Adam Schlesinger’s songs were there all along. I just wasn’t listening.


I found Fountains of Wayne because of coronavirus, the invader that took away the band’s ringleader, Adam Schlesinger. He was 52. He stopped breathing April 1, 2020 in a New York hospital despite the aid of a ventilator.

There’s a word. Four syllables spritzing despair, the succession of whoosh-clicks repeated without sympathy until either you die or, one afternoon, they unspool the straw from your windpipe and you go home.

Ventilator, the word and the world it suggests, is the opposite of “The Summer Place,” a song Schlesinger and his band mates erformed in 2011 on NPR’s clever live-music series…

Wake up, editors. It’s time to firewall them thar’ cattle.

Fencing off the herd only worked in the era of physical media, I fear.

Yesterday’s — several editors of lifestyle and book coverage lost their jobs — has me thinking about the role of online publishers juxtaposed against the immutable reality of physical delivery. It is not a promising intersection.

I suspect the strategy conception for Bustle and a thousand other online verticals like it goes like this: “We have the makings of a compelling destination that can provide relevant, engaging content that appeals to (fill in the blank). Already, our traffic is significant. But we can do more. …

I have seen the future of television. And it is music.

It took decades, consumed billions of dollars and caused incalculable career wreckage, but television has managed to achieve its penultimate transformation: It has become music.

That is to say, television has taken on the salient characteristics of a medium that consistently has been out in front of video in terms of delivery mode, audience behavior and economic contribution. The television industry, which naively thought it could avoid the sort of disruption that roiled recorded music starting in the late 1990s, has in fact undergone an identical reckoning, and has now popped out on the other side humbled by the recognition…

The disruption theme is probably overblown. In the end, it’s really just…television.

Rare are the media industry epochs when so much Sturm und Drang converge as has been the case in the summer of 2019 in the streaming video arena, where the mighty powers of the media business have spent much of their time swapping around old TV shows like they were magic beans destined to cause a money tree to sprout from the ground.

If you missed it, a refresh: NBCU took “The Office” away from Netflix, leaving it to simmer on the back burner as NBCU plots its own streaming service, a new entrant that will look and behave, tellingly…

It’s no longer about the network. And it probably never was.

Gad: It was bound to happen. As the telecom goliath AT&T muscles its way into the television business, and as executive leadership changes as it does when new owners take over, somebody was certain to restate the “brand” bromide. This week it was the incoming AT&T/WarnerMedia programming head Robert Greenblatt, a respected and successful executive with a blue-chip TV pedigree tracing to stints at Showtime and NBC-TV.

Brace yourself:

“Netflix doesn’t have a brand. It’s just a place you go to get anything — it’s like Encyclopedia Britannica,” Greenblatt said during an NBC News interview.

There is an unwritten rule…

The iconic video streaming service isn’t a threat to television. It is television.

Arguments that swirl about in the digital video business these days usually revolve around differing visions of Netflix. One is the more granular view of Netflix as one of many participants in an evolving digital video economy; a leader, to be sure, but one that faces intensifying competition from media giants like Disney and AT&T at the same time that Netflix’s meteoric subscriber growth (or so goes the thinking) is bound to slow: someday, sometime, somewhere.

I think otherwise. I believe Netflix is more than a “disruptor” to television. Instead, Netflix is television. This is the true but unspoken reality…

How live sports can thrive in an on-demand video world

The Monday night shootout between the Rams and Chiefs last month was pounced on as a harbinger of the new NFL, the game that flagged a generational pivot to a high-flying, high-scoring, defense-free touchdown fest where passes whistle like warheads and where exhausted cornerbacks are strewn about the hash lines, gasping for air.

But for me, it was a revelation on another dimension: time.

“Now if only CHIEFS can get the FG and tie for overtime!” texted Scott, my brother, late during the fourth quarter.

Exactly, I thought for half a second. But hold on. Whuuuuut?? Tie it? How? The…

Exclusivity, not higher prices, will be the result of media industry vertical integration.

The Justice Department, hunting for a rationale it can use to block AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of the prolific TV-and-movie distributor Time Warner Inc., has worked to come up with inspired arguments it hopes will sway the U.S. District Court to agree the combination will harm consumers. (The trial began in March.)

That is to say, Justice has been hunting for something more substantive than an admission that the challenge is very possibly based on the personal whims of the president, who has made clear his dislike of the flagship news channel, CNN, which is owned by Time Warner’s…

Rockies fans have a point: The Wild Card format is a baseball betrayal

Arizona Diamondbacks hero Archie Bradley pointing out the lunacy of the Wild Card playoff format. Either that, or celebrating a gap triple that pretty much won the game. Photo purloined from

Many a Colorado Rockies fans will surely agree this morning that baseball’s do-or-die Wild Card playoff format can be one big downer. Fewer will probe the depths of their psyche to examine why.

Allow me.

What you’re feeling is the vestigial burn of a Wild Card game that is an American sham, hucksterism at its worst. It’s football disguised as baseball. It’s an invented, artificial construct that betrays the taint of a bad Hollywood rewrite: “More drama, kid. I don’t want a dry eye in the house.” …

Getty Images

Greetings friends. Sorry you’re reading this on a screen and not a printed page. But there’s a reason for that. It’s free and easy and it took me only about 25 minutes to write and post this. That’s the point.

You and I know there’s a crap-ton of phony “journalism” out there, representing every conceivable political persuasion or point of view (mine included). The fact that you and I got played by the Russians during the 2016 election is now known. (If you haven’t read this, here’s a at just how good they are.)

Here are Stewart’s 4…

Stewart Schley

Writer, editor, media industry analyst. Fan of electric guitars. Believes in Santa Claus and baseball. Some light dusting.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store