Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode XI: ‘Mulligan’

August 28, 2015
Big Words Video XI Publicity Still by Producer Richard Wicka.

Big Words Video XI Publicity Still by Producer Richard Wicka.

Buffalo’s a small city, and when you’re an artistic type, you tend to bump into the same people over and over as the years shuffle onward.  Public Editor-In-Chief Geoff Kelly and I have been friends for going on fifteen years now, and I’m glad we keep seeing each other.  He was a solid guest, he’s a great journalist and this episode was one year and two shoots into the making.  We originally shot the show in June only to find out that we lost it because of a sound problem.  Geoff was good enough to circle back yesterday for another attempt.  Producer Richard Wicka implemented a new lighting system to his Home Of The Future that gives the show a very crisp look rolling into the second season, Mike P. brought a dry sensibility in the Co Host Hot Seat, and of course, there’s the moustache.  Thanks are in order to Geoff, Richard, Mike and also Brian Platter for recording a new rendition of Jay Desiderio’s original theme music for the show.  Please be kind enough to Like, Share, Subscribe, Favorite, Retweet, +1 or whatever the hell else it is that the kids are doing on their social medias these days!  I’ll see you next week with a brand new rant right here!

Tom

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Big Words Video 11.5: ‘Subversive’

August 28, 2015

This was a clip I spent an entire day grappling with.  Geoff and I had the idea to turn the camera around and aim a few questions at the wise-cracking host who relentlessly roasts all of his guests.  The results were less than flattering, but in the interest of fairness, I ran with it.  See for yourself.  And while you’re at it, please SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on Youtube for new shows, updates and other miscellany as it develops.  The show’s got a really strong roster this year.  I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

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A Fond Farewell To A Buffalo Broadcasting Legend

August 6, 2014

Brian Kahle

Just a quick note today for an old friend who was more than a ‘showbiz’ friend.

I just found out (from Ed Honeck at Night Life) that Buffalo broadcasting great Brian Kahle passed away last year.

I originally met Brian in Clarence in 2002 when he was going business to business for his own company, Magic Marketing.  He was smooth and friendly and he always had a natural smile on his face.  I followed up with him about some help promoting my first published book, Born Pissed.  We ‘took a lunch’ at the T.G.I.Fridays in Clarence.  He quoted me a price for a marketing package (it was too high for me, I’m cheap) and picked up the tab.

Somehow or another I wound up on his Night Life Radio show (probably because I wrote bar and exotic club reviews for Night Life) in 2003 in order to promote my second book, Zany Hijinx.  The radio station was housed next to Spot Coffee on Delaware and Chippewa.  While I was waiting to go on Brian’s show with my friend, former mayor Jimmy Griffin (who Brian mixed it up with on AM Buffalo) came walking out after a friendly interview with Brian.  Somehow they’d patched things up and they were on friendly terms again.  That’s just one example of how genuinely friendly Brian was.

Over the years we kept in touch.  Brian moved his radio show to WLVL in Lockport and I went on a number of times.  Any time I had a new book he was happy to let me come on and hawk it.  He always researched before his show, he was always professional and at his core he was a DECENT guy.  There’s a shortage of them in Buffalo journalism, broadcasting, hell, anywhere in Buffalo.  We’d talk before and after every show just to get caught up on our personal lives.  He launched a television show with Time Warner and was very successful with it.

Towards the end of Big Words Radio he agreed (without flinching) to come on as a guest on the show.  I fired away (like I always do) with my usual nonsense and he played right along.  He even told me later that he lost a date because of his association with the show.  He didn’t care.  You can hear the show at this address: http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/audio/11062a.mp3

Brian Kahle was from the old school of broadcasting.  He did his research, he was what I think of as a class act, and he had the quality of being a NICE person.  You can’t fake that.  He and I often talked about how blurry the lines between journalism and advertising have become in newspapers, magazines and on the radio.  The media has devolved into a vehicle for their advertisers, printed solicitations for future advertisers, or attempts not to piss off people who just might advertise at some point.  He knew it and I knew it.  Traditional journalism has all but gone the way of the dodo, and Brian was one of the last guys who tried to toe the line.

I will genuinely miss him.  Buffalo has a little less integrity now that he’s gone.  And in terms of broadcasting, I hope that Buffalo will never forget his contribution, which was palpable.

Rest in peace, Brian.

