Radio and music has been a pair since the medium started to get its act together for pushing one hundred years. Ever since the first experimental stations started broadcasting after “The Great War” ended, to when the first commercial station KDKA in Pittsburgh, PA first went on the air, people used this electronic talking box to not only get the latest news from around the world, nation, and even around the block, but to hear the sounds of musical tones.

Much of the music heard in those early years was played live. Many station employed house bands that served performing tunes for the day and of the day. (Many of these radio station bands were active well into the 1960’s!!) And there were those transcription disks also known as “Electrical Transcriptions” or “E.T.s” for short, that featured recorded sounds ranging from classical to new fanged jazz. Music was made for radio, and vice versa!

Any day of the week in those early times, one can tune into the sounds of music, both live and recorded. Late night radio featured fifteen minute remote broadcasts of the big bands (both big names as well as up and coming orchestras) playing in dance clubs and hotel ballrooms from all around the nation. Many radio programs from the golden age of radio (c.1935-c.1955) featured musically oriented programs hosted by such stars and Bing Crosby, Al Jolsen, and a host of others that would always sing a song or three while exchanging comical banter with many of the guest stars that rambled on through the airwaves.

When television started to take over as entertainment in the 1950’s, radio took a turn in music, bushing that format as its prime entertainment core. Perhaps the most notable format to hit the audio airways is the format called “Top-40” radio, where stations would play the tunes that would be the most popular songs from musical artists of the era, (mostly rock ‘n roll), where fast talking DJs would play the platters while its listeners (mostly those that were not old enough to vote) would grove to the sounds that made rock ‘n’ roll just what it was, and what it is today!

Over time and tide, musical formats changed as the medium of radio also matured. FM, something that was around since the 1940’s, emerged from a place to find classical, jazz, folk, and other high brow forms of music, introduced rock in the latter part of the 1960’s while later to take over in the 1970’s. AM played less and less music, switching over to sports and talk. (Music is still played on AM today, but not so much as it once did!) Before long, any popular form of music was available on FM radio, in stereo and minus the static!

The internet because the latest entry in music performing in the later 1990’s. Napster, the one time de facto place to get music via downloading for the incredible low cost of free, offered just amount any kind of music that existed, from the fresh sounds of no name bands that were just as good (if not better) than those big names that were floating around, as well as those big names that the lesser known artists were in heavy competition with. Hearing the established artists were great, but listening to those small names not only provided any exposer to these musicians that were looking to become recognized, but actually created a fan base following that made their sounds appealing. It was the first time that one can discover “new music”, without searching for it via over the air, assuming it was there to find and discover!

There has been many factors noted why to this lack of discovery of music never heard before–in theory anyway. Thanks to the massive buy outs of radio stations from one company, their station’s playlists were tightly set and controlled only playing what was commercial (i.e. profitable) in nature, with little to no wiggle room for anything that held limited appeal. Also, the loss of listener allurement over radio because of corporate decisions that reflected company bottom lines made these once loyal listeners find other sources. And the product presented by Apple Computer (as the company was call back then) called the “iPod” that featured thousands of songs at one’s fingertips became the way where folks set their own playlists to hear just what they wanted to tune in!

However, according to a new report filed by Nielsen, the company that’s been involved in the TV ratings game for generations (among other aspects within the company’s portfolio), radio has been the place to listen to music. In its 2014 Music U.S. Report, Nielsen estimates 51% of consumers use radio to discover new music and that 59% of music listeners use a combination of over-the-air AM/FM radio and online radio streams to hear music. Streaming audio grew some 60% in ‘14 with some 78.6 billion streams. A little over two-thirds of music consumers (67%) listen to music online via any form of streaming.

What kind of music is heard via radio and streaming? R&B/hip-hop is the dominant genre for streaming, accounting for nearly three in ten streams (28.5%), followed by rock (24.7%) and pop (21.1%). For radio, contemporary hit radio a.k.a. “top-40” accounts for 8.3%, and country (8.2%) were the leading music formats among all listeners, followed by adult contemporary (once known as “easy listening”) at 7.1%, hot AC ( a combo of easy listening and top-40) at 6.2%, and classic hits (“oldies”) at 5.2%.

So what do all these numbers mean? For the average music listener, not too much. However, when it comes to enjoying the music the listener desires, it’s a combo or radio and streaming that become the deal choice for grovin’ of the tunes!

It’s been once stated by a long forgotten music critic where this “expect” was asked where is the ideal source to hear the best music around? The answer was something to the effect of “whatever record is placed on your turntable!” That may be so, since one’s self is their most toughest critic!



    Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents for a limited run, the west coast premier of Brian Richard Mori’s HELLMAN v. McCARTHY, a tale about a lawsuit between one writer against another, and the talk show host between it all.

In 1979, author Mary McCarthy appeared as a guest of The Dick Cavett Show that at the time was airing over PBS, a network known for such programs as Sesame Street, Masterpiece Theatre, and a string of local pledge drives. On the program, McCarthy spoke to Cavett (playing as himself) about her rival (of sorts) in the literary world, Lillian Hellman, stating that all of her writings were lies. Lillian herself (played by Flora Plumb) caught the program by chance at home. She did not take McCarthy’s words too kindly, enough to call her attorney Lester Marshal (John Combs) to draw up a lawsuit of libel and slander, stating that her reputation would be at stake. McCarthy in return calls her attorney Bert Fielding (Martin Thompson) to defend her in this case. Hellman, presently in poor health, feels that she would win in the lawsuit because of her past work compared to McCarthy’s. (Mary’s books have only done fair in terms of sales). The case stretches out for a few years, but Hellman, how slowly fading away health wise, would be willing to make a compromise with her opponent–only on her terms! The question remains. Will McCarthy settle with the feisty Hellman, or will the case proceed on schedule, assuming that Hellman can live to witness the results.

This play written by playwright Brian Richard Mori, is based upon an actual episode of Cavett’s talk show where Mary McCarthy appeared to promote her latest book, spoke about Lillian Hellman expressing her opinions of this woman’s writings. This play does take on a number of issues (using a bit of creative license) that focuses upon the legal system at the time (1980’s) on what one can say about a public person in mass media, and if such commentary could cause any damage (figuratively or emotionally) over professional and personal respect. Many of the cast members that appeared in the original New York production are featured in this show presented by Theatre 40. Marcia Roos reprises her role as Mary McCarthy, M. Rowan Meyer returns as Ryan, Hellman’s male nurse and caretaker, as well as the real star of this production, Dick Cavett appearing as himself–one of many TV talk show hosts active during the “silver age” of American television who attempted to compete head on with the king of late night, Johnny Carson.

Howard Storm, a one time stand up comedian who moved on to directing sitcoms from the 1970’s well into the 2000’s, directs this stage show as a tight single act showcase that presents an issue of a serious lawsuit that morphs into something that becomes a comedy of errors. Perhaps it’s a method example of how a woman of literary (and financial) means can sue a rival author over personal opinions expressed that are just that–personal opinions expressed!

HELLMAN v. McCARTHY is a play that takes place in an era when television was the real king of all media where its viewers would watch programs in real time as aired in massive numbers. In this post modern world where opinions can be expressed in even bigger numbers over a range of platforms, the real challenge remains upon how this case would result in today’s time frame where that so-called libel and slanderous comment can be stated in 140 characters of less. It’s hard to tell since others could say (or tweet) their piece down to a point where nobody would ever notice and nobody would ever care! But this is a theater play that offers quality and dramatic results!

Oh, yes! Cavett himself (now pushing 80) is still in fine form. He still has the intelligence and wit that made him in top form, far surpassing his TV rivals Johnny and Merv. (Both deceased.) It’s a real treat to see him again as a talk show host, even if it’s only limited to a one act stage play.

HELLMAN v. MCCARTHY, presented by Theater 40, and performs in the Reuben Corova Theater located on the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until February 28th. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM. Special Saturday matinee performances takes place on February 14th and 21st at 2:00 PM.

     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at


A CARLIN HOME COMPANION: GROWING UP WITH GEORGE, Kelly Carlin’s solo presentation speaking about her father and close friend, comedian George Carlin, currently performs at The Falcon Theatre in Burbank.

In her performance, Kelly tells the intimate story on how she was raised as an only child of Brenda and George Carlin. Her mother Brenda met George during the period when her father to be was playing gigs in night clubs after breaking off from his former on-stage partner, Jack Burns. While George was playing these clubs (the modern era comedy club with brick wall facade, high stool, and wireless mic had yet to be refined), Kelly was born in 1963. Since then, she saw her family, dubbed “The Three Musketeers” as the same kindred moved from one place to another, changed from better, to worse, to better, and all points in between! Over time and tide, Kelly witnessed her father and mother go through their binges and vices. George did drugs (no surprise) while Brenda drank excessively. Although she was a rather privileged kid thanks to dad’s success, Kelly at first was spoiled, having nearly anything her adolescent self desired. But as life continued, she did face the harsh reality of her parents demise due to in part, the cause of their own deeds. But in spite of what went on, Kelly learned how her father really loved her, and how she was able to show her love back, even though her family was just as dysfunctional as anyone else’s that lived and worked in the wacky community known as “Hollywood” and adjacent points.

