Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mad Hatter recalls BJ Pulitzer team

Stuart Warner, former hat-wearing BJ columnist who lives and works in Arizona with his wife, Debbie Van Tassel Warner, posted this:
“I just finished writing a piece for the Akron Beacon Journal's 175th anniversary and it made me think a lot about these folks. They won the Pulitzer in 1987 for their coverage of the attempted takeover of Goodyear, which was in the plotting stages this month, 28 years ago.
“Where are they now? Not 100 percent certain, but one has his own TV show in Southern California, one is a lawyer, I believe, one is a retired publisher, one is the paper's managing editor, another the national editor, one the auto editor in Detroit, one became the first African-American editor of what was once the capital of the confederacy, one is the paper’s food writer and Akron’s most famous rock ‘n’ roll stepmom and one guy traded his fedora for a cowboy hat.
“Conspicously missing in the photo is managing editor Larry Williams, now retired, who I think was getting out of his wet clothes after losing a champagne battle with yours truly.
“It was a great time. Miss you guys.

BJ, PD refuse anti-LeBron ads

Both the Beacon Journal and the Plain Dealer refused to run lucrative, full-page ads taking a shot at LeBron James for returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Miami talk-show radio host Dan Batard (maybe he left the “s” out between “a” and “t”?) attempted to place the ads. And he admits he got the shameful publicity ploy he wanted free through widespread news of the BJ and PD refusals.

A Second Coming for LeBron will take place Aug. 8 at the University of Akron’s football stadium. At least it won’t be one-third capacity as it is for Zips games.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rockin' on the River concerts ending 28-year run in Cuyahoga Falls

After 28 years, the Aug. 29 Rockin’ on the River concert will be the last ever in Cuyahoga Falls.

Mayor Don Walters has appointed a seven-member committee to decide what will replace Rockin’.

Bob Earley and wife Sandy have been producing Rockin' on the River for 11 years. Bob also does talk shows on WNIR radio.

Buck Naked Band and Coalies Run Band are scheduled for the Aug. 29 Rockin’ concert finale.

BJ moving within months?
Is Canadian owner David Black trying to find a new, smaller home for what’s left of the Beacon Journal?
Former BJ political writer Abe Zaidan writes in his Grumpy Abe blog that it’s only a matter of a few months – if Black Press can find someone to buy the once-hallowed building.
The “mausoleum” has all the departments on the third floor. The rest of the structure is vacant, except for a guard on the ground floor. A newsroom that once had more than 200 is down to about 60.
Once the site of a Music Hall, the Times-Press took over the 44 E. Exchange Street property in 1930.  Scripps-Howard  sold it in 1938 to John S. Knight.

To read Abe’s sad, sad story, click on

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Will a few determine what the many read, watch & think?

If Comcast and Time Warner Cable and 21st Century Fox and Time Warner merge, America could be on its way to a handful of companies deciding what its citizens read, watch and think.

That’s the warning in James B. Stewart’s Business Day article.

Think about it:  

In 1983, 50 companies owned 90 percent of the media consumed by Americans. By 2012, six companies controlled that 90 percent.

The top six studios account for 85 percent of theatrical film revenue. Fox and Warner Bros. lead the way with 19% (Fox) and 17% (Warner).

In television, five producers account for 85 percent of the market.

To read the entire Business Day article by James B. Stewart, click on

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cable, satellite TV headed into the hands of a few firms

Time Warner turned down an $80 billion offer by 21st Century Fox to buy TW.

Two blockbuster mergers are awaiting government approval: Comcast’s $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, which is not part of Time Warner, and AT&T’s $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV.

Comcast will be controlling the costs for 30% of cable users in America.

AT&T will have 27% of the pay TV business.

What do mergers mean to cable customers? Thinner wallets. 

Cable charges have more than doubled in 20 years. Mega mergers will accelerate that. 

If cable and satellite TV giants ever merger, your choices will be to pay the price, no matter how burdensome, or settle for rabbit ears.

Rupert Murdoch is rubbing his hands gleefully.

Former BJ reporter John Dunphy, retired from the Orange County (California) Register, and wife Rebecca Allen are home in Lakewood, California after six weeks in Europe.

They had to wait on a KLM plane in Amsterdam for a few hours while mechanics looked for a screw to repair an oxygen mask door but, as Rebecca put it, “The landing at LAX (Los Angeles) was like butter spreading on a hot pancake. So smooth!”

Their Europe playpen included St. Denise de Pile (in southwest France on the Isle River,  Madrid, Genoa, Milan, Venice, Rome (The Vatican and the Trevi Fountain). 

Their host families were in Bordeaux, France and Madrid, Spain.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

‘Maverick’ theme song

Who is the tall, dark stranger there?
Maverick is the name.
Ridin' the trail to who knows where,
Luck is his companion,
Gamblin' is his game.
Smooth as the handle on a gun.
Maverick is the name.
Wild as the wind in Oregon,
Blowin' up a canyon,
Easier to tame.

