My Favorite Media Things

I love Oprah Winfrey.

I’m an ex-TV guy with a great appreciation for the production values that go into her show every day that has been popular for ages now. She knows her audience. Knows how to focus on the right topics. She’ll keep bringing back fan faves as long as they are popular and it doesn't hurt that she's been able to launch a career or two along the way.

Oprah does an annual Favorite Things show built around Christmas in which – and you may have seen or heard about this – she shows the audience her favorite things (gifts that holiday season). Then gives them away to everyone in the audience.

With that as my premise, I’d like to offer you My Favorite Media Things up to the minute as of today. Unfortunately, I am not going to open the prize closet and give one to every reader. Hey, I'd didn't get that much money from Clear Channel!

My Favorite Cell phone

I have owned the Apple iPhone for over one year and while I have not switched to the faster 3G AT&T service yet, I love the new features. Now I can send email and actually clean up my large email backlog on my laptop almost at the same time (many of you have seen my iPhone responses when you write to me). I hate AT&T service, but I have made my deal with the devil. The new applications available on iPhone are perhaps the happiest I’ve become as an owner. I have a great To-Do list (and I’m nothing without that) and I cannot believe that I play at least one complete game of Scrabble from Electronic Arts every day. If I’ve learned anything, it is how much time I (like my young friends) spend with a cell phone. And, it's getting worse. Not making calls. That remains the same. It's everything else.

My Favorite Satellite Radio

I have Sirius – in fact, I’ve had it in as many as three cars in two cities. The manufacturer of my cars never offered me the ability to get XM (thanks to the FCC) so I am happy with the prospect that I might be able to opt in to some of their content going forward. Either that or I will have to choose my next car not on how fuel efficient it is but whether it has XM installed. It’s an absurdity. My favorite channel is Sirius 7 – the 70’s channel because Magic Matt and J.J. are very good jocks --- maybe even Drake-type jocks that I prefer – except for stepping all over the station I.D. And what’s a satellite station doing a legal ID for anyway?

My Favorite Computer

MacBook Pro. I’ve by and large had Macs for a long time. Steve Butler who used to be president of my company Inside Radio, Inc, was a great Apple enthusiast. He even had a Newton for a time as I remember it. Tom Taylor, the editor also seemed very much at home on Mac. Now more than ever it’s an easy choice. And I never have to worry about viruses – except this cold I got when I returned from vacation.

My Favorite Television Network

HBO. You know I liked the Sopranos. And Entourage is my present passion. But now there is YouTube for everything else. It’s hard to believe we lived without YouTube. I get many YouTube items sent to me daily and you can do a search of almost anyone – even me – and find a clip. YouTube, as you know, is more of where television is going due to sociological issues. Short attention spans. The growing popularity of media on demand. The folks at Google haven’t found a way to monetize its $1.8 billion acquisition but they may not ever be able to monetize it adequately -- at least as they are proceeding now. It seems everyone wants to run commercials – something young folks skip anyway – and I don’t believe you can support these new media platforms with old school commercials on a pre-roll basis.

My Favorite TV

I just had a 52-inch Sony XBR 5 Bravia LCD installed and the picture is damn nice. Maybe it's not as sharp as the Pioneer Elite I have in LA but it doesn't glare like that either. You can buy most of today's electronics from big box stores but I had a great local company called Plan B do a fabulous job. Isn't that a great name -- Plan B? Unfortunately to be honest (and I don't think you'd appreciate the alternative), I rarely watch more than an hour or two of TV a day. Often less. Occasionally more (Go Flyers!). So now I have this great "theater like" system and I spend more time on the Internet, the computer or my iPhone. Bet I'm not alone.

My Favorite Social Network

My choice is Facebook. I was introduced to it when I was teaching at USC. At the time only students and professors could join. I think they (and I) liked it better that way, but I have met so many interesting people through Facebook. I can see what they look like, what they are all about – get personal. They can also do the same. There are many other social networks from Linked In to Plaxo and one I was invited to join called A Small World. A Small World may be out of my league. Okay, it is out of my league. If I am looking for a place to stay at the French Riviera, just go to ASW and you’ll find a willing helper. Even a way to arrange a private jet. (No need for me to call Mel anymore). This Jersey boy marvels at A Small World. The next generation is right – it’s all about social networking. I joined Twitter the site that gives you a few hundred characters to type what you’re doing right now. I do it but I’m not hooked. The site is very erratic -- often down and can't handle the demand. People "follow" other people and learn what they are doing now. I can hear my Italian mother’s voice now – “no one cares about what you’re doing”. True then. Not so true in today’s world.

My Favorite Web Sites

Like you, I go to too many of them a day. Really a lot now that I think about it. All the trades, news publications, blogs that I can consume. I am embarrassed to say that my number one bookmark is Drudge Report – not because I like his right-wing agenda, but because even with his lousy news judgment, I get everything that is going on in one place. I also go to a great site (that I pay for – the only one other than the Wall Street Journal Online) called News Blues about the TV news business. I started in TV news back in Philadelphia and it’s a real comedy of errors these days. Then onto The Raw Story to get the left-wing agenda to counterbalance Drudge. Yes, and a few gossip sites that helped me keep up with my students – The Superficial and Perez Hilton. I also like Real Clear Politics a lot – fair and balanced truly. But, like you, I spend hours a day online -- the number one place I go for news, entertainment, social networking and communication.

My Favorite Internet Stream

Love Rich Brother Robbin’s Rich Bro Radio. I find that AccuRadio has almost everything that I like and well done. I don’t listen much to Live 365. I do use the new AOL CBS link to hear WCBS-FM in New York and to hear some Philly radio when I am in the sunny west and feeling guilty. Or homesick for a cheesesteak. I love Pandora on my iPhone and hope that it will be able to continue in light of the royalty mess. I created a channel called Delfonics Radio just to put Tim Westergren’s music genome concept to the test. Damned if it doesn’t bring back the Philly-sound r&b I love. Sure wish I could do other things on my iPhone when listening to Pandora, but the iPhone software doesn’t currently allow it.

My Favorite Internet Radio

I do not own one. I listen on my laptop. Too many of my friends are advocates for the ones they bought. RoKu is supposed to be good. One thing is for sure, no one – that’s no one – that I know who has made a decision to purchase an Internet radio – isn’t in love with it. My radio friends use it to listen to terrestrial streams elsewhere but they also have great appreciation for independent Internet streams (at least the ones that can still afford to operate). I can’t bring myself to buy any kind of radio – really. I am getting counseling for this, but I admit it openly and honestly.

My Favorite HD Channel

I’m playing with you now. Who can even find an HD channel that has a signal let alone one that is worth the price of a radio. Maybe next year. Maybe not. Maybe radio companies ought to either budget for new HD programming or pull the equipment and make a coffee table out of it.

So, these are a few of my favorite media things.

Sure like to hear yours.

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