Friday, February 02, 2007

Phil Saw His Shadow... 

But XM hasn't seen the error of their ways...

Sonovista, my friends... It's been a long time since I've written and it'll probably be even longer until I write again...

As is fairly obvious, our efforts to Save MSNBC on XM were completely unsuccessful... Not a Matthews... Not a Tucker... Nuthin...

It's clear that this is a stupid-ass mistake (and I've read in industry publications that the investment in Oprah is a bust vis-a-vie new subscribers, etc.), but there you go! I've set up my Mac with a little EYETV box from ElGato to record Tucker and Matthews and KeithO every night and automatically throw them onto my iPod, which I then listen to in the car or office the next day... not perfect but it works

I've also found that by doing a Google search for MSNBC and stream you can find "things"... i'm just saying... if you look past the first 7 or 8 results you'll find "things"... i'm just saying...

Anyway, since this is likely to be the last post (unless i hear some active news about management changes at XM), let me get in a shameless plugĀ® for my own weekly comedy/pop-culture talk show Schnauzer Logic, previously (and possibly soon to be again) heard KSCO in Santa Cruz, CA, and currently just wrapping our first anniversary as a podcast... the show is PG-13 and silly/funny/dirty/smart... its not everyone's cup of tea, but we're currently making over 1000 people around the world smile, a little bit, every week.

Thanks for all the support on this cause... It'll all come out in the wash.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quick Update... 

Sonovista, my friends... just a quick note... i received a phone call late this afternoon from Kevin Straley... no "official" progress to report (yet), but its clear that the issue of MSNBC on XM is not dead... i again offered our support in providing XM with stats and demographics of our group, should they prove helpful in "convincing" whoever needs to be convinced.

film at 11...

get some giggles by listening to Schnauzer Logic

remember to Vote

winners don't do drugs

wait for the tone




Monday, October 23, 2006

I Closed the Petition & Heard from Scott Walterman and Kevin Straley 

Sonovista, my friends... the ratio of spam to signatures has risen to over 10:1, so i've decided to close the petition (which has outlasted its usefulness) and point people here instead. Thanks to everyone who signed the petition and made calls, sent letters and emails and tried to change a bad decision.

Last week I sent an email to both Scott Walterman and Kevin Straley asking for an update...

Scott wrote the following:

At this point there is no consideration being tiven to bringint the channel back as a fulltime channel. I am still working on getting Hardball and Countdown somewhere on the platform, but as you can imagine that is moving slowly. Scott

Actually I can't imagine why things are moving slowly, unless XM is looking to bring on -another- freekin comedy channel (sigh)...

I also heard from Vice President Straley who wrote:

Still in a similar place to the conversation we had a few weeks back. I would be happy to discuss this with you or members of your group at your earliest convenience. Best, Kevin

Kevin and I were suppose to talk today but it didn't happen, but he says he'd be happy to talk with members of our group, so please do!

And that's all I got!
more later

Sunday, October 08, 2006

In Fourteen Hundred Ninety Two, Colombus Sailed The Ocean Blue... 

Sonovista, my friends... its been a while since I've posted anything... mostly because there isn't much to say... but here's a summary of where we are:

1. Every day somewhere between 1 and 10 people sign the petition... I had decided that if we went for a full 24-hours without getting a new signature, I'd lock the petition down, but like a leaky faucet, the signatures keep drip, drip, dripping in... so the current plan is to wait for a 24-hour period of silence, or 999 signatures, whichever comes first, and then shut it down (the reason for shutting it down, btw, is because i still get a separate email every time someone signs and have to manually approve their signature, which means i get interrupted, literally, 10 times a day!)... and let's face it... signing the petition at this point is ... well, pointless... the plug was pulled and no number of additional signatures will make any difference... we managed to get about 1000 people... that means what it means and, from XM's point of view, it didn't mean much.

2. Every few days I get an email from someone suggesting that XM double-up CNBC and MSNBC on the same channel... sounds like a good idea to me, but my only association with XM is that of a subscriber (well, truth be told, back when XM was on the drawing board i did send an aircheck package to the head of programming at that time, Dave Logan, who actually called me to say that he liked my voice and production skills and would be willing to talk with me about doing voiceover work for XM, but that my shows, while entertaining, were 'stupid' and had no content... and i'll -NEVER- understand how someone in the entertainment business can use that as a reason not to air a show, even if it is true, which in my case it wasn't... Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David have proven that "nothing" is the single thing we all have in common and a show about "nothing" can be very profitable, indeed!)

