Thursday, January 31, 2008

Out with the Old... In with the New!

The studio on the left is what our "showcase" studio at the Hall of Fame looked like on Wednesday.

The picture on the right shows 2 of the 3 studios going into the "crow's nest" at the Sommet Center -- high in the sky above Broadway!

And I'm told all 3 studios up there, as well as the two big ones on the main floor, have windows that overlook downtown.

Are we there yet!!?!!

Somebody loves me!

Look what I got in the mail today!Professional Model Not Included

GarthNutts are the BEST! Thank you Thank You Thank You again!

The problem with working from home...

... is that I eat all day.

Under our temporary studio conditions, I work from home 2 days a week. So I thought I'd share a little of my wacky, discombobulated day.

I woke up to hear them giving school closings on the radio. Said a little prayer, which didn't get answered, so I had to get up and take Delaynie to school. On the way home, I did some grocery shopping for a meal we're cooking tomorrow night for Room In The Inn.

Came home, unloaded groceries and set up my laptop on the breakfast bar. Over the course of the morning I've read and responded to emails, made phone calls, made a double batch of corn chowder, watched CMT, proofed a webpage, grumbled a lot about CMT, uploaded photos, made a double batch of brownies, and had our chimney cleaned out, enabling me to make our very first fire in the fireplace.

I had chowder and a baked potato for lunch, and I am stuffed. The brownies and a yet-to-be-made spice cake are for tomorrow night, so I won't be eating those, but it is hard to resist licking the bowl...

Would you like to see photos of the XM Nashville Studios as they are now?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oh Happy Day

Today was one of those days. You know. THOSE days. Like a Monday, but on a Tuesday. However, I took Monday off and did fun things like pay bills and tour a potential new school for Delaynie. So even though it was technically Tuesday, it had all the makings of a Monday. And then some.

As previously mentioned, we've vacated our digs at the Hall of Fame. There's a demolition crew of engineering types removing equipment from there this week. All of the XM Nashville staff is currently working out of our secondary location -- aka "the slow studio." No biggie... there is so much bright beautiful light at the end of our tunnel that we're all happily co-habitating under one tiny roof.

Well. mostly happily. There were some unhappy moments there today.

Our computers were running pretty sluggish all morning, and then they went away. Poof! Gone! Disconnected to the Mother Ship. Woops. Someone unplugged something across town they shouldn't have. Reboot, re-sign in, reload everything, redo what you lost. Eventually we are up and running again.


For a while.

Till it goes away again. Deja Vu.

So engineering needs to take our system down to do some repair. However, we just got back up. It's 12:45. In the nearly 3 hours I'd been at work, I'd gotten one log done. We agree that we'll work frantically until 1:30, and then they'll take us down for about 30 minutes, and we'll come back good as new.

12:52 several musicans walk in. With instruments. For a 2pm session.

Woops, the record label guy told them 1pm. They make themselves comfortable at our conference table and get out the strings.

And start picking.



Meanwhile my phone keeps ringing and the clock keeps ticking and I'm working fast and furiously to get a log finished before they take the system away again. Which is a little difficult to do when you can't hear yourself think.

1:29 we're all out of the computer pool. 2pm our bluegrass session starts. Still no word that the system is back up. I fire up my laptop, swipe someone's wireless, and work on some email bookings. Marty works on a list of artists he wants me to book and then reads the paper. We twiddle our thumbs waiting for the phone to ring to say it's safe to dive back in.

Clock keeps ticking. Finally we try out the system and we get back in. Still isn't running any better. About 3:30 we discover why.

They hadn't gotten around to working on it yet. Which would have been fine if they'd told us. But they didn't. The words that came to my lips are not fit for me to print here. I have zero patience when people have no respect for other people's time. By the time they got around to taking it down they couldn't get very far because everyone on the east coast went home for the day.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat tomorrow.

Light at the end of the tunnel. Keep on shining!

There were a couple of bright spots in my day. First off, I got to oogle Gary Allan in the flesh. Mmmmmm! That made it worth getting up this morning.

Second, Marty hurled chocolate at me in the middle of the pandemonium.

And thirdly, I got THIS in the mail.

All is well with the world.

Well, except for the fact that my mortgage company lost the paperwork I spent a ridiculous amount of money to overnight them so we could refinance our house at a lower interest rate, AND I've spent forever trying to figure out these crazy travel arrangements I've been given that takes me longer to get from the airport to company HQ than it does to fly across the country.

