What I Read: Dave Dederer

Presidents of the United States of America guitarist and singer Dave Dederer isn’t just a musician.

He’s also active in the business world. Dederer develops digital music projects for HP and oversees the Presidents’ business dealings. He calls himself “both a small business owner and a corporate soldier.”

Dederer’s reading list reflects his diverse interests. He’s regularly checking out NPR, local and national newspapers, magazines, tennis web sites, bike blogs, and novels.

So far, he’s still passing on Facebook and Twitter, neither of which he considers real news sources.

Here’s what Dederer told me about what he’s reading.

1. What are your favorite local news outlets? Why?

RIP, my all-time favorite local news source was Emmett Watson’s daily column in The P-I and The Seattle Times, in which he was forever championing his vision for Lesser Seattle.  We could use more Lesser Seattle these days.

I suppose I get most of my local news without realizing it, picking it up mixed in with the NPR programming on KUOW or KPLU.  I listen to the radio in the morning while shaving and such and I guess that’s where I find out about explosions and scandals and other must-know items, whether local or otherwise.

I tend to check in at seattletimes.com once a day to look at local news and local sports.  And I pick up The Stranger and the Seattle Weekly and give them each the three minutes they deserve once a week.  Got to stay au courant, you know.

2. What do you consider “must reads” every day? Must watch? Must hear?

The older I get the less I care about news in general.  If something truly important happens, I figure I’m going to hear about it.

That said, here are some things I look at absolutely every day:

  • nytimes.com‘s’ “most emailed” list — one or more of the articles is always worth reading; this is where I take the pulse of the nation, as it were, and stay up to date on national politics and opinion
  • digitalmusicnews.com‘s daily email newsletter — the most up-to-date oracle for my particular business sector
  • finance.yahoo.com — am I broke yet?
  • tennis.com home page — I took up tennis in earnest two years ago and I’m a pathetic, helpless addict

I end up listening to KUOW or KPLU every day at some point, and usually KING-FM, too, though not much news there, just actual music played by people with actual talent.

I never really thought about it before answering these questions, but I go WAY out of my way to tune into NPR, KBCS and KEXP for certain programs.  I listen to Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion pretty much every week.  I love the funk and old school R&B on KBCS on Friday and Saturday nights, and I also like Tuesday night’s Americana Road Songs show and the transportive Hawaii Radio Connection Saturdays at noon.  My favorite KEXP program is also their longest-running: Saturday’s Positive Vibrations reggae show.

I don’t watch anything on a normal TV because we don’t have a TV.  On a good night, I get to watch All My Children on Hulu with my wife after our kids are asleep.

3. Do you consume news through: print, television, radio, laptop, smart phone, ipad, podcasts, other?


4. Do you use Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter for news and information?

No!  “About to board flight to Houston” and “OMG we just ordered 50 shots of Jagermeister” don’t count as news to me.

5. What online news sites or aggregators do you visit regularly?

nytimes.com, seattletimes.com, billboard.biz, tennis.com, cyclingnews.com,

6. Do you regularly visit any individual blogs for news, analysis and opinion?

I’m a bike commuter and I very much enjoy local legend Kent Peterson’s Kent’s Bike Blog: http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/

7. Have your news consumption habits changed in the last few years? If so, how?

I realize in answering these questions that my news reading has gone from nearly 100% print 5-6 years ago to 100% digital today.  I think the only things I still regularly read in print are The Economist, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

8. Do you read for fun? If so, what? Last novel you read? Non-fiction book?

Yes, every day. This just in, kids, reading is FUN!

I read lots and lots of magazines.  More and more I read them or their equivalents online.  Disturbingly, often on my Palm Pre or iPod Touch while sitting in bed.

I just finished reading the galleys for my sister Claire Dederer’s forthcoming book, Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, due from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in a couple of months.  It’s a fine memoir — a memoir’s a risky proposition, especially when all the principals are still alive, as they are in this case — and I’m so proud of her.

My undergraduate degree is in American and English Literature.  I read almost nothing but novels from about age 12 until I finished my B.A.at 22.  I don’t believe I’ve read one since.  Wait a second, I take that back — at my mother’s recommendation, I recently read Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, which I very much enjoyed.  But it didn’t make me want to read more novels and, in fact, reminded me in its greatness of just how bad most novels are.

