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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

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It's beginning to look - or sound - a lot like Christmas on WZTI-AM 1290 in Milwaukee.
It's beginning to look - or sound - a lot like Christmas on WZTI-AM 1290 in Milwaukee.

Want holiday music now? WZTI-AM has it

Even though the calendar says Halloween, it's nothing but "Jingle Bells" and other Christmas music on WZTI-AM 1290 Martini Radio in Milwaukee.

Today’s format change is the first holiday move in the market. In years past it has been WRIT-FM 95.7 and WMYX-FR 99.1 that have duked it out for the top of Santa’s nice list. Last year WMYX decided to stay with its main format, sprinkling in holiday songs here and there – fitting for a station called "The Mix."

Now, the adult standards station WZTI has dubbed itself, "Milwaukee’s Official Christmas Music Station."

"The stores are decorated, people are shopping, and Christmas is almost here, so Milwaukee’s ready to celebrate the season with Christmas music," Stan Atkinson, WZTI-AM operations manager, said in a statement.

WZTI is a relatively new station in the market. Well, the ownership of the station didn’t change, but the format did. In March of this year, the once "Talk of the Town" outlet transitioned to current crooners and singers of days gone by.

The early move is sure to give the station local and national buzz, which, I’m pretty sure helped lead to the decision.

Milwaukee Bucks mascot Bango featured in new Hulu series.
Milwaukee Bucks mascot Bango featured in new Hulu series.

Bango featured on new Hulu show

An original series called "Behind the Mask," which takes a look into the lives on and off the court for costumed sports mascots, debuts on Hulu and Hulu Plus today.

Three episodes will launch on the online streaming video service, and future episodes will be added weekly through to Dec. 17. The series follows four mascots, one each from the high school, college, minor leagues and professional ranks – the latter being Milwaukee Bucks mascot Bango.

Kevin Vanderkolk has been Bango for the past 12 years. Vanerkolk, who has a background in gymnastics, is known for pushing the limits, designing stunts to wow the BMO Harris Bradley Center Crowd. The reality series takes a look into Vanderkolk’s life, including spending the time in the Bango suit participating in community events and pulling off the feats that have earned him titles as the NBA mascot of the year, NBA stunt of the year and in 2010, the Most Awesome Mascot by the viewers of the Cartoon Network.

The other mascots featured on the series are Rooty the Cedar Tree at Lebanon High School in Pennsylvania, UNLV’s Hey Reb! and Tux of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, a minor league hockey team.

On "Behind the Mask," the show follows the mascots, "through their daily lives, not only in costume as their alter-ego, but also out of costume, interacting with family and friends," the show’s press release stated. "Just like the mascots themselves, the show is funny, entertaining and at times emotional as it captures the successes and struggles that these real-life ‘Clark Kents’ endure."

"Behind the Mask" was created by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Josh Greenbaum, and produced by Occupant Entertainment.

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Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams appear with Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande on "Sam & Cat" on Nickelodeon.
Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams appear with Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande on "Sam & Cat" on Nickelodeon.

"Laverne & Shirley" reunite on Nickelodeon's "Sam & Cat"

The most famous bottle cappers at Shotz Brewery will make an appearance on the popular kids show "Sam & Cat."

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, who played the title characters on "Laverne & Shirley," will appear on Nickelodeon on Nov. 9. If you are not familiar with "Sam & Cat," it is about an odd pairing of friends played by Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande, who become roommates.

Sound familiar?

"To have the two most classic, most revered, funniest female roommates of all time from TV on the show is a dream come true," Dan Schneider, the creator of "Sam & Cat," told Entertainment Weekly.

"When I met these classic TV stars, it’s like I’m a 14-year-old girl meeting the Beatles in the early ’60s. I’m freaking out, wide-eyed, and I try not to cry from excitement."

"Laverne & Shirley" was an ABC series and a spinoff of "Happy Days." Both shows pretended to take place in Milwaukee.

WITI-TV's "Real Milwaukee" featured Wauwatosa West's performance of "A Chorus Line" in April.
WITI-TV's "Real Milwaukee" featured Wauwatosa West's performance of "A Chorus Line" in April.

Milwaukee Public TV set to air Tommy Awards tonight

Milwaukee Public Television, and Wisconsin Public Television, will be airing the statewide musical theater "Tommy Awards" tonight.

The Tommy Awards are named in honor of state musical theater alumni Tom Wopat, a Tony Award-nominated singer and actor from Lodi. We probably know him best as Luke Duke from the "The Dukes of Hazzard" that aired from 1979 to 1985.

The Tommy Awards ceremony was held at the Overture Center in Madison in June and featured performances from a number of area high school students on winning productions.

Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Oconomowoc High School, Shorewood High School, Wauwatosa West High School and Waukesha West High School will be featured in the broadcast running at 8 p.m. on WPT and 9 p.m. on MPTV 10.1 HD and 36.2.

"The 2013 Tommy Awards is part of MPTV’s and WPT’s multi-year collaboration, ‘Young Performers Initiative,’ which celebrates Wisconsin’s young artists," Milwaukee Public Television reported in a release.

"Overture Center’s Tommy Awards program is an education initiative that recognizes, honors and encourages excellence in musical theater production among area high school students."

Area winning performances included:

DIVINE SAVIOR HOLY ANGELS HIGH SCHOOL received an Outstanding Musical award for its production of "Legally Blonde," and an ensemble from the cast of the musical performed at the awards ceremony.

OCONOMOWOC HIGH SCHOOL was honored for Outstanding Musical for their production of "Oklahoma!"  Oconomowoc junior Emily Menting was awarded Outstanding Lead Performer and performed a solo excerpt from "Many A New Day." Drew Weiland was awarded Outstanding Lead Performer and performed a solo excerpt from "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’."

SHOREWOOD HIGH SCHOOL was awarded Outstanding Musical for its production of "Spring Awakening," and ensemble from the cast performed an excerpt from "The Dark I Know Well," featuring senior Julia Wilkinson and sophomore Marissa Noe.

WAUKESHA WEST HIGH…

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