Archive for June, 2009

Michael Jackson: TMZ vs. CNN vs. Perez

TIMELINE: 5:20PM ET — TMZ reports that Michael Jackson has died. 7:15PM ET — CNN reports that Ed McMahon has passed.

Both clever and condeming. I wish I could take credit for the above. It was a friend’s Facebook status update last Thursday. The observation gets right to the heart of the matter. Why did it take CNN almost two hours to confirm what TMZ had reported, definitively (and what had spread ferociously across social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook)? And, why did so many people refuse to believe the story until a ‘legit’ news organization confirmed it?

“Michael Jackson Dies” was the TMZ headline. That doesn’t leave much room for interpretation. Yet, there was papable doubt for many people. My suspicion is that many lump TMZ with the likes of Perez Hilton and other celebrity bloggers. Yes, TMZ’s content, their fascination with Britney, Lindsay, “Speidi,” and whatever famous person dined at The Ivy today, is in line with the “Perezinistas.” But their organization has more in common with CNN. TMZ is owned by AOL, who in turned is a subsidiary of Time-Warner, the country’s third largest media conglomerate. If TMZ blew the Michael Jackson story, they would’ve literally destroyed their franchise. The moment I realized what was at stake for them was the moment I realized the sad news of Michael’s passing was true.

There’s a reason every episode of TMZ ends with that silly graphic of Harvey Levin saying, “I’m a lawyer!” It’s a message that what’s being reported will stand up if tested in court.

Up against the likes of Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood, TMZ does like playing the “litte guy card.” That’s great branding on their part. But as I’ve pointed out, they’re just as much part of a media conglomerate as anyone. Time-Warner also happens to own CNN. Interesting that CNN never acknowledged its cousin during those two hours as it stubbornly attempted to report the Michael Jackson story on it’s own terms. Even FOX News noted the TMZ report, as they attempted to confirm with their own sources.

What CNN did give us was a disservice. Updates like, “Michael Jackson Hospitalized.” And the later, erroneous update, “Michael Jackson In A Coma.” The fact is Michael Jackson sadly arrived at hospital deceased. EMT’s who arrived at his house say Micheal was dead when they arrived. So CNN, the “sources” you chose to report and felt were more reliable then TMZ clearly had it wrong.

Now about Perez Hilton. In the immediate minutes after the general news broke that Michael Jackson was taken to the hospital, the controversial celebrity blogger through up on his website what in retospect  appears to be a  particulary insensitive post (below). Working as I have in a medium where immediacy is crucial, I can sympathize with anyone who’s trying to get information “out there” fast. You’re a hero when you get it right. But it can backfire if you fumble. At the very least, Perez should have read the actual words he wrote and thought about what they meant before posting this one:


It’s easy to take shots at at Perez. Especially if you’re among the people that think he’s an ass. But in his defense, Perez is a commentator, not a reporter. If you don’t like his views, don’t read. But with the above post, there was fiery highspeed crash at the intersection of “comment” and “legitimate news.” A statement like Perez’s that Michael Jackson “supposedly went into cardiac arrest” and then to create a theoretical motivation for why Michael would fake such a hospitalization suggests Perez  might want to get out of his mother’s basement more often. He appears to have limitations when it comes to understanding the real world. For starters, Perez might want to bone up on the seriousness of cardiac arrests.

TMZ: Win
CNN: Fail
Perez Hilton: Bigger fail

Greg Valentine
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New Transformers Ready For ‘Prime’ Time?

optimusSaw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen last night. I enjoyed the first film, and was ‘optimistically primed’ for this one. I should say I’m far from a ‘Transformer’ expert. So this isn’t so much a review. Just a few random thoughts.

  • If you watch most of your TV shows on DVR like I do, then you know this phenomenon: fast forwarding through commercials, keeping the button pressed a half second too long, going back to regular speed and letting the show continue, even though you’ve just skipped over a part of a scene. Every Michael Bay movie reminds me of this. Michael Bay doesn’t have time to tell a story. More like, he suggests a story and leaves the rest up to us.
  • IMAX is my favorite format for the big action movies. As long as you’re not sitting in the second row. Those were the only seats we could find at the sold out 11pm showing. When you’re that close, you literally can’t take in the whole screen with your eyes. At best, I saw two-thirds of this movie.
  • If you decide to see this movie at 11pm on a school night, you’ll probably agree it’s a skosh too long.
  • They had one of those Camaro’s parked outside the theater. That’s a sweet ride! Speaking of sweet rides…
  • Apparantly, I know more about girls than Transformers. There’s a big cheer when Megan Fox makes her first appearance on screen. That I get. Later during some of the battles, I don’t always know which Transformer is which enough to start clapping when the rest of the audience does. Every Transformer should have it’s own exclusive color (like the ‘yellow one’) so idiots like me can follow.
  • There’s more comedy in this one than the first movie. Some people will like that. My guess is some ‘purists’ will probably grumble that big metallic beings from another planet who can fly through space and change shapes who also have senses of humor is sooooo unrealistic.
  • The special effects are amazing. The explosions are awesome. The cars and trucks are downright sexy. The trademark Michael Bay slo-mo? A way to guarantee you leave the theater 20 minutes later than you could have.

Verdict? Impossible to make one based on my experience last night. Yes, I will see it again. Hopefully not so close to the screen that I feel like I’m inside John Turturro’s nose! Plus, there’s at least a third of the flick that will be new to me.

