Bruce Williams, our man on the radio for so many years, is thinking of making a COMEBACK. His new show will likely not be on the AM/FM airwaves but “stream” onto your computer and mobile gadgets. No one is more excited than me. You may remember his nearly 30 years of broadcasting business and consumer advice, which ended in March 2010. Bruce was a pioneer in talk radio. He and Sally Jessy Raphael launched the first daytime nationally syndicated radio programs out of NBC’s Rockefeller Plaza in 1981.
Bruce Williams has meant so much to my growth as a person and a businessman. I began listening to Bruce when I was 9 years old. He inspired me to think of starting a business in my early teens and eventually start this business when I was 17. Bruce was with me through the tough times of my life it is the lessons that Bruce taught me that drive me to want to start new businesses in the future.
Bruce Williams sent out this letter to his loyal listener list today (below). If you remember the warm fatherly voice of Bruce Williams and would like to hear him on the air again — please email him at the address found below. Well here it is email@example.com
If you could just drop him a line like this, I would really appreciate it and I know Bruce would too.
Hi Bruce — I am writing you from _______________ I enjoyed listening to your show in the past. I would love to have you back on the air again, streaming live over the internet or as a “podcast”. I miss your perspective in talk radio.
If you never listened to Bruce, please ignore this message. Otherwise, thank you for helping to get Bruce back on the air.
To the many of you who have gotten to know me over these past 13 years, you have come to know how important radio is to me. In fact I seldom watch TV and would much rather to listen to my favorite programs or streaming music over the internet (and occasionally on traditional AM / FM dials). For those of you who have become acquainted with me more recently…..you may be surprised to know that my favorite radio programs ARE NOT political, but consumer advice shows instead. For more than 20 years, I have listened to the nationally syndicated Bruce Williams program and for the past several years I have been a faithful listener of the Tom Martino Troubleshooter Show out of Denver, CO. These two programs have been constants in my turbulent life.
A lot of my dreams in life, my desire to be an entrepreneur, my interest in the fields of business and law — stem from me listening to Bruce Williams as a little boy — a 9 year old — after weeknight Red Sox games on WTIC 1080 here in Hartford. Over the past 10 years, local stations around the country have dropped Bruce in favor of either political or highly bizarre programming. It’s been a good 5 years since Bruce has been on WTIC, but I have picked him up live on the Internet or on Podcast (tape-delay) often since then.
I am listening to Bruce’s last show right now, as I type. Tears have welled up in my eyes. Mr. Williams was like a radio-father to me. Below I have pasted Friday’s article from the Tampa Tribune recognizing Bruce’s lengthy career in the business. Before Rush, there was Bruce. He and Sally Jessy Raphael were the first daytime nationally syndicated hosts in the country — starting back in the Fall of 1981.
From TBO.com, Tampa Tribune 03/05/2010
By TOM JACKSON
“Tried to talk about it, but I broke down,” Williams says. “Had to go straight to commercial.”
Tonight, who knows? Tonight, from a converted upstairs bedroom overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in his Gulf Harbors home, Williams broadcasts – presumably – his last show, shutting down a broadcasting career that spans five decades. “Every time a door closes, another one opens somewhere,” he says, “but I’d say this is probably it.”
Already, those most closely affiliated with Williams’ program (with the notable exception of Williams himself) are operating on the razor’s edge between denial and outright blubbering.
“You should have seen me typing the (announcement) letter to the affiliates,” says longtime aide Beth Richards, who runs Williams’ “Media Personalities” office in New Port Richey. “I couldn’t stop crying. It was awful.”
Understandably so. Tonight’s dimming of the AM dial results from a sudden and measurable loss of intelligence and savvy. The promo that used to run on a former local affiliate still applies:Bruce Williams – he knows more than you do.
Nonetheless, things have grown increasingly rocky for Williams’ brand of thoughtful advice-spreading. He’d been all but squeezed off satellite radio after the Sirius-XM merger, and his affiliate stations hovered in the mid-80s.
As recently as 1999, his affiliates numbered about 400, and it wasn’t unusual for stations to air an instant rerun of his three-hour live show, for which long-haul truckers and certain exhausted fathers driving their families home from Disney World sent up silent hallelujahs. Williams could make no-load mutual funds sound exciting, and his takedowns of knuckleheads who got “upside down” on their personal vehicles, owed more than the car was worth, were livelier than double shots of espresso.
The opinion was widespread. At the height of his popularity, Williams’ show was being aired somewhere in the world 24 hours a day.