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Big Words Radio Episode 62: Auto Erotic Ass Pixelation (w/Brian Kahle)

June 13, 2011

On the playback, I felt that last night’s show with Brian Kahle couldn’t have been any more perfect.  Brian was charming, funny and well-spoken.  John Kindelan was funny, engaging when it was called for and well-spoken.  It was just the right blend of offensiveness, revealing answers and intelligent responses.  If every show was like this one, I’d do it a hell of a lot more often.  I made a conscious decision a year ago to devote one calendar year on the show to booking guests that I had an existing rapport with versus landing national celebrities and wound up somewhere in the middle.  The proof is in the pudding right here.  Here’s your synopsis for Episode 62:

 

Episode 62: Auto Erotic Ass-Pixelation

Tom settles in for a bucket of scotch while he trades industry stories with Buffalo icon Brian Kahle (Magic Marketing) and co-host John Kindelan (theboompage.com).  The boys discuss mustaches, helipads and their enormous financial largesse.

 

To hear the show, click here:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

 

You can also hear the new show (along with every previous episode and bonus clip) here:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

I applaud Brian Kahle for his frank and candid discussion as well as his career as a whole.  For a Buffalonian, I couldn’t have any more respect for him as a person.  It was a genuine thrill to be in the same room with two of the biggest marketing influences of my lifetime (Brian and Richard Wicka).  Thanks to both for making this show happen.  Thanks are also in order to John Kindelan for taking the time out to co-host.  He did a bang-up job of rolling with the punches.

I’ve got some entertaining things planned for the next two shows that should prove to be fun for listeners.  You’ll find out more in July.

Thanks for tuning in,

Tom Waters

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Thoughts on the Flight 3407 Plane Crash…

February 13, 2009
I was very torn about whether or not to write about the horrific plane crash late Thursday night/early this morning, but I feel compelled to. While most people cope with any tragedy of this magnitude, they tend to relate to the event by making it about them. I’ve always shied away from writing about celebrity deaths or Buffalo tragedies because I would rather mourn in my own time than jump onto a bandwagon and vie for recognition in the classic journalistic tradition of grabbing headlines or boosting site hits by banking on the loss and grief of others.

While it’s appropriate and relevant to report an event regarding the who, what, where, why and how, oftentimes writers inject their own egos in situations like these where it’s not warranted (i.e. ‘I met Jimmy Griffin at a church function in ‘76’ or ‘September 11th was important to ME because I was doing THIS on that day and my cousin’s sisters’ husband was down the street’, etc.). While many of my essays are egocentric, I strongly frown on this sort of narcissism in professional writing. Lives have been lost and this has nothing to do with me or anyone else who tries to make it about them. If more people read between the lines in whatever newspaper they read or any cable news station that milked such an awful occurrence for everything it was worth, they’d realize just how exploitative and heartless the field can be.

In this instance, I’d like to say a few things. I was born, raised and lived in Clarence for 26 years before moving out of town to Amherst and then Lancaster. It will always be a part of me and living a half an hour away, that sounds foolish, but there is a definite cultural difference between Clarence and Lancaster. I wrote an article some time back in the Buffalo News My View column about my love for Lancaster and the fact that (like anyone aging and finding out that they ‘can’t go home again’), Clarence has become more populated and less rural over the course of the last twenty years. Over the summer, the Town of Lancaster was kind enough to include this article in a time capsule that was sealed in a building for the next 100 years. Clarence loyalists didn’t take to this article too kindly, but many alumni from high school agreed.

Since my parents’ home is on the border of Williamsville, we spent the majority of our year directly in the flight path leading to and from the Buffalo airport. Most people who live in Clarence can hear the planes that depart and arrive throughout the day and it became so commonplace that we learned to tune it out. It was part of growing up and living in Clarence. For all of us.

In December, I obtained a part time job in Clarence where I remain and work three days a week. It’s given me a great opportunity to reconnect with the town I grew up in and visit with old school chums or familiarize myself with the surrounding townships, bars and roads. The Goodrich Road/Clarence Center Rd. area (where the crash took place) is not only five minutes away from Clarence Central High School, it’s also ten to fifteen minutes away from my place of employment. The Clarence Middle School is also five minutes away from the crash site.

My heart goes out to the victims and families of flight 3407. Early reports are already confirming that most of the 49 people who died in the crash were Buffalonians. It was a horrible, horrible tragedy and most of us will be coping with the loss and grieving in our own ways throughout the weekend and well beyond.

