Contributor: Tom Umstead.
Another Book for Brooks — on Music
Most of us can’t muster the time and patience to pen a decent letter, and here Lifetime Television executive Tim Brooks has written another book — and no, it’s not about TV.
“I admit to having another life outside of TV,” he said.
The channel’s senior vice president of research has just published Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry (University of Illinois Press), a profile of some of the talented entertainers among the first to be recorded during the years from 1890 to the outbreak of World War I.
Where did he get the time? Well, it only took 15 years of weekends and vacations spent ferreting out other collectors to find obscure recordings, visiting the home states of his subjects and poring over archival material.
Brooks, who has also co-written eight editions of The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, said he was inspired after learning about a man believed to have been among the first acts commercially recorded. That street-corner whistler, George W. Johnson, got his opportunities because whistling reproduced better than voice recordings on old wax cylinders.
Brooks enthusiastically explained how an artist of this time would perform in front of a half-dozen cylindrical recorders, over and over again, in order to get enough units for commercial sale. (Think about that next time you spend five minutes burning a CD!)
Singers, stage actors, “elocutionists” (think really old-school Def Jam) and spiritual groups are among those profiled in the book.
“It took a lot of time, but it was really interesting,” said Brooks.
Weather Walks for A Good Cause
The Weather Channel executives and their friends let their feet do the walking recently, participating in the Central Park Unity Walk in New York City to raise money for research to help find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.
The 50-person group was dubbed Team Cantore for Tamra Cantore, vice president of sales strategy and affiliate operations, who’s living with the disease. Her supporters in the walk included her husband, on-air meteorologist Jim Cantore (yes, love can bloom at work); Orville Scott, father of ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who also walked; TWC senior vice president, distribution, Susan Scott; Debora Wilson, TWC chief operating officer; TWC videographer William Rembert; and a ringer: actor Michael J. Fox.
Jim Cantore interviewed the actor for segments on Parkinson’s and its cause, which have been running on TWC.
The event raised more than $1 million for research into the disease which affects an estimated 1.5 Americans. Bravo to Team Cantore, which raised an estimated $24,000 this year alone.
ABC’s Sweeney Is College Bound
Talk about dedication ... just hours after being named Disney ABC Television president, and co-chairman of media networks for Los Angeles-based The Walt Disney Co. on April 22, Anne Sweeney was winging on a plane to New York to host a scholarship fundraiser for her alma mater, The College of New Rochelle.
Sweeney presented an award to Sandra Priest Rose who, along with her late husband, developer Frederick P. Rose, were among New York’s most charitable philanthropists, according to Disney.
Playtime Resumes At National Show
After a few rather dour, constrained editions, this year’s National Show appears to be channeling cable’s inner carouser, with more stunts planned than a collegiate kegger.
Take Trio, which Tuesday will try to determine how many cable executives it takes to stuff a DeLorean — the classic silver gull-winged car most famous for its appearances in the Back to the Future movies. The pile-in is for a good cause: For every person squeezed into the vehicle at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday in New Orleans, the network will donate $200 to Cable Positive. So go ahead, flash back to your teen years and don’t forget to watch out for the shifter.
If off-key crooning is more your thing, you can sidle up to the karaoke machine at vendor Datria’s booth. While the company normally is marketing its remote-workforce processes, this time it will lure execs with prizes for the best Beatles cover.
For a chance at a more high-profile entertainment performance, Hallmark Channel’s booth will raffle off a walk-on role in one of its upcoming original movies.
Or, you can take the historical approach, grazing the floor (chef alert: Turner South!), cruising for autographs (Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, TBS Superstation) or enjoying the music (Latin Grammy winners, MTV Networks).
Laissez les bon temps rouler!