Colbert to CBS ‘Late Show’ captivates conservative paranoia

Stephen Colbert

When I heard Rush Limbaugh’s response to last week’s news that CBS chose Stephen Colbert to succeed David Letterman as host as the “Late Show,” I was thinking how glad I am not to be a damn conservative.

I can’t imagine how happy a conservative minded person can possibly be — those who are likely to subscribe to the mindset of a Limbaugh or a Bill O’Reilly — since they are constantly paranoid about everything. For the sheep who nod their heads while Limbaugh speaks, they sincerely believe that CBS has declared war on the traditional late night television viewer who just wants pure wholesome comedy after watching the late local news.

Below is a portion of Limbaugh’s remarks, last Thurday, on his syndicated radio program:

What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format under the guise that the world’s changing and people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman. They don’t want that anymore. It’s media planting a flag here…It’s a declaration. There’s no unity in this hire.

You know Limbaugh is stretching when he is willing to include Letterman in the group of traditional late night comedians — Letterman’s “Late Show” has adapted more of a liberal vibe in recent years, with his continued jabs at President George W. Bush becoming a regular, if not signature, bit. While Letterman hasn’t made his name off political satire, his show has enough of a liberal vibe that would likely discourage hardcore conservatives from watching. Limbaugh has to absolutely hate Letterman.

Even if CBS’ intent was to declare a bold political statement, who cares!? We’re not in the 1970’s anymore where you only have three of four television channels to chose from. If conservatives are unwilling to watch Colbert’s “Late Show,” they have the option to watch Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central or classics from their VHS collection.

In all seriousness though, the idea that CBS giving the ‘Late Show’ to Colbert is supposed to be a political statement is as absurd as it gets. Even though I am not familiar with Colbert outside his current blowhard conservative character, he has been recognized by and large as an all-round gifted comedian who is poised to accept the challenge of modernizing his act for a more mainstream audience. Colbert has a younger following and he is active on social media — two parameters that CBS hopes allows their late night show to be more competitive against Fallon’s “Tonight Show.”

CBS doesn’t care about Colbert’s political ideology! CBS just wants to make more money and Colbert has the potential to make that happen!

On a semi-related note, last week, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly lamented how Colbert’s liberal influence potentially damages the country. O’Reilly spoke more about Colbert yesterday while appearing on ABC’s “The View.” In response to the absurdity of all this, my buddy Terence from T Dog Media tweeted the following…

Quite possibly the best tweet ever.

Mixed feelings: Colbert moving to ‘Late Show’

Letterman and Colbert

While not a late night television expert, my feelings are mixed now that CBS has confirmed Stephen Colbert will succeed David Letterman as host of the “Late Show.”

Selfishly, I dislike knowing that the world will be losing a gifted comedian who’s act has become an important influence in the political arena. I wonder if Comedy Central wishes this news could have come sooner, prior to John Oliver’s (breakout star from the “Daily Show”) move to HBO.

I’m only familiar, as is most of America (I assume), with Colbert portraying his conservative Bill O’Reilly-like character from the “Colbert Report.” It will be interesting to see the real him (I suspect with shades of his current character — less political, more mainstream) on stage and behind the desk for an hour five nights a week. What I hope is that whatever style of comedy Colbert brings to the “Late Show” can take the stage/desk format of late night television to new heights — in contrast to the way Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” does via his talent as a performer.

While many will miss Colbert’s current act, he has the potential to make a bigger name for himself at CBS. A new late night rivalry between Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel has the potential to be absolutely epic.

Updated at 10:55 p.m… Politico’s Dylan Byers warns the Washington establishment that Colbert is coming for them.  Byers somewhat diminishes my fear that Colbert going mainstream means we lose the component of him that has made him so good.

Still, the next iteration of Colbert will not be altogether different from the current one, and it is all but impossible to imagine that he’ll forgo the political focus that has made him so appealing to Comedy Central’s viewers.

Some fear that the “Late Show” gig will limit Colbert’s ability to ridicule politicians, if only because broadcast television is more cautious than cable. Yet Colbert’s ability to break out of character may allow him to expand beyond his familiar satirizing of conservatives — a requisite aspect of his current show — and go after Democrats and Republicans, and the political and media establishments in general, with equal abandon.

Screenshot: New Fox Sports graphics appear on MLB broadcast

New Fox Sports MLB Graphics 2014

Screenshot from RadioInsight via Twitter – @RadioInsight

Above is a screenshot, courtesy of RadioInsight, showing new graphics for a Fox Sports MLB broadcast. They are the same graphics Fox rolled out in February for NASCAR.

