the radio dial, looking for a good spot to plant a classical station. You’d think classical listeners should be a lucrative advertising target audience. But alas, no outlet has thus far materialized.
The question, then, for folks actively campaigning for classical is: What kind of a classical station would best serve Detroit listeners?
Many folks were of the opinion that one reason QRS was vulnerable was that its programming was stale and predictable.
Would Detroit listeners support a radio station that mixed new and modern compositions in with the "Three Bs?" For the sake of musical vitality, let’s hope so.
The crucial matter, though, is that the vocal have spoken on behalf of a music they love, and market forces have, well, forced much beautiful music from the public ear. Here’s to hoping classical fans will soon have a single station they can lock in on and jerk the knob off. — Chris Handyside
BEST DRIVE-TIME RADIO SHOW
Drew & Mike
They may be cretins, but, damnit, they’re our cretins!
It seems that some of our readers (and, indeed, some of our writers, yours truly included) take some guilty pleasure in the inspired locker-room humor of WRIF’s morning rabble-rousers Drew & Mike.
Or, more likely Lane & Clark actually provide an antidote to the truly juvenile "Morning Zoo" mentality of endless, pointless guffawing and uninspired banality proffered by most of the drive-time rabble.
There must be reason why the duo (along with Trudi "News" Daniels) and their cast of characters (some legitimately funny impersonations: Howard Cosell, Lawrence Taylor, O.J. Simpson, among them) kick the ratings rears of everyone except WJLB morning fixture Mason & Co.
Lane is a sharp interviewer (a fact that was made painfully clear during his recent, long recovery from back surgery during which Clark labored gamely to keep the dialogue and questions focused on something other than butt jokes and sexual fetishes.)
Daniels doesn’t let the boys get all the fun, either. Let’s face it, sometimes fart jokes actually do translate to radio, and perhaps a mix of smart interviewing and dumb repartee is the right formula. Besides, segments such as "Don’t Stump Mike" (which trades on Clark’s A.D.D.-addled trivia knowledge) and "Stump The Staff" (a fascist trivia game lorded over by a dozen rules which inquirers must wade through before they lay their trivia queries on the collective on-air crew) should make most people feel at least a little smarter as their coffee kicks in.
If you’ve read this far and thought, "My God! This sounds completely juvenile and, yes, obnoxious, too," consider yourself among those voters who must have switched over from NPR just long enough to be offended. And there’s plenty to be offended by.
Drew & Mike regularly make gay references (often to their own self-deprecating benefit) for laughs. Clark’s Butt Mike "character" (wherein he mikes his ass so his farts can be heard on-air, and then translates what Butt Mike "said" about the subject at hand) and Clark’s trademark "Biiiittch" (yup, it’s a trademark) don’t broaden anybody’s worldview.
But, on a dial full of true blather, at least they’re speaking (mostly) in complete sentences about (mostly) real life.
Ah, well, MT readers are a conflicted lot, and radio is truly a weird place. — Chris Handyside
MOST OBNOXIOUS MORNING SHOW CREW
Drew & Mike
BEST TALK RADIO HOST
BEST GUEST FOR "FIEGER TIME"
BEST LOCAL BAND FOR "BEHIND THE MUSIC" DOCUMENTARY
We’re sending this one straight to the folks at VH-1 so they can file the idea away until Rock completes the requisite drama cycle inherent to nearly each and every one of these documentary episodes.
We’re talking about, of course:
1) Prodigious talent at a young age— Check.
2) "The paying of dues" — Check.
3) Discovery by the marketing music machine — Check.
4) Discovery by the world at large on the way to becoming
a) an overnight sensation
b) a nonstop pop phenomenon — Rock’s working on both of these currently.
However, he’s not completed the narrative arc of
5) Overexposure in teen magazines leading to the desire to "do his own stuff" (which is nonapplicable in this case).
6) Burnout on booze and drugs (or sexual addiction) leading to a period of "Where is he now?" and
7) A dramatic comeback leading to "successful" tours on the State Fair and/or Beach Boys summer nostalgia circuits.
Now, not every "Behind the Music" uses all of these plot devices to tell the story of some poor, misguided-but-ultimately redeemed rocker, but the pattern holds.
The Bullgod has just started his climb into the major ring, and he’s still a little virile for the VH-1 audience, but give him a few years to either a) Discover the joy of Buddhism or b) Find it in his charitable heart to feed the hungry of the world, and you’ve got yourself a regular postboomer human interest story that, we think, will turn upper-middle-class 30-somethings’ collective hearts to mush.
Let’s hope the former Mr. Ritchie goes the classic MTV Rockumentary route instead, the standard script of which allows for more sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll and would be more suited to Kid Rock’s hard rock/hip-hop roots and apparent taste for porn stars and pubic, er, exposure. — Chris Handyside
BEST BAND TO RETIRE
BEST LOCAL BANDS TO RETIRE (tie)
BEST LOCAL BAND TO HONOR WITH A BOX SET
BEST DETROIT MUSICIAN TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME (3-way tie)
We’re not sure how well-versed our readership is on the actual induction rules and such for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Mistake By The Lake, but the three folks y’all picked were either ripe for the ceremony or, alas, already inducted.
Lest you think the Queen of Soul is best known for such trivialities as not paying her limo and restaurant bills, here’s a reminder of the divinity of Ms. Franklin’s art, straight from the Hall of Fame’s notes accompanying her 1987 induction: "As Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun observed, ‘I don’t think there’s anybody I have known who possesses an instrument like hers and who has such a thorough background in gospel, the blues and the essential black-music idiom … She is blessed with an extraordinary combination of remarkable urban sophistication and of the deep blues feeling that comes from the Delta. The result is maybe the greatest singer of our time."
There’s already an amazing group of Detroiters taking virtual residence in the Hall, including nearly the whole Motown divinity as well as R&B OG Little Willie John, Hank Ballard and P-Funk.
So, in the safe world of Hall of Fame selection, Bob Seger may, by sheer virtue of his persistence and hit-making ability (if not by musical innovation), be the next Motor City cat up to bat. He’s certainly ever-present, thanks to his one-and-only commercial endorsement for Chevy ("Like A Rock") and he’s inextricably linked to Tom Cruise’s shaking derriere in Risky Business.
So, for the pop-culturally inclined among us, that’s probably reason enough.
Speaking of Pop culture, the Ig may not be as safe a bet as Seger, but his influence on the shape of rock ’n’ roll becomes more and more painfully apparent every time another shirtless rock icon tries to act dangerous while fronting a wail of guitars, feedback and fuzz.
Simply put, Pop is an icon for a reason and maybe, just maybe, he’s mellowed enough over the last few years that the induction committee would feel comfortable inviting him to the head table. After all, they invited Neil Young (but he didn’t show!).
These two blokes are home runs. The question is, once they get the nod, whither comes Hall fodder, then? Is Cleveland ready to enshrine the Motor City 5? — Chris Handyside
BEST NIGHTCLUB DJ
BEST HIDDEN RADIO TREASURE