The book, however, is great.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Would love to hear your comments about the Garth CBS special. I was gone this weekend, so I didn't get to watch it until yesterday. As usual... I had to backseat produce it. LOL A few thoughts:

- The production value on the Fire vingettes (including the pieces mixed in and out of the show open) was horrible. We had better Chyron graphics in Peoria in 1994. Sure didn't look like network TV.
- The coming out of commercials mid song didn't bother me because I knew it was live. Not everyone did. Hello -- they needed a "Live from LA" cg. Enhance the feeling that we were the fly on the wall at a special event. It was missing a sense of "this is a big deal" I thought.
- The lower 1/3 cg's pushing the website were nice. HUGE difference in production values.
- Loved "Workin' For A Living" live. Huey looked good.
- Seeing Jimmy and Huey together gave me the biggest smile.
- Sound. Ugh.

That's all I can remember. Your turn.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Introducing Billy Gilman to Brenda Lee at the time he was breaking her records as the "youngest ever to....." Running out of microphones when we had The Oak Ridge Boys and The Bellamy Brothers in studio. Together. The repeat visitors each year at Fan Fair. The HOF's Executive Director drinking a beer with Willie Nelson in our studio. Kitty Wells signing my ID badge. Sending postcards to friends & family because they showed our booth. Having Loretta Lynn repeat liners after me, because I'd typed them too small for her to see. Willie two stepping with one of our DJ's, wearing my husband's cowboy hat. Trick Pony running through the gift shop trying to find Janie Fricke. Getting the phone call that Buck Owens was going to come by after all. Big & Rich being too hung over to perform. Tanya Tucker and her TV cameras. Ray Price. Kenny Rogers. Jessi Colter. Randy Owen.

Walking into THIS beautiful building, and being 'jest so proud to be here.'

Reports From Los Angeles!

Creating this post so that any of my readers who are out in L.A. can report in.

I'm so excited that 'Lish and Paula hooked up, since we failed to make that happen in KC. (Not from a lack of wandering the streets trying though!) Give each other a hug from me!

I'm not sure who else is out there, but feel free to chime in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Garth Brooks Press Conference from LA

GARTH BROOKS Press Conference For LA Benefit Shows
Stream it live at

Thursday, January 24th - 10:30AM PT

Love how he makes these available for the fans to listen in!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Poster Update:

A funny thing happened yesterday, after blogging about the posters up on my hallway wall.

I walked out of the studio, the same door I've been walking out of for 6 1/2 years now. And in front of our door is a wall of Hatch Show Print posters that I've been walking by day in and day out. And I notice a poster there for the Hall of Fame's opening day - May 2001.

We used to have one of those in our studio, and we had all of the Hall of Famers that came in sign it. Kitty Wells, Porter Waggoner, Bill Anderson, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, Loretta Lynn... no telling who else -- seems like there was 8-10 signatures on it, from artists that came in when we broadcast Hank's Place out of Nashville. The poster mysteriously disappeared when XM did some employee pruning several years ago.

At any rate, I now have one of those posters to add to my wall. I've discovered that they sell the Spirit of Nashville posters at the Sommet Center Visitors Center, which I will soon be walking through on my way to work every day. I wonder if we get a discount there?

Now I need to find time to go to Michaels and buy some poster frames!

Nashville Star Update:

I got a little more scoop about Nashville Star since blogging about it a few days ago. I listened to Jewel do an interview with Gerry House on XM 161 the other morning. First off, I have heard Jewel do a couple of other interviews, and up until now, had thought she was dreadfully dull and boring and shy. Hearing her with Gerry, I got a whole other picture of her. She was fun and sassy and very entertaining.

She said that Nashville Star is changing up the format, she will not be hosting, but will be back to be a "mentor." She didn't seem to think there would be a host, but she also said they are doing away with the judges too. Thank heavens!

Alabama Update:

Randy Owen has a new song released to radio called "Braid My Hair." Normally, I rebel against songs that are contrived to be tearjerkers, and this definitely has all the makings of one. I'm not real crazy about the instrumentation... it seems like it's confused as to what kind of song it wants to be. However... lyrically it's pretty damn cool.

If you aren't aware, Randy is the founder of "Country Cares for St. Jude Kids" which raises MILLIONS of dollars for St. Jude Children's Hospital. The proceeds from this song benefit St. Jude, which does amazing work. Visiting the children's hospital will change your life... I've been thinking lately that I need to take Delaynie there, she would love going in and reading to the kids.

