Newest Posts

Rock it, WMET News!

•  Uriah Heep, John Belushi, the exploding lunch trick and Jesse Helms across ‘Americaland’ •  A relic from another era: a petrified noon newscast •  A private company launching a rocket into space? Never happen! Way, way down at the dusty bottom of that milk crate was the last cassette. Krapp’s Last Tape?  No, just … Continue reading Rock it, WMET News!

Superspreader: Spring Break

•  Cramming thousands of kids together on a Florida beach used to be a good idea         •  “Where the Boys Are” in 1989 •  Rick Nielsen is blasé about half-naked ragers In a post-Covid world, one imagines, an annual ritual such as spring break on America’s beaches will be revived safely . . . if … Continue reading Superspreader: Spring Break

R.I.P. Conventions

•  Hear, hear! . . how dull things were – already – 40 years ago •  The pandemic’s silver lining: shrunken presidential nominating pageants •  In 1980, everybody must have gotten stoned Summertime, every four years. The speeches, the balloon drops, the protests. The boredom. National presidential nominating conventions can’t die soon enough. I could … Continue reading R.I.P. Conventions

Almost Famous in Toronto

• Talking hockey over dinner with Kate Hudson •  I ❤️ Toronto •  Watching hockey in enemy territory I’ve spent time in five of Canada’s big cities. Toronto is my favorite (although I’ve yet to visit Vancouver). My first visit was to attend a game in the first Canada Cup series in 1976. Then in … Continue reading Almost Famous in Toronto

Barefoot in the Park

Newly-found negatives from a positive summer concert site “More Park photographs, Mom!” Canned Heat, Edgar Winter, John McLaughlin The story of how I spent my summer vacation in 1972 can be seen here, in “The Park — ‘Weekend Woodstocks’ in NW Ohio Cornfield.” And, a couple more photos in “I Shutter to Think.” I was … Continue reading Barefoot in the Park

Oye Cómo Va, Carlos?

•  From Woodstock to the Waldorf, I’ve been in Carlos’ fan club •  His Hall of Fame Induction •  Tea time in the lobby By the time I got to Woodstock in August of 1969, all I knew about Santana was a nugget picked up in some alternative music paper: the band was managed by … Continue reading Oye Cómo Va, Carlos?

Ten for Two

• A documentary that takes me back 49 years • When protest was patriotic . . even then • Sounds like an ESPN 30 for 30: US vs. John Lennon During the height of the Covid 19 lockdown, when every night brought a new adventure in streaming entertainment, I came across a documentary released in … Continue reading Ten for Two

SXSW

•  Austin’s annual music festival makes for a pretty routine CNN piece •  The biggest name to interview there was Matthew Sweet. But that’s the point *  At least I survived another visit to Texas without being hauled into court Me & Texas just haven’t always gotten along. There was that time a sneaky prosecutor … Continue reading SXSW

A Beach Boy’s Life

•  Not an ideal time to interview an idol of mine •   Under the spell of a quack, Brian Wilson visits CNN •   This piece was no fun . . fun . . fun It’s most unfortunate for me that the two times I was in the close presence of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, … Continue reading A Beach Boy’s Life

An Iowa State Update

• That’s my Dad • He was a major influence • Drummed a lot into me They’ve been going in and out of style But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile.So may I introduce to youThe act you’ve known for all these years,Arthur Scheerer’s Iowa College Band. I was lucky to go to the 50th … Continue reading An Iowa State Update

Assignment: Garfunkel

•  Now it can be shown: Art Garfunkel bails on an interview •  He opened up to the NY Times, then shut down at CNN •  I didn’t set out to ruin his day I wrote about Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon’s erstwhile partner, a year ago January in a piece about unpleasant experiences I had … Continue reading Assignment: Garfunkel

Not On Walden Pond

•  A transcendental television moment with the Eagles’ Don Henley •  The difficulty of making a green new deal with a determined developer. •   Sour grapes about no Concord stand-up I can’t possibly complain about a career that took me around the world, let me meet and talk to fascinating people and rewarded me handsomely. … Continue reading Not On Walden Pond

The Kent State Effect

•  How the May 4th, 1970 events changed my life and shaped my career • If you’re not part of the solution . . •  Yes, I know, it’s not always all about me. But this blog kind of is, so . . On a chilly day in early May, 50 years ago, I either … Continue reading The Kent State Effect

