Monday, November 29, 2021

My 16th Anniversary

It’s this blog’s 16th anniversary.   (Actually, it was last Friday I believe, but nothing can stand in the way of FQ’s.)

I started the blog to draw some attention to myself so I could get an editor to publish my travel book.  One said, “Very funny and if you were Dave Barry I’d buy this in a minute.  But no one knows who the hell you are.”  

I explored getting a PR person but that idea was quickly abandoned when I saw what they charged.  

Publicity from a blog was free — except the work involved in writing and maintaining it.   

Doing a blog and having no readers is a fool’s errand so I was very interested in ways to grow my readership.  I contacted several successful bloggers and sought advice.  One said write something new every day.  If people know there’s always new material they’ll keep coming back.  So I did that.   Another suggested a weekly feature that people could count on.  Thus Friday Questions was born.  

It also helped that at the time blogs were the rage.  I was in the Zeitgeist for a minute and a half.

I had no idea when I started this that I’d still be doing it 16 years later.  Practically everyone else who was blogging when I started have long since closed theirs down.  

How long will I keep going?  I don’t know.  I’ve had my podcast for five years now and that’s still in the Zeitgeist (for the moment).  I’m a little disappointed that more of my readers don’t listen to the podcast.  But I get it.  There’s only so much of “me” I can expect anyone to take.   That said, if I’m going to drop one it’ll be the blog.  I very much enjoy doing the podcast and that audience is growing (from other sources).  

I also vowed not to junk up the blog with ads.  Even though I never really monetized this venture, it wasn’t worth the few hundred dollars to fill the page with cheesy ads.   So this blog was truly a labor of love.  

We’ll see how it goes from here.  For my ten year anniversary I had a big party.  For sixteen I ate leftover turkey.  What keeps me going is you and knowing you’re still out there.  Over 40,000,000 hit so far.  I’ve made some lifelong friends because of the blog and it’s nice to know there are people I’ve never met who, for some inexplicable reason, care to hear what I have to say.  So thank you.  Onwards and sidewards.

Oh, and did starting a blog work?  I ended by self-publishing that travel book.

Ken
 

67 comments :

slgc said...

Happy Blogoversary Ken!

Darwin's Ghost said...

Here's a sign that one is reading this blog too much. When you have a dream and Ken appears in it. For some reason, I had a dream in which Ken blogged that he's running a marathon.

So, are you planning on running a marathon, Ken?

Joseph said...

Congratulations on 16 years! I really enjoy reading your blog and hope that you keep it going. It's one of the few sites I visit everyday.

cjdahl60 said...

Thanks again for your blog and your podcast. I've been on board since the beginning for each - at least I think I have. It sure seems like sixteen years!

I love all of the work you've done in your career and as a huge baseball (Mariners fan located in the PNW) I have that connection with you too. Your insights are appreciated and I look forward to your blog each day. I'm just one reader, but as long as you're willing to keep posting I'll definitely keep reading.

Jeff Carter said...

Ken, I can't speak for all readers, but for me it has nothing to do with how much "you" I can take. I just don't listen to podcasts. I would much rather read a blog than listen to a podcast. I really hope you keep doing the blog.

Howie said...

Aside from offering my congratulations, a big thank you. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to be creative and entertaining, day after day, and still be able to keep things fresh.
Impressive

Mike Barer said...

Mazel Tov on your blogoversary as we said in the days of wine and blogging. It's easy to listen to your podcast because it's a 45 minute drive between Maple Valley, WA where I live to Bellevue, WA where I work.
It will be a sad day for me when you shut down your blog.

stephanie said...

I read your blog faithfully every morning. As others have said, as long as you're willing to post, I'll happily keep reading. Thank you!

PhilG said...

Ken, i've been reading on and off for the last 2 years and i look forward to your perspective on the "media industry". I'm of the age that i remember most of the tv you worked on and it's nice every now and again to get a nostalgic reminder. Keep writing and we'll keep reading.

