Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reality Star Khloe Kardashian Adds To The 'Mix' On Dallas Radio

Good morning, cool cats. Thought I'd share a story I wrote for my journo gig at Radio-Info.com. I've streamlined it for the Nun; you can see the original version here.

When Jay Michaels landed the Program Director post five months ago at Clear Channel’s KDMX (Mix 102.9) Dallas, his mandate was to make the longtime Hot AC more than a female-friendly background companion. In a word, he aimed to make the station a lifestyle.

Mix is already trending up in the radio ratings, and now Michaels has put his money where the mic is. Starting January 30, Khloe Kardashian—yes, of reality show renown—joined Mix’s weekday line-up with “The Mixup with Khloe Kardashian Odom.” The show, which airs 12-1 p.m., includes celebrity call-ins, listener interaction and plenty of dish.

Kardashian and husband Lamar Odom became residents of Dallas last month when the NBA player was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks. It took Michaels about a minute to begin calculating a plan: “As soon as I heard Lamar and Khloe were moving to Dallas, I started thinking about what she could do for Mix,” he says. “We’re trying to brand the station as a destination for pop culture. It was a crazy idea, but I started digging around to find people I knew that knew her people.”

Michaels connected with Ryan Seacrest—heard via syndication in afternoon drive at Mix (as well as producer of the Kardashians franchise on E!)—which led to Khloe’s mom, Kris Jenner, and then to Khloe. “It was a long, crazy process,” he muses, but everyone involved was just tremendous.”

Following the show’s launch January 30, the PD is all the more certain that his new talent was destined for radio. “If Khloe were just a reality star with no personality and nothing to say—and we did this just for the publicity—it certainly wouldn’t work,” he says. “The fact is, she has all the elements you look for in on-air talent. She’s open and honest, educated, quick-witted and a natural at interviews. What she does in bare banter is brilliant. I can’t tell you how good she is.”

Each hour-long show comprises a celebrity or music guest phoner, along with Kardashian’s take on current pop culture, and call-in interaction with station listeners between the songs. On her first show, Khloe had mom Jenner alongside in the studio, and an interview with Kyle Richards, one of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Michaels says, “They’ve known each other for years, and they talked about being at each other’s house playing dress-up together. It’s great radio and different from gossip. Money can’t buy the conversation that went down between them.

“She’s funny and witty and very comfortable with whoever calls in. Nothing is off limits because she’s so open and honest,” Michaels adds.

Before “The Mixup with Khloe Kardashian Odom” even launched, reaction has been over the top. In addition to mountains of global consumer press, Michael says, “My email box is full with questions from people all over the world. Dallas-Fort Worth fans have given them the warmest welcome. People are chanting her name at Mavericks’ games. This is a kind and friendly city, and the response has been very welcoming.”

So, of course, the question that begs to be asked: Might Khloe, who has also been heard on other Clear Channel stations in the past, be primed for syndication? “We’re doing our best here and taking it one day at a time,” Michaels offers. “But I don’t believe there’s another female like this that’s syndicated in radio. We do have something unique. I think she will blow people away. It makes it a joy to come in every day and work your ass off.” *

Taco Bell Now Aims To Make You Ill In The Morning, Too

Taco Bell, which arguably offers the most disgusting fast food fare among any national chain, is aiming to nauseate customers morning, noon and night. The faux Mexican-style joint introduced a breakfast menu last week at nearly 800 restaurants in 14 states.

So far the menu comprises an innocent enough selection of breakfast burritos stuffed with eggs and either sausage, bacon or "steak"; sausage & egg wraps; hash browns; hot or iced coffee; and OJ.... But, of course, it will still smell like Taco Bell, right? Oh, my, I think I just spit up a little...

So far, the breakfast experiment is taking place at Taco Bell locations in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado, with a handful in Texas, Ohio and Oklahoma. Okay, I've done my part... you've been warned. *

Bleeker Bob's: Another Beloved NYC Indie Record Stores Bites It

Another one bites the dust. The New York Times reported over the weekend that longtime indie record store, Bleecker Bob’s Golden Oldies in the West Village, one of a scant few remaining in New York City, is shuttering.

Bleecker Bob’s will close its store at 118 West Third Street at the end of April, according to manager Chris Wiedener.