Happy Birthday, Barbra

•  Why she found Grammy world friendlier than Oscar land. •  The Prince of Tides junket revisited. Can you spot the error? •  Shooting her “through the grease.” I lumped Barbra Streisand into a category of diva, along with Beyoncè, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, and the Spice Girls in a blog … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Barbra

Elvis had the Flu

•  But a 1994 interview went forward anyway •  Brutal Youth, boxed sets and bootlegs •  You’ve heard the story, now see the video In a blog post here last year, I told the story of what a trouper Elvis Costello was when he showed up for an interview with a temperature over 100 and … Continue reading Elvis had the Flu

I Shutter to Think

•  What if I’d become a photographer? •  In college, the shutter bug bit me •  The professor who set me straight “Mr. Scheerer has done it again,” said the professor. “His idea is worthy. His execution leaves something to be desired.” It was the spring of 1969, in a J-school classroom at Bowling Green … Continue reading I Shutter to Think

New York Locked Down

•  The Siege (1998) presaged 9/11. •  One of its writers has a new novel due out that predicts a pandemic and quarantine •  How life imitates art . . and can make prophets out of artists The Siege was a box office bomb, if you’ll pardon the expression. But — as one of its … Continue reading New York Locked Down

It’s a Wrap

•  No, not this blog. My career, pretty much •  How it sputtered, as journalism atrophied and news organizations crumbled beneath me •   Few photos here . . I wasn’t around some of these places long enough The first media outlet to shut down and leave me (and other newsies) out of work was Air … Continue reading It’s a Wrap

Missing a Role Model

•  Danny Schecter, the News Dissector •  In 1973, I wanted to work for him. In 1997, I focused CNN on him •  In 2020, I miss him I was driving a cab in Boston in 1973, after my first taste of doing radio news in Toledo, Ohio, ended abruptly. I listened to WBCN-FM, as … Continue reading Missing a Role Model

R.E.M.embered

•  This one goes out to the band I love •   My date for an early R.E.M. concert has a Rapid Evaluation Mishap •   I finally get to interview them . . after they lose their drummer The first time I saw R.E.M. perform live, my date pronounced them D.O.A. My arrival at network radio … Continue reading R.E.M.embered

Insta(matic)gram

• Random photos cluttering my desktop • Some seen elsewhere but never on this blog . . until now! • Some worthy of the Hall of Shameless Posing, some not Some will say I have a big head. Hell, I will say that. At least if we’re talking in terms of physical size. I thought … Continue reading Insta(matic)gram

Do You Believe?

•  Can you believe it was 40 years ago? •  Revisit The Miracle on Ice this week •  Here’s a complimentary Miracle Media Guide I often claim I can turn anyone into a hockey fan by taking them to a college or pro game, sitting them in the right place – where they can see, … Continue reading Do You Believe?

Rare Slides: The Greatest

• New photos of Muhammad Ali unearthed, prompted by HBO documentary • Thrill to The Champ wolfing down his salad while I sit by, snapping photos • The Tale of the Table I can’t say enough about the HBO documentary, Ali & Cavett – The Tale of the Tapes. In the Sixties, The Champ and … Continue reading Rare Slides: The Greatest

A Striking Baseball Story

•  40 years ago, ballplayers saw a strike coming without being tipped off •  Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt and Dallas Green talked to me about unemployment and gardening •  Come the World Series and I’m unemployed The drumbeat in the spring of 1980 – louder than a Houston Astro banging on a trash can – … Continue reading A Striking Baseball Story

Thanks, Caption Obvious

• Like caption contests? So did ABC PR in the Eighties • Marketing Mark with Mild Snark • Try this at home! In every newsroom I ran, I would post random news photos or headlines of an odd nature and invite my fellow radio colleagues to contribute funny captions. So I was pleased and surprised … Continue reading Thanks, Caption Obvious

What’s Left of the Dial

•  Lies and the lying liars who launched Air America •  You can call me Al and Rachel and Marc’s radio colleague once upon a time •  The slow-motion train wreck that was supposed to take down Rush Limbaugh They were among the luckiest documentary filmmakers ever. The photos and clips in this post are … Continue reading What’s Left of the Dial

Rock On Radio

• From Christian Rock to Porn Rock . . . whatever that is. • Radio News: Little podcasts sent wirelessly to your AM-FM device. • Ozzy Osbourne, Blackie Lawless, Stryper, Public Enemy, Kool Moe Dee and Yoko Ono One thing I liked a lot about my broadcast career was that I spent a lot of … Continue reading Rock On Radio

