I'm a fan of Time Out.
When I travel to Europe, I'll pick up the Time Out book devoted to the town I'm visiting for an insider look at restaurants and hotels. I follow Time Out Chicago on Twitter, to keep up with what's happening there, and I regularly use the Web site -- sort of a Chicago cousin of OnMilwaukee.com.
Word last week that Chicago media reporter Robert Feder is moving to the Web site in the New Year means it'll become a daily read for me.
I'm also a fan of Groupon, the daily coupon service.
So when Groupon offered a one-year subscription to the weekly print edition Time Out Chicago for $8, I signed on. It took a while for the first copy to arrive, almost two months. And since it was the first, I wasn't surprised that it came a little late.
But in the handful of issues that have arrived since, everyone has come late. The latest issue arrived last Tuesday. It covered the week ending last Wednesday.
So I dropped an e-mail to customer service:
"I recently began receiving my Time Out, but the delivery date is ridiculous.
"For example, today, Dec. 7, I received the issue dated Dec. 2-8.
"Is this normal?"
An answer came within 24 hours:
"We apologize that you are receiving your issues late. We verified the address we have on file is correct.
"You may also want to speak with your local postmaster.
"Please contact us again if we can be of further assistance.
"Thank you for subscribing to Time Out Chicago."
So, that's it. An apology, but no explanation. No offer to check with circulation to see why it takes so long for a copy of the magazine to travel a hundred miles.
Tied to the postal system, the print version of Time Out Chicago is at the mercy of another archaic system.
There's not much I can do. (I can't imagine the "local postmaster" has much to offer.) And at 8 bucks, it's not like I blew a lot of money. Of course, I'll never renew that subscription.
I dropped Newsweek earlier this year for other reasons. But both weeklies are part of a medium that makes less and less sense: print.
The physical problems with getting a publication from point A to point B have always been there. They're far more noticeable when much of the same information is a click away.
Back a few years ago, when I was still working at the Journal Sentinel, I was having a conversation with one of my bosses. He noted that a blizzard had prevented delivery of a newspaper somewhere in Pennsylvania for a day. Instead, the edition was sent to homes the next day, as a "souvenir," of the blizzard. A day late, and a newspaper is a souvenir -- at best.
It's a problem the Internet doesn't have. We're here, 24 hours a day, rain or shine or stormageddon.
On TV: TNT says "The Closer" will wrap up with the seventh season of Kyra Sedgwick’s drama, which is scheduled to air next year. The cable channel says Sedgwick made the decision to end the show.
- The preliminary overnight ratings from Nielsen Media Research show almost half of southeast Wisconsin TVs were watching Channel 6's coverage of Sunday's Packers' loss to the Lions, a 70 percent share of TVs on at the time. Think the weather might have played a factor in that?
- David Hasselfhoff’s new "reality" show died a quick death. A&E has axed "The Hasselhoffs" after two episodes aired back to back on Dec. 5. Viewership declined between the first and second episodes.
- Channel 6 is among the affiliates for CNN anchor Anderson Cooper's new daytime talk show, which is set to launch in fall 2011.
- The American Film Institute has named its top 10 TV shows of 2010: Showtime's "The Big C;" HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," "The Pacific" and "Temple Grandin;" AMC's "Breaking Bad," Mad Men" and "Walking Dead;" Fox's "Glee;" NBC's "30 Rock;" and ABC's "Modern Family."
- While we're at it, here's AFI's top 10 movies of the year: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids are All Right," "127 Hours," "The Social Network," "The Town," Toy Story 3," "True Grit" and "Winter's Bone."
Gotta love the stormageddon coverage: There was enough uncertainty about the weekend storm to justify extra TV coverage, but Channel 4 kept breaking into "Saturday Night Live," including the start of Paul McCartney's song, "Band on the Run."
Here's the video:
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.