Monday, January 30, 2012

Three things I'm looking forward to in February

Super Bowl – One of my favorite days every year (even as a Vikings fan). This year’s version brings us a rematch of the big game from 2008, with the Giants as the plucky underdogs and the Patriots as the favorites. If 2012 version is anything like 2008 we’ll be in for a treat. Since it’s the Super Bowl, allow me some predictions….

#1 – The Coin Toss will be Tails.
#2 – I will be responsible for eating wings, nachos, cookies and something covered barbeque sauce. Bonus points if this actually happens at the same time.

#3 – The buildup will key on Tom Brady vs Eli Manning, but should focus on the Giants defensive line vs the Patriots offensive line.
#4 – The Patriots get revenge and pull away late 33 – 20.

New TV: The Walking Dead & Psych – I’ve worked in this industry for almost ten years now. On the Television portion of our business I think one of the most significant changes during that time is the quantity and quality of original programming on cable networks. That change has considerably impacted broadcast networks and is biggest reason they’ve been forced to find new revenue opportunities (I’ll save that topic for another time).
The Walking Dead (on AMC) & Psych (on USA Network) represent two of my favorite cable series currently available and they both have new episodes in February.

The Walking Dead (starts back up 2/12 @ 8pm): We follow a group of survivors in the post-apocalyptic United States (in the south, Atlanta area to be exact) after a pandemic turns a majority of people into zombies.  The survivors are a rag-tag bunch with little in common other than hoping to find shelter, food and safety in a world they don’t recognize. Heavy stuff, I know.

What’s Next - Let’s hope Rick, Lori, Shane, Carl and the rest of the group gets off the farm or the writers find story lines that aren’t as stagnate as the first half of the season. We need to get back to the uncertainty, suspense, conflict and action the six episodes of Season 1 offered. All that said, you could find worse things to watch on your Sunday nights.

Psych (starts again 2/29 @ 9pm): Shawn Spencer has a knack for solving crime, but he masquerades as a psychic consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department.  His best buddy Gus comes along for the ride. The show is a very light and smart comedy with tons of references to pop culture during the 80s and 90s. This is a great fit for anyone that grew up in that era.
What’s Next – They hit pause in the middle of the 6th season just as Shawn was prepping to pop the question to Juliet. They’ll likely drag that storyline through the back half of the season as Shawn, Gus, Juliet, Lassiter, et al continue to nab bad guys.

80s Night – The Network’s next big social event is set for February 18th at the Highland Mall as 80’s night reminds us to turn our clocks back 25 years. I personally get a kick out of anything 80s.  I can’t flip to Roadhouse, Say Anything, Cocktail Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, etc without burning a half hour. If I YouTube Journey, 38 Special, Whitesnake, Van Halen, etc I’ll burn an hour pouring over what passed as high fashion during this decade.

I’ve probably already gave this away, but…yeah…I’m all over this deal. You can get tickets (only $10) from the Chamber office and if you want to learn more about The Network check this out -

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Twins Caravan Photo Blog

Quick pictorial tour of today's Twins Caravan as they swung through town. Our hosts - Dakota Wesleyan University, namely the DWU Baseball Team with Head Coach Steve Gust. The event was held at the Sherman Center on campus. I had never been in the Sherman Center before, it was a nice place - good spot for the event. 

Who doesn't want free stuff? I had to grab one for Johnny Rocket...

But let's be serious, Cub's fans know there is only one series that matters this season.

Guess who is our emcee? The one, the only...Dan "The Dazzle Man" Gladden! It's interesting to think of words that were popular in a specific era (ie bitchin', gnarly, etc) that are used as a nickname. Could you imagine if we referred to Joe Mauer as Dazzle Man or incorporate the word Dazzle anywhere? Didn't think so, yet somehow Dan pulls it off. Bonus points here, I really got a kick out of him and his voice has that gravely-style which is perfect for radio baseball.

First current player up? Trevor Plouffe! He looked like a guy trying out for a series regular on the HBO series Deadwood. Came across as a funny guy and I appreciated how he spoke of finding anyway to see the field to contribute. While we're here - would it kill Twins fans to work in "Plouffe there it is...Plouffe there it is...Plouffe there it is" when he goes deep? I can't imagine it would be too 90's for their liking?

Next, we hear from Chris Parmalee. One of the bright spots down the stretch last year. Not much to add here, but I did find a sweet 'negative' setting on my phone to let me play with another style. I've included both for your enjoyment.

The last player to take the mic is pitcher, Anthony Swarzak. He's a bit of a journeyman on the club that spent seven season in the Twins minor league system, but still only 26. 'Swarzy' may have found a spot on this club with his work out of the bullpen last season. I think Twins fans can attest to his use as the club's long reliever, especially in the second half.

Gladden tells the crowd that there is three things the Twins have to do to compete this year - Throw, Catch and Hit! Yep, I guess that would about do it.  However, I would probably add that this year's team (like last years) will come down to the health of Mauer and Morneau and the teams ability to fill holes with some of the young players that saw action in 2011.