The Color of Memory

• Remembering Pete Seeger and Aretha Franklin •  Sometimes memories come in a color •  They come flooding back with the passing of people I was fortunate to meet When Pete Seeger died in 2014 and Aretha Franklin passed away in 2018, I hadn’t yet created this blog. On those sad days I put down … Continue reading The Color of Memory

Back in the USSR

•  Fresh new evidence shows the Billy Joel trip was no Russia hoax. •  Good Morning America introduces a new – and “special” – correspondent •  Some really awful music, through some really awful transmissions When I wrote about The Piano, Man, in Russia last year, the blog post was mostly words and photos; just … Continue reading Back in the USSR

More Q and A

• Interviewing myself again? (I’m an easy “get”) •  The first time I did a Q & A with myself, I was rattled by the tough line of questioning. •  I’ll try to do better this time. The following has been edited for clarity and brevity. Mark, was there ever a story that you’ve completely … Continue reading More Q and A

Joe Pesci, Pop Singer

Mob guys don’t “sing” – but Cousin Vinny did “The Irishman’s” standout performer – or one of them – releases an LP He’s funny. “I’m funny how? I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you?” I was concerned Joe Pesci might shoot me in the foot. He was making a record store appearance … Continue reading Joe Pesci, Pop Singer

Badgering a Beatle

•  Was I too hard on George Harrison in a 1987 Good Morning America interview? •  He didn’t have to invite Paul McCartney onto Cloud Nine . . but I had to ask about it •  Watch him give me the stink-eye I’ve told the stories of my Beatles encounters already, but I recently unearthed … Continue reading Badgering a Beatle

The Park — ‘Weekend Woodstocks’ in NW Ohio Cornfield

•  If you build it, they will come: Allman Brothers, Ike & Tina Turner, Canned Heat, Chuck Berry, Edgar Winter, Alice Cooper •  When Woodstock Nation annexed North Baltimore, Ohio •  Was it all just a front for laundering pot dealers’ money? I’ll never tell The idea started as a pipe dream, probably. A handful … Continue reading The Park — ‘Weekend Woodstocks’ in NW Ohio Cornfield

The Greatest

• My lunch with Muhammad Ali • He ate, I took his picture. • Call me crazy, but. . .that’s what Ali did in 1996 I get the question sometimes: “Who was the first famous person you interviewed?” Or, “Who was the most famous person you interviewed?” They were one and the same: Muhammad Ali. … Continue reading The Greatest

Evel Knievel

The Jump to the Major Leagues – Pt. 1

Evel Knievel, Jerry Springer, Larry Flynt, Pete Rose… A lost episode of Celebrity Big Brother? No, just some of the people who crossed my path at (Not) WKRP in Cincinnati. A two-parter set in the Queen City.

Woody Hayes

Purple Woody Hayes

In 1978, Ohio State and Clemsen met each other in the Gator Bowl and Jimi Hendrix immortalized it in song. Sort of. A 20-second audio flashback:

Philadelphia, Pt. 1 – Muhammad Ali, Tommy Lasorda, Anita, Mark Goodman

“I spent a week in Philadelphia one day” – Old joke often attributed to W.C. Fields but not likely his. I spent four years there, and tell about it in this first of 3 posts. After three years at Cincinnati’s WEBN-FM, in the fall of 1978 I received a call from a radio program director … Continue reading Philadelphia, Pt. 1 – Muhammad Ali, Tommy Lasorda, Anita, Mark Goodman

Philadelphia, Pt. 2 – Jane Fonda, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Pope John Paul II

Of Popes, miracles (on ice) and nuclear meltdowns. All in Part 2 of the Philadelphia story. Among the stories I covered in Philly was Three Mile Island, the nuke plant that nearly melted down just a hundred miles upwind from the radio station. It was a scary night when I had to come into the … Continue reading Philadelphia, Pt. 2 – Jane Fonda, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Pope John Paul II

Philadelphia, Pt. 3 – Dial Sports, Daryl Dawkins, Pete Rose, Doc Emrick

Philadelphia sports fans booed and pelted Santa Claus with snowballs. I don’t judge them; they used to pay 50 cents a phone call to help keep me employed. If you’re keeping score, here’s how it was done in 1981. I was in Philly during good times for its pro sports teams. Sports, it turned out, … Continue reading Philadelphia, Pt. 3 – Dial Sports, Daryl Dawkins, Pete Rose, Doc Emrick

How About That?