Most of my reading focuses on figuring out how to get really good at whatever sport I’m currently obsessed with and/or how to be less of an asshole.  My recent tennis addiction has me reading and re-reading Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert, Think To Win by Dr. Allen Fox, Open by Andrew Agassi, Hardcourt Confidential by Patrick McEnroe, etc., etc, etc. ad nauseam, except not to me and I can’t seem to find enough tennis books to feed my appetite.  On the asshole front, I lean toward the Zen approach and I’m currently re-reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth.  Not sure if it’s working, but I keep reading regardless.


News Council Video

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We are pleased to share our new video explaining our mission at the News Council as well as the exciting projects we’ve taken on over the last year, such as our Online Community, TAO of Journalism seal, Online Media Guide, and others.

Have a look and pass it on!


Gridiron West Dinner a Big Success

The Washington News Council’s 12th (!) annual Gridiron West Dinner, (video here, pics here) held on Friday, Nov. 12 at The Conference Center at Convention Place in Seattle brought 350 people together to “toast/roast” five former Mayors of Seattle: Wes Uhlman, Charles Royer, Norm Rice, Paul Schell and Greg Nickels. Current Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn was there to introduce his predecessors, and won some points for his good-natured remarks. To no one’s surprise, McGinn was the target of a few pointed shots himself.

It was a raucous, irreverent, edgy evening of songs, comedy, videos, slideshows and often caustic comments by “toasters/roasters” — with sharp retorts by the Mayors who were targets of the barbs. Emcee Mike Egan (who actually has a day job at Microsoft), ran the show with his usual zany aplomb, appearing in costume first as a Munchkin and later as Dorothy, as the evening’s theme was “Wizard of Oz.”  A radiant backdrop of “The Emerald City” hung behind the stage, where the five Mayors sat in soft armchairs while they took their hard medicine from various friends, colleagues, and journalists. There was even a video appearance of Mayor Gordon Clinton, who reigned during the Seattle World’s Fair (watch below).

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Four extremely talented singers, dressed in spot-on costumes as Dorothy, The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion, kicked off the program with a hilarious sketch about politically correct Seattle, written by Jim Anderson of Cabaret Productions. Anderson also wrote many of the lyrics (aided by former KING5-TV President Eric Bremner and WNC President John Hamer) and choreographed the show, as well as running the technical side including lighting, video, audio, costumes and props.

WNC Chair Suzie Burke and Hamer welcomed the crowd and gratefully thanked all the table sponsors (including Boeing, Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Simonyi Fund & Susan Hutchison, Premera, Space Needle Corporation, Chihuly Studio, PEMCO Insurance, Puget Sound Energy, and a dozen others). Carly Hunt Koczarski sang “America the Beautiful” beautifully. Our new promotional video, by WNC Communications Strategist Jacob Caggiano, was shown while dinner was being served, giving the audience a look at how the WNC has “reinvented” itself in the past few months with a redesigned website, a blog page, an online community, a TAO of Journalism site, and other innovative programs. After dinner, the musical tribute began with songs such as “Follow the Politics Road” and ”We’re Here to Toast the Mayors, These Wonderful Mayors of Ours,” with the audience joining in while lyrics were shown on the big screens.

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A video called “The Mayors,” (above) done by Ken Jones of KJ Video Productions (and a longtime KING5-TV videographer) brought down the house with its animated Jib-Jab scenes including the Mayors as Chippendale Dancers. Only Paul Schell was unable to attend in person, though he was “toasted” anyway as his cardboard cutout sat on stage and an “Anarchist from Eugene” ran out shouting pro-Schell slogans for the hospitality shown to radical demonstrators during the WTO convention. A mini-auction, raffle and “raise the paddle” segment led by Auctioneer Fred Granados featured several terrific items and fiercely competitive bidding. The evening concluded with a wry rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” followed by a Champagne & Chocolate After Party with Domaine Ste Michelle Brut (thanks to Carol Munro) and Theo’s Chocolates (thanks to Chuck Horne).

Special thanks to all those who sponsored tables or purchased tickets, for making this evening possible. Your generous (and tax-deductible) donations make the News Council’s important work possible. In addition, every dollar we receive this year will be matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, thanks to a special “challenge grant” arranged by Bill Gates Sr. We can’t thank Bill Sr. and the Foundation enough for their generous support of the WNC since our founding in 1998.

Our annual Gridiron West Dinners, almost always held in the aftermath of the November elections, always attract a thoroughly bipartisan crowd. The event provides a welcome opportunity for Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Green Partiers and Tea Partiers, to come together for an evening of fun and frolic despite deep political and ideological differences. It is our hope that by enjoying a nice dinner, pouring a bottle (or two) of wine, and sharing a few laughs, people who may be deeply at odds on issues and policy will find some common ground and maybe find ways to work together better. Hey, that’s what everyone says they want these days, isn’t it?

