PREVIOUSLY in Steve's Blog, we counted down the Naughtiest Newsmakers of 2013.
10. THE FILTHY ANIMALS (of Times Square)
9. BILL diBLASIO
8. MILEY CYRUS
7. THE NEW YORK YANKEES
6. ALL OTHER NEW YORK TEAMS, EXCEPT THE ISLANDERS
5. HOWARD STERN
4. MOTHER NATURE
3, KATHIE LEE GIFFORD
2. BILL COSBY
and the proud owner of a lump of coal:
ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA (ISIS)
And the countdown continues:
10. SETH MEYERS
9. JIMMY FALLON
These SNL alums have assumed the hosting chores of LATE NIGHT and THE TONIGHT SHOW with true professionalism. Although they each got their start as Update co-anchors (Seth opposite Amy Poehler and Jimmy opposite Tina Fey), their styles couldn't be more different. Seth's news junkie side informs LATE NIGHT as evidenced by his booking guests such as NBC anchor Brian Williams and New Yorker editor David Remnick, while music fan Jimmy likes jamming with Maroon 5 leader Adam Levine, country star Blake Shelton, and the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Johnny Carson and Jack Parr would be proud of what these youngsters are doing on their former turf!
8. JOAN RIVERS
She had just a TOUCH of naughty, but she was a New Yorker who cared about the less fortunate and an inspiration to a new generation of young female comics. Could she talk? Could she ever!
7. BILL deBLASIO
The first newsmaker to make both lists, this time for stepping up to the plate during the Blizzard of 2014, although he DID drop the ball by allowing schools to open.
6. CECILY STRONG
She lived up to her name with her performance as a Weekend Update anchor, and now she's going to the White House Correspondent's Dinner! Joan would be proud, and I hope she brings them to their feet! (Unlike certain actual reporters who bring them to their feet and out the door. I'm not naming names.)
5. ROBIN WILLIAMS
At the end of the classic Mork and Mindy episode, "Mork Meets Robin Williams," Robin, in character as Mork, told his superior Orson that fame could be a blessing and a curse, and asked Orson, and us,to consider these stars who left too soon:
and especially, John Lennon.
We can add Robin himself to this list. He could have lived a longer and happier life, but unfortunately, he left too soon. It goes without saying that he will be missed.
4, SCOTT SHANNON
The hits just keep on coming from this Radio Hall of Famer! He left Hot AC station WPLJ for legendary oldies station WCBS-FM, and he hasn't sounded better than he has at his employer since March of this past year. He remains a nice guy, an irreverent observer of the world scene, and a music afficionado, with great people in his corner. He has recently honored the memory of countdown king Casey Kasem with his own weekend show, AMERICA'S GREATEST HITS, now heard on stations from coast to coast. He may no longer be the Morning Zookeeper, but Shannon is still on the prowl and sounding better than ever!
The following portion of the blog is brought to you by the number 3.
THREE NAUGHTY NEWSMAKERS THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE COUNTDOWN
3. NBC for cancelling "A to Z" when they made it to "H is for Hostile Takeover." What the F?
2. Speaking of takeovers, HASBRO for going after DreamWorks Animation just after they signed a lucrative deal with Disney.
1. EVERYBODY IN FERGUSON,MO AND THEIR SUPPORTERS for tying up traffic,wrecking buildings, and generally going crazy just to make their point. Seriously, can't we all just get along?