I grew up a NY Yankees fan, listening to the great Mel Allen call the games in which my first sports hero, Mickey Mantle, starred. In the 1980s, a friend, Bill Gubbins, hired Allen to do some voice work on a media project. He asked Mel to record an answering machine message for me and … Continue reading How About That?

Old Style Chicago – Ernie Banks, Pete Townshend, Francois Truffaut, Harry Caray, John Lennon

•  The City of Broad Shoulders makes hauling watermelon easy •  Old Style is not only the local beer brand, it’s the way WMET partied •  Classic Rock, ahead of its time The Cubs cap speaks for itself. The watermelon? It was at a party, about to be injected with vodka. Pretty well sums up … Continue reading Old Style Chicago – Ernie Banks, Pete Townshend, Francois Truffaut, Harry Caray, John Lennon

With Charlie Comany in Beirut

Lebanon

One of my first assignments as Reporter on the Road for ABC Radio News found me in Beirut, Lebanon, which was embroiled in civil war in 1983. As I was tasked to “go anywhere anything of interest to young people” was happening, it was pointed out by my editors that US Marines were, of course, young people and a contingent of them had been sent to Beirut to try to enforce a tenuous peace among warring factions. I was to visit and report on what their experience was like.

Grenada invastion

Late for the Grenada Invasion (Pt. 1)

“Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came.” – ‘60s anti-war slogan. 1983: “Suppose They Invaded an Island and Let Nobody Cover It.” The first of a two-part tale of reporting the Grenada invasion.

Mark Scheerer, Tina Turner

Live Aid

The film “Bohemian Rhapsody” does a great job of re-creating Queen’s performance at Live Aid. I try to re-create my backstage – and onstage – experiences on that weekend.

Ethiopia

A couple of months after Live Aid and We Are the World, an opportunity arose to see firsthand what some of the money raised by the benefit concert and charity song was actually doing for the people afflicted by the drought and famine in Africa.

The Things I Carried

• Listen up you whippersnappers! When I was your age, I had to haul around a lot of crap • There was heavy lifting in radio news • Where was the digital age when I needed it? One of the reasons I started blogging about my broadcasting career was because my three nephews, all “digital … Continue reading The Things I Carried

Harry Belefonte, Mark Scheerer

Sudan

If a plane carrying Harry Belafonte and me disappeared in a Western Darfur sandstorm, only one of us would make the headline. How that no-brainer was arrived at.

Audio: 1984 NCAA Basketball Championship

Your ace sports reporter, Red Roughandsore, captures all the excitement of the Georgetown Hoyas’ first national title, beating Houston, 84-75, at the Kingdome in Seattle. Thrill as the seconds tick down. For one shining moment, I was Jim Nance. Listen here: (:33)

Weird Al and Mark Scheerer

State of the Standups 1985 • Seinfeld, Leno, Wright, Lewis, Klein

Weird Al Yankovic was promoting one of his Michael Jackson parodies. I guess I thought I’d do a lame Jackson impersonation. (I had nothing on my face but a stupid look.) Anyway, Weird Al’s not in this blog post. Jerry Seinfeld, Steven Wright, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis and Robert Klein are, but I didn’t have photos with them.

Odds and Sods – Brian Wilson, Biggie Smalls, Oasis, Bob Dylan

• These are a few of my favorite things. . . that happened while interviewing celebs • Notorious B.I.G. almost ruins an interview with his eyes closed • The guy from Fountains of Wayne versus the guy from Wayne, N.J. Brian Wilson was still under the spell of a weird therapist, Eugene Landy, and extremely … Continue reading Odds and Sods – Brian Wilson, Biggie Smalls, Oasis, Bob Dylan

Unconventional Coverage

• Presidential nominating conventions aren’t what they used to be: interesting •  They used to let long-haired freaks walk right up to the podium and place a collect call •  What it was like covering that big Brian Wilson story no one can forget at the ’84 Dallas Republican confab • In the heat of … Continue reading Unconventional Coverage

Hollywood for Ugly People – Frank Zappa, Tipper Gore, Prince, Pearl Jam and Gerald Ford

•  James Carville and/or Paul Begala called Washington, DC “Hollywood for Ugly People” •   I must have fit right in; I got sent there often enough •   Me and Tipper Gore in a hotel room I was based in New York with ABC News and CNN from 1983 to 2001. But I spent considerable time … Continue reading Hollywood for Ugly People – Frank Zappa, Tipper Gore, Prince, Pearl Jam and Gerald Ford

