MOB becomes MTR and then WPCFM; Tom Snyder Interviews Ray Bradbury – 1992 and 1996

First it was simply The Museum of Broadcasting. Then, it became “The Museum of Television and Radio.” This year, the name changed again, and it’s now “The Paley Center for Media.”

Anybody else think that the new name is awful and meaningless, especially when compared to the older appellations?

It’s like we had “The Museum of Ketchup,” changed it to “The Museum of Tomatoes, Sugar and Spices,” and finally got to “The Heinz Center for Redness Enclosed by Glass.”

Who’s responsible for the latest name change? We’ll never know their names.

From the New York Times:

“‘Museum’ is not a word that tests really well with the under-30 and 40-year-olds,” especially in the context of radio and television,” said Pat Mitchell, the Museum’s President and Chief Executive.

Don’t you love that they called Pat “the Museum’s president” in a quote where she knocks the word “museum”?

I guess we should be grateful that they maintained some small level of control over the process, because “The William S. Paley Center for Free Beer” would have been equally uninformative and misleading, and it would have tested off the charts.

On the plus side, they’re changing their policies about releasing footage from their seminars – check this page for a list of recent ones and a link to full-length DVD’s with the creators and casts of Lost, Boston Legal, and Desperate Housewives, or this link to see a clip from a Conan O’Brien seminar. I only hope they release a DVD of an event they hosted quite a few years ago about NYC kid’s TV that reunited Chuck McCann, Soupy Sales, Captain Jack McCarthy and others with their grownup audience.

But all of this is neither here nor there.

I went to see Ray Bradbury at a personal appearance and book signing at the Museum of Television and Radio in 1996. Ray took questions at the end of his presentation, and there were the usual cringe-inducing fanboy questions, asked not to get an answer, but rather to show off the questioner’s vast knowledge of completely insignificant aspects of Bradbury’s career and writings.

But I will never forget Bradbury’s response to the final question. “What advice would you give to the people in this audience,” someone shouted out.

And a split-second later, Bradbury gave his four-word answer.

“Don’t watch local news.”

It got a laugh; it got applause, but Ray was 100% sincere. And when Bradbury speaks, I listen: I have not watched local news since. He left it to the audience to figure out why local news is a brain-sucking waste of time.

You won’t hear Ray offer that advice in either of the Tom Snyder interviews below, perhaps because Tom was a local TV news anchor for a portion of his career, although Ray does say a few things from which one could reasonably deduce his belief about the valuelessness of local TV news.

He might as well have said TV in general, however, because the 1996 CNBC TV interview with Snyder (joined in progress) is, at times, an amazing word-for-word recreation of the conversation they had four years earlier on ABC radio.

I guess Bradbury perfects his stories for interviews as carefully as he does his stories for print. Four years apart, promoting two different books, yet some of the same topics are spoken about in the same words. (I wonder if Tom and/or Ray have changed any political opinions since these two programs were broadcast?)

Tom Snyder / Ray Bradbury Radio Show 1992
Tom Snyder / Ray Bradbury CNBC TV Show 1996

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