Showing posts with label University of Nebraska at Omaha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label University of Nebraska at Omaha. Show all posts

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Talk about the penalty box. . . .

I know there's some truth in the one-liner "I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out," but isn't it assuming the worst to play your games at the county jail? I mean, really.

Yes, I realize having your penalty box be maximum security has its benefits -- chief among them savings in transportation costs and crowd control -- but we must remember these are college kids, not hardened NHL types. Couldn't the University of Nebraska at Omaha at least play hockey at a halfway house or something?

I'm surprised no one has pointed out to playing home games at the "clink" no doubt will be an ongoing public relations disaster for the university and the state. Frankly, it puzzles me that other schools agree to play inside a maximum-security corrections facility.

What? What about a missing hyphen?

It should read "C-Link," as in the CenturyLink Center downtown? That's very different, then.

Never mind.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I . . . I . . . uhhhhh . . . you . . . well . . . HUH???

This may be the single most idiotic thing I have ever seen in print.

This is so factually wrongheaded -- and concerning some pop-culture knowledge so basic -- that I suspect it may have been written and edited by space aliens undercover at
The Gateway, the student newspaper at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

You won't believe it. You won't buy a word of it. You'll go slack-jawed. Unless, of course, you're 5 years old . . . or you're a space alien, too.

OK, here it is:
An interesting thing I've heard is that pop radio is an Omaha invention. When I asked Montez about this historical lore, he had some compelling details to add. He said that during some refurbishing in the Benson area, his father recovered memorabilia from a restaurant called Sandy's Escape.

In 1944, Sandy Jackson, who is considered Omaha's first pop disc jockey, got the chance to do a live one-hour show from 11 p.m. to midnight playing groups like The Hollies, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas on KBON radio.
[Emphasis mine -- R21] Soon, he added "The Rhythm Inn" in the afternoon, and by 1946, he was on the air opposite WOWT (Woodmen of the World-TV) star radio host Johnny Carson.
IN FACT, should you follow the link and read this January article about the Omaha roots of Top-40 radio, be aware that it contains pitifully few facts amid an ocean of inaccuracy and sheer ridiculousness. In fact, had an editor cared to actually edit the story, he or she couldn't have -- the only remedy would be to start from scratch.

And by "scratch," I mean start by
not interviewing Channel 94-1 disc jockey Montez, because the man either is clueless or was pulling the reporter's leg. Then, after not repeating that first fatal error, the writer would have to re-research the article and conduct interviews with people who know what the hell they're talking about.

He could start here. And here.

After, of course, he relived a major portion of his young life --
this time paying attention.

It takes a lot to shock me after 51 years on God's green earth. This newspaper feature did the trick.

Way to go,

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Cold coffee. I blame Reagan.

Cold coffee.

Before Starbucks.

Came to Omaha.

The state of office coffee drinking, circa 1983, immortalized by University Television at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The weekly TV show was called Cityscape; the music was by Citydog.

Welcome back to when Omaha was New Wave.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's not a stadium. It's an opportunity.

Omaha's powers that be -- after long musing about the prospect -- this year finally decided to carpe diem, build a new downtown ballpark and lock in the College World Series for a long, long time.

But now that the ink is dry on the contract and construction is almost ready to begin, it looks like city fathers have just had a "What in the world have we done?" moment and, according to the Omaha World-Herald, decided maybe they've carpe'd more diem than they can chew.

One thing that’s likely to be missing from the final stadium plan is a major commercial area. Though initial concept drawings included shops and a restaurant in the stadium structure, Jensen said concerns about the project’s cost and how often the public would frequent the businesses nixed the idea for now.

That change is a disappointment to Jason Kulbel, one of the developers of the Saddle Creek Records complex near 14th and Webster Streets. He said he is still holding out for a retail area near the stadium along Webster.

He said that’s essential to generating foot traffic, which is what Saddle Creek developers envisioned when they invested $10 million in the area.

“We’re hoping,” Kulbel said, adding, “I feel like we’re fighting the battle of our lives.”
Kulbel said he plans to make that case before Omaha’s urban design review board, which will review the plans at a public meeting at 3 p.m. Dec. 18. The meeting will be held in room 702 of the City-County Building, 1819 Farnam St.

The board was created in 2007 with the help of Omaha By Design to review and approve major city construction projects, thus ensuring uniform design standards. The board, which includes an architect, an engineer, a planner and a citizen representative, could ask for changes in the plans. It must sign off on the design before the city can issue building permits.

Jensen said a small amount of retail space is included in the stadium design. A store at the ballpark could sell team memorabilia, for instance.