Seventh Son – Willie Dixon

If you like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Cream and the Doors, you’ve probably heard them – and others – play a song written by Willie Dixon: “Whole Lotta Love,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “Little Red Rooster,” “My Babe,” “Back Door Man,” “Spoonful,” “You Can’t Judge a … Continue reading Seventh Son – Willie Dixon

I Think it was the Fourth of July – The Beach Boys, Jimmy Page and Joan Jett

•  Remembering when The Beach Boys were the most controversial thing on the National Mall on July 4th •  That time Ronald Reagan stood up for Rock n’ Roll •  The Malling of America was a best-selling book in 1985. Just a trivia fact It appears to some that, with a speech at the Lincoln … Continue reading I Think it was the Fourth of July – The Beach Boys, Jimmy Page and Joan Jett

Stone ROSRS

•  The age-defying Rolling Stones wrap up a swing through North America this summer to some very enthusiastic reviews •  Thirty years ago, I ramped up my own enthusiasm describing what they did backstage before the opening riff of “Start Me Up” •  What’s a ROSR? Stay tuned In December of 1989, the Stones wound … Continue reading Stone ROSRS

The Who’s Tommy

• Fifty years of that deaf, dumb and blind kid • And I thought I felt old at the 20th anniversary celebration • Hope I don’t die before the 60th I can’t say that “It could have been 1989 in Madison Square Garden the other night.” Because, clearly, it wasn’t. This was September 1, 2019. … Continue reading The Who’s Tommy

My Divas – J-Lo, Mariah Carey, Vanessa Williams, Debbie Gibson

• Jennifer stole my heart     • Mariah took me up and away……and left me cold • Little Debbie invited me up to her room So there we were, on 52nd Street, outside the now-shuttered Roseland Ballroom. It was 1999 and budding movie star Jennifer Lopez was throwing a party for the launch of her first … Continue reading My Divas – J-Lo, Mariah Carey, Vanessa Williams, Debbie Gibson

More Divas – Beyoncè, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, Spice Girls

• Call me “the Fourth Child” or “the Sixth Spice” • With Mandy Moore, bowling for column lines • More teen spirit than one man can take I mingled with Destiny’s Child at a Grammy Awards show or an MTV Video Music Awards show in the late ‘90s. I understand the young woman to my … Continue reading More Divas – Beyoncè, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, Spice Girls

Grip and Grin – Tupac, Snoop, Rodman, Will Smith, LL Cool J, Jenny McCarthy

• “Oh, before you go – one more thing….” • What really goes on backstage. Smile. • Before selfie sticks, one was at the mercy of the photography skills of the passer-by who was asked a favor. And it showed This post pretty much only exists because this picture, which I’ve posted before on Facebook, … Continue reading Grip and Grin – Tupac, Snoop, Rodman, Will Smith, LL Cool J, Jenny McCarthy

The Whole Enchilada

•  Was this the most awesomely bad TV show ever? •  Does anyone remember actually watching it? •  Why has it been scrubbed from history? I’m about to dish out the whole enchilada about the Whole Enchilada, a recipe for hard-to-swallow TV. In 1989, right around the end of my ABC News years and just … Continue reading The Whole Enchilada

On the Howard Stern Show

Howard Stern and Me

“So you’re the guy who defended Stuttering John’s First Amendment rights?”
That was an incredulous Howard Stern, asking me, a CNN Showbiz Today correspondent, why I had tried to prevent one of his radio sidekicks from being tossed out of the Grammy Awards telecast at Radio City Music Hall in 1991. It was the first of many times I would appear on his program.

George Clooney

George Clooney heard me on the radio when he was in high school. Years later, he puked behind my back.

Reality Bites

•  TV news once took Darwinism to a silly extreme •  A pox on the medium gave Pax TV (R.I.P.) a far-fetched idea about hiring                      •  Who was their HR guy, Jeff Probst? I despise so-called “reality TV.” Not just because it is supposedly “unscripted” and resulted in the elimination of jobs for writers in … Continue reading Reality Bites

Woodstock

One, Two, Many Woodstocks

Woodstock Nation lives! No. No, it doesn’t. I’ve attended every effort to revive it, and I won’t be fooled again. Here’s why:

Rehearsing with the Stones

•  “‘Allo, Darlin!” Keith extends an invitation to an awe-struck reporter •  We watched the band working on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” •  Whoa. What are Keith and Ronnie getting up to?” In the 1990’s, when I was covering entertainment news for CNN’s Showbiz Today, I was sent to Toronto, where the … Continue reading Rehearsing with the Stones