721 John and Sheldon
A couple of old radio and TV guys who likely don't know each other and who probably wouldn't have much to say to each other if they did, but who are in kind of similar situations. John is John Palmer, who served two terms at NBC News, doing such programs as Sunrise and Today and Weekend Today and Nightly News and radio News on the hour. Some cement head let his contract lapse. John went to Monitor TV, the Christian Science Monitor's feeble early attempt at TV. Later, in a stoke of pure genius, NBC hired him back. Now he's doing stuff for some cable outfit called Retirement Living Television. Most recently, he interviewed Greenspan. John was smooth as an oil slick on the Gulf of Mexico and warm as toast. But he asked tough questions. He's pushing 75 and probably doesn't need to work. It's to our benefit that Tim Russert brought him back to NBC and to our benefit that we can hear and see him pretty often, despite the obscurity of his present workplace.
The other guy is Sheldon Sharpless who had worked for a small radio station in a small town for 50 years. That is not a typo. Where Palmer was and is smooth and urbane, Sharpless is rough and rural much like his listeners. He was fired the other day by the guy who leases the station from its owners. Advertisers defected in large numbers. Someone started a "bring him back" page on Facebook which at latest count has about 1600 names, which is most of the population of the depressed former mining town Sheldon served.
The listeners and advertisers want him back on the air. The lessee has dug in his heels and seems unable or unwilling to move. The cases are not exactly similar. But the message is the same: don't screw with the old timers. They know all the tricks you think you invented. And they will be back.
--Almost everyone loved Jimmy Dean, whose "Big Bad John" decorated the top of the music charts more than 40 years ago and whose sausages kissed a lot of taste buds and probably helped clog an artery or two, but so what? When Jimmy died at age 81 recently, the folks at Sara Lee who now own the sausage factory and the brand name, put up a short note saying how he'll be missed... but didn't mention they fired him from the ads six years ago because he was "too old." Yeah, almost everyone loved Jimmy.
--This is unusual considering who said it and where he's from. An eye doctor, a native of Central PA who has worked for the VA says "that form of socialized medicine, for all its flaws, works far better than anything else we have or that has been approved in congress." This goes against the grain of many in his town, and he's only one voice in the wilderness, but a clear one.
--Legalese Translation Department: When you hear "the lawsuit is baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves and welcome our day in court..." read between the words. They usually mean "guilty, your honor, but we're going to try hard to wiggle out of it."
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®