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Posts about Local TV and radio

More thoughts on KDWB's Jingle Ball 2013

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: December 12, 2013 - 1:30 AM

Star Tribune photos by Renee Jones Schneider

Bravo for iHeartRadio, the much-hyped but little-listened entity of Clear Channel Media. That brand was responsible for the significant upgrade in the production quality of KDWB’s Jingle Ball 2013 on Tuesday at the X.

Giant video screens with live action, slick graphics, flamethrowers, indoor fireworks, confetti cannons and even a revolving stage platform, which made this the most efficient Jingle Ball ever (eight acts in 3 ½ hours, not the usual five-hours-plus).

There was one annoying aspect of the production, though – the playing of TV commercials (like teens care about furnace repairs) instead of music video clips between acts. Leave the commercials (KD DJ Big D’s daughter Hailey may be cute but seeing her seven or 10 times was too much) for the radio – when we can change the channel.

In my review in the paper, there wasn’t much space to discuss anyone beyond Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, the main attractions.

So here are some thoughts on the other acts:

Fifth Harmony, the female vocal quintet from TV’s “X Factor,” displayed nice hair, four quality singers but no charisma. These young women seemed stiff and manufactured.

Austin Mahone, a 17-year-old YouTube sensation from Texas and Justin Bieber wanna-be, manifested more swag than genuine talent.

Accompanied by four dancers but no live musicians, Nickelodeon-launched Ariana Grande (below), wearing a short skirt featuring a holly pattern, came across like a pint-sized Mariah Carey, complete with the breathy,

affected vocal gymnastics but minus the va-voom personna. With her big voice, Grande has potential but, considering that she’s only seven months younger than Cyrus, well, everyone matures at her own pace.

Backed by an eight-person band, Jingle Ball returnee Enrique Iglesias unleashed his sex appeal for a fast-paced 17 minutes of invigorating, Latin-tinged dance-pop.

Fall Out Boy, those emo rockers from Chicago, thrilled the few guys in the arena with "Thanks for the Memories," "The Phoenix" and "Alone Together," though this band is starting to sound more professional than punky.

Flo Rida (below), the hard-working rapper from, of course, Florida, shifted the party into overdrive with such sing-along hits as "Good Feeling" and "Whistle," which featured a dancing, present-delivering Santa Claus, wearing a giant "HoHoHo" pendant. For his finale, Flo removed his shirt to show off his famous tattoos while three dozen Minnesota girls danced around him onstage as he implored them to "Turn Around."

Fox 9 names new evening anchor

Posted by: Neal Justin Updated: December 4, 2013 - 2:36 PM



Kelcey Carlson

Fox 9 has finally landed on its replacement for Heidi Collins.

Kelcey Carlson, who has spent the past decade manning the desk at WRAL in Raleigh-Durham, NC, will join Jeff Passolt in early February as anchors of "Fox 9 News at 5PM" and "Fox 9 News at 9PM."

She takes over for Heidi Collins who left under mysterious circumstances in July after a somewhat rocky three-year stint at the station.

"This opportunity is like winning the jackpot," Carlson said in a statement. "I have fond memories of my summer vacations in the Midwest and I'm so excited to move back here with my family and be a part of the talented Fox 9 news team."

Prairie Home Companion tickets for Jan.-March will go on sale Wednesday

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: December 3, 2013 - 4:42 PM

Garrison Keillor/ Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace

Garrison Keillor will bring his “A Prairie Home Companion” to his home base, the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, for seven shows in January, February and March.

Guests will include Rhonda Vincent, Paula Poundstone, Hilary Thavis and Mike Compton & Joe Newberry.

After being on tour in Texas, Tennessee and elsewhere, PHC will be broadcast live from the Fitzgerald on Jan. 17 and 25, Feb. 1 and March 8, 15, 22 and 29.

Tickets, priced from $32 to $48, will go on sale at noon Wednesday through Ticketmaster outlets (including 1-800-745-3000) and at the Fitzgerald box office. 