3. As you may know XM, who had to drop MSNBC because they were out of bandwidth, apparently found just enough bandwidth to launch a !!!FOURTH!!! comedy channel, the new (and presumably short-lived) National Lampoon Radio Channel... now there was no bigger fan of the National Lampoon magazine or the original National Lampoon Radio Hour programs than Me... but the last time the name National Lampoon was attached to anything even remotely funny, Chevy Chase was considered cutting edge... Now the more cynical among us would say that substituting a comedy channel for a news channel is just the kind of thing that Orwell or Huxley or Gilliam would come up with... but the last time Orwell or Huxley or Gilliam was considered cutting edge, Chevy Chase was still funny... Anyway, its a "shanda"...

And that's what I know... Scott Walterman is still working on bringing MSNBC back, but I fear that Rep. Tom Foley will be back sooner... Although from the notes people send to me, it looks like Scott is (or at least was) trying to bring back at least a part of the MSNBC prime-time lineup, so drop him a note and ask how things are going...

Anyway, I wouldn't expect many more updates unless something changes... this blog and the petition project was only to talk about MSNBC on XM... i still do a weekly comedy/entertainment/news/podsafe music podcast called Schnauzer Logic which, as the experts will tell you, is well produced, very stupid, and pretty much about nothing (grin)... and yet more than 1000 people listen in each week from points all around the globe... go figure?! You can get to the show blog by clicking on my smiling face to the right, or by searching for my name or Schnauzer Logic in the iTunes Music Store, where you can subscribe.

For me, well i've set up my little EyeTV recorder on my Mac to record Countdown every night and then copy it directly to my iPod... so i can listen (or watch) it the next morning as i'm driving to work, which is not perfect, but gives me what i want less than 24 later...

And if i'm near an internet connection, i latch on to one of the MSNBC live (and unauthorized) audio feeds that are floating around... I won't tell you how to find them (so please don't email) but if you're clever you'll be able to dig them out (i'm a moron and i was able to dig up two in about 3 minutes)

For now its all about the end of the baseball season... I predict the Mets and the Tigers with the Mets taking it in 5... Also Dewey Beats Truman... And 640k of memory ought to be enough for anyone!


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

All Hail Scott Walterman (huzzah! huzzah!) 

Sonovista, my friends... by permission of Tony Zinman, here is an email he received from Scott Walterman:

Subject: RE: Countdown and Hardball
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 10:06:54 -0400
From: "Walterman, Scott"
To: "Anthony Zinman"

Thanks for your email. I am actually trying to find a place for Countdown and Hardball on the schedule. I don't know if I'll be sucessful, but I've been given the green light to try by my boss.

Scott Walterman
director of third party news programming
XM Satellite Radio

i know i've previously said that i don't think we should stoop to bribes, but Kudos (or maybe a Snickers) to Scott probably would be in order... i know what its like to swim upstream and the frequent shouts of "you go girl!" or "right on, robin!" or "last call for alcohol!" do much to revive the spirit, and i would guess that at least one of these three examples would work for Scott, too!

scott can be reached here:

more news as it develops... we now return you to soul-crushing despair, already in progress...


Friday, September 22, 2006

L'Shana Tova to all our Jewish Friends at XM and MSNBC 

like... uh... um... damn... i can't think of a single schwartz-o-witz-en-stein-mc-berg on either side... who says jews control the media? (well, a lot of antisemetic wackos, i guess)

tomorrow, 9/23, is the first day of Fall (the Autumnal Equinox), the jewish new year of 5767, and the birthday of bruce springsteen, ray charles, john coltrane and me... and what do i want for my birthday?

(and a pony)

and it looks like i may just be getting what i want... i hear they're backing up a horse trailer even as i type... man... i love the smell of oats in the morning... it smells like... well, like oats, frankly, but oaty smelling oats is some kind of victory, no?

on the other hand, all is quiet on the XM front... there is a clear lesson that if you stay silent after an unpopular decision, you can generally ride it out... there may be consequences in the long run, but in the short run there won't be any blame or accountability... for example, i know that if you call XM and tell them that you're going to cancel your service because they dropped MSNBC they will give you 3 free months... don't believe me? go and try it... that's $36 they're giving every subscriber who isn't happy... assuming we have 1000 subscribers who call (about the number on the petition) that's a give-away of $36,000 with no guarantee that you'll keep the subscriber... if every signature on the petition represents 10 subscribers (not unreasonable) that's $360,000 they're willing to give away to keep the peace... does that make sense? to give away more than a quarter of a million dollars? how much did MSNBC cost them to carry?

anyway, according to one person who contacted XM, there is someone who is interested in keeping some of the MSNBC programming... according to Maureen:

Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 21:54:54 EDT
Subject: Response from XM
To: robin@savemsnbconxm.com

Hi, and my sincere thanks for taking the initiative to try to save MSNBC on XM!