3, SESAME STREET
Although CAPTAIN KANGAROO, the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, and MISTER ROGERS NEIGHBORHOOD all had segments of an educational nature, they lacked that X Factor that would get kids learning and loving every minute of it and parents and teachers content in the knowledge that not only were their young charges getting ready for life in the classroom and beyond, but they were getting a quality TV program they could enjoy without guilt. Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morriset found that something extra, and forty-five years ago, SESAME STREET was born with no signs of slowing down today! While original human cast members have come and gone, Jim Henson's puppet creations continue to populate the Street with new characters, such as fairy Abby Cadabry, Murray the Monster,Minnie Mynah, and of course, Elmo, joining iconic friends such as Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, and Prairie Dawn. Back then, the STREET was planned as a mix of the fast pace of LAUGH-IN, and the production values of television commercials, but the world was already changing at an alarming rate, and the STREET had to address charges of racism and sexism. Fortunately, a Hispanic couple (Luis and Maria) was introduced as were ethnic Muppets, and the STREET now extends through more than 100 countries and territories with co-productions in many of them. (Only one, PLAZA SESAMO from Mexico, is broadcast in the USA.) SESAME STREET is the perfect blend of education and entertainment for its pre-school target audience and sophisticated humor for the former kids. (One noteworthy example: SONS OF POETRY, which the creator of the decidedly mature original LOVES!) Since the STREET's inception, its producer, originally Children's Television Workshop and now Sesame Workshop,has created two basic reading shows, each called THE ELECTRIC COMPANY (The first one starred Bill Cosby, and see the Naughty List to find out what I think of him THESE days.), a health education show for adults called FEELING GOOD, a science show called 3-2-1 CONTACT!, a math show called SQUARE ONE TV, and a spinoff of the STREET focusing on games and exercises called PLAY WITH ME, SESAME (which has been broadcast on advertising supported channels Nick Jr. and Sprout), but none of them have had the impact of the original STREET, although PLAY WITH ME comes very close. In 45 years, SESAME STREET has gone from, "Who needs it?" to "Can't do without it!"
And now, we're up to the top two nicest newsmakers of 2014, but before we reveal them to a waiting world:
TWO NICE NEWSMAKERS THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE COUNTDOWN
2. PAUL MCCARTNEY
Fifty years after the lads' Ed Sullivan debut, New York still loves him, YEAH YEAH YEAH! (I saw him in concert at the Times-Union Center in Albany, and he can still put on a show!)
1. MIKE NICHOLS
These days he has been best known as Diane Sawyer's husband, but he was better known for his rich portfolio on Broadway and in Hollywood. His star shone as brightly as the actors he guided.
YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
THE CAPTAIN OF THE NEW YORK YANKEES,
2. DEREK JETER
With those words, (Derek stipulated that nobody other than Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Shephard speak those words, even on tape, everytime he took the field at home.) Derek Sanderson Jeter, trusty Louisville Slugger in hand, stepped up to the plate, and consistently delivered a truly Broadway-worthy performance. Drafted out of high school in 1992 and making his major league debut in 1995, Derek played shortstop for the Yanks and ONLY the Yanks for twenty years,racking up an impressive 3465 hits and 2747 games played. He led the Yanks to five World Series championships, and became that rare kind of professional athlete, the kind respected by both home and opposing team players and fans. He has been the face of Ford Motor Company, Nike's Jordan brand, 24 Hour Fitness (including a group of 24 Hour Derek Jeter clubs in the New York area of which yours truly is a proud member), and Gatorade, to name but a few.Since hanging up the legendary Yankee Pinstripes uniform, "Jete" has founded his own publishing company, Jeter Publishing, and his own sports news site, http://www.theplayerstribune.com ,but his best-known extra-curricular activity is the charitable Turn 2 Foundation which helps children and teenagers avoid addiction and awards academic achievement. For conduct truly befitting a champion, on and off the field, Derek Jeter is Steve's Blog's Number Two Nicest Newsmaker Of 2014, and this blog donates $22 to the Turn 2 Foundation in his name.
And now, we're up to the nicest newsmaker of the year, a man who began life on the mean streets of Detroit and ended it under bizarre circumstances in Washington State, but who shared the gift of music with people of every age around the world. While other kids his age were only fantasizing about a career on the radio, Lebanese-American Kemal Amen Kasem lived the dream as he covered sports at Northwestern High School and played children on shows such as THE LONE RANGER. Kemal was later drafted and served in Korea where he spun records for the Armed Forces Radio Network. After doing his patriotic duty, he worked as a DJ for stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he began to not only play the records, but talk about the artists who made them. As anti-war protests divided America and her youth began deserting clear channel AM hit music stations for progressive rock on the FM, he bucked the trend with the July 4, 1970 premiere of his nationally syndicated countdown broadcast, AMERICAN TOP 4O WITH CASEY KASEM.