Did you know that you can become a St. Jude Partner in Hope for $19 a month? Sixty-three cents a day! They'll automatically withdraw it out of your bank account. Think of all the things you waste $20 on each month! I think it's pretty cool. It's totally Storme Warren's fault that I signed up, and he doesn't even know he gets the credit for it. Check it out at

Back to the boys from Ft. Payne, I was annoyed to see the Alabama Farewell Tour CD from Cracker Barrel on TV last week and see a picture of "Alabama" that didn't include Mark Herndon. Umm... hello? Pretty sure he was on that tour. I did some digging on the internet and discovered he wasn't in either picture on the CD, and apparently, things have gotten even uglier than I realized with that group. Friends shouldn't let friends hire lawyers. It makes me sad.

Monday, January 21, 2008

TV Talk

Catching up on some previous notes.... let's talk TV.

I totally missed all of the Garth programming in November and December on the "Home of Garth." I saw a couple of minutes of Offstage with Lorianne Crook, but totally missed every single other thing. I'm particularly interested in the "Road to Kansas City." If anyone has these on old-fashioned video tape or DVD, I would love to view them. On my honor, I promise not to do anything with them that falls outside of the Fair Use doctrine, as they are for my own personal enjoyment.

I have TiVo'd The Apprentice from last week, but haven't gotten a chance to watch it yet. I also owe an email to my favorite Trace Adkins fan... I just can't seem to get your email address and 5 minutes of peace in the same place.

Now. How many of you have seen Billy Ray Cyrus's CMT "reality" show "Home at Last?" Heavens. I suffered through two TiVo'd episodes, and could not BELIEVE what I was watching. First off, that was about as real as Dolly Parton's chest. Secondly, someone needs to remind BR that he has four other children. I can hear them now "Miley, Miley, Miley!" Talk about capitolizing on the moment. And finally... where was his wife? In the 2 shows I saw, it showed about 4 seconds of her in a group shot. Blech. I was very disappointed.

And although it's radio, not television, talking about Miley reminds me of the Disney Channel, which reminds me of Radio Disney, which reminds me that tonight when my daughter got a hold of the XM, she turned it to RD, and I heard Taylor Swift, "Teardrops On My Guitar" followed by Corbin Blue, followed by Carrie Underwood.

And finally... because everything in my life seems to revolve around Hannah Montana these days... I have to show you the coolest birthday party invitations ever.

The day includes Red Carpet Arrivals at our house, and a time for the family chauffer to pick their child up at the theater.

Pammy... the scrapbooker in you will love this website I found to do these on!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Misc. Late Night Ramblings

At my husband's work they have these really cool Nashville posters - supersized, like 3 feet by 5 feet or something - that I really like. I went online tonight and see that they have more manageable sizes for purchase. I have the stairway in my house decorated with posters from places we've been to - Broadway shows, schmooze fests, a Willie Nelson 4th of July picnic, etc. I have a couple of more yet to hang, but I'm thinking the red "Music City" one would be a nice addition to my wall. Visit them at and you too could have the spirit of Nashville in your home or office. I have no idea what the story is behind them or where else they appear besides the Bat Building, but I like 'em.

What I **really** need for my wall is a Hatch Show Print from Charlie's Opry Induction, as seen in the photo below. I bet they sell those at the Opry Gift Shop.

I was a captive prisoner in the bloodmobile today, strapped down and forced to listen to a local country station on FM radio. Ugh. In my church parking lot, none the less. If there's anything worse than bad FM DJ's it's bad FM weekend DJ's.

Attention Statler Brothers fans! The Statler's new book, Random Memories isn't in bookstores until Feb. 19th, but you can get it now at Tell 'em Producer J. sent you!

We've had a schedule change on the Producer J. World Tour... a new date popped up. My next stop (unless you include next weekend's girls retreat at an undisclosed state park!) is our nation's capitol, next month.

I think that's it. My countdown clock is under 5 days now. 4 days, 17 hours, 53 minutes and 12 seconds to be exact. Tomorrow... I do yet more packing.

Charlie Daniels Party Pics

Here are some pics from the party for Charlie Daniels following his Opry induction at the Ryman Auditorium last night. Before this party, he did a small press conference, this was about 15 minutes after his hour on GAC concluded, and Charlie was flying HIGH! I wish I could figure out how to add audio to this blog, I would love for you to hear him talk about his love for the Opry, his first trip there, and being inducted at the Ryman. Although he also said "they could have inducted me in the middle of Broadway" and he wouldn't have cared. LOL

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Let's Try Audio Blogging Again

Let's try audio blogging again. Tonight I am talking to you from Downtown Nashville, about to see Charlie Daniels get inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. There is of course a party before hand and a press conference afterward, so I will be back to tell you all about it later!