I think the graphics as shown during a NASCAR broadcast are more on the bland side — and judging from only this lone screenshot, they will probably be as bland when used for baseball (and presumably football, this fall). I also wonder what’s up with the “Fox Box” in the lower-left corner of the screen (ESPN’s score bug has been placed in the lower-right for a few years now).

The lower-left seems like an odd place for it. Talk about trying to reinvent the wheel when there’s no reason to. I’ll reserve full judgement on placement of the “Fox Box” and the graphics until seeing them in full use — with today being baseball’s opening day, these graphics will likely roll out on the rest of the regional Fox Sports channels that house local MLB games.

Chicago’s baseball teams up for potential dial spinning

The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman has reported that the CBS-owned WBBM-AM 780 Newsradio is now the leading candidate to acquire the radio rights to the Chicago Cubs starting in 2015.

CBS also owns WSCR-AM/670 The Score which has been the radio home for the Chicago White Sox since 2006, and still will be through the end of 2015. Sherman mentions that if WGN loses the Cubs, they’d be in position to bid for the White Sox for 2016. Not sure if that’s pure speculation or Sherman carefully hinting that WGN may indeed be open in pursuing that route.

If the White Sox moving to a new station means that a new station program director would finally upgrade the radio announce team, I’d be all for it them leaving the Score. Bring back Dave Wills from Tampa!


Quick thought on CNN’s ‘Chicagoland’

While CNN’s “Chicagoland” is not a pleasure to watch, it is eye opening and important to see what so many unfortunate people have to live through. It makes my fellow Lincoln-Way area residents come across as “assholish” for having the audacity to complain about the high school’s original decision to cut ROTC due to budget, while so many other children have it far worse, through no fault of their own.

White Sox need a new play-by-play voice for both radio and television

Ed Sherman posted a piece this morning about the Padres releasing play-by-play announcer Andy Masur.

The White Sox should hire him ASAP. Unfortunately, they won’t.

Not the the White Sox necessarily need a new play-by-play announcer, for either radio or television, but an upgrade wouldn’t hurt. Ken “Hawk” Harrelson’s days are far behind him, and while he is still popular among some Sox fans, there are equally as many who are tired of him. I’m also tired of the tension between Harrelson and analyst Steve Stone as well as Hawk’s old baseball stories. A new play-by-play voice would make Stone far happier, as well as Sox fans (even those who still like Hawk… in due time).

Having sampled MLB.TV in the past, I have heard some of Masur’s work and he is good. I’ve also sampled enough other team broadcasters to realize that there is a lot of good baseball discussion (scouting, drafting, the business of the game) that is missing from White Sox broadcasts.

The radio side of White Sox broadcasts can also use an upgrade. Almost no one would lose sleep if Ed Farmer were to suddenly disappear (nothing personal… I hear Farmer is actually a nice guy; unfortunately, he comes across as rather dull on the radio).

Whether it’s radio or television, the White Sox would benefit with a new voice. Andy Masur would be a solid upgrade.

Fox Sports debuts new graphics – NASCAR broadcasts only so far (photos)

New Fox Sports Graphics

NASCAR qualifying race on Fox Sports 1. Fox debuts new graphics package.

After happening to turn on NASCAR qualifying on Fox Sports 1 last weekend, I noticed that Fox was using an entirely new set of on-screen graphics.

What is so surprising about this is that Fox waited until now to debut a new graphics package after just launching Fox Sports 1, their new 24/7 all-sports network, in August. If there was ever an appropriate time to unveil new graphics, it would have been while launching the new network, which happened to closely coincide with the start of the NFL season (and on a year when they were broadcasting the SuperBowl).

Fox Sports typically launches a new set of graphics every three or four years, usually on years they do have the SuperBowl. It’s out of character for Fox to wait until the start of NASCAR season — and after just broadcasting the SuperBowl — to switch to a new graphics package.

So far, the only Fox Sports broadcasts using the new graphics is NASCAR. Any UFC or college basketball that’s aired on any Fox Sports broadcast (including Fox Sports 1 and the regional Fox Sports channels) in the last week and a half have continued using the existing set of graphics. There is always the possibility that the new graphics will be used only for NASCAR, while Fox either continues to use the existing graphics for everything else, or create a new set of graphics for each sport.

My bet is the new graphics will eventually be used for all Fox Sports broadcasts. While some networks roll out new graphics for everything all at once, Fox in years past, has opted not to roll out new graphics for a specific sportsuntil the start of its season. If that were the case in this scenario, then we should see the new graphics in use for either MLB spring training games or at the start of the regular season (Fox Sports 1 will carry a handful of spring training games while several Fox Sports regional channels will air their home team’s spring training games; regular season games on Fox begin in late May).