However, in developing the final ballpark plans, Jensen said those involved determined that a stadium would be unlikely to draw retailers and feared that large commercial spaces would sit empty.

Condos and loft apartments, on the other hand, draw retailers, Jensen said.

The Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which runs the Qwest Center, is overseeing the stadium’s design and operation.

Roger Dixon, MECA president, said the stadium plans most likely will be further tweaked before the Jan. 21 stadium groundbreaking.

“What has been filed with the city is the design at this point in time,” Dixon said.
OMAHA, I KNOW times are tough and getting tougher. And that's exactly why now is the wrong time to go all wobbly on us.

You can't have a big stadium sitting in the middle of North Downtown (NoDo), eating up real estate but generating no economic activity for most of the year. That's insane -- but with no retail and no Omaha Royals, that's what you're going to have.

The folks from Saddle Creek Records stuck their necks out to jumpstart NoDo's development and -- to mix my metaphors -- the city is about to kneecap them. This is a game where you're either all in . . . or you fold.

OK, so a full-bore retail development might not be the smartest thing at this time. But the stadium site needs some retail -- and a relocated Zesto's. Seriously . . . Zesto's. The mom and pop hamburger stand is as much a part of the CWS as cheesy organ music and overpriced bratwurst.

But what else might draw foot traffic -- and car traffic, too -- to the new ballpark year round? What might keep the NoDo momentum going in tough times?

How about this? Pick one retailer and make it a larger one. Choose a niche market that's underserved downtown, but one that's wholly compatible with the College World Series. See whether the store could be part of a comprehensive naming-rights package for the stadium.

RIGHT NOW, I'm envisioning Cabela's Stadium with a scaled-down retail store focusing on product lines not featured at the retailer's big-box stores but which could be part of its online catalog -- say one part American Eagle clone and two parts athletic and team apparel. And I'm seeing "Official merchant of the NCAA Men's College World Series."

If the deal is sweet enough, they just might put up the scratch to build it.

The other thing I'm envisioning is even more important to the economic viability of NoDo and all its retail establishments. And, on a grander scale, Omaha itself.

It's all about synergy and joint ventures. Bear with me here, this will take some explaining.

IN THIS NEW MILLENNIUM, we find all our traditional media in a state of upheaval amid a digital onslaught. This isn't necessarily a crisis. Except. . . .

There's this rather large question hanging over the Internet's conquest of all media: What happens to the Fourth Estate as the digital revolution overruns the positions of local television and radio . . . and especially the hometown newspaper? What's the economic model for local media in an Internet world?

How do local media -- particularly news media -- transition to the 'Net and still make enough money to keep the doors open and the public informed? What would become of a city, its civic culture and democracy itself if local news media became shells of their former selves or, God forbid, shriveled up and died?

How could that be good for anybody?

Who, in a coordinated way, is trying to work the problem? Is the working media effectively partnering with academia to, for one, develop new ways of doing journalism and, for another, effectively prepare tomorrow's reporters, producers and editors?

Obviously, the task is overwhelming. There's nothing but bad news on the doorsteps of newspapers today. Ditto for radio and TV stations.

And in a looming age of budget cuts to academia, what school or think tank is in a position to comprehensively tackle the problem?

THE OBVIOUS ANSWER is it's time to put heads together. We need joint efforts. We need cooperation. We need coalitions. We desperately need public-private partnerships.

And if the partnering is done right, there's something in it for everybody.

So . . . what if (for example) the Omaha World-Herald were to join with the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Creighton University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska Educational Telecommunications to form a Midwestern journalism think tank and media laboratory?

What if it became an integral part of the journalism curricula of the three participating universities? What if it became a focus of innovation and invention for an entire industry?

What if it became an unmatched resource for each participating entity, one that would be completely out of reach for any of the partners acting unilaterally? What if it became a source of valuable year-round interns for the World-Herald and NET . . . and precious year-round internships (and practical experience) for mass-communications students from the three universities?

What if that kind of synergy between media outlets and academic institutions became a magnet for the best minds in media and academia? Right here in Omaha.

Fine, now what in the hell does this have to do with a downtown baseball stadium and NoDo development?

I'm glad you asked.

WHY NOT MAKE such a joint-venture institute -- complete with a state-of-the-art digital newsroom, audio/video production facilities and classroom/office space -- an integral part of the stadium site plan? Put the studios where some of the canceled retail space would have gone. Add a satellite-uplink facility, too.

ESPN would love it.

The visiting media would love it.

The NCAA would love it.

Mass-communications students and their professors would love a learning experience as big as the CWS every year . . . on their campus.