Powered by Jott

Friday, January 18, 2008

Shows What I Know!

Last week a co-worker asked me "Whatever happened to Nashville Star?" I made some wise crack about it having fallen. (Falling Stars... get it?)

Ha! It's being picked up by NBC -- hello, major network - bu-bye cable! -- to air this summer.

When I'm wrong, I'm really REALLY wrong.

With any luck, they'll actually be able to find a star this time.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Return to the Airwaves!

By now the show has aired, but here's my belated report on the Crook & Chase show that taped today at the Grand Ole Opry House.

The show is taped in Studio A, which I know as the "Party Room" (Because they have schmooze fests there during big nights at the Opry House) but was actually the home to many TNN shows, as well as Hee Haw! The set was very simple, but versitile, and there was a live house band. All but one of the band members were from their Music City Tonight band.

It was old home week for me too - I of course looked around at all the TV crew, and four of them were my old crew from when I directed Predators hockey. So it was a nice bonus to catch up with them.

The show taped at 3pm, and it truly was live to tape -- they rolled the commercials right into it. I got there about 2:30ish, and picked out a nice safe back row seat behind the cameras. The audience was about half invited guests and half general public. Hopefully in future shows it will be more public - that way it's a little rowdier.

Lorianne & Charlie are such pros, it was cool to watch them work. It was very loose and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants -- they'd be like 20 seconds from coming back and they'd say - who's starting? I'll start. Ok. and they'd be back! The writer's strike won't be affecting these two!

I guess what y'all really want to hear about is his Garthness. After the intro / welcome from C&C, they introduced Garth and the backdrop they'd been standing in front of raised up, and there he was! He had Johnny, Mark, Mike and Dave playing with him, and they did "More Than A Memory."

After a break they had "couch time" with him which was mostly general chit chat and silliness, then Garth introduced George Jones, who came out. When he came out Garth first moved to the other end of the couch - way far away - and then went out and sat in the audience for a second, then finally sat next to him on the couch.

If you've ever been through the Country Music Hall of Fame you've seen the video of Garth talking about George, and the first time he met him in award show rehearsals, and how he couldn't talk to him. What you don't hear is George's side of the story -- he thought Garth was stuck up! LOL

My notes from Garth's portion of the show:

Lorianne asked him about how he prepared for his back to back to back shows in LA, what kind of food he'd be eating. "In L.A.? In & Out Burger. Anna's. Pizza, burgers - do you think it's easy to stay this big?" (Someone's going to have to explain to me what In & Out Burger is.

Other things you'll hear when watching this show:

Laundry: The secret to "pillow case putting on" and what he absolutely can't fold.
Troy Aikman: "Winning three Super Bowls wasn't enough for him, he's got to go out and save the planet."
His opinion: "We can differ all you want, but this is my opinion, and it ought to be yours."

The show felt a little disjointed to me... after segment 2, Garth left, there was no closing or goodbye to him, but he never came back. At the end Lorianne said he had to get on a plane back to his girls. Really - would 30 more minutes have hurt? The other guests on the show were the Oak Ridge Boys (who sang "Bobbie Sue" and one from their latest album "Did I Make A Difference" - google those lyrics if you don't know it, it's awesome!) and George Jones' daughter Georgette (with Tammy) who performed a song.

They talked about a movie Georgette was making where she played her mother, and they showed a picture, but never gave the name / timeline or any details. It sounded interesting. They were supposed to show some photos she brought from her personal photo album, but they had trouble getting them up, not sure if they will be edited in later or not.

There I go back seat producing again. It's a disease.

It was very cool that Garth took the time during the breaks to go over and say hello and hug people he knew - Lorianne's mom was there, someone in the band... no one else was doing that. The cutest though was an interaction he had with someone I didn't know in the audience...

They called out to him and he turned and said hello and was obviously pleased to see them. He said "Did you go to Kansas City?" And I could see them hold up their hands and he held up seven fingers and asked "seven?" Then he thumped his chest and held up nine fingers. "I was at nine." It was pretty cute.

