First Large Caculator Maker… Pop. Culture. History.

From Suzanne F – When did small electronic calculators first come out? And, who was the first notable company to make these new devices?

Mr. Pop History – They came out around 1971 and a year later, a company called the Bowmar Instrument Company had 50% market share. Other manufacturers included Commodore Business Machines and Rapid Data.

Prices were around $400.00 at first, but fell to about $120.00 a year later. I’m talking about small, hand-held electronic calculators that used LED’s in the numbers window.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – July 29… … Ellen Says Goodbye… Disney Buys Gamer… Paris Hilton Has A New… Phil Spector Still Producing…

Ellen DeGeneres  is leaving as a judge of the hit talent competition after one season. “A couple months ago, I let Fox and the ‘American Idol’ producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me,” DeGeneres said. “I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. She said it was a difficult decision, and blamed the heavy work scheduled, but also admitted: “While I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings.”

Walt Disney Co. said it is buying social game developer Playdom Inc. in a deal worth up to $763 million. Mountain View, Calif.-based Playdom is among the leading makers of online social games, including Social City and Sorority Life, and engages an estimated 42 million active players each month, Disney said in a statement released late Tuesday.

Paris Hilton is preparing to release her as-yet-untitled album, a follow up to her 2006 debut, “Paris.” And the star insists she has taken inspiration from “Spinning Around” hitmaker Minogue in the hope her second release will be a bigger hit with fans. She tells Britain’s Heat magazine, “My record is in production now. I recently finished recording it. It’s very like dance, club music.

Imprisoned Phil Spector’s wife, an aspiring singer who just turned 30, is dividing her time between prison visits and promoting her new album, for which he is listed as the producer. For Rachelle, there has been a whirl of clubs, red-carpet openings, travel, interviews and recording sessions, all happily reported on her Facebook page. For Phil, there is life in a tiny cell at a prison in Corcoran, Calif., where he lives on hope that his appeal will be granted and he will get a new trial. He was sentenced to 19-years-to-life behind bars. Spector is 70.

Comedy Show About Venereal Disease… Pop. Culture. History

From Ron N – Mr. Pop, Someone told me there was a TV show – a sort of comedy about venereal disease. Was this on cable?

Mr. Pop History – No, but it was back in 1972, when VD was all the rage (everyone talked about it). The PBS show was called “VD Blues” with host Dick Cavett. According to the log-line, “VD is now reaching epidemic proportions throughout America.” “VD isn’t funny. Catch VD Clues before it catches you.”

Mr. Pop Culture Report – July 27… … Mr. Pop Culture Spotting The Up And Coming – An Interview With Sports Radio Host Julie Buehler of KXPS/Team 1010 Sports Radio In Palm Springs. She’s heard Monday-Friday at 4pm (Pacific).

Mr. Pop – Julie, your recent ratings indicate you’re a top listen in the Palm Springs area, a very competitive radio market.  How did this all get started for you?

Julie B – Originally, I never considered broadcasting. It just didn’t strike my fancy. I love print journalism and consider myself an avid writer. In college, I was chemistry major when a journalism instructor said he liked my writing, and knowing I was into sports, offered me a job on the school newspaper as a sportswriter.

Mr. Pop – How did that pan out?

Julie B. – As soon as I wrote my first article I said to myself, “This is where I want to be.”

Mr. Pop – So, professionally, is that how you started out?

Julie B. – Yes, I began writing in San Diego. And I had hosted radio in Flagstaff (Arizona).

Mr. Pop – Then Palm Springs called?

Julie B. -  I actually moved to Palm Springs to help my grandmother, then took a look around and felt radio was my best opportunity.

Mr. Pop – Doing a three-hour daily sports-talk show must be challenging. It combines the knowledge of sports, keeping telephone callers in-line and keeping the audience entertained, plus the unknowns of each day.

Julie B. – The challenge is always being creative and you can’t be afraid to try new things. If it doesn’t work, the audience will understand. Radio has taught me to become friends with my audience. They’re there with you. If they know who you are, they’ll be receptive and know when you’re trying a new path.

Mr. Pop – That’s a refreshing approach. Can you add anything else to that thought?

Julie B. – I’m a naturally curious person. I want to know more and try to take my listeners on that journey – and how can I make it interesting for them. Everyone loves a great story. I love telling my audience why I’m curious. And, my daily experiences… my life, is fodder for radio. Recently – I got nailed in the knee playing ball and my audience knew all about it.

Mr. Pop – That can be very appealing and it’s a nice connection to your audience. Tell us, how much show preparation do you do?