Greg Valentine
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A Message To My Future Employer

gregvalentineheadshot01Yeah, this is (mostly) the same message found on It’s my main ‘message’ right now. So naturally, I’d like to get it front of as many eyeballs as possible…

Okay, here it is. This is who I am, and why I believe I’d be an outstanding on-air personality, ratings and revenue winner, team-member, and even programming department leader and brand manager (if called upon) for your radio station.

Recently, I excelled as Assistant Program Director for WKIS/Miami (99.9 Kiss Country) until some unfortunate budget cuts. Before that, I got Memphis movin’ every morning on Snap! 94.1. My radio adventures have had me performing virtually all dayparts, formats and radio duties in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Cleveland. Crucially, I’ve spent an entire career being a thoroughly prepped communicator, entertainer, content-provider, pop culture freak, and friend to listeners of the radio, passionately creating programming that caters to those listeners’ lifestyles and communities.

Since the budget cuts at WKIS, I’ve been poking around, seeing what’s out there, exploring full-time radio options. Meanwhile, I’ve been keeping my chops fresh doing weekends and fill-in at WRMF in West Palm Beach. This has been an incredibly challenging time for the radio industry. I’ve heard it said, if you aren’t doing 12 jobs right now, you aren’t working! It’s true. But I find it a little odd, anyway. Only because I’m a guy that’s been doing his radio that way enthusiastically all along!

My experience, well-rounded skill-set, positive attitude, and “the job’s not done ’til it’s done right” work ethic make me the ideal solution for any number of opportunities at your cluster. By the way, please don’t just take my word for it. Check with the people I’ve busted my butt for:

Bill Pasha, Entercom, VP/Programming email
Dave Labrozzi, CBS Radio Baltimore, VP/Programming email
Ken Boesen, Beasley, WKIS/Miami, Program Director email
Jason Kidd, CBS Radio Baltimore, WWMX email
Bob Neumann, WRMF/West Palm Beach, Program Director email

Finally, is the right place get a sense of the kind of radio I can do for your company. There’s ample archives of audio, video, and writing. Plus, an all-encompassing resume and pages of photos. Also a full set of links to all my social networking sites. By the way, is a website that I personally built from scratch after picking up a copy of “HTML For Dummies” (No joke). Strong webskills being another weapon I bring to the battle.

Thanks for reading this and allowing me to share my ‘message’ with you. I hope I’ve strongly conveyed to you my passion for great radio, and my desire to be part of the targeted and successful broadcasting you create every day! If you have any questions, or need any additional material, just drop me a line. Or hey, nothing beats an actual conversation. I hope to talk with you soon!

Greg Valentine

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Better Twitter: How To Spice Up Those ‘Blah’ Tweets

We see them every single day on Twitter. We’ve even been guilty ourselves. Tweets about our most mundane activities. Okay, so you’re going jogging (again). I get it. Unless you’ve spent the last five years in a wheelchair, not exactly “Breaking News.”

There’s a handful of insipid topics people unfortunately feel compelled to Twitter about. Traffic. Exercise. The weather. You know the ones.

But hey, I’m not here to change anyone. So if it’s REALLY important for you to know that I know you hate rush hour, let’s at least look at some ways to spice up those ‘blah’ tweets.

Instead of: “I’m stuck on 95. This traffic is the worst.”
Tweet this: “Stuck on 95. But I think all these other cars are CGI. So here I go…VROOM!!”

Instead of: “This restaurant’s the bomb–best Mexican food in town!”
Tweet this: “This restaurant’s da bomb. In fact, come to 1626 Penn Ave RIGHT NOW, cause a loud distraction at the front, and someone gets a free dinner!”

Instead of: “Seeing the new Star Trek. Spock is so cool.”
Tweet this: “Seeing Star Trek & doing shots of Jäger & Patron for every scientific wtf? I see (skydiving thru the atmosphere w/out burning up??!)”

Followed about 90 minutes later by: “Just blew chunks on some guy with glasses and pointy ears. My bad.”

Instead of: “I’m exercising. It feels so good to work out.”
Tweet this: “I’m exercising…my prerogative to FART repeatedly while I jog on this treadmill!”

Hope these examples are inspirational. Gotta run now. There’s a loud distraction at the front register…

Greg Valentine
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The Top Four Funny Guys Named Seth

Seth? We had a guy named “Seth” in junior high. Kinda kept to himself (when he wasn’t being picked on). Was it the name that caused his cruel social exile? Yeah, I think so.

So there weren’t many Seths in my class. Looks like that was our loss, considering the comedy riches the name’s producing. Here they are. The funny guys named Seth, ranked:

1 – SETH MACFARLANE – If Seth MacFarlane did nothing more than voice Stewie Griffin, he’d still be number one on this list. As the creator of Family Guy, this is one television bazillionaire who actually deserves every dollar of his success.

2 – SETH ROGAN – Stoner, everyman, delusional mall cop. Whatever the role, you just have to root for this guy. Acting accomplishments earn him this spot. But writing credits not too shabby (Superbad).

3 – SETH GREEN – More film and television credits than anyone on this list. Best work: voice of Chris Griffin (Family Guy), Scott Evil (Austin Powers movies), Robot Chicken.

4 – SETH MEYERS – Anchor of SNL‘s “Weekend Update.” Has transitioned well to solo anchor after the departure of Amy Poeler. Thanks to him, I say “REALLY?!?” way too much.

Greg Valentine
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