Kelly Carlin presents an amusing effect to tell the inside scoop of her famous dad, her not so famous mom, as well as the nearly unknown spouses she marred. (She’s current on her second husband, Robert McCall.) Augmented with clips of TV appearances through the ages as well as still photos extracted from the personal family archives, Kelly tells in just an hour and a half the real saga of her intimate clan that stretches out fifty years plus, while this stage show was four years in the making. Paul Provenza directs this presentation that is amusing, informative, and a hybrid mix of dashing and humble humor–the same variety one would experience from anyone who would hold the gumption to tells the history of their family and household in 500,000 words or less–give or take!

To make this show more visible (outside of the audio and video elements used in this showpiece), Keith E. Michell’s set design consists of a series of cubed blocks that double as video screens of moving and still imagery rear projected to augment Kelly’s stories, along with smaller cubicles with assorted props placed within (lamps, books, record album covers, etc.) suggesting that the backdrop is one huge shadowbox display where props are shown, much of which can be found in a local thrift store or neighborhood garage sale.

This show falls within the same genre to another separate yet similar production that also featured a daughter of a famous comic telling tales that has seen its way in LA theaters of late; Karen Knotts’ Tied Up In Knotts, where she tells the anecdotes of her father Don Knotts. Of course, Knotts and Carlin were two comics that held totally different agendas. However, Kelly is her own person; a middle aged being that loved her dad from her earliest moments to his final days. It’s been said that life on the stage may have its magnitudes, but away from the gilt and glimmer is yet another narrative from those eight million found in the naked city. The title speaks for the honest theme, and for Kelly, it is indeed a home companion!

A CARLIN HOME COMPANION: GROWING UP WITH GEORGE, presented by and performs at The Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, until March 1st. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM.

     For reservations and for more information, call (818) 955-8101, or online at


THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER (Paramount) is the title character’s latest feature length movie that stars the cast of Nickelodeon’s long lasting animated series.

The plot, for what it is, has SpongeBob SquarePants (Voiced by Tom Kenny) living his normal life in the underwater hamlet of Bikini Bottom, working as a burger flipper at the Crusty Patty operated by Mr. Krabs (Clancy Brown) where the CP offers the ever popular Krabby Patty. It’s made from a secret recipe that is so secret, nobody knows what’s in them, not even Mr Krabs! The recipe itself is kept hidden in a safe in Mr. Krab’s office. Meanwhile, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence) a one eyed “bug” who runs a competing burger joint that nobody every goes to (because the food is lousy), wants the secret to the Krabby Patties and attempts to steal it. However, the recipe is found missing, taken away by a above surface pirate named Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) who has his own plans to clean up on Krabby Patties. So with the aid of SpongeBob’s gang, consisting of his BBF Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke), the wry Squidward (Rodger Bumpass), along with scientist squirrel Sandy Cheeks (Carolyn Lawrence) and Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob and company must get the recipe back before Bikini Bottom turns into total anarchy!

This animated feature from Nickelodeon, one of TV’s longest operating cable channels (this year marks 36 years on the air), takes on this series (16 years and counting) and presents itself as a blend of traditional animation, live action, and of course, GCI stuff, all rolled into one feature. The humor depicted as written by Glenn Berger & Jonathan Aibel and Paul Tibbitt with story by Stephen Hillenburg & Tibbitt,  is within the same level as to what one would expect to experience on the TV show; Full of cocky jokes and gags, fast paced action scenes, with just a hint of “bathroom humor” added for its driven demographic (“tweeners” mostly) to appreciate. What makes this film as something apart to what one can see on the small(er) screen is the fact that the animation (or to paraphrase, the CGI animation) is of feature film quality. The CGI nonsense is only used when SpongeBob and company are found above the ocean’s surface when the meet Burger Beard the pirate. Paul Tibbitt, a regular part of SpongeBob’s team of directors, handles the animated scenes, while Mike Mitchell directs the live action stuff.

This feature for what its worth, even has a theme attached to it, something usually found in animated TV shows for kids that uses themes in order to add educational value to the program, meeting networks’ standards for providing educational material. The theme used in this flick is “teamwork” and how important it is to work together in order to accomplish something or another. And since this is a SpongeBob property, the theme isn’t hammed down or anything. It’s just used as a comical subplot that the creative group keeps on hand to get schemes out and moving.