Riverboat, ring your bell,
Fare thee well, Annabel.
Luck is the lady that he loves the best.
Natchez to New Orleans
Livin on jacks and queens
Maverick is a legend of the west.

Riverboat, ring your bell,
Fare thee well, Annabel.
Luck is the lady that he loves the best.
Natchez to New Orleans
Livin on jacks and queens
Maverick is a legend of the west.
Maverick is a legend of the west.

To read former BJ and current PD television critic Mark Dawidiak’s tribute to Garner, click on

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stuart Warner
Shoulder replacement for Stuart Warner

Former BJ writing coach Stuart Warner, who joined the exodus of about two dozen to the Plain Dealer before heading West with his wife, Debbie Van Tassel, who is at the Arizona Republic, will be getting a makeover – of his shoulder.

Writes Stuart:

“Getting total shoulder replacement Tuesday. Wish they had a total brain replacement procedure.

The Mad Hatter was a lecturer at Case Western Reserve before going West.

Stuart came to the BJ (1979-99) after 10 years with Knight-Ridder's Lexington newspaper. He was at the PD 1999-2008, and advanced to writing coach and projects editor.

He is in the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame.

Terry Leroy Oblander should have been born a Navajo. Storytellers run rampant throughout Navajo history. Terry would have put the ho-ho-ho in Navajo.

On July 19, 1947, God thought the world was too serious, so He sent Terry to lighten things up.

Boy, did he! Terry was one of the great storytellers in my life. He had a wheezy, raucous laughter as he enjoyed the stories he was about to tell.

He had BJ retirees falling out of their chairs with laughter in 2009 at the monthly lunch at Papa Joe’s Restaurant in the Merriman Valley.

He was proud to be a socialist, in the best sense of the word. He thought we should all help each other, particularly those less fortunate.

Terry died Nov. 3, 2011. He was 64.

Never has anyone packed so much laughter, joy and humanitarism into so few years.

He nursed his dying wife Mary O’Neil Oblander in 1992, then raised three boys, including the one born five months before Mary died: Terry (in Medina’s Montville Township), Chris (in Middleburg Heights) and Josh (in Parma Heights). His widow is Linda Monroe Oblander.

He prowled the newsrooms at Ravenna’s Record-Courier (13 months), the Beacon Journal (19 years) and the Plain Dealer (18 years, among 27 PD staffers downsized via a phone call in 2008 as an early Christmas present). 

He was part of the BJ team that won a 1987 Pulitzer for coverage of Sir James Goldsmith’s greenmail takeover attempt of Goodyear that accelerated the rubber shops’ decline in Akron which spawned hundreds of abandoned businesses.

Cleveland native Terry was reared in Oldsted Falls, attended Kent State and was graduated from Cuyahoga Community College.

I wrote this in April of this year, but it still seems like a fitting epitaph for Terry:

Being around Terry was like plunging into a vat of vibrant Irish whiskey. He was proud to call himself a “socialist” because he cared about those discarded to the fringes of society. He was an ardent Guild supporter and negotiator. He seemed to have the DNA of Mother Jones and John L. Lewis in him. All with a splash of humor and a tad of loveable blarney.

Terry, we miss you. That’s not thunder we hear, but you regaling St. Peter with laughter.

Happy birthday, Terry! Your laughter still rings in my mind when I think of you.

Say “Hey!” to Fran, Pat and Harry. What a fabulous quartet you guys must make in Newsroom Heaven!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jim Carney retired May 8 after 35 years of being a darn good reporter and all-round nice guy for the Beacon Journal.

His retirement didn’t last long. He’s taking up a new job, which really is a return to his pre-BJ job, by substituting for host Jasen Sokol on 1950 WAKR, starting Monday, for a week, in the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. slot. 

35 years at the BJ. 35 years since Jim worked in radio. Nice symmetry.

Jim’s Facebook post:

“Back to the future! Next week, I will be filling in on 1590 WAKR for Jasen Sokol who will be taking over for Ray Horner from 6 to 10 am while Ray is on vacation. I will be doing interviews with folks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for one week. 
"I’m quite excited about this. Last time I worked in radio was March 1979 at WHLO News Talk 64 before I started working at the Akron Beacon Journal. 
"It will be a fun week. The staff there is terrific! Please go to WAKRAkronNewsNow Facebook page for more info. Thanks, friends!”
I followed Jim’s suggestion and went to WAKR’s Facebook page and found this:
Ray Horner starts his vacation at 10:01 this Friday morning (we're giving him the benefit of a doubt it isn't earlier in his head) and getting set for next week. Jasen will be in for Ray and in for Jasen will be our good friend, former Akron Beacon Journal writer Jim Carney. Starting Monday!
And so Jim is back where he started before he switched from radio to newspapers.