Julie B. – I don’t think I ever stop prepping. I try to keep my ears and eyes open by reading papers such as USA Today, the Desert Sun and Los Angeles Times, as well as certain websites. The whole idea is find unique nuggets relatable to my radio audience.

Mr. Pop – Sports talkradio has been around since 1987 with the launching of WFAN, NY. Today, it’s more popular than ever, so it must be doing a good job. Can you compare it with other media?

Julie B. – TV offers a quick, but sterile interaction with the audience while print goes more in-depth. Sports talk radio gives fans a voice. That voice can be national or it can be local.

Mr. Pop – So, a well-programmed sports talk station can do quite well airing nationally syndicated shows as well as local hosts, such as “Team 1010.”

Julie B. –  Local hosts are extremely important. What’s important for me is having my fans be a part of the conversation, whether it be a local, regional or national sports issue. They feel like their emotional connection to a team or sport is valid and gets heard. And, the local listener can respond to a national sports story, where they may not have that chance with say, Jim Patrick or Jim Rome.

Mr. Pop  – Yes, two popular nationally syndicated sports radio hosts.

Julie B – That’s correct. Whatever you can expect to hear at a local sports bar is what you can expect me to talk about, plus the extras – those things you might be talking about tomorrow at that same sports bar.

Mr. Pop – What’s your pro sports passion?

Julie B – I love the NFL and when the season comes around, I go into lockdown! I think the NFL has done a phenomenal job keeping up with the times, making itself more relevant and giving us the greatest athletes on the planet.

Mr. Pop – Julie – Thanks for a terrific interview.

The Original Hawaii Five-O… And The Weirdest Radio Spot I’ve Ever Heard… Pop. Culture. History.

From Steve R – Mr. Pop – On the “Grunge” music time line – what started it all?

Mr. Pop History – Although Grunge had been around since the Psyche ’60′s – Mainstream Grunge began with 1990′s “Louder Than Love,” the debut album for Soundgarden.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – July 25… … At Least One TV Show Will Have Theme Music! …

MTV screened the first act of its upcoming series adaptation of Teen Wolf Friday at Comic-Con. Unlike the 1985 movie -  a campy teen comedy starring Michael J. Fox as a high school basketball player who becomes a werewolf while going through puberty – this one is dark.

The New Hawaii Five-O theme to be – close to the same! After originally bringing in a famous rock star to freshen the tune, the producers instead opted to bring back all the original musicians who recorded the song in 1968. “It only affirmed for us that you cannot change it,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman said at a Comic-Con panel. “Not everything should be remake or rebooted. Sometimes you have to know what to change and what to leave the same.” Interesting because – how many TV shows these days even have themes? At least there’s one! FYI – here’s the old

Passing – Veteran journalist Daniel Schorr, whose career ranged from reporting on the building of the Berlin Wall to the Watergate scandal, died on Friday at the age of 93, National Public Radio said. Schorr, who spent the past 25 years as a senior news analyst at NPR, died peacefully on Friday morning at a Washington hospital, surrounded by his family, after what NPR described in a statement as a short illness. Mr. Pop will never forget his TV cameo in the Michael Douglas/Sean Penn  movie, “The Game.”

First Great Guitar Lick In Rock… Pop. Culture. History.

From Joel J – In your opinion, who layed down the first impressive rock lick on a popular song or popular album track. Hendricks? Clapton?

Mr. Pop History – No, it was Dan Cedrone on a song called “Rock Around The Clock” back in 1954. The guitar lick in the middle of this song is great by any standards, let alone 1954 when this kind of thing was unheard of.

Dan Cedrone, just 33 – died shortly thereafter then he fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck. He was paid $21 for the recording.

Bruce Springsteen Question: Pop. Culture. History.

From Pat Z. What was the biggest Bruce Springsteen-penned song as performed by another singer or band?

Mr. Pop History – The biggest was a first. “Fire” – written by Springsteen, was a huge hit for a new girl-group, “The Pointer Sisters” back in 1979. It got to number 2 on the national charts and began a string of hits for the Pointers including “He’s So Shy,” Slow Hand,” and “I’m So Excited.”

Early Madonna Question… Pop. Culture. History.

From Eric L – Mr. Pop – Back when Madonna began making a splash – who was she linked to – romantically?

Mr. Pop History – Let’s take you back to November 1984 when her “Like A Virgin” album was released. She was dating mixer/producer John (Jellybean) Benitez. At the time, she was putting together a band for her first U.S. tour.