Wouldn't the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau love it if, say, not only were there two weeks' worth of televised CWS games live from downtown Omaha, but perhaps two weeks' worth of SportsCenters as well? If you build the facilities, at the stadium, with a built-in labor pool, just maybe they'll come with half the network.

How many millions in advertising do you think that would be worth every year?

And what economic impact, do you think, would a college campus -- and maybe hundreds of students and professionals -- have on NoDo and downtown year round?

I mean, as long as we're building a big, new stadium, why not make it a field of dreams? And new realities.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Calling Radio Free Omaha. Do you read me?

Mood: Sad. :.-(

I've just gotten back from a trip to 1968, and it has hit me exactly how dead radio is in America. Radio is dead in America because -- among other reasons -- nobody is going to ever again start a "progressive rock" radio station as a viable, commercial, over-the-air enterprise.

NOBODY IS going to do this, and then staff it 24 hours a day, seven days a week with live people who might know a little bit about what they were playing. Over the air. On free radio.

I'm sad because this is never going to happen again, and future generations will never understand the concept . . . or why "progressive rock" stations -- "underground" or "freeform," if you will -- gave so many in my generation such joy.

Well, for the short time they existed in any numbers, at least.

I try to do what I can with 3 Chords & the Truth in this new millennium, recording 90 minutes of freeform radio at a time for download on the Internets. It's good. But it's not the same.

Only old farts like me will know why that is.

ANYWAY, at least I can take you, for a brief moment, back to Nov. 5, 1968, with me. There, you can read along in the Gateway, the student newspaper at the newly minted University of Nebraska at Omaha (the former Omaha University), as a fledgling journalist tries to explain this exciting, new "progressive radio" thing to the young people of the great Midwest.

This is the story of KOWH-FM -- Radio Free Omaha:

Progressive rock music, which over a year ego started as a fluke, has now blossomed into a format at the Omaha FM radio station, "Radio Free Omaha."

This station replaced KOWH-FM.

It first went on the air Sep. 16, and plans on expanding its program to a 24-hour basis. As of now, air time is 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Currently the station has three disc jockeys. From 2 to 7 p.m.. Harold Lee Roberts leads the way with John Mainelli taking over from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. On weekends the station is disc jockeyed by Kevin Clark.

Progressive program music started over a year ago by Tom Donahue. Donahue, who has sometimes been called 'The voice of Hippie' set the format at radio station KSAN-FM in San Francisco. He is currently operations manager at KSAN.

“Radio Free Omaha” was founded by Program and Music Director, Tom Rambler. The station is located at 94.1 megacycles on the FM dial.

As pointed out by him, the advantage of FM over AM stations is is that it gives full sound stereo and is interference-free. Whereas AM stations lack these qualities.

Rambler said, "This type of radio broadcasting is going to replace AM radio." He continued, "The AM radio announcers and commercial aspects are not the same nowadays."


Rambler said, "The key to the success of the progressive rock format is 'loose' . . . be free to experiment with sound ideas. Music will be the only reason for a listener to 'tune in.'

The announcer will be there to take the listener from one experience to another, in an easy going, mature manner. The announcer should he free to bring new ideas to his listener.

Progressive rock stations are so new that nobody knows, yet, what is what, except the theory that has been formed on the music. Progressive rock music means anything new and exciting . . . rock, country, jazz, classical, blues, R&B, every form of music."

Generally this music cannot be played on AM radio.

The music played from 1 a.m. to 2 p.m. is called guru. A guru is a guide who guides you from one music to another. This music takes on all forms. It is anything non-commercial.


He said, "Our main support is from the coast. Especially from the 'head shops' and certain Hippie-oriented businesses."

He exuberantly exclaimed, "We're even growing faster than it is on the coast."

Just what type of music does this progressive rock movement air? It covers all areas of music. Some examples are: the Canned Heat, the Steppenwolf, the Wizard of Oz, the Hassels, the Bohemian Vendetta, the Spirit, and the Jiini Hendrix Experience, with many others.

FM stations carrying progressive rock music are: KGRD-FM, Las Cruses, N.M.; KCBH-FM, L.A.; WAVA-FM, Wash.; and many others.

The most elaborating sight is that progressive rock formats are turning many "dead weight" FM facilities into dynamic audience-grabbing radio stations with the potential for making money.

ALAS, Tom Donahue is long dead in San Francisco and, in Omaha, so is KOWH-FM.

And not many people are making money in radio anymore.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The news from 1951 Wistful Vista

If you were a broadcasting student at the University of Omaha during the winter of 1951, the future before you seemed limitless.