The store, which opened as Village Oldies Records in 1968, had been able to stay alive because of leased space in the back, including a tattoo parlor, which helped pay the rent. The last subtenant was a comic book store, which closed in 2008.

Of course, within the past several years, we've lost Tower Records and both the Times Square and Union Square locations of Virgin Records. Among the last of its kind remaining, as far as I know: the long-lived Colony Records on Broadway at 49th Street; and the cool Rebel Rebel, also on Bleeker Street in the West Village. I stopped by the latter on Sunday, just to pay respects. *

Abby & Spencer: Tucked In, Tuckered Out

Temps are supposed to reach the mid 50s in New York Tuesday, but Monday was a different story... Brrr! Had there been room, I would have happily climbed under the covers with Abby & Spencer.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happiness Is: Realizing That 'Oldies' Radio Now Means The '80s

Every morn when I shower, my Hello Kitty radio in the bathroom (gimme a break, I found it in my building's trashroom, and it works!) is tuned to all-news 1010 WINS-AM, which gives me weather/headlines "in 22 minutes."

But somehow, no matter when I seem to click on, I've timed entry to :15 and :45 minutes after the hour... just when the endless, boring sports report comes on. With the New York Giants entering the Super Bowl in a week, it's all the more relentless.

Enough, already... I finally decided to change the dial Saturday morning, and landed on a station playing '80s Foreigner, followed by Olivia Newton-John. Stop right there... Five minutes later, I was admittedly horrified to discover that the outlet was "Oldies" WCBS-FM (101.1), which I always knew as the station that pounded Motown and dusty '70s hits.

Oops... Obviously the outlet is moving forward with its demographic... and I am now among its intended audience of 34-49. Wise thinking on the part of CBS Radio to recognize that its listeners are a constantly moving target. I'm well aware that top 40 typically makes my ears bleed (read: Black Eyed Peas) and NYC AC remains too sleepy and way too narrow for my tastes.

So it appears I've found a new favorite FM on the dial... and to add to the coup, WCBS offers online streaming specifically for the '60s, '70s and '80s. While writing this post, I've heard Duran Duran, Madonna, a-ha, Joan Jett and Bonnie Tyler. Nirvana, indeed.

Now if only the radio industry could convince anyone under 20 that the console built into their vehicle's dashboard offers free entertainment 24/7... Sadly, a decade ago, the biz replaced music with as much as 16 minutes of commercials an hour (thanks, Clear Channel) and replaced local DJs with syndicated programming, just as internet "radio" gained traction, eradicating new generations from bothering with radio. Perhaps there's no turning back... but for old-timers like me, radio is born again. *

Describe Your Sex Life With A Movie Title: The Absolute Best

The best Facebook post I've seen in months has been spreading like wildfire over the past week... and the responses are pretty hysterical. Apparently, the world isn't as satiated by satisfying sex as we might image. I offer dozens of responses collected from Facebook, Yelp and other webbies. Believe me, this has pervaded the internet with ultimate verve. Genius! *

My bids for the top dozen titles:
A Shot In The Dark... Gone In 60 Seconds... Batteries Not Included... Better Off Dead... Titanic... Alone in the Dark... Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close... The Dead Zone... Gone With The Wind... Failure To Launch... While You Were Sleeping... The Lovely Bones...

And the best of the rest...

This Is Why I Love Living In Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.

Sunday, January 29, 2012, 7 p.m., panoramic pieced together / Nikon D5000. *

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Talk About The Passion: Celine Dion At Jamaica Blues Festival

Now that's what I'm talking about. Celine Dion brings down the house and rips the sky wide open at this weekend's Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival. Go, girl! *

Joe Manganiello Lays It All Out In 'Flaunt' Mag

Joe Manganiello, the Smoking Nun's Sexiest Man Alive for 2011, is looking mighty rugged in Flaunt magazine's meaty feature. In the accompanying profile he discusses his wolfen character Thunder on HBO's True Blood: “It’s exhilarating when they hand you the chain and let you take him for a walk, and you realize he’s this massive, crazy, wild animal, and could chew you to pieces... and he’s my friend.”