If anyone has seen this series on Nickelodeon or through other forms of media, one will know that this series is entertaining for all ages, sometimes more for adults that the kids it’s supposed to target. That what makes this film work. Sure, it doesn’t offer the same cuteness as a title from the Disney factory, but that’s OK since this is from Nickelodeon, not the mouse house! And as a nod to that for noted animation company, SpongeBob and the gang becomes a super hero team, taking a hint to those comic book action adventure pictures that seem to be the current rage movie wise. The kids (adults too) will pick this hint up, although it doesn’t matter too much!

Oh, yes! This film is also in 3-D, although its just as entertaining in 2-D. So if one wanted to save a few bucks, forgo the 3-D surcharge and see it in just two dimensions. It will be a lot easier on the eyeballs!

THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER is rated “PG” for cartoon violence and bathroom humor. Now playing at the usual multiplexes nationwide.


JUPITER ASCENDING (Warner Bros.) stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones. Her mother met her dad while the two were living in the Soviet Union. Her dad was interested in astronomy, always gazing into a telescope looking toward the heavens. One evening while her mother was expecting with child, soviet terrorists murdered her father. So her mother fled Russia and came to the USA traveling on a barge. This is where she gave birth, naming her child Jupiter. Twenty five years later, Jupiter, now living along with her mother, aunt, and cousins in Chicago, makes a living working as a lowly maid, performing standard cleaning duties. But Jupiter’s life doesn’t end there. Because of the moment when she was born, she holds a genetic profile descended from a intergalactic family heritage that ruled one part of the universe, making her a unique sect of royalty. Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) a genetically engineered former military hunter, tracks her down and descends on her to the sect of the universe where she is discovered as a true heir to the House of Abrasax, a dynasty that has ruled for millennia. But three others within the same family clan-Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) Titus Abrasax (Douglas Booth), and Kalique Abrasax (Tuppence Middleton) are at war for the power and control of their intergalactic cosmos. Jupiter not only finds her true destiny, but holds an entitlement toward the fate and consequence of her domain.

This sci-fi fantasy feature film, written and directed by Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski aka The Wachowskis, offers a movie that blends a number of genres; A small saga of a working class woman living a humble middle tier life with her rather extended family, a love story between a man and a woman that would have never met if it weren’t for the circumstances they became involved in, and a sci-fi futuristic flick with plenty of action set along an overload of CGI special effects. To some, this film would have made a lot of logic and sense for what the movie is. For this writer, it’s one extensive and totally confusing feature that is long on the for noted action and CGI nonsense, and short on total purpose! The two leads appearing in this feature, Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones and Channing Tatum as Caine Wise, have all of the good looks and appeal such a film could contain. They do play their roles as the heroes, getting from one fix and into another where eventually, everything works out in the end–or by the time the rather extended end credits roll!

The Wachowskis will be forever known for creating The Matrix Trilogy, a trio of features released in the late 1990’s-early 2000’s that were unparalleled and unique in their own right, and it had the first of the three, the 1999 release The Matrix becoming entered as a registered film as part of the Library of Congress’ film preservation program. This current film is the first sci-fi themed title since the Matrix series as created by Lana and Andy. This project may be a marvel to experience by their fans, but to this reviewer, it borders upon being rather stupid, down to a point where selected scenes and dialogue become unintentionally funny! For a while, one can’t tell if this picture is an action packed thriller, or something that is part of low level satire! However, it’s not funny enough to be comedy, so any laughs generated are caused from minor silliness or from just plain boredom.

JUPITER ASCENDING is an ideal movie to see for the proper audience to appreciate it. It’s far from being a bad movie, not even worthy enough for a Razzie Award! However, the visuals are terrific! Dan Glass provides the visual effects supervision, and Kyn Barrett is the costume designer, making this feature as genuine eye candy. It’s in 3-D as well, giving this project additional merit. Sadly, very few will desire to see a movie just for its visual effects, costuming, and 3D-ish creativity. Again, it holds some entertaining value, but don’t expect too much in terms of total continuity. And if one can sit through some of the lulls that do occur, then one has a movie that is perfect to view while one is doing something else! (Talking on the phone, playing with an electronic device that sports a video screen, etc.) It’s recommended to do those multitasking duties once this film is available for non theatrical viewing!

JUPITER ASCENDING is rated “PG-13” for sci-fi action and violence, suggestive content, and partial nudity(!) Now playing at all of the regular multiplexes from coast to coast.




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