My column was gone a few days last week. Frankly, my ongoing cancer treatment kept me from focusing on writing. I felt exhausted.
I'm feeling a bit better, and today I'll try and catch you up on a handful of changes, local and national. I was watching TV and reading my iPad as I was curled up in bed, after all.
Let's start with an annual broadcast ritual.
It's Christmas on your radio – already: WMYX-FM (99.1) made the flip to an all-Christmas music format at 5 p.m Thursday, according to the Christmas Music on Milwaukee Radio page on Facebook.
WRIT-FM (95.7) came in second, flipping 55 minutes later. It was clearly caught off guard by its rival.
I know these holiday flips make some listeners grumble. But as long as this music makes 'em money, we'll have two all-Christmas outlets.
Some departures from Channel 4: Two familiar faces have ended their runs at Channel 4.
The talented Diane Pathieu is returning to her native Chicago where she has a new job at WLS-TV, the ABC station.
Meanwhile, hard-working investigative reporter Jay Olstad is off to KARE-TV in Minneapolis. His last day at Channel 4 is Wednesday.
For all the conspiracy theorists who always give me an "ah hah!" comment when somebody leaves Channel 4, these two left for jobs in bigger TV markets.
A whole slew of Emmys for Channel 6: I'm not a big fan of lists of local TV awards. They're nice for the winners, but not that interesting to readers.
But Channel 6's haul in the Chicago/Midwest Emmys is worth noting. Eleven employees of the Fox station picked up 21 awards.
The only other commercial Milwaukee station winning a single Emmy was Channel 4.
You can find the complete list of winners at the Emmy website.
Billy Crystal ends up hosting the Oscars: It was supposed to be Eddie Murphy, who was certain to bring an edge to the usually overlong awardscast.
Then, Murphy's pal, Brett Ratner left as Oscar executive producer after a gay slur.
Now it's certain not to be edgy.
Roger Ebert is looking for money: Movie critic Roger Ebert is looking for underwriters to bankroll the second season of his resurrected movie review show, this time called "Ebert Presents At the Movies."
He pays to produce the show, and it's distributed to public TV stations, like Channel 10, which airs it for free. Sounds like Ebert forgot something in the equation to put the show on the air.
Rick Perry takes Herman Cain's spot as the GOP punchline: It's amazing how quickly things change in the Republican TV show. When Texas Gov. Rick Perry flubbed big-time in Thursday's GOP debate.
Of course, Herman Cain could recapture humor prominence for the still-simmering scandal of a number of women alleging sexual harassment and his chronic mishandling of the response.
Meanwhile, here's the debate moment that could be the demise of Perry's presidential campaign:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.