As an artistic child with an athletic build growing up in football country, Manganiello felt a connection to monsters in that he understood how it felt to never quite fit in: “I’d always yell at my mom to close the door at night, because I wanted monsters to come out of the closet and from under the bed. I really felt like if they existed, they would at least be my friends.” See the full text here.

Meat Market Sunday: Nick Ayler, Kellan Lutz & Henry Cavill

Twilight actor and Smoking Nun finalist for 2011's Sexiest Man of the Year Kellan Lutz recently modeled his new clothing line for Abbot+Main, at Cali's Venice Beach, joined by model Kate Upton. While he's got an undeniably hot body—and we see how he amply fills up his undies ads for Calvin Klein—you know what I'm focusing on first, cool cats? Those beautiful white teeth...
For Dylan George’s Abbot+Main “diffusion line,” Kellan co-designed his own line of jeans... Here's the provocative print campaign the hunk shot last July, with a reminder of his Calvin wares...
Meanwhile, another of our 2011 finalists for Sexiest Man, Nick Ayler, was recently photographed on the beach in the Hamptons by photographer Richard Gerst. Man, it's getting hot in here.Why stop there? Here are the latest photos of Henry Cavill in and around the set of Superman, Man Of Steel. While he doesn't look much different from previous poses, is it possible to have too many?At LAX Airport, revealing his steel man's bod... *

Saturday, January 28, 2012

VIDEO: Cyndi Lauper For New York's Powerball

How hilariously irresistible is this? Cyndi Lauper pawns New York's Powerball lottery...

Friday's Fab Opening Of Spanking New Gay XL Nightclub

The opening night launch for XL, New York's first new gay nightclub in 15 years, was one frigging fabulous event, indeed. Its location far west on 42nd Street and below gayborhood Hell's Kitchen was hardly a deterrent for the hundreds consistently standing in line from its opening at 10 p.m. until I made my exit after 1 a.m.

I got a tour of the XL Lounge, Cabaret and Nightclub Monday while interviewing Beto Sutter (who is launching the venture with partner John Blair [(profiled in Wednesday's New York Times]), and found it hard to imagine that in four days, the joint was going to be polished up in time for opening: Crews were still installing major fixtures and finishes.

But sure enough, XL glistened Friday, as an endless stream of men from their 20s & up, along with a multitude of drag queens and lady friends, paraded through the elegant Lounge, with its circular center bar (and the hottest bartenders this side of Fire Island), then down the corridor to the 11,000sf Cabaret & Nightclub. The one caveat: $9 for a house drink. Ouch.

The technology there is expectedly state-of-the-art, with $100,000 invested in lights, controlled by a $50,000 board, and 3D effects on the dancefloor with a giant LED screen backing the stage.

Seen: Village Voice journo Michael Musto, pop singer Kesha, drag impresarios Lady Bunny & Sherry Vine, Reichlin Lehmkuhl & Mike Ruiz from Logo's The A-List, OUT NYC founding partner Ian Simpson Reisner, former Miss Africa Nyasha Zimucha...

Time will reveal if XL matures as an ongoing NYC hip-trip, but it's off to a rousing start. *

Celine Dion Talks Madonna From Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival

At her headlining performance this weekend from the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Celine Dion was asked about fellow superstar Madonna's upcoming halftime performance at next week's Super Bowl.

"That tart? She needs to back away from the mic and the Botox. Girlfriend is looking a little stretched, don't cha think?" Dion told reporters.

Okay, not really. She shared with The Trend on Zappos Couture, "I love Madonna and know her well. She's going to be great, just fine; she doesn't need any luck. She's going to do her thing, do what she does best, (and) give us something for us to remember."

Unfortunately, now that we know that Madonna's Super Bowl special guest is going to Cee Lo, I'm not so sure I agree. Ironically, he also appeared at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival this weekend.

And speaking of, bringing Celine to that event is being heralded as monumental for the locale. Jamaica Jazz and Blues producer Walter Elmore said, "Because Celine Dion has never appeared in this region nor at a music festival, this is a coup for us. We are certain her appearance will bring more visitors to Jamaica and enhance the stature of our world class event."

Conceived as a vehicle for increasing Jamaica's tourism during the low season, the Jazz and Blues Festival was launched in October 1996. *