[Also have a look at coverage of the event from Seattle Metropolitan]


Burbank juggles TBTL podcast with life back on commercial radio

Just when Luke Burbank thought he’d left mainstream radio behind for good, KIRO came calling.

Burbank, known for his The Too Beautiful To Live podcast, signed on last week to join Dave Ross as co-host of KIRO’s mid-morning news and talk program.

While Burbank didn’t plan out his move back to commercial radio, he’s discovering he relishes the opportunity.

“It’s pretty cool having my mom and girlfriend listen to me on the radio each day again,” Burbank said. “I’m enjoying it more than I thought.”

Burbank was first approached by KIRO in September. At the time, he was happily riding the rising popularity of his podcast, which is known to listeners as TBTL. Since KIRO canceled his show by the same name late last year, Burbank had been producing it on his own.

By this fall, TBTL was pulling in an impressive 1.7 million downloads each month. Burbank loved having control of his on-air future, and figured he’d never need to work for commercial radio again.

But KIRO’s station leaders had other plans. About six months ago, Burbank started calling into the Dave Ross show every Tuesday for a chat and update on TBTL. In September, KIRO called Burbank and said they thought the conversations were going so well, would Luke be interested in sitting in with Dave on the show on a trial basis?

Burbank didn’t know if the gig would be permanent, but he decided to give it a whirl. And just last week, he was offered the formal co-host position.

Burbank didn’t take the decision to move back to KIRO lightly. He didn’t want to compromise the rising success of TBTL. And he also didn’t want to put the fate of his career back in the fickle hands of commercial radio.

“I think I’d talked myself into believing there was no benefit to being on commercial radio,” Burbank said. “But that was also probably partly because no one was offering me a job.”

Burbank decided that he would join Ross, but he wouldn’t end TBTL. With advertisers now paying for spots on TBTL, the podcast has become its own self-sustaining enterprise. Burbank didn’t want to give that up.

“TBTL is my baby,” Burbank said.

To keep TBTL running, Burbank brought back Jen Andrews as a producer. She helped Burbank start the show at KIRO, but didn’t stay on once it became a podcast. With TBTL pulling in large audiences and such high profile guests as Adam Carolla, David Sedaris, Ben Gibbard, and Ira Glass, Burbank figures he can afford to pay a producer.

Even with Andrews on board, Burbank’s days are hectic. He’s at KIRO by 7 a.m. to plan the day’s show with Ross, and goes on the air from 9 a.m. to noon. In the afternoon, he records the TBTL podcast, either from KIRO’s studio or from his house. Burbank also juggles voice over gigs and a regular role on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” His many roles means he’s now talking for a full four to six hours a day.

“My schedule is a little crazy right now,” Burbank said.

This marks the first time that Ross has taken on a permanent co-host since he began doing The Dave Ross Show in 1987. Ross said it’s inherently less natural to maintain a monologue alone in a studio, so he welcomes the new addition. Not only is Burbank smart and talented, Ross said, but he’s far younger and brings the perspective of another generation.

“It’s probably tougher on him because I make him explain his obscure cultural references,” Ross said. “I’m working on an iPhone app that can translate them in real time.”

Burbank, for his part, enjoys working with Ross. He finds his co-host “smart, flexible and level headed.” Burbank also commends Ross for not resorting to loud, fake outrage, as so many radio hosts tend to do.

“That kind of personality would be really hard for me,” Burbank said. “I really like Dave.”


Bill Radke back on Seattle airwaves

When Bill Radke returned to Seattle two weeks ago, he needed to hit the ground running.

Radke stepped into his new job as morning host on KIRO-FM at the height of election season. After six years working for NPR out of Los Angeles, he needed to catch up on Washington politics in a hurry.

He also needed to embrace 2 a.m. wake-ups, four-hour stints on the air, and Seattle-style rain.

“It’s a shock to the system after living in the San Fernando Valley for six years,” Radke said.

Drizzle and all, it’s been a welcome homecoming for Radke. He became a familiar voice for Seattleites during the 1990s, when he hosted NPR’s Morning Edition on KUOW. Radke also was known around town for his stand-up comedy work and humor column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Radke didn’t plan to return to Seattle this year. He enjoyed his gig with NPR’s Marketplace, and his wife felt equally satisfied with her job at a law firm. The couple and their three children were settled in a house in the sunny San Fernando Valley.

But when KIRO on-air talent Luke Burbank called Radke up with a tip that the station wanted a new morning co-host to join Linda Thomas, Radke began to seriously consider the idea. His parents live in Lacey and his seven siblings all still reside in the Seattle-area. Radke envisioned his children growing up around their cousins.

