April is for fools

It gets harder to tell what is true

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The search for an Imus replacement begins

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The curtain closes on Don Imus

77 year old Don Imus had a contract that Cumulus Radio cannot justify in bankruptcy, so this is the end of the Imus show in syndication. On WABC-AM in New York, syndicated Chris Plante moves to 10 AM to noon, and Sid Rosenberg and Bernie McGurk move to the 6-10AM time slot. Bernie was The Imus Show executive producer and sometimes sidekick on the show.

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EU GPDR is coming in May 2018


The EU passed data privacy laws (General Data Protection Regulation) two years ago that asserts a principle that EU privacy regulations apply not only to businesses that engage in commerce in Europe, or have computers in EU countries, but apply to all activities conducted by residents of the EU, even if no part of the interaction occurs within the jurisdiction of the EU. Left unclear is whether a citizen of the EU not located inside the EU (think German tourist in Florida using the Streaming Radio Guide) would be entitled to the protection of the EU-GPDR.

Taking it one step further (see: cc), what if a person in the EU uses a proxy server to conceal their physical location from a web site operator? Am I still required to conform to the EU consent demands?

Between this regulation, the anti-slavery law, and Microsoft announcing it has the right to monitor “hate speech” in private communication, the world is becoming a scary place.

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$1.6 billion thanks

Having survived a week without a fatality, it was time to try out the light rail extension.

We road it from end to end – I-485 to UNC-Charlotte.

At the UNCC station, there was a very visible policeman watching the people coming off the train, so if you are riding the mugger mover in order to break into cars in the parking decks, you are not likely to be unobserved.

At the next station, the secondary UNCC station had a parking deck and a woman being employed as a “Lynx Extension Ambassador”. Had I not been persistent, she probably would have had no interaction with us. I asked if the University circulator bus stopped at the station and she didn’t know. She didn’t know if there was a senior version of the all day pass – the app didn’t know, and the answer was not on her clipboard. She offered me the suggestion that I could call the CATS help line. She was just hired and lacked the basic knowledge of the bus system.

There was an interesting piece of artwork at the UNCC stop. The Lynx line has added soda machines on the station platforms recently, but none at the UNCC “safe space” station.

CATS recently rolled out a “pay by app” payment system. It gives you 90 minutes to complete your one-way ride. Fares are enforced by the threat that a ticket inspector might ask for your ticket, but enforcement is very spotty. The total fines for fare evasion last year was $11,000.

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Send in the Clouds

In a move that is somewhat logical, the “new” Cumulus Board of Directors has two new directors with ties to Mexico. The FCC has been relaxing the rules about non-Americans owning broadcast licenses. This telegraphs to me that much of the Cumulus empire will soon be playing accordion music. With the exception of the former ABC and Susquehanna radio stations, the Cumulus/Citadel portfolio is mostly in small or unrated markets.

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A glimpse into the history of Art Stone, who was on the receiving end of the attack. It was not a bilateral “war”.


A huge train geek named Jon Bell – who I never met in real life – was also attacked. He came to Charlotte for the opening of the streetcar line. Had I known ahead of time, I would have made an effort to meet him.

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Clear Channel / iHeartmedia bankruptcy update

A few tidbits from the Tom Taylor newsletter along with having read the bankruptcy filing.

John Malone had his lawyers show up at the “First Day Motions” to represent his interests. The filing has language permitting Malone to submit his own plan, or other parties. That language may have been added to fend off an involuntary bankruptcy, as the four delays were starting to look like stalling.

The wild card in this fight is about $160 million in debt still outstanding from before the Bain & Lee “taking the company private” transaction. Since the freshly minted debt in 2008 trading as low as about 15% of face value (from memory), you can see why they would not have accepted a debt swap. They have been paid interest for 10 years, but are unsecured creditors.

Selling off Clear Channel Outdoors to a French company is definitely in play, at least the European part. The bankruptcy filing puts any further “raiding of the piggy bank” on hold. The 1 billion dollar IOU Iheart Media stuck on the books of CCO IS unsecured. The CCO subsidiary is 10% owned by others and has debt that may not get paid when the $1 billon “loan” becomes worthless.

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The Salisbury, North Carolina Train Station

talking about the new extension of the light rail line here in charlotte reminded me that i’d taken some pix of the salisbury, north carolina, amtrak station back in october when we were in salisbury  for fred’s 40th college reunion. below is a pix of the entrance to the station.

above: another view of the base of the tower on the front of the building.

below is a sculpture that sits right out near the train tracks.


below is the identification plaque for the sculpture.

someone in the past had made an ambitious attempt at an herb garden in a little area on the station grounds, near the boarding platform. it’s in neglect now but the rosemary has thrived! see below.

below is another exterior area of the station.

we were not able to get inside the station but the entire place (both the buildings and the grounds) had a welcoming, human-scale feel.

the architecture has a strong mediterranean influence. (note the tiled roof, which must cost a fortune to keep in good repair.) i’ve been delighted over the past year by how much of that i’ve seen here in north carolina . (i love the south-of-france/greco-roman style of architecture; it’s both beautiful and practical.)

pretty clear that the entity that owns/operates the facility is struggling. the station is  available for rent (think wedding receptions) and they’ve tried to do some “adaptive re-use” on the ground floor (offering space to retail businesses.) looked to me like someone had tried that (an antique store/boutique?) but failed — there was a “for rent” sign in the window.

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It’s open!

Friday was the official launch of the $1.6 billion Blue Line extension, coinciding with the NCAA Round 1 playoff at the Spectrum Arena.

No pushing!

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