This is a weekly show they are taping each Thursday in Studio A, and it airs each Thursday night at 8pm CT / Friday at 10am CT / Saturday 6pm CT. I'm very interested to see how it develops. It was very Leno-ish interview / performance based... not really any news / topical stuff. They told us it airs on DirecTV Channel 379 and Dish Network Channel 231. The audience co-ordinator started suggesting people write to Comcast to get RFD carried in Nashville and they interupted him to say that the Comcast guy was in the audience, and it would be coming soon.

If you are in Nashville and go out to the show, I recommend sitting in the balcony. The floor seating is all level, and the stage is really wide, so unless you are dying to be on camera and want to be in the first couple of rows, I'd say go high.

Let me know if you saw the show air tonight and what you thought of it.

Audio Blogging from the Opry Plaza

I tried, anyway. Blogger didn't post it because of a "low confidence" in their transcription. Things like Garth and Crook & Chase don't translate apparently.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Return of the Ramblings

My guest room is open again. We've had more people come stay with us in the 5 months we've lived here than we had the previous 5 years at our old house. And I love it!

So over the past few days, Ashley, my very first intern, came to town, job hunting. She put out a TON of resumes while she was here, had 3 interviews, and has one very good possibility. So we shall see how it works out. I think she may be back next week.

What I really SHOULD have had her do while she was here though, was guest blog. Because our running joke while she was here was teasing my almost-eleven-year-old about how very cute we thought Chuck Wicks was, and how crazy she was for not seeing it. Clearly I need to work on her taste in men. Dark hair, dark eyes, cowboy boots, and a little bit of scruff... Chuck falls squarely into my Troy Gentry mold of men.

Chuck, if you're not familiar, sings the song "Stealing Cinderella," which was inspired by his real-life girlfriend, who worked as Cinderella at Disney World. However, if Ashley HAD blogged for me, I'm sure she'd have left out the part about how Prince Charming was shamelessly flirting with her. I can testify to that because I was right there in the room as it was happening. Although Chuck didn't seem to notice my existence after I introduced him to Ashley.

In case you were wondering, Chuck (why didn't they give him a stage name?) is every bit the hottie in person as he appears on the pages of Country Weekly. He sounds good live too -- check him out on the Brad Paisley tour, which kicks off tonight in Denver. He literally left our studio to go to the airport to fly out there.

Our studio time backed up to Rascal Flatts being in studio, and the guys all seemed to know Chuck - probably because they share producers. It was kind of nice to see these mega stars taking the time to talk to the new kid - and his musicians. He probably left there, called Cinderella and told her all about it. Probably didn't mention Ashley.

Come to think of it, the Flatts boys didn't seem to notice I was in the room either. That's me... Mrs. Invisible.

Which brings us to Mrs. Flatts. My life has completely changed since Christmas, when I received the gift of TiVo. I'm forcing myself to watch tv now - backseat producing the whole way, of course.

CMT Insider - which I hadn't seen in... MONTHS... has these weird disjointed segments where suddenly someone besides Katie Cook is hosting. Now Katie doesn't seem to ever "toss" to these guys, so I'm thinking she might not even know that they're there. However, they are. A guy, and a girl, and the girl happens to be a Mrs. Flatts -- Allison DeMarcus.

Mrs. DeM was very good on camera, and even filled in for Katie on one episode. And I firmly believe she should be judged on her merits... not by who her husband is. HOWEVER... this week (when she filled in for Katie) there were a couple of RF stories that she did, including one where she referenced talking to Joe Don's wife about the baby ("Tiffany told me... "). It just seemed a little odd that she didn't fess up to her connection to the trio.

I have also decided that Storme Warren has the best job on the planet. Every time I see him on TV he's somewhere exotic. Ok, exotic might not be the best word for it. Most of it's exotic -- cruise ships, Caribbean islands, Colorado mountains. But then, he went to Iraq. Not exactly exotic. I've long since thought Storme was the coolest person on TV... he might just be the coolest person in America. I'm so excited to hear about his trip.

Since the work day is over, I now count it as EIGHT more days until I move out of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Not that I'm counting. I keep expecting that I'm going to get a little sad about it. I've worked in that building for over 6 1/2 years - longer than the majority of their staff! Tomorrow I'm planning to spend the day packing.

Well, most of the day. I HAD planned to spend the day packing until JoAnn reminded me that tomorrow was Crook & Chase taping day. Which means I can't wear the sweats I was planning to wear into the studio. Or if I do, I need to bring a change of clothes. I'm really excited that they're back on TV again, but I really wish it was on a station that more than 10 people get in their homes. RFD? Really? I'm hoping this is a "launching" pad to bigger and better things. I don't really know Charlie other than to say Hello, but I love Lorianne. Last time I saw her was that the Keith Urban post-show party.

