Friday, December 30, 2011

THE FOUR REPS

I hope you've had a chance to hear "The Four Reps". These are four young men who came together as part of the Young Performers Program at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock. I first heard these guys when they performed at a Rotary meeting.
I immediately invited them to come be on the radio with us, and they joined us this morning. Below is a still picture of them in our studio this morning, with the audio from one of the songs they did on air. I hope you enjoy them.

video




Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Concerned about the Cops at LRPD

The police involved shooting at Park Plaza Mall is the latest in a string of incidents involving use of force. And I'm concerned about the impact it will have on the men and women of the LRPD.
My concern is about what I see as a lack of transparency from LRPD on these incidents, and a fear it will cause what is called an unintended consequence. I talked about this during our morning radio program on Fresh Talk 93.3.

Several people have mentioned this string of incidents to me, most in the "what is going on over there" kind of way. When the citizens loose confidence in the leadership of a government body, citizens (or certain groups) will seek to impose their own oversight. And that's what I'm afraid of for a couple of reasons.

With leadership comes the responsibiity to keep citizens both informed and confident in the decision making process.

In other cities where there has been concern about "use of force" by police, there have been moves for so-called Citizen Oversight Committees. I generally don't find that to be a good idea. I know police train heavily on the split second life and death decisions officers have to make. In my early years as a reporter, I sat through some of the training, so I have an understanding of what that training involves. It would be unfair to put officers in a position of having to not trust their training for fear of the pending oversight of their split second decisions.

My other concern, because some of these incidents involved officers working off duty jobs, is there will be a push to limit or reduce the off duty jobs. My general sense is that when you have to put on a bullet proof vest to go to work, you should be paid more. Many police officers depend on those off-duty jobs to provide the extras their families want. I don't want to see that option removed for those who want the off duty work.

I think we have a very good police department, and I have every confidence in our Chief. But in the area of transparency, they need to find a way to improve while they protect the integrity of their investigations. It can be done. It is the confidence I have in these leaders and officers that makes me comfortable in saying "C'mon, you can do better".

Monday, December 26, 2011

I'll See You on the Radio

I borrow those words from longtime CBS Broadcaster Charles Osgood. You may be familiar with him from "Sunday Morning", a program that blends wonderful photo journalism with superb story telling.
Osgood is also on the CBS Radio Network. He ends his TV Broadcast with a nod toward his radio roots, as he says "I'll see you on the radio".

I've always liked that phrase, and it's reminder of radios' ability to deliver "Theatre of the Mind".

Tomorrow, I return to the radio as we launch a new talk radio station in Little Rock. It will be called "Fresh Talk 93.3", and we bring Little Rock a fresh talk alternative. 

I won't give you the entire run down here. But I will, without shame, ask you to give us a listen. I will host the 6am-8am block, which will combine news, interviews with news makers and a little bit of fun. Guests this week include Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times; LR Mayor Mark Stodola; Congressman Tim Griffin; Senator and NLR Mayoral Hopeful Sen. Tracy Steel and Democrat Gazette columnist John Brummett.

I've been off the air for almost four years, so I'll need a few days to get my radio sea-legs back. That's my way of saying there may be a few technical errors in the opening days. So I'll both apologize in advance and beg your tolerance.

It return, I offer you this tip. Over the holidays, we feasted on a Cajun style deep fried turkey. Its' origin may surprise you. It was from the drive up window at Popeye's. Yes, the one that sells chicken. The cost for the fully cooked 12 pound bird was $35. It comes frozen, so you can store it at home until you are ready. Just thaw it out, follow the directions and amaze everyone at the table. It was wonderfully seasoned, moist and for my taste, beat any roasted turkey I've ever eaten. It's my understanding they only make it available for a short time, starting just prior to Thanksgiving. Last year I waited too long and missed out. They had already sold every Turkey they fried. And I checked several locations. This year I claimed mine back in the middle of November. I was not going to be denied again!

So my tip is this: Make a note to yourself for next year, and treat your family and friends. And to the folks at Popeyes, thank you! Please put my name on one for next year. In the meantime, starting tomorrow, I'll "see you on the radio".

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A great idea for Dad!

Let's face it. Dads can be hard to buy for. I'm no different. We often have this bad habit of buying for ourselves the things we really want.
But sometimes there are things we don't even know we want. And what a pleasant surprise when our children discover those things, and that becomes the gift.

Here is a great example. My college aged daughters came across this small book called "My Dad. His Stories. His Words." The book is full of questions, and I'm expected to answer the questions, and then gift the book back to the girls. What a great way for a Dad to tell his children the things he would like to tell them, if only they would ask. This book is a giant ask.

The questions include:
  • "When you were a kid, what was your favorite holiday, and how did your family celebrate it"?
  • "What's the best thing your Dad and/or Mom taught you?"
  • "What are the two things you didn't tell your parents about?"
There are easy questions about things like your friends growing up, your first job and your first car.
But there are also more thought provoking questions about life lessons, who taught them to me, and what it felt like when I was first a Dad.

Recent articles have said there is a growing trend toward gifts that provide memories and experiences rather than gifts that are just mere possessions.

Filling in the answers to this book will provide a memorable experience for me, and hopefully something meaningful when I return it to my daughters with all the answers.

They are already asking "Who will get to keep the book?"

Knowing that they want to know the answers is, in itself, a gift. And I could never get this kind of joy from another sweater.

I can't wait to start filling in the answers.

(By the way, my daughter found it in a gift shop during a trip to Chicago. But she later discovered they carry it at a gift store called Frencesca's right here in Little Rock, just in case you want to surprise your Dad.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where has the year gone?

At this time of year, we all mutter, in some form "this year has flown by". Nothing makes you realize that until you are reminded of all the things that happened this year. If you'd like to be reminded in a visual way, the Wall Street Journal has compiled a list of pictures from the year. You can link to it here - http://t.co/EGND8o12

How many of these would you have recalled without prompting? (This is a very small list, and in no particular order)
The Casey Anthony case; The shooting of Congresswoman Gifford; The death of Steve Jobs; Charlie Sheen's fight with CBS, his ultimate firing, and his work to now re-hab his image; The April tornado, and the impact in Vilonia; The scandals at UCA; and the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. (Yes, that was all this year)

Wow, this year has flown by.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's my new Blog.

Hello again. I say that because I started this blog back in 2008, but found I did not have the time to devote to blogging I had hoped. And like many writers, I decided that bad writing was not better than no writing, so I stopped.
Leave your blog un-attended for a long enough time, and the Blog Police take it away, and you have to start over.
That's exactly what I'm doing today. I will soon return to the air in Central Arkansas with a morning radio program. I plan to make blogging a part of that as well. I'll tell you more about that later.
In the meantime, I hope you'll make this part of your regular reading, and I'll do my best to make your time here worthwhile.