Dana King said...

Kudos to you, Ken, and keep them coming. I started my current blog in August of 2008 as a way to help to promote my writing. I've used various frequencies before settling on weekly, and post 1,000 goes up to start the new year, so I know the frustrations, especially since I have about 1% of your number of followers. (If that.) You're a daily read for me, and I look forward to it every morning.

1955david said...

I read your blog everyday. Also, as a big podcast listener, I listen to yours as soon as it drops. They are entertaining and always leave me wanting more.

Markus said...

Blogs STILL are all the rage, for what it's worth. Just because popularity of certain types of media or publication or distribution differs from yesteryear doesn't mean they're totally out of fashion or about to enter digital nirvana. These things come and go in waves, and come back and fade again in further waves, and even in their faded state have and retain their niche and their audiencce. Always have, always will. Whenever there's some (blog) article declaring the end of X or Y because who even does that anymore, it's time to smirk or roll your eyes or whatever it is you do, because they're almost inevitably wrong about it. So, blog on!

As for podcast vs. blogreading, keep in mind that these are very different types of publication. I'm never a fan of podcasts and don't follow any regularly, because they require much more of my time and devotion and I'm stuck with their given pace. The fact that it's the same guy behind it makes little difference. I did listen to a some of yours though and found them enjoyable particularly with certain guests, Peri Gilpin and Al Michaels come to mind and there were quite a few more. Just make sure the episodes are easily accessible and browseable and fully indexed - people dislike clunky interfaces and are more likely to listen in when they can do so at their own pace (read: listening speed, such as 1.5x or 2x playback) and can see easily that they might be interested in the content.

Oh and happy anniversary too. 16 years, oh my. And of those I've been reading for at least oh I don't know... 12? 14? Something like that... time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas...

kent said...

I found your blog while looking for a Dodgers site back in early 2006. I'm glad I can still start my day with it all these years later. Thanks for still being there, hope you choose to keep it going.

Mmryan314 said...

Congratulations Ken and I am so happy that you started your blog. I've been a reader for about 8 years, maybe 9. It is second in order of reading during my morning routine. First email, second Ken etc. Would not miss it.

Tim G said...

Congratulations on 16 years! Discovered you back in 2011 during a google search for info on the 1985-86 Mary sitcom. I'll read as long as you post (but can't promise my full attention for baseball musings). Love your irreverence AND your kindness. Oh, and your humor and low BS threshold. Your blog and podcasts help make me feel good about life during some pretty bleak times. Thank you!

Craig said...

Thanks Ken for all the years doing the blog. Definitely a must read!

AlaskaRay said...

Congrats on sweet 16. I’ve been reading since the first day, so you were never really alone. You should also know that I listen to Hollywood and Levine on my Alexa, so it probably doesn’t recognize me as one of your readers. I’d bet there are a lot who do that.

Mibbitmaker said...

Regular daily reading for me, one of two (the other being the Daily Cartoonist, for cartooning news).

Clearly, the publishing people don't look at the credits on MASH, CHEERS, etc. Even the ones superimposed on the action at the start. I'd think viewers would know the name, if not its pronunciation. I'm sure publishing is loaded with "I don't even own a television" types.

Mike McCann said...

Congratulations -- and a tip of the cap to Danny McDevitt -- on your sweet anniversary, for sharing your wit, wisdom and experiences, as well as inspiring others to jump into the blogosphere.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Blogs are over? Nobody told me. What am I doing with my life?

Never mind. You keep writing, I'll keep reading. Most podcasts are terrible but I always enjoy "Hollywood and Levine." Must be the radio skills.

Peter Aparicio said...

I'm with Jeff on this. I can read a hell of a lot faster than I can listen to a podcast. I'd love a transcript of the podcast.

Bob S. said...

I agree with Jeff and Peter - I much prefer blogs to podcasts.