Radke even welcomed the chance to return to Northwest weather. He missed the lush, green landscape. He thought fondly of cozy days indoors, book in hand, with rain pounding down outside.

His wife, however, was a different story.

“I said, ‘I know you don’t like the rain, but what if we give it a shot?’” Radke said. “In the end, she was game.”

Radke also liked the idea of working for KIRO again. He’d listened to the station since high school and interned there at the beginning of his radio career. Radke knew and respected Linda Thomas, and looked forward to getting the chance to team up with her.

“Linda is warm, funny, and knows so much about this area,” Radke said.

Though Thomas has only known Radke for a couple of weeks, she’s gung ho on the partnership so far. She said he’s smart, can be both serious and funny, and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

“He’s exactly what I would want to listen to on the radio, so it’s going to be so much fun to do the show with him every morning,” Thomas said.

Thomas and Radke don’t plan a major overhaul of the show’s current events content, but the flavor and delivery may shift a bit. Radke wants to spend more time on feature stories, rather than just present the facts in a fast paced manner. Thomas said the team will continue trying to find unique stories someone won’t hear anywhere else.

In the past two weeks, Radke’s life has been a whirlwind of catching up on the Seattle scene and learning his new role. At Marketplace, he was on the air for just seven minutes at a time. At KIRO, he and Thomas control the airwaves for four hours straight.

Radke also must live with constant sleep deprivation. He’s at the studio each day between 2:30 and 3 a.m. He tries to catch a mid-day nap, and then picks up his three-year-old daughter and six-month-old twins. Oftentimes, Radke is in bed for the night before his wife or children.

But Radke is embracing his hectic life. He reasons he’s lucky to re-enter Seattle radio at the height of an exciting political season.

“I’m playing catch-up, but that’s part of the fun in this businss,” Radke said. “I’m always learning.”


What I Read: Bill Stafford

Bill StaffordBill Stafford, founder and president of the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, has a job that many people envy. He organizes trade missions and informational trips all over the world, taking groups of Seattle business, government, civic and media leaders to other countries and cities to learn lessons, forge alliances, make contacts — and have fun to boot! Some people have called these trips boondoggles, but they are more boon than doggle. (Full disclosure: When I was at The Seattle Times in the 1980s, I went on two “inter-city visits” organized by the TDA, to Atlanta and Tampa-St. Petersburg, and was on the first international trip in 1990, to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Stuttgart. I wrote articles about these trips, noting that participants got to know each other better by traveling together and were thus able to work together more effectively when they returned to Seattle. I stand by that position.) The TDA is now a model and has been replicated by other cities around the U.S. and the world, who recognize the value of its efforts. Friends often say that Stafford picks places in the world where he has never been and wants to visit, then proposes a trip there — a charge he doesn’t deny. Stafford was once nicknamed (by Joni Balter of The Seattle Times) as the “Sultan of Schmooze” — a moniker he wears proudly. Stafford has worked for several Seattle Mayors, including Wes Uhlman, Charles Royer and Norm Rice. The Trade Alliance will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.

What are your favorite news outlets and why? The Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal and Crosscut.com, for a variety of politics, business and general news. International Herald Tribune on the web for more international coverage.

What do you consider must reads every day? Must watch? Must hear? I read The Seattle Times, The New York Times and Financial Times. I watch TV if there is a story that has visuals.

Do you consume news through: print, television, radio, laptop, smart phone, ipad, podcasts, other? Print, radio on the way to work for breaking news, TV at times, and breaking news on the computer or iPhone from NYT, Washington Post, and PSBJ.

Do you use Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter for news and information? No.

What online news sites or aggregators do you visit regularly? Every morning I look at international newspaper web sites. I start with the International Herald Tribune followed by the Gulf News, China Daily, Japan Times, Korean Times, a UK newspaper, and sometimes Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Australia and locations for our trips.

Do regularly visit any individual blogs for news, analysis and opinion? Publicola for opinion and Neal Peirce’s “Citistates” for national commentary.

Have your news consumption habits changed in the last few years? If so, how? Nancy Grace has driven me from CNN although I watch some news programs. I miss the paper version of the Seattle PI and read it on occasion on the web at home and more when traveling.

Do you read for fun? If so, what? Last novel you read? Non-fiction book? The Betrayal of American Prosperity by Clyde Prestowitz, The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam, and Empires of the Sea by Roger Crowley. In fiction I like historical mysteries by Arturo Perez-Reverte and Treymane.