Fox Sports Graphics - College Basketball

The graphics package Fox Sports has been using on all sports broadcast since 2010 — this graphics package continues to be used for any non-NASCAR live-sporting event shown on Fox and Fox Sports 1.

From what I’ve seen of the new Fox Sports graphics so far, I’m disappointed, not because the new graphics are bad, but because the previous set was were nearly perfect. I don’t quite understand why Fox thought now was the time to potentially get rid of them (one potential reason is Fox acquiring the rights to the U.S. Open — even if that were the reason, that isn’t until 2015).

While the new graphics do have a modern and somewhat stylish look to them, I still can’t help think they look bland. The previous graphics were nicely crafted with a reasonable mix of rounded edges and various slants that accommodated the vibrant colors. The new graphics are more rectangular and often rely on the use of single colors (which is especially noticeable, and awkward looking, with blues and reds).

Between the shape, the choice of fonts and the use of sparkles, I can’t help think that the new Fox graphics are a cheap ripoff of the current graphics used on NBC Sports broadcasts (including NBCSN and the regional Comcast SportsNet channels). The subtle use of moving sparkles is also suspiciously reminiscent of NBC’s graphics (the sparkles do add some much needed flair to the otherwise boring Fox graphics).

The current NBC Sports graphics are absolutely beautiful. While the design is nothing out of the ordinary, the smart use of color gradients and their own use of sparkles make them extremely classy. The new Fox graphics don’t even come close.

New Fox Sports Graphics

Updated Fox Sports graphics include a newly designed ticker for keeping track of current standings throughout the race. Though hard to tell in this screen shot, the name plate graphic shows the subtle use of sparkles, which is reminiscent of the current NBC Sports graphics (see below photo).


The current set of graphics used on all NBC Sports, NBCSN and regional Comcast SportsNet broadcasts.

NHL on NBC Sports Graphics

Another example of the current NBC Sports graphics.

Concerning NASCAR, another problem I have with the new Fox graphics are the lack of custom car numbers. While numbers don’t have much meaning in team sports, they do in NASCAR, where a driver’s number is uniquely designed so that it can be used as a standalone logo. Many of the Fox graphics show the driver’s number generically. This is especially noticeable in the new Fox ticker that identifies the current standings of the race, where you have a series of driver names and numbers that don’t easily pop out, making it harder to consistently follow the driver’s standings.

Speaking of the new standings ticker, Fox was already forced to make adjustments to it after last week’s qualifying races. Originally, Fox had the ticker positioned to the right of the screen. Viewers complained that the new ticker was in the way while trying to watch the race. Fox moved it to the top (where it had been in previous years) for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (last year’s graphic for the current standings was not only at the top, but also scrolled across the screen).


NASCAR qualifying race from Feb. 15, 2014 — Fox Sports debuts new graphics with driver standings graphic on the right-side of the screen. Turned out to be an unpopular decision.

Not long after the Daytona 500 started, I was wondering if I might be too hard on the new Fox graphics. Then, the rain started and the race was delayed, so Fox decided to re-air last year’s Daytona 500 broadcast. Last year’s race was using the previous graphics, allowing me to easily compare this year’s vs. last year’s. A few minutes was all I needed… there simply was no comparison. The previous graphics are far superior (see below photo).

New Fox Sports Graphics - NASCAR

Fox Sports graphics package from the 2013 Daytona 500 – far superior all-round compared to Fox’s new set of graphics.


Another example of the previous Fox Sports graphics, from SuperBowl XLV. Being a Packers fan, I just couldn’t resist using this screenshot as an example.

Perhaps, I shouldn’t fully judge the new graphics until seeing them on other sporting events. If Fox does use them for other sports, it will be interesting to see how they are implemented for baseball and football. Previously, Fox has been guilty of over-thinking seemingly simple concepts and the results have been disastrous (last weekend’s ticker on the right-side of the screen is just one example; another was the attempt to identify quarters by the number of tiny dots lit on the “Fox Box” during a NFL pre-season game several years ago).

Below are a few additional views of the new graphics package from Sunday’s Daytona 500…

New Fox Sports Graphics - NASCAR

New Fox Sports Graphics - NASCAR


Back in the game: Former Score host Mike North named starter at Fox Sports Radio

Mike North

Veteran sports radio host Mike North is back, full-time, reports North will co-host the Fox Sports Radio morning show “Fox Sports Daybreak,” 5 to 8 a.m. CT each weekday. The program airs nationally via syndication, though there is no Chicago outlet for his program or for Fox Sports Radio. Anyone caring to listen to his show can listen via iHeartRadio or at

This move is North’s first prominent radio role since leaving WSCR-AM/670 The Score in the summer of 2008. Since leaving the Score, North has found ways to stay busy with various projects, including two full-time television morning show stints, one at Comcast Sports Net and the other at WBBM-TV/CBS 2, with his former Score “Monsters of the Midday” co-host Dan Jiggetts. North has also been a regular weekend/part-time host at Fox Sports Radio.