Tune in Monday for the adventures of Patrick Carney’s father! 

·        WWife Katie Byard, BJ reporter, posted:
“"Jimmy will be the Charlie Rose of Akron this coming week -- 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday -- on WAKR -- 1590 AM -- this coming week. So excited. Please go to AWAKRAkronNewsNow FB page for more info! and consider liking that page. Thank you peeps. He is very excited. Go to for info. on how to listen on the Interwebs if you are not in town.”
Good point, Katie, about listening on the Internet if you can’t get Jim’s hosting stint via your radio. I’m going to tune in, I tell you that.

Jim is back where he started years ago, after a 35-year hiatus to be a BJ reporter. 
Inversion tactic costing U.S. billions

The latest gimmick for American corporations: Buy a foreign company, reincorporate your entire American company in the foreign country, and cut your corporate tax rate in America from the 35% for domestic firms to as low as 13%.

It’s called inversion. 

48 American companies have done this in the past decade, depriving the U.S. Treasury of billions of dollars. 

Pharmaceutical giant Milan, founded by West Virginia University’s late benefactor, Mylan Puskar, and Walgreen Co. are considering the maneuver.

Says Edward Kleinbard, a law professor and tax policy expert at the University of Southern California who served as the chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation from 2007 to 2009: 

“The inversions are a canary in the coal mine.” If Congress waits “to get around to corporate tax reform, there won’t be a corporate tax base left to reform.”

Hate site’s members linked to 100 murders in 5 years, America’s most popular online hate site founded in 1995 by former Ku Klux Klan leader Don Black, has registered members that Southern Poverty Law Center linked to almost 100 murders in the past five years.

One of its most popular “social groups” is “Fans and Supporters of Adolf Hitler.” They sometimes call the Holocaust the “Holohoax.”

Even the website title, Stormfront, sounds like a variation of the Nazi stormtroopers of World War II infamy.

200,000 to 400,000 Americans visit the site monthly. They are mostly white, bigoted, young (64% are under 30) and male (70%).

Targets are African-Americans, which is not surprising, Mexicans, gays and Jews (they do love Hitler, remember).

The biggest increase in membership in Stormfront’s history, by far, was Nov. 5, 2008, the day after Barack Obama was elected President.

Hate is not relegated to the poor and unemployed: Economists Roland G. Fryer Jr. and Steven D. Levitt found that Ku Klux Klan members were better educated than the typical American.

Good PR for Giffels & Umrigar

Fresh Water, a Cleveland web site, recommends these former BJ writers if you want to read a book this summer:

David Giffels, “The Hard Way on Purpose.”

Thrity Umrigar, “The Story Hour.”

To read Fresh Water’s assessment of Dave and Thrity’s words skills, click on

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

15 years ago, another tragedy struck the Kennedys

John F. Kennedy, Jr. – the John-John who saluted his father’s casket before a watching nation -- died in a plane crash 15 years ago on July 16, 1999 when his Pipe Saratoga II HP went down into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

It was another in a string of tragedies for the Kennedy family.

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968 while running for President.

Rose and Joe Kennedy’s first son, Joe, Jr., was killed in 1944 when his plane, on a secret mission, exploded.

Rose and Joe’s daughter, Kathleen, died in a 1948 plane crash in Europe.

Time Magazine’s Margaret Carlson wrote a poignant tribute/recall of the Kennedys, the closest thing America has had to royalty since King George III got a tea party that created this nation.

To read the Time article, click on
Move over, LeBron; Connie’s back, too

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz, who spent 30 years with the Plain Dealer, wrote:

“LeBron isn’t the only one who's returning. Last fall, my husband and I left our house in the suburbs and moved to Cleveland.
Sherrod Brown, Connie Schultz

“Greater Cleveland is divided, geographically and ideologically, by the Cuyahoga River. I’ve lived on both sides of it. I raised my children, mostly as a single mother, in diverse neighborhoods on the near east side. After I married Sherrod Brown in 2004, we moved into his then-congressional district—he’s a U.S. senator today—in a virtually all-white neighborhood on the far west side.”

Skeptics – there are ALWAYS those, right? – say Sherrod is positioning himself for a run at being Cleveland’s mayor. That’s a step up from being a U.S. Senator, right?

In her story, Connie talks about Greg Blount, who had worked for more than 30 years as Greg Anthony in Cleveland radio and TV. Now, he’s the Bell Captain at the Westin.

Station downsizing and his salary got him.

Brown, elected to the U.S. Senate in 2007, had been a member of the U.S. House previously. Avon was part of his district.

Schulz is an Ashtabula native and Brown is a Mansfield native.