Head of the class
Before there was Rush, there was Bruce Williams. Before there was Sean, before there was Glenn, before there was Laura or Mike or Randi or Neal or Howard … and way before there was Schnitt, there was Bruce Williams, coast to coast.
This is not to endorse the implied leap –post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after this, then because of this). A failure of logic is, after all, a failure of logic; fans of his long-running radio show know, above all, Williams rejects such sloppy thinking.
For nearly 35 years, callers guilty of the same have endured the brunt of the host’s tough, if sympathetic, love: “I don’t mean to pick on you, tiger,” he says, and the fun begins.
But if, as history reports, Rush Limbaugh saved AM radio with his mix of conservative politics and irreverent shtick, it was only after Williams had plainly identified the abundance of unmined gold remaining on the dial even after the music and music listeners fled to FM. Then again, locating and exploiting underappreciated opportunities has been the hallmark of Williams’ professional career.
Turn, turn, turn
Who else would have thought to buy up whole warehouses of old newspapers that were slated for the landfill as major and medium dailies turned increasingly to microfiche? Well, somebody else may have thought about it, but it was Williams who pulled the trigger. Now he’s pretty much monopolized the souvenir newspaper industry.
Similarly, arriving at the dawn of the modern information age, Williams demonstrated how listeners could be attracted to talk-based programming that presented hosts who were knowledgeable, nimble and engaging. Williams’ expertise – business, finance, entrepreneurism – presented with unfailing decorum in his clipped New Jersey accent, delivered whopping numbers of listeners who, importantly, also paid attention to commercials.
That was then. The edginess that marks the angry divide between the political left and right is today, and Williams, who still prefers giving expert guidance on practical matters, was either unable, or unwilling, to grow quills.
“This was coming to an end whether I liked it or not,” Williams says, waxing ecclesiastical. “Everything is in its own time. Everything comes to an end.”
A tsunami of e-mail swelled from the Richter-rattling announcement that went out to his affiliate stations and was posted on his Web site, a welter of correspondence from around the globe that reminded him how much has changed since that first Sunday afternoon in May 1975 when he debuted on a single Philadel
“So many ways to listen now,” he says. “Computers, iPhones. It’s amazing.”
For the addicted, brucewilliams.com, offering archived listening, will remain active for at least another six months. After that? “I’m not making any decisions anytime soon,” he says, following his own advice: “Act in haste, repent at leisure. I’m not doing that.”
Instead, along with wife Susan and the Boston terriers, Pistol and Biscuit, Williams means to find out “what regular people do” between 7 and 10 p.m. most weeknights. Besides yell at their televisions. Not to worry. “I’ll find something to do,” he tells friends. “I’m not going to die sitting on the couch.”
For the determined prospector, there’s always another mine full of gold … if you know where, and how, to look.
Thanks for all of the memories Bruce….
In the interests of a free and open press, I am going to share with you an article published by Reuters yesterday. By nearly all accounts, Reuters is considered a pretty middle of the road, non-activist, media outlet. They released a story yesterday on how the Obama administration’s tax cuts would actually harm the middle class. The management on Pennsylvania Ave. was fiercely opposed to this and FORCED Reuters to pull the article. Stand up for your rights!! As consumers of mass media in a free society, choose to get your information from sources that don’t give in to political bullying. Tell your elected officials that this is unacceptable and urge the channels of information that you consumer to STAND THEIR GROUND!!
Source: Yahoo News Cananda
Backdoor taxes to hit middle class
Mon Feb 1, 4:09 PM By Terri Cullen
NEW YORK (Reuters.com) –The Obama administration’s plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade relies heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.
In the 2010 budget tabled by President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House wants to let billions of dollars in tax breaks expire by the end of the year — effectively a tax hike by stealth.
While the administration is focusing its proposal on eliminating tax breaks for individuals who earn $250,000 a year or more, middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.
The targeted tax provisions were enacted under the Bush administration’s Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. Among other things, the law lowered individual tax rates, slashed taxes on capital gains and dividends, and steadily scaled back the estate tax to zero in 2010.
If the provisions are allowed to expire on December 31, the top-tier personal income tax rate will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent. But lower-income families will pay more as well: the 25 percent tax bracket will revert back to 28 percent; the 28 percent bracket will increase to 31 percent; and the 33 percent bracket will increase to 36 percent. The special 10 percent bracket is eliminated.
Investors will pay more on their earnings next year as well, with the tax on dividends jumping to 39.6 percent from 15 percent and the capital-gains tax increasing to 20 percent from 15 percent. The estate tax is eliminated this year, but it will return in 2011 — though there has been talk about reinstating the death tax sooner.