Twin Cities public television breaks record

Posted by: Neal Justin Updated: October 22, 2013 - 11:34 AM

Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan in "Downton Abbey"/ AP photo by Giles Keyte

Minnesotans really love their TPT. For the second year in a row the Twin Cities has the largest percentage of households watching public television than anywhere else in the country. Baltimore is second and Portland is third.

"It's a real tribute to the Twin Cities that audiences here so passionately embrace public TV," said TPT's COO Terry O'Reilly. "At a time when all media outlets are facing declining audiences, more and more Minnesotans are not just watching TPT, but joining us as members."

Girls with Guitars scores with giggles, personality & country music

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: October 9, 2013 - 2:07 AM



Sheryl Crow/ Associated Press photo by Dan Hallman

A few thoughts on BUZ’N 102.9 FM’s Girls with Guitars gig Tuesday at Mill City Nights featuring Sheryl Crow, Kellie Pickler, Gloriana, Maggie Rose and Ashley Monroe. It was a benefit for Park Nicollet’s Jane Brattain Breast Center.

  • What a fun evening – lots of personality, spontaneous chatter, free-wheeling humor,some pretty good music and a good cause.
  • Girls with Guitars for breast cancer is a terrific concept but a bit of a misnomer at this inaugural event. Only two of the five female singers played much guitar. It wasn’t a true guitar pull, as they call them in Nashville, because each artist had her own accompanists. And Gloriana is a male-fronted trio with a female secondary singer. The more accurate moniker would have been 4 Blondes and 1 Non-Blonde.  
  • Kellie Pickler is a hoot. And she’s twice as funny when she’s drinking, which she was. She made fun of her Minnesota in-laws (it was her father-in-law’s birthday) and their accents, her own North Carolina accent and people from Texas in the crowd. You can see why she is one of Ellen DeGeneres’ favorite guests.
  • The conversational highlight was the story about when Pickler and Gloriana, who toured together for two years, went out to celebrate a birthday in Austin, Texas, and Pickler and Gloriana’s Rachel Reinert got matching tattoos on their feet, and Pickler got a nose-ring. "My husband had to get a diamond [stud] out of my nose with a pair of pliers," she said.
  • On a serious note, Sheryl Crow, a breast cancer survivor, talked about the importance of mammograms, self-checking and knowing your family history. She was informative but not heavy-handed. Nicely done.
  • Gloriana – sort of the odd act out – let frontman Tom Gossin talk too much. Dude, this was Girls with Guitars. Not guys. At least, Crow fittingly dealt with her two male accompanists (one on guitar, the other on acoustic bass) by calling them her “chick magnets.”
  •  Gloriana impressed with their three-part harmonies and their sing-along of the Lumineers pop hit, “Ho Hey.” Reinert gets credit for introducing the night’s favorite phrase: “douche-y ex’s.” Best number: “Carolina Rose.”
  • Wearing a striking black-and-white-striped long skirt, newcomer Maggie Rose was an appealing combination of sass and smarts. The Maryland-reared Rose scored extra points for bringing a fiddler, Natalie Murphy, from Minneapolis. Best number: “Ain’t Your Mama.”
  • Pickler’s mouth was more memorable than her music. She always seemed to have a drink in her hand – or sometimes two when she held Ashley Monroe’s while the latter performed. Best number: “Red High Heels.”
  • Ashley Monroe won over the 900 club-goers with her spunk, spirit and humor – as well as her ace accompanist, Sarah Zimmerman on mandolin and acoustic slide guitar. Best number: “Heart Like Mine.”
  • Sheryl Crow triumphed with her humbleness (“I’m the new kid on the block”), class and credible country tunes. She also did a couple of her pop favorites. Best number: “Strong Enough” (pop) and “Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely” (country).
  • Unlike true guitar pull tradition, there was little helping out and harmonizing on each other’s songs (only happened twice), and there was no big hootenanny at the end of the 2 ½-hour program. Put those ideas on next year’s list.


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