Not only did Casey play the hits and talk about the stars behind them, but he also reported the top music news of the week a decade before the inception of MTV and played Long Distance Dedications for listeners who wanted to express their feelings of love for those special people in their lives, or loss for those who had left their lives never to return. For adult contemporary listeners, Casey also hosted AMERICAN HOT 20 and AMERICAN TOP 10, not to be confused with the music video countdown, AMERICA'S TOP 10.
With the countdown's success extending far beyond the borders of the 50 United States, Casey became one of the most sought-after voice artists in America, not only performing promotional duties for NBC, but also lending his talents to such characters as Shaggy Rogers in SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU? and many of its successive spinoffs, the title character in the special HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL, and Robin in SUPER FRIENDS.
In 1988, he left AT40 due to a contract dispute and moved from the ABC Radio Network, the show's distributor, to Westwood One, where he hosted CASEY'S TOP 40 which employed the Radio & Records chart as opposed to AT40's Billboard chart. In 1995, AT40, then hosted by Shadoe Stevens, was cancelled, and two years later, Casey regained the rights to the name, as the show moved to the AMFM network, which was soon acquired by Premiere Radio Networks. In 2009, Casey retired from AT40 .
A devoted family man, Casey had three children, Mike,Julie, and Kerri, through his first wife Linda, and one,Liberty Jean, through his second wife Jean. Casey had very strong beliefs, often at the expense of lucrative acting jobs.
In 2007, Casey was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Six years later, he was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, which robbed him of his unique vocal gifts. As his health worsened, Jean Kasem forbade any contact with the outside world, particularly with children from his first marriage.
In an almost comic series of events, Casey was removed from a Santa Monica, CA nursing home and popped up in Washington State, where he was reported to be in critical but stable condition.Judge Daniel S. Murphy ruled that he had to be fed, hydrated, and medicated as a court-appointed lawyer appointed on his status.When Casey's body did not respond to treatment, the judge allowed the family to place him on "end-of-life" measures despite Jean Kasem's objections. On June 15,2014, 82 year-old Casey Kasem's journey ended in Gig Harbor, WA. He was survived by his wife, four children and four children.
More than the way he died, Casey will be remembered for the way he lived. His was a life devoted to service to his fellow human being, and to music. He helped many acts we now take for granted get their start, and helped revitalize many other careers. Although AT-40 was the most listened to countdown show in the world, Casey could only take some of the credit despite a strong presence. He had a single, "Letter From Elaina," about a girl who had met George Harrison, but it never achieved national prominence. Although he no longer is part of our Sunday mornings, I'm sure the voice who launched a thousand careers would be happy if I said, (Drumroll please.)
"CASEY KASEM, YOU ARE NUMBER ONE."
1. CASEY KASEM, 1932-2014
Of the many charities Casey supported, the one he probably was the most associated with was the Muscular Dystrophy Association, since he helped Jerry Lewis on some of his many MDA telethons.
Therefore, this blog donates $100 to MDA in his memory. This blog is also affectionately dedicated to the memory of Casey Kasem.
And there you have them, the 10 naughtiest and nicest newsmakers for the year ending December 16,2014. I would like to thank Bettijane Eisenpreis, Scott Shannon, Sheila Watko, Cooper Lawrence,Patty Steele, Chelsea Duffy,(and a special shout out to Jennifer Castellano)and anybody else whose name I may have forgotten at this time for their continued support, and, of course, I would like to thank my readers around the world for THEIR continued support.
Don't miss Steve's Book, coming in 2015 to a physical or online bookstore near you!
Until January 2, 2015, when we'll do whatever the heck we've been doing,have a a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, and a VERY Happy New Year, and keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars! AND...
As we went to press, Australia mourned the brave people who gave their lives in the cause of freedom during the terrible Sydney Siege which took place at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place, a shopping center I have had the pleasure to visit myself as well as the home of 7 Network.
My sincerest condolences to the citizens of the beautiful land Down Under, especially Kochie and Mel from the Sunrise program, Robin Bailey, and expatriate Brad Blanks and family.