A few weeks ago, one of the digital billboards on I-30 leading west into downtown flashed a message congratulating Sarah Colmark on a successful first year at WRR 101.1 FM, Dallas' classical music radtio station. Colmark was hired as general manager last January, nearly a full two years after the departure of her predecessor Greg Davis, and the Friends of WRR wanted to show their gratitude for how she's steered the city-owned station.
But beneath the WRR's uncannily placid surface, Colmark's tenure has been marked by constant change and a bloodletting that has drained the station of the vast majority of its former workforce.
Tempie Lindsey was the first to go. The veteran Dallas DJ -- she's been in the business since 1975, most notably at Q102 -- had been hired by Davis not long before he left the station in 2010, despite her lack of a classical music background.More »
When the first season of the revamped Dallas debuted in June, it was described in the trade press as a ratings gusher, pulling in a solid 6.9 million viewers.
It seems that the ratings bonanza is now over. The show's second season pulled in fewer than 3 million viewers, a series low. It fared even worse in week two, when it drew only 2.2 million pairs of eyeballs, another series low.
For context, we turn to TV By the Numbers, which has a rundown of ratings for Monday's cable shows.More »
On New Years Day, listeners tuning their radio dial to 730 AM were treated not to the typical mix of old-school R&B and soul but a stream of unintelligible foreign syllables. Visiting the website informed them that KKDA, which had served southern Dallas for 42 years had, abruptly and unceremoniously, been sold and switched to a Korean-language format.
People weren't happy, and they apparently flooded the office of County Commissioner John Wiley Price with complaints. Price, after all, is not only the most powerful politician in southern Dallas but a former KKDA radio personality, hosting a show called Talk Back:Liberation Radio until it was taken off the air in 1998 with an abruptness that mirrors the Korean takeover. They wanted him to do something, maybe convince the station's previous owner, Hyman Childs, to rethink his decision to sell, maybe something more drastic. They wanted the old KKDA back.
Price responded with an open letter to the community, which was posted last night at Dallas South News. In short, his answer is, "No."More »
The writing's been on the wall, one supposes, since KKDA-AM, a.k.a. Soul 73, abruptly laid off Bobby Patterson and most of the rest of its on-air staff, but the terse announcement posted to the station's website yesterday still comes as a shock:
"Soul 730 KKDA is no longer broadcasting on the radio," the statement reads. "The frequency has been sold to another company. We thank you for listening and for all of your support."
The post directs listeners to a phone number which instructs listeners to an anodyne recording repeating the news, plus the added tidbit that veteran morning host and political watcher Willis Johnson "is currently considering all of his options and has yet to make a decision regarding his future on the air."
So, after 42 years as a voice for southern Dallas, that's how it ends.More »
Mary Padian and Moe Prigoff are regular cast members on "Storage Wars: Texas," the Lone Star spinoff of the A&E reality show chronicling the odd souls who bid on the contents of abandoned storage units. He's an antiques dealer, she's a free-spirited collector, and both run shops in the Design District.
In the episode that aired December 2, the pair of them put down $800 for a storage locker in Garland.
Inside, they discovered a copy of the November 3, 1948 edition of the Chicago Tribune, the one that boldly reported "Dewey Defeats Truman." If you don't understand the irony in the headline, go take a remedial U.S. history class.More »
In the summer of 2004 crews began filming Easy Rider: The Search Continues, a sequel the cult 1969 film that tracked Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as they made their long, drug-soaked motorcycle ride from L.A. to New Orleans. Never mind that Fonda and Hopper's characters died at the end of the original or that neither would be in the new incarnation. An attorney and first-time film producer from Ohio named Phillip Pitzer had purchased the rights and written a script.
The project hit a wall when Pitzer sought to obtain outtakes from the original film in which Fonda and Hopper bought drugs from a Mexican dealer. According to a New York Times story from 2006, the producers of the original Easy Rider refused, saying Pitzer didn't own the rights.
That seemed like it would be the project's death knell, that Easy Rider: The Search Continues would share the fate of 2002's Easy Rider A.D., in which it turned out that Fonda's character didn't die but was just in prison, and the never-realized film imagined by Fonda and Hopper in the 1980s in which their characters would be restored to life in the distant future and ride through post-apocalyptic America.More »
Brian Jaynes has made something of a name for himself in the world of low-budget horror films. Over the past three years, the East Texas filmmaker has helmed a string of cult successes, starting with Boggy Creek, about a bloodthirsty Sasquatch. That was followed last year by Humans vs Zombies. Completing the trifecta is the recent Patient Zero, also about zombies.
Those movies may have been low-budget, but they still cost money, so Jaynes enlisted Dallasite Bruce Kahn. Kahn, perhaps best known as that guy who tried (and failed) to buy the famous Nevada brothel Chicken Ranch, set up three single-purpose entities -- Boggy Creek Productions LLC, Humans vs Zombies LLC, and Patient Zero Productions LLC -- to oversee production of the films.
Under this setup, Kahn who put down the necessary capital. He says he paid for the lighting and props and other equipment. He bought the pricey HP editing suite with which the final cuts were produced. He even loaned Jaynes $75,000 to cover his living expenses while the films were being produced.More »
Jeff Rohrer and Doug Cosbie played together on the consistently mediocre Cowboys teams of the 1980s, Rohrer as linebacker, Cosbie as tight end. Like their teammates and the rest of the NFL, they subjected their bodies to massive punishment each week -- the type of punishment now linked to all sorts of neurological problems, from chronic headaches and memory loss to Alzheimer's and depression.
Now, the former teammates want to make a movie. Rohrer and Cosbie are joining up with an L.A. production company to make Konkussion Stories, a feature-length documentary exploring the after-effects of a career in the NFL. The trailer you see above features a handful of former Cowboys -- Charlie Waters, Drew Pearson, Robert Newhouse, Mike Renfro -- speaking about their experiences.
"I was knocked out, I want to say, an average of about three games a year, maybe more," Waters says. Pearson remembers getting his bell rung and being asked how many fingers a coach was holding up. "If I said two and they only had one, they would say that's close enough."
Before they can finish making the documentary, and before James Caan can come do the narration he's signed on for, Rohrer, Cosbie and Barry O'Brien, their Hannah Montana co-creating business partner, they need to raise $375,000. Rather than try to squeeze money from the Hollywood machine, they're turning to Kickstarter. They have $3,600 so far, but, hey, it's still early.
CNN's first shot of Brutsch shows him fidgeting nervously as he licks his lips and overgrown goatee. He looks shrunken and embarrassed as Griffin leads him through a series of questions about jailbait, rape jokes, and what the hell he was thinking.More »