Sitting here just now, it occurred to me that I've never met Lorianne's husband. I need to pass along a "thank you" through her to him for all those years of Statler Brothers TV shows - and other great country music programming that Jim Owens has given us through the years. When I moved to Nashville wanting to be Jon Small, (who I saw in the parking lot of Cummins Station yesterday and was too shy to say hello) the game plan was that I would work for Jim Owens. Funny how clueless I was.

And that brings me to my final rambling for the night (told ya that you wouldn't be able to shut me up!) A 7 season streak has come to an end. Up to this point, my only exposure to American Idol (other than working with Carrie Underwood & Kellie Pickler) has been watching a few minutes of the auditions they did in Nashville a couple years back, and watching the last 10 minutes of the show that Carrie won. (That would be a funny column to go back and dig up!)

The other day, the 'tween in my house says to me on the way to school "Do you think we should watch American Idol this year?"

Me: No.

You see, Delaynie doesn't get to watch TV on a school night. She's not missing anything, because everything she watches airs on the Disney channel, which repeats things ad nauseum all weekend long. Between that and Animal Planet, she's good. As it is I'm forcing myself to make the time to sit down and watch TV shows that I like... I sure don't want to add something I could care less about to the mix, just because every other human being in America is doing it.


So Tuesday night, while Ashley, the unemployed reality show junkie is here... we turn it on. Before long... Miss D. has parked herself in front of the TV. (Not for long, mind you!) It's like a train wreck you can't stop watching. It was very interesting to me from the perspective of figuring out how on earth they put that show together. However, it was an hour and a half of my life I can't ever get back.

And the first thing Delaynie said to me tonight when I picked her up was "no homework tonight, can we watch American Idol after choir practice?"

Me: No

Ha Again!

Hit List

Making a list of things I must get around to blogging about...

Moving -- AGAIN
9 days and counting...
Prince Charming
Jon Small (not really a story, just that I saw him in a parking lot and worshipped from afar)
Hallway encounters with Rascal Flatts

BRC Home At Last (UGH!)
The Flatts wife
Garth TV Specials -- help!
American Idol -- 7 years of avoiding it came to an end

Next up on the World Tour -- skipping across Florida

Why hasn't anyone told me I need to change the header for this blog? -- DONE

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

All is Well...

I've had a couple of "are you ok?" inquiries. It's nice to be missed. :-) Thank you.

All is well... I have a houseguest at the moment, and our computer is in the guest room. So I'm busy helping her look for a job AND not staying up till all hours of the night typing.

Ahead this week I've got a Driver's Ed taping... a Crook & Chase taping... Charlie Daniels' Opry Induction... and some TV ramblings that I've blogged in my head. So when I do get back you probably won't be able to shut me up.

Enjoy the silence while it lasts. :-D

I did have a visitor from Poland the other day. (Visiting the blog, not my guest room.) He/She got here accidentally from Googling something else, but that was kind of exciting.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

An Earnhardt, NASCAR, and Talking Vegetables

The cool thing about having studios in various places (D.C. / NY / Nashville etc.) is that any of our studios can hook up to each other and conduct interviews. It's like XM Magic. Since we don't do much with the classic country channels out of Nashville, it's not uncommon that I do something with an artist in our studios talking to Country Dan or JW back in D.C. Over the past year or so we've done interviews with The Bellamy Brothers, Dwight Yoakam, The Oak Ridge Boys and Jessi Colter that way amongst others, along with some assorted Southern Gospel groups whose names I can't remember.

Of course, there's a lot more than just country music that passes through Nashville, and so sometimes our other channels take advantage of our studio space here. And when that happens, someone needs to handle getting everything hooked up with D.C., getting the guest where they need to go, and running the board for the session. Because guests don't bring their own producers.

Unfortunately (for me) we don't have any sort of production assistant / guest relations / engineer person here in Nashville. (In D.C., there'd be at least 3 people assigned to any given artist visit and they'd cater in lunch, LOL.) Which means all of the above fall to me to handle. (Without the lunch) Normally not a big deal, the regulars I work with up there are always ask nicely so if I'm in town, I usually accomodate.

This week however, I have a hat trick of outside guests.