RADIO WAS STARTING to feel the heat from this upstart called television, but it was still kicking -- with disc-jockey shows, public-affairs programs, comedy, drama, cooking shows and news, news, news. And that was just the local stations.

Nationally, four national radio networks still provided all those same kinds of programs -- and soap operas, too -- to their affiliates from coast to coast. In coming years, NBC, CBS, ABC and Mutual would change -- refocusing on news and program syndication -- but they still would remain in need of talented men and women to produce high-quality programming.

Programming like, for example, NBC's Monitor, which would debut in 1955 and provide an all-weekend "kaleidoscopic phantasmagoria" (as NBC President Sylvester "Pat" Weaver coined it) of news, features, interviews, comedy, live remotes and music.

And then there was television.

Back in 1951, local TV stations were signing on in city after city, looking to fill the broadcast day with local shows featuring local talent. And Omaha U. students were itching to get in on the action.

NOW IT'S 57 years later. The University of Omaha long has been the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Local TV shows are few and far between, excepting the "If it bleeds, it leads" newscasts.

Two of the old radio networks still stand, sort of. ABC- and CBS-branded newscasts still air on affiliate stations.

And local radio isn't so local anymore, with studio computers too often playing -- between the same few hundred overresearched tunes -- canned patter from assembly-line disc jockeys behind microphones in far-off places.

That was not the future anyone had in mind in the winter of 1951, when this article ran in Omaha University's alumni publication. The Injun:

FM at OU?

While most of Omaha and vicinity beheld their newborn television industry with passive awe last year, the university was pulling on a pair of seven-league boots, ready to match the lusty infant stride for stride.

One of the boots was a new Speech Department head, 27-year-old Bruce Linton, who spent a year as a radio announcer at WHIZ, (Zanesville, Ohio), then picked up a speech MA at North­western University.

The other half of the long-distance footwear was a $5,000, acoustically treated studio and control room, stocked with the finest professional sound equip­ment — microphones, turn-tables, re­corders, amplifiers.

Thus newly shod, OU took its first step: the addition of three new radio courses, designed to prepare a student for a beginning in radio or TV.

The frenzy of preparation at Omaha U didn't go unnoticed by the local broadcasting industry. The ink was hardly dry on the first draft of plans when WOW-TV invited the rejuvenated Speech Department to produce a 15-minute show twice a month. Omaha area viewers watch the OU production every other Thursday at 5:15 p.m. KMTV has asked for film-produced shows and special studio productions as soon as they can be supplied.

On the AM side, OU's radio talent puts out a weekly on-the-spot interview over KOIL (9:30 Wednesday nights). Called
Let's Hear Them All
, the KOIL program presents interesting visitors to OU and Omaha. (Samples: Mrs. Pahk of Korea, the Ice Follies' lighting director.)

Sandwiched between the regular shows are one-shot productions over other Omaha stations, e.g. the pre-Christmas
A Dickens Christmas
, featuring OU actors and choir over KFAB.

KBON Day will have its fourth an­nual showing on March 7, when OU speech and journalism students will take over Omaha's Mutual outlet for exper­ience in all aspects of radio station operation.

Although the present courses dwell mainly on AM radio technique, Linton is bringing television in gradually ("we have to be careful of over expansion"), with TV lighting problems brought into Speech Department stage productions. Next summer, Linton plans to have a simulated monitor scope installed in the control room. Movies supplied by the Audio-Visual Department will be shown on a ground glass screen to give an­nouncers a chance to practice TV nar­ration.

With all his plans and dreams, OU's Linton is rocky-realistic. "We don't assume that everybody who leaves here with a speech degree is going into 50,-000-watt production," he points out. "There are lots of smaller stations in need of announcers who can spin their own records; in radio, it's best to start out small and work up big."

Even beyond that, the new courses have something for students who have no notion of going into radio work. They can get a better understanding of the radio industry and see how it fits into their own business.

But how about the real stuff? Is Omaha U planning to have a station all its own? Once again, Linton points up the problem of over expansion, but he adds that an OU FM station is "not at all improbable."

In the meantime, OU radio students get pressure experience from the present radio and TV shows, with an occasional fling at covering football and basketball games on the public address system. And as student interest increases, so will the list of radio shows. A forum TV pro­gram and musical AM performances will be regular productions, and there will be special productions for holidays.

OU's radio training has already paid off for one student. Undergrad Ralph Carey is a full time announcer at KOIL. Then why stay in school? "In the radio profession, you never stop learning," he answers. "Anybody in the business can pick up pointers out here."