With any unexpected death or national disaster, I try and look for the positive effects and ramifications that weigh out all the negative and saddening events. For those familiar with the Goodrich Rd./Clarence Center area, it’s a highly populated, well-developed suburban area on the border of Amherst and Clarence Center.   With two neighboring schools, a firehall and densely populated neighborhoods, it’s a godsend that more people weren’t hurt. It’s also very fortunate that the crash took place so close to the Clarence Center Fire Hall. Luckily, their response time was much faster than it would have been had the crash taken place further away from their station. What happened was awful. If the crash happened further out, though, the fire could have cost more lives and caused more property damage (during a Buffalo winter where we’ve already had plenty) than it did.

It’s always especially painful when any deaths occur so close to a major holiday. It seems as if the really decent people always die near national holidays. Again, my condolences to the friends and family of the victims in the plane crash. You will be in everyone’s thoughts and prayers in spite of living in a world of exploitative, ulterior and sensationalistic media overexposure where any tragedy is concerned.

Hopefully Buffalo media outlets won’t milk the crash for their own selfish purposes too much in the coming weeks. It would be nice to see ANY media outlet take the moral high ground by being tasteful and conservative on their take as opposed to disrupting the grieving process by hammering surviving relatives with questions for weeks on end and conducting around-the-clock coverage long after all relevant facts have been released and the news portion of the story is gone and the dead horse portion of the exposure truly begins. Please be tasteful and remember that it’s not always ’all about you’ or ’all about Buffalo’ when handling the story. For once. See also: Tim Russert, Jimmy Griffin, anything having to do with the Goo Goo dolls, etc. Real journalists will attempt to write about the story tastefully and objectively within a short time frame. Again, our thoughts and prayers will be with you.

 

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Rock Bottom Club Watch Hits Gusto, or: Hare-Brained Today/Gone Tomorrow

August 1, 2008

After two months of one-review only coverage, my review for Rock Bottom (on Transit Rd. in Amherst) starts off August with a bang.  And with the wedding just around the corner, any extra revenue is truly appreciated.  In the wake of the Buffalo Rising all out cage match, it’s a big plus to get some extra credibility.  Some of us actually get paid to write, and the smarter writers have editors with a high level of professionalism who do indeed edit our work (which is an editor’s job, if I’m not mistaken) instead of telling us to edit it.  I was just talking to Deanna Russo (one of the frontrunners at Buffalo.com’s YourHub) about life, the universe and everything on Wednesday and we agreed that despite what ill everyone may have to say about the Buffalo News (most of them losing competitors), I’ve never had any problems with them.  Their staff and their writers have always had a level of diplomacy and professionalism that is unparralleled in Buffalo and I truly, truly appreciate it.  After working closely with Brian Connelly (the editor for Club Watch) for well over eighteen months now, I don’t think I could ask for a better mentor. 

     And meanwhile, out and about, I continue to tell every living soul about what a reprehensible piece of shit Elena Buscarino is.  Apparently she’s the lead singer in a big band, so if you see her out, feel free to throw some rotten produce in the vicinity of her fat mouth.  A ball gag would serve better, but what’s a fella to do?  The old saw goes that when a customer has a poor experience, he’ll tell ten people.  I’m ahead of the curve on that one.  If I have a poor experience, I just won’t be capable of ending my infinite ire regarding the situation.  You made a very large mistake, BRO.  I want Elena’s job by week’s end, her sanity by the end of August, and the paper to fold by New Year’s of 2009. 

     It would most likely be the best thing in the world if ArtVoice would buy them out (like they did with Blue Dog Press in the yesteryear of 2002) and sink the ship to avoid any media confusion.  And say what you will about ArtVoice, but they are an institution, and they march to the beat of their own drummer instead of kow-towing to the public opinion of a small group of simpletons.  Jamie Moses (publisher) and Geoff Kelly (managing editor) are men of conviction, and they follow their passions wherever they happen to carry them.  AV has vision, drive and intensity, and they make a brilliant bookend to everything that is good and true about Buffalo print.