First up tomorrow morning I have one David Earnhardt, coming into the CMHOF for the Bob Edwards show. As usual with Bob's guests, I know nothing about them. "Earnhardt -- As in the NASCAR Earnhardts?" I say to a co-worker. "Why else would they be talking to him," was the reply -- which was the opposite of my thought, which was closer to "Why on earth would Bob be talking to him?"

Oh joy. My NASCAR knowledge is limited to knowing that the cars make left turns. Thanks to Google, however, I was enlightened that Mr. E is the writer/producer/director for a documentary about saving our election system. Couldn't be further from NASCAR. So perhaps I will learn something.

I will not escape those left turns that easily, however, as you will learn.

Following that session I head over to our Music Row offices for a lunch meeting about our new studio spaces, which I will have to leave early to accomodate talking vegetables. A tomato and a cucumber, I believe. Their names are Bob and Larry, although don't ask me which one is which.

Indeed, we've got The Veggie Tales coming in... this one for XM Kids. I'm trying to remember if I've ever worked for them before, and I seem to have vague memories of doing something with Kermit the Frog, but I can't for the life of me remember it.

So basically, I'm not going to be able to get any of my own work done tomorrow, because I'll be working for everyone else. Which is one of the reasons I've done nothing but music logs for the past couple of days, so I can stay ahead of the curve. The best thing about the talking veggies though is that it gets me out of the nearly hour and 45 minutes of drive time that I'd have in leaving downtown, getting my daughter from school, taking her to the orthodontist, and back home again. Hubby got drafted. (And quite honestly, he's long overdue to make that trekk.) Hooray for cucumbers! I shall eat a salad in their honor tomorrow.

Friday, however, is the real treat. (Draw your own conclusions about my excitement level.) Claire B. Lang, from the NASCAR racing show "Dialed In" is coming to Nashville for Sound & Speed, and doing her show out of our Hall of Fame Studios. Which, if you haven't seen lately, has a big old "Give the Gift of Museum Membership" over half of the window, which will make it very difficult for the tourists to see her. But trust me, she'll be there, beginning at Noon local time.

Claire is a hoot, she's a little bitty ball of energy. Her show is live 4-7pm ET. Six hours of NASCAR in the next room, yippee skippee!

I shall leave you tonight with your very own picture of the previously discussed Pepto Bismol Truck.
Would YOU drive that down the highway?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hidden Gems

Before I get to the meat of this post, can I just vent for a second? Of course I can, it's my blog. I watched Johnny Cash from San Quentin on CMT tonight. And what to my wondering ears did I hear, but of course, the ever so distinctive voices of The Statler Brothers, who spent many years on the road with Johnny. Barely in the mix, but I can pick out Don Reid's voice anywhere. Do you think I caught a single glimpse of them during the hour? It's kind of like Walk the Line... they've somehow completely been cut out of the Johnny Cash history. Grr.

Now on with our regularly scheduled rambling.

I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of weeks digging for hidden gems. Mining audio, if you will.

As part of our programming as the Satellite Radio Home of the Grand Ole Opry, (a title so grand it has to be capitalized) the Opry has been sending us select performances from their archives. Basically they send us hard drives full of songs they've cherry picked from 2000-2007. So once they get ripped into our system, I get to dig through them and find things that fit on my channel, US Country.

So far I've made three passes through the folder, doing my own little cherry picking. (Because I don't want to get 9 Alan Jackson songs ready for air and not get to Vince Gill. So I go through and find some girls, some guys, some groups and do a batch.) It's time consuming to build the waveforms for each song (which has to be done at the fast studio or Marty cuts off my chocolate) and then put on all the metadata and display information, and then there's the minor detail that you really have to listen to at least part of the song to make sure it's something you want to put on the air. Because here's a little secret you may not know about entertainers. Not all of them sound good singing live.

Sometimes it's just a matter of someone sounding like they have a cold or something, and there was one group's performance where the lead singer was just buried by the band. There was an Achy Breaky moment that was just... wrong, on so many levels. My favorite (or not!) though was the female singer that sounded SO terrified, her voice was completely shaking. Those are the ones that didn't make it on the air. Most of them are stellar though, like Garth doing "The Dance" on the Saturday late show, and every single thing I've listened to so far by Diamond Rio.

Along the way I've uncovered some really neat things, although not all of them necessarily fit on US Country. Craig Morgan and Ray Price singing "Crazy Arms." Keith Urban and Ricky Skaggs joining together for "Highway 40 Blues." Big & Rich doing "Save A Horse" in a swing style. Garth at the 80th Birthday celebration doing the cutest (8 minute!) version of FILP. Vince Gill talking about Ray Charles the day he passed away. Historical moments, captured forever.