I'd signed your petition, and made several phone calls to XM, then pretty much gave up and was prepared to unsubscribe from XM.

But this afternoon, I was extremely -- and pleasantly -- surprised to receive a call from XM's Scott Walterman (SP?).

We spoke at length, and he said he is trying to persuade his boss to at least keep Countdown and Hardball on XM. Meanwhile, he's endeavoring to find "a place" (channel) for those two shows.

He also explained that MSNBC garnered very few listeners, relatively, and, to paraphrase, didn't earn its keep. (Seems they have 'X' amount of channels, and must allocate them according to audience demand.)

He seemed sincere about trying to find a place for Olbermann and Matthews -- let's just hope it happens!

Again, thanks for picking up the ball and running with it.

Fort Lauderdale

well, it turns out that scott is responsible for 'News" programming at XM, so i sent him an email (and one to hugh panero as well) asking them who the best person would be to focus our efforts so that we don't simply keep bombarding the entire XM staff... if someone is collecting stats, we're better off concentrating on that person... and you know what scott and hugh said?

dunno... still waiting for any kind of a response...

you can try yourself, though!

the addresses are:


and feel free to see if hugh will respond to you... you're a subscriber, this is a business:


and that's it! i'll be shutting down the petition shortly... i still have to manually accept every signature and at this point i think XM gets the message and simply doesn't care... i'll leave the blog open for a while, though, as a place for folks to publish any new information... in the meanwhile i wish each and every one of you a very happy Yom Tov and a sweet new year... i've gotta run... i've got some pony shit i've got to clean up!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

800 Signatures and a Call from Kevin Straley 

Sonovista, my friends! Well, a few hours ago we broke through the 800 signature mark (802 as I type this entry). A Mr. Tommy Saunders of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who wrote, "Dear, Rosanne Rosannadanna..."

No, that's not right... But congratulations to all of us... It's hard to say that it's "working" because the goal of this exercise is the return of MSNBC to XM, and right now I'm watching ol' KeiBo on the tube instead of listening to him no my XM radio while driving to the hospital to help a patient of mine deliver a baby... We all have to set our priorities...

But I did get a call this afternoon from The Reverand Dr. Kevin Straley, QC, MP, VP of Talk/News Programming at XM... A summary of our conversation can be drawn as follows:

1. People are calling and are passionate and articulate.
2. XM is out of space and have added new channels and something had to go.
3. The calls and letters and petition have raised awareness and Kevin admitted that 800 signatures was a "good number".
4. XM has no plans to restore the channel in the next week or month, but is looking and listening.

In other words, a nice 8 minute conversation where nothing substantive happened and no changes were made.

Good Times!

Kevin did say that XM has brought two things back before, Liquid Metal and the Dave Ramsey show. I suggested that MSNBC had an even stronger case to be brought back since (a) it couldn't be streamed on XM's site (like LM was) and (b) Dave Ramsey is syndicated and can be heard elsewhere, unlike MSNBC which was an XM exclusive.

In any event, here's what I took away (just my impressions)... XM did not expect the vocal opposition they've been receiving and would consider bringing MSNBC back if they could be convinced that folks would trade MSNBC for "E!" or something else (a zero-sum game)... But a new contract with MSNBC would have to be put in place for this to happen (he also said it was a matter of "t-t-t-timing", which is why, I assume, the channel was pulled on the first Monday of September).

So, we need to keep up the pressure on XM to let them know we -still- want them to reverse their decision. Call Kevin (202-380-4378) if you haven't done so, and let him hear from you directly. Also, keep sending email to XM, including their "brass" (see addresses in posts below)... Kevin didn't make this decision by himself.

Also I think we need to put pressure on MSNBC (I could be wrong, and haven't seen the contract, but there may be some flexibility in how MSNBC gets programmed that they weren't willing to give up.) I'll get the right folks at MSNBC and post their names and addresses here for you to write to.

And that's it... As I would have told that patient in labour, "Keep Pushing"!!!

more later

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