     I tried to contact Geoff about all of this business this week by phone and via email, but to no avail.  Smart odds would bet that AV is going to sit this one out.  I have yet to speak with Elizabeth Licata (whom Elena Buscarino has been less than complimentary regarding), but I’m interested to see if Buffalo Spree magazine would take the hook on my interviews with Kevin McCarthy, Michael Bly and Bob ‘Ernie’ Insana.  I’m also wondering if ArtVoice will bite before Buffalo Spree.  Perhaps my reputation is shot, but I stopped caring about that a long time ago.  As long as I’ve got the Buffalo News, Night Life and my readership on my side, I could truly and honestly care less. 

     Early response to the radio show has been overwhelmingly positive.  Next Wednesday, I’ll be heading into the studio with Harvey and Eisner Award winning comic book artist/writer Alex Robinson.  There will not be a Buffalo angle.  We’re not so insecure that it’s warranted.  Buffalo does fine on it’s own.  It has enough writers who waste their careers and their creative efforts licking Buffalo’s ass like a lollipop that I’d rather not throw mine away on something so timely and trifling.  The thing about local writing is that it’s here today, gone tomorrow.  After the day, you can wrap a fish in it, toss it in the trash or use it as a recepticle for parrot shit.  Write  a good national interview or universal piece about the foibles of the human struggle, though, and you can pimp that feature out for a lifetime.  This is one thing that a lot of respected journalists (and established hacks) will never get.  Yeah, I’m talking about you again, Elena.  I’m not done with you by a long shot.

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1, 2, 3…Elena: Support in Defense against Elena Buscarino

July 30, 2008

     This is proving to be a crusade with quite a decent number of good soldiers.

     Immediately after sending out an emergency email and posting my ‘Open Letter To Buffalo Rising’, a veritable avalanche of emails and phone calls came in.  I’m only going to use first names because I’m not sure which people are willing to stick their necks out and which ones aren’t.   Here is just a small sampling of the support I’ve received since last evening.  

Alycia wrote me with this:

oh my god, what happened! this sounds draining and horrible! i know its none of my business but what was the batman situation? so much of what you wrote piqued my interest! i have to say that i had a bad taste in my mouth about her- i was told by someone at the news to contact her and that they’d ‘kill for a published, mediagenic author to write for them’ and after three emails and a phone mesg, never heard from her so im not surprised she’s shady. what was her one line email about?
im sure you already talked a ton about this so you might not be in the mood to share it again but friend to friend, writer to writer, if you have any spare time this week- let me know more about what happened! im so sorry about it tom- you’re a true talent and its such a shame that buffalo cant appreciate what it has and then throws tantrums when talent leaves the queen city.

And the beat goes on.  Carrie wrote me with:

     Woah.  And you copied all of those people.  Again, more proof that you are my hero.
 
What a set of BALLS!
 
I can’t wait to read their the reply.  Good for you for setting boundaries.
 
I have to get out of here now (still at work). 
 
Scott was gracious enough to offer me yet another avenue for my creative endeavors:
Tom,Richard came to the rescue this morning by saying this:

Elena doesn’t realize what a valuable thing she is giving up. If
she continues on as editor, I can see Buffalo Rising folding.

And finally, Newell responded to my email with this:

OMG. Hang on… I’m dead tired and need to get to an event, but let me get back to you in the morning. Sorry… let me have a sec to digest this.

     Now I may be a pretty prickly pair, but this…all-out war is proving to be bigger than the two of us.  It looks as if Elena should probably start seeking another job (and apparently, some psychiatric help along with a handful of prescriptions.  I truly appreciate the well-spring of ‘here here’s’ along with so many offers for help.  I know that I haven’t been easy to deal with over the years, but I would like to think that the good I’ve done for Buffalo has far outweighed all of my tantrums, outbursts and wrath-filled outbreaks.  This isn’t over.  Not by a long shot.  This proves that once again, a) Don’t f with me, because I’m going to bite back, break the skin and make it ten times worse and b) Find out who you’re dealing with before you piss in their faces.  You never know how many friends (and in what sort of positions of power and leverage) they may have.  Thanks, everybody.  Keep fighting the good fight for me because honestly, I don’t always have the strength.

 

I just recently found your stuff at BR … and thought the batman stuff was pretty cool.

If you’re looking for an outlet that will really let you do your own thing, I might recommend WNYMedia.net. There’s no print version, but their website is really cool and the way they run things there seems to flow pretty well. They’ve got a long list of contributors (including myself) and their interests go from politics to sports to theatre to … everything that isn’t politics, sports and theatre.

Anyway, best of luck and let me know.

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