These have been on the air since US Country came back from Christmas vacation, but I've upped the frequency of them now that I've got a pretty good pile of them ready to go, they're hitting about every four hours. They're a pain in the butt to schedule - and even more of a pain to mix in the logs - but I think they're totally worth it, and are going to add a lot to a channel that really is not much more than a Jukebox. (If I had my way, XM17 would be renamed The Jukebox.) So be listening for them and let me know what you think.

Tomorrow we discuss how NASCAR, an Earnhardt, and talking vegetables fit into my week.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Late Night Catch Up Ramblings

It's been days since I blogged, so I thought I'd sit down and ramble for a bit.

The big excitement here is that our younger son, who's in college in Missouri, has been through here twice this week, on his way to and from a wedding in Tampa. So he and his friends crashed here for the night, which has been cool. Another blessing of the new house -- we have room for everyone! So come on down, y'all!

Overdue Soapbox Moment -- One of the things people try to use in their argument against satellite radio is that FM radio is local. I'm here to tell you, when I was driving back from Illinois last week, I couldn't get a local weather forcast to save my life. It was New Year's Day, and everyone had syndicated year end specials on. Grr. Somehow I don't think I was the only one traveling that day. I wound up listening to XM's Traffic and Weather for St. Louis and guestimating from there.

The top 10 selling artists of the year do NOT include Garth Brooks, which I find a tad interesting. I would like to see the next 10. Even MORE interesting is that Garth remains the top selling artist of the Soundscan Era... with 67 million albums sold since 1991. 67 million Scanned. Even bumping that up a couple million to encompass the albums sold in 1989 and 1990 (and let's face it, the debut CD wasn't exactly breaking records), that's a HUGE difference from the RIAA certified 104+million. Remember -- the RIAA counts albums SHIPPED to stores, where as SoundScan counts albums actually SOLD. Which by my calculations, means there's 30 million Garth albums sitting somewhere. More info on the year end totals can be found in (newlywed) Beverly Keel's column.

Kenny Chesney's press release about his being the 2nd biggest tour of 2007 calls The Police a "punk rock" band. Is that true? Because if it is, I didn't know that. It's funny how his press releases where he DOESN'T come in first always have such a defensive tone.

Taylor Swift got a bubble gum pink pickup truck for her 18th birthday from her record label. It spent some time parked in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Because I'm sure she didn't want it parked in her driveway. It's the ugliest thing I've ever seen. Even Delaynie thought it was hideous. I'm sure it's a REALLY nice truck. However, it's the color of Pepto-Bismo. She's giving it away to a charity. Good move.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, Friday I heard a knock on the studio door. I'd just ran into the cleaning lady in the back hall, and since she hadn't been in to get the garbage yet, I figured it was her, and just glanced up and waved her in. But it wasn't her at all. It's was one of my blog readers! Leelee was in town -- which of course meant Keith Anderson was too. :-) It was great to see her and her hubby. Somehow I didn't get that he was quite as big a Keith fan as she was... The days of dropping in on me at the Hall of Fame are almost over, we have 3 more work weeks there and then the process of moving to our new home in the Sommet Center begins. (Actually the packing will probably begin this week.)

Delaynie goes back to school tomorrow, which means an end to the sleeping in I've been able to do the past couple of weeks. *sigh* It was nice while it lasted.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Good Year for the Rizers

I have to tell you, I’m a little sad to see 2007 end… it was quite possibly the best year of my life. So many blessings came our way this year! 2007 started off with the excitement of my Christmas present to my mom – a trip to her homeland of New Zealand. The year ended with the double blessing of my two new nephews. In between I traveled half way around to world to meet family, jaunted to the Big Apple, and shared adventures in Vegas with a dear friend who had never been there. I saw my oldest son and his wife graduate from college, my daughter get braces and start middle school, my husband change jobs, and we bought and sold a house. It’s been quite a memorable year, that’s for sure.

The key word for 2008 is most likely going to be “change.” My younger son will graduate from college in May. My daughter’s best friend since kindergarten is changing schools over Christmas break. I’m getting one more niece or nephew in June. And of course, my employer is in the process of a merger that in all likelihood means that a year from now I’ll probably be working somewhere else.

I’m excited to see what’s ahead. But whatever the year brings, it’s going to be hard to top the Ride of 2007! Thanks so much to all of you who took the journey with me.

Happy New Year my friends!