Personally, I wasn’t much of a North fan for most of his second half of his run at the Score, primarily because by then, I think he became too comfortable, and perhaps, let his success get to his head. That said, I remember enough of him from his days as a midday solo host and his “Wise Guys” afternoon days with Doug Buffone, so I do understand the appeal he used to have.

The online hatred for Mike North has been intense, and I admit, I am guilty of that some 10 years ago, when I was younger and more immature. He didn’t kill babies or steal money from the Salvation Army bucket. At worst, he’s a guy who was loud and obnoxious who sometimes came across as a braggart. Various bits such as his “bookie priest,” “Fritzy’s night on the town” and “Caucasian Man” were more head-groaners than anything close to resembling comedy.

I think much of the angst against North was that by the time he and Jiggetts split as a team, his popularity slowly began to diminish. Despite his diminishing performance, he was still perceived as a golden jewel at the station, completely untouchable due to his pull with many advertisers. While not worthy of the malicious ridicule he often received — much of it from the message board — he did plenty to set himself up as a punching bag with some of his ridiculous segments and for his blatant refusal to adapt his on-air style long-after it was obvious that his approach was no longer appealing.

I’m happy for North. Despite any of the negatives associated with him as an on-air host, that shouldn’t disqualify him from getting another job somewhere else. I hope his time away from full-time radio has given him the opportunity to learn that in order to stay relevant in this medium, you have got to be willing to change with the times — even if that means allowing a program director, who you may or may not like, to actually coach or manage you.

At the end of the day, North’s gig is with Fox Sports Radio — remove the “Fox Sports” branding from it and you are left with a Clear Channel operated cluster of syndicated shows occupied by many B or C level personalities airing on a cluster of small to medium-size market stations throughout the United States.

I don’t mean to diminish the value of North’s new role. I hope he makes the most of it and takes it 100% seriously. However, the Fox Sports Radio morning show is nowhere close to being at the same level of prominence or relevance of ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” — or of anything else currently airing on the Score.

Larry Lujack passes

I’m sorry to hear about the passing of legendary radio disc jockey Larry Lujack. While I am too young to have ever heard his work on the air, I appreciate how he inspired so many of today’s radio personalities, not just in Chicago, but throughout the country. The kind words by many of those people in and outside of Chicago is quite the testament to his character and influence.

For a more appropriate reflection, I’ll direct you to Robert Feder, who has written an outstanding piece commemorating Lujack’s life and career.

WGN Radio debuts a new logo [Updated]

WGN Radio Logo, December 2013
After stammering onto the WGN-AM 720 website this morning, I quickly noticed a new piece of artwork at the top. Is this going to be the new logo the station uses going forward?

What happened to the unique “W” logo that WGN sported on their front-page Chicago Tribune spread early last month?

The file they have uploaded on the existing website right now is just awkward. Why the slanted edges on a gray to dark gray gradient background floating in mid-air? Leaves me wondering if this specific art file is meant to sit on top of a new design template that could soon be going live, if not in the next few days then sometime after the New Year.

The new logo reads as “WGN 720” even though the station has continued to identify itself on air as “720 WGN.” Also missing is the word “radio,” which has been included in their various logos in recent years (except for the ill-fated “News 720 WGN” used for a few months in late 2010).

The new logo is also being used on the station’s Twitter and Facebook pages, except with some color differences. The logo on the website has blue text on-top of a gradient gray background, while the logo on the station’s Twitter and Facebook pages shows white text resting on-top of a gradient blue background.

The blue logo looks somewhat better and may even look better on a new website design/template that better accommodates the blue background. As a stand-alone logo though, at first glance, it seems a bit odd. The “WGN 720” text with the single lines above and below has potential though.

New WGN 720 logo

UPDATE – 12/20/13
Within the last 12 hours, WGN uploaded another alternation of their logo to their Facebook and Twitter pages. This one combines the classy looking “W” that was unveiled in a Chicago Tribune promtional spread on Nov. 2, with the logo unveiled just days ago. The large block “W” includes the banner plate above it with the included words “WGN 720.”

This logo variation, as shown below, is what I like the best and the one I hope will turn out to be their final and completed logo. I think this version is quite unique, classy and does a great job at properly identifying the station.

New WGN Radio Logo