TC Bear says it's time to hit the road, but not before they hand out some prizes. Sadly I didn't win. Thanks Twins for the show and come again next year.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Podcast #1 - Welcome to the Pod, Jon Mueller talks Hanson Classic

In addition to the blog, we've started a Podcast to help chronicle local events and happenings. This episode, our own Jon Mueller stops by to help set up the recording and breakdown some Hanson Classic coverage. A thrilling 40 minutes!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What to watch…SHARK TANK

I watch a TON of television, an absolute TON, so I won’t (usually) feel bad when you don’t take my TV recommendations to heart. This, however, isn’t one of those times. You see, Shark Tank starts its third season on ABC this Friday, which will be the first of thirteen episodes this season. Why is this important? Because…I LOVE Shark Tank.

What’s fascinating about the show is that it pairs regular people (stay-at-home moms and dads, a firefighter, a student, really anyone with an idea for a product or business) with some of the most successful business people on the planet - people that have the means, know-how and connections to make a budding entrepreneur into a millionaire in a millisecond. 
I love the optimism that the show offers to the point that while watching I’ll usually find myself wondering ‘what’s my idea?’ each week. Don’t get me wrong, the show offers up a number of snoozers for ideas as well, but you’re confident one or two ideas a week will end up winners. So, do me a favor, tune in this week and enjoy yourself. I’ve included the promotional video for Season 3 below and if you want to catch an episode from the past, check out the Hulu page -

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wheel of Fortune…narrowly missing perfection

Allow me a little (or a lot) latitude with this post. I feel like Wheel of Fortune is probably the best game show on TV today. The rules are simple enough that really anyone can play, the puzzles offer enough of a challenge to keep you on your toes and some serious cash is on the line – just a romping good 30-minutes of television. BUT, it could go from good to perfect.

#1 – Pat Sajak is too bossy.
Overall an absolute great host, but every night he has two tics that drive me crazy – they both happen during the bonus round. First, when the contestant spins the prize wheel he’ll always point out the slice they need to pick up. I mean there is a big white arrow already telling them that!

Next as everyone takes their place for the final puzzle he points out their “mark.” No need to make that audible Pat, the audience at home doesn’t need to know where this guy or gal needs to stand – we’re looking to see how much almost-cash we could pick up. I know I’m nitpicking, but no need to micromanage these things, Pat.
#2 – The $1,000,000 Space.
Remember when I said the rules are simple? Well get this…they have a prize on the wheel that allows the contestant to win a million bucks and all they have to do to win is…

-          Spin the wheel and land on the million, plus correctly guess a letter in the puzzle

-          They then need to correctly solve that puzzle and the Million Dollar Slice is theirs

-          From that point forward, they cannot land on a Bankrupt

o   AND, they must be the big money winner to qualify for the final puzzle

-          They must correctly solve the final puzzle (not an easy task)

o   AND, when spinning the wheel they must land on the $1,000,000 space again (about a 1/30 chance)
Holy Buckets! Let’s make it difficult, not impossible – I mean why bother with the million in the first place? Here’s my solution – keep everything before the finale puzzle to build the drama, but replace half of the prize slices with the $1,000,000. If they get through all that, they have a 50 / 50 chance to win a million.

#3 – The Final Puzzle
Ok, here’s where I may be grasping at straws, but hear me out. I liked it when they made the change to giving every player R – S – T – L – E and allowing them to pick three more consonants plus one more vowel. My problem is why should they be limited to only one vowel? Why can’t they pick any four letters? Moreover, why don’t we handicap this a little bit and give them one consonant and one vowel for winning the game plus an additional letter for every puzzle they correctly solved during the game. It would make it more difficult for the guy that got lucky during the prize puzzle and wasn’t heard from again, right?

There you have it, two really good (and one borderline) changes to make the best game show on television perfect – at least in one guy’s opinion.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A view from press row...

Last week's Mike Miller Classic was a great couple days of basketball in what was a week long celebration of South Dakota High School Hoops on our cable system. Over 70 games aired over three channels and four days - ten of which originated from the Corn Palace (eight of those we provided play-by-play). First, allow me to share how all this content became available...

Our video network intersects with a number of other companies in the state. In the past, this made it easier to share equipment used for the provisioning of signal. More recently, we've began to explore other ways this can be used to provide additional value to the entire group. One such way is by creating and sharing content that is of interest across our different customer bases. The easy choice is through our youth sports. Which leads us up to last week...over Dec 27 - 30 we were able to feature HS Basketball Classics from Brookings, Aberdeen and Parkston in addition to our coverage from the Mike Miller Classic. This is something that Mitchell Telecom has been very invested in over the past three years and it is very gratifying to see last week actually happen. I trust that we'll be able to do more in the future and expect it to improve our overall product.  To anyone that watched last week and offered - thank you very much! If you haven't had a chance to offer your two cents please do so by emailing

On a very different note, the Mike Miller Classic allowed some of our Mitchell Telecom staff to try on our announcer shoes (myself included). We typically provide KMIT's call along with our video of games because Tim Smith is very good at what he does, but since Tim was only covering the Kernels each night we needed some subs (our Junior Varsity if you will). I had a great time as did our other staff members - Jon and Brice. Plus we owe a big thanks to non-staff members - Jamie Hajek and Chase Waldner, who were gracious enough to help. 

We'll look forward to notching a few more games during the upcoming Hanson Classics (Girls 1/14/12 & Boys 1/21/12), but we'll gladly defer to Tim's talents anytime.

Until Next Time!

- Scott