Millions of middle-class households already may be facing higher taxes in 2010 because Congress has failed to extend tax breaks that expired on January 1, most notably a “patch” that limited the impact of the alternative minimum tax. The AMT, initially designed to prevent the very rich from avoiding income taxes, was never indexed for inflation. Now the tax is affecting millions of middle-income households, but lawmakers have been reluctant to repeal it because it has become a key source of revenue.
Without annual legislation to renew the patch this year, the AMT could affect an estimated 25 million taxpayers with incomes as low as $33,750 (or $45,000 for joint filers). Even if the patch is extended to last year’s levels, the tax will hit American families that can hardly be considered wealthy — the AMT exemption for 2009 was $46,700 for singles and $70,950 for married couples filing jointly.
Middle-class families also will find fewer tax breaks available to them in 2010 if other popular tax provisions are allowed to expire. Among them:
* Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes;
* The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies; * The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses;
* Individuals who don’t itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid;
* The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax-free.
1. Wow!! was it exciting to see Tom Watson nearly win golf’s British open last week. The 59 year old got closer to winning a major tournament than anyone every had in the history of professional golf. His accuracy and putting kept him on the top of the leader board all week. He had about an 11 footer for par to win on 18 and pushed it to the right. The Open’s 4 hole playoff proved too much for a worn out Watson. If he had won, this would have been on the highest rungs of the modern sports history ladder. Now it’s just an almost.
2. Guaranteed upgrades. If you absolutely need to buy a new Windows based or Mac computer, NOW, you don’t have to hold off until the new versions of Windows and Mac come out in the Fall. Many new Windows based computers sold from here forward will offer you a free (plus shipping perhaps) upgrade to Windows 7 in late fall. Please check before you buy. All Macs sold between now and late September will offer a $9.99 upgrade to the new OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard. Existing Mac users with OS X 10.5 will be able to upgrade for $29.99
3. Movie review. I really enjoyed King of New York (1990) starring Christopher Walken. A young Wesley Snipes and Lawrence Fishburne also played critical roles. The film is about the biggest drug lord in New York, Frank White (Walken), who gets out of prison and engages in fierce battles with rival gangs to regain his #1 position. Unofficial support from elected officials give White an inflated sense of pride as he tries to be a virtuous crime boss. If you like dark dramas and the eerie sort of characters Walken has played over the years, this film is for you.
If you are wondering where I get all of these films, I don’t bother with Rockbusters or buy the DVDs. I am a Netflix customer. I know many of you are as well. While it is possible to pay a little more and get 2 or 3 DVDs at a time, I am on the 1 DVD at a time plan for $8.99 a month. This allows me to get one movie shipped to me whenever I want with free postage both ways. Netflix has distribution centers in Hartford and Worcester, so its usually never more than a day’s wait for a new DVD. I usually end up renting 7 to 8 DVDs a month on this plan, a terrific value in my book. Furthermore, with the $8.99 plan, you can watch an unlimited number of movies on Netflix.com. They don’t have their full collection online, but there are about 12,000 streaming films to choose from. If you have a laptop or a comfy chair at your desktop — this is perfect.
Since that home run I hit on the baseball diamond a few weeks ago, I’ve really been busy. The following weekend I was in New Jersey singing in a massed choir at the Meadowlands. Considering the warm ups, I was singing for about 4 hours straight. That is more vocal exercise in such a brief span of time than I had ever gotten in my life. By the end of the concert, my voice was gone and I was starting to get sick. It took me several days to recover. The entire show may be out on DVD by early next year. I will keep you informed. It’s OK to laugh about this too — I have no formal musical training and cannot even read notes. However, I think they needed me to fill their “shower singer” quota.
A dear friend that I have written about in many of my newsletters over the years, Edward “the Bear” Gaber, passed away last week. He was only 60 years old, but suffered for a long time from heart failure, kidney failure, and diabetes. By the end of his life, his liver was failing and his lungs were significantly compromised. Ed’s decline re-emphasized something that is probably said to you over and over again by your doctor, lawyer, and the financial experts on TV: make sure you have advance directives in place. In Connecticut this would include having a living will, power of attorney, and even a conservator. Fortunately the Powers of Attorney that Ed granted to me back in 2005 included healthcare decisions. However, the Connecticut Statutes were changed in 2006 to remove that particular power. If you o want someone to make healthcare decisions, its best to appoint another individual as conservator — while you are still competent.
Apple’s new or perhaps revised operating system, OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard, will be out in September. The cost will be only $29 for the upgrade if you are using 10.5 currently. The OSX 10.6 will only run on Intel based Macs. These systems were sold in 2006 and later — I’m pretty sure you know who you are. Some of you Intel Mac users may still be running OSX 10.4. (released prior to Sept. 2007). If that is the case, you’ll need to get the Mac Box Set which includes the full upgrade to 10.6 as well as iLife (iPhoto, etc.). and iWork (Pages – word processing. Calc-spreadsheet. Keynote – presentations) for $169. You don’t want to fall 2 operating systems behind.
The new version of Windows – Windows 7 – is set to be released on October 22nd. As has been typical in the past, you should be able to place orders for Windows 7 systems from vendors like Dell about a week before. Computers ordered between now and then will at some point offer a guaranteed upgrade program. From all the testing that has gone on so far, Windows 7 appears to be much gentler and less resource intensive than Windows Vista. Some reports have claimed that 7 can run on PC’s dating back to 2002. Perhaps, Microsoft has done it right this time!
Dear Readers and Clients,
As baseball season is about to start, I have the perfect triple play for you: a warm thought, a joke, and a mini-review
1) Last Thursday was a rough day for me. I didn’t end up going to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. On top of that, I also had to put a pillow case on two new pillows. For no good reason, I decided to read the tag on the first pillow. Made in the USA!! That really helped me sleep a lot easier.
2) Last night I had a craving for some real American food because an Asian soup that didn’t quite hit my palate right was still stuck on my taste buds from dinner. I proceeded to our local 24 hour dinner, The Goldroc, for some old-fashioned French toast and bacon. Two college age women and a man in his 30’s were sitting across from me. Wow! Their mannerisms and language were appalling. I just sat and smiled. The number of F’s and MF’s I heard in a period of 30 minutes was probably more than 3 dozen. I’m so thankful that I can be so funny and charming without any alcohol, drugs, or foul language.
The joke: I guess those people sitting across from me didn’t come from the midnight Bible study at the Pentecostal church!!
3) Mini Review: Jo Jo’s Roasting Company – downtown Hartford. Corner of Pratt and Main. Finally! Finally! Hartford has an independent tea and coffee house again. I remember back in the late 90’s when Zu Zu’s occupied the spot at the corner of Pratt and Trumbull. I used to bring all of my friends there at the end of my high school days and even after I left NYU. It eventually became Xando and then faded off into the sunset when management tried to boost sagging revenues after 9/11 by not screening underage drinkers. Enough of the backround info….. Jo Jo’s brews its teas using loose leaves. They have about 20 varietes to chose from. If you choose to sit down, they serve it to you in a small teatpot with a mug on a lovely wooden tray. Most teas are $2 for a personal pot, but a few of the special varieties are $3.50+ Jo Jo’s roasts their own coffee and offers special varieties each day. They offer a handful of light breakfast and lunch specials. Jo Jo’s menu features a broad selection of additional items like cookies, scones, bagels, fresh fruit, cheesecake, and fruit parfaits. An Asian man and his wife own this urban gem. It seems as if it was really a dream come true of theirs to start this place. Friends, this is the kind of business that you want to support. Small businesses like Jo Jo’s are the cornerstone of the American economy.
I want to debunk one false advertising myth being being shared across your TV airwaves.
Comcast is running several ads alluding to the notion that they have more HD channels than other providers. The number one competitor they tend to target in these ads is DirecTV. Comcast doesn’t exactly say HD channles, they use language like ‘HD offerings’ or make offer an example of watching a program in HD at 7:11 PM.
Fact: In most cable markets, the local provider offers no more than 30 HD channels. DirecTV and DISH Network both offer 100 or more HD channels. Comcast’s claim to fame is that they offer a couple hundred programs OnDemand in High Definition. Obviously you need an HD cable box for this, but I think it is false advertising for them to add all of these programs together and think that the buying public will think these are HD channels.
For the record, I do not own an HD TV and don’t plan to buy one in the near future. If you love watching TV and have a place for one of these premium TV’s in your budget, they are great! You should seriously consider the Vizio brand. They make an affordable product and they are the only U.S. based HD TV company with corporate offices in California, I believe. In fairness to the cable companies, during last night’s heavy storms in Connecticut, most cable broadcasts were not disrupted. Satellite reception was severely affected.
Big announcement: As I promised, Hydrox cookies are back!! They are being sold in stores like Wal-Mart and by major grocery chains for a limited time only. Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hydrox …. the original creme filled chocolate cookie. I will post a picture of me with a package of Hydrox very soon.