-3- said...

It's not that there's only so much of you i can take - i don't listen to the podcasts because, to my knowledge, they don't come with subtitles. With my pitiful ears, they're required.
I dig your words, but i can't comprehend them in audio format.

(But don't stop on my account, eh? I may be born and live in the USA, but i'm not the modern type fool who thinks the world should exist just for me.)

Pat Reeder said...

I hope you keep doing this blog, since it's one of only a handful that I read every day. I do listen to the podcast, but with all the demands on my time, I usually get behind and have to binge-listen later. A couple of years ago, we had to take a driving trip from Dallas to Charlotte and back for a music awards show, and I put a bunch of them on a memory stick and played them both ways. I enjoyed it, but I admit my wife started asking me to play something else after about hour 12.

On the bright side for the book, I bought a copy, and your Hollywood mystery novel, too. So that's, what, 30 bucks for your 16 years of effort? That should be enough to keep you going for another 16.

Jim Grey said...

On blog v. podcast: I can always squeeze in reading your blog every day. It only takes a couple of minutes. But I have time for only so many podcasts -- at 30 minutes on average, they are much harder to squeeze in. I am currently listening to all the ones I have time for and am not adding more. I'm sure your podcast is a delight, but I just don't have time for any more. If you discontinue the blog to focus on the podcast, that'll be it for me.

Michael said...

Happy anniversary, and I love the blog.

Today is also the birthday of both Vin Scully and Ross Porter. It might be the best day for births in the history of sportscasting! And how good of their parents to time them to coincide with the blog's anniversary, too.

Jeff Maxwell said...

I second slgc’s: Happy Blogoversary!

To 16 more!?

Ere I Saw Elba said...

Congrats on your anniversary. Please keep it going.

I listen to most of your podcasts, particularly when they are on subjects of interest such as writing, showrunning, and classic sitcoms. I download them directly from your blog portal, so I don't use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. I don't know how this affects your statistical ratings numbers, but FYI.

Greg Ehrbar said...

I like the blog because I read it over breakfast and/or lunch. I mostly enjoy the comments. I have a lot of audio in my life and work, so it's difficult to work too many more podcasts in. That's just me.

You ought to be doing what you enjoy doing. Look at the pros and cons of each, the possibilities of each in the ensuing years. How one or the other works into your life and how you best want to communicate about so many things.

As my dad said, "Nothing worthwhile is easy, son." He really talked like that. God, I miss him.

VincentS said...

Happy anniversary, Ken.

Curt Alliaume said...

Thanks for the update. You and Mark Evanier have inspired my blog, which I've tried to update more often. Still not getting it done every day.

Thanks for giving us something to look forward to daily.

http://alliaumeyesterdaytodaytomorrow.blogspot.com/

YEKIMI said...

I'm not good at multi-tasking so if I try to do something else while listening to the podcast I find that it tends to just turn into background noise and your podcast is one that requires that you pay attention to it. I can read way faster than listen.....heck, when I was a kid in the 60s/early 70s I used to read three books a day until my eye doctor said to knock it off, I was basically burning out my eyeballs and glasses weren't that far off in the future for me. [I used to read school textbooks from cover to cover during the first week of school which drove some of my teachers insane]...so I prefer reading the blog AND the comments as I don't have to multi-task when doing that. And I finally remembered when I started reading your blog, it was about a year or so before Time magazine [remember them?] said your blog was one of the top 25 to read.

Lemuel said...

Congratulations! You are the first site I go to in the morning. I've often been encouraged to start my own blog, usually by people who were offended by something I posted, just to get rid of me. But I'll stick to you like a loyal barnacle!

JED said...

Congratulations on 16 years of blogging, Ken. I found your blog through Earl Pomerantz's blog many years ago and then I found Mark Evanier's blog from yours (just the opposite of their starting order, I believe). Your writing is both entertaining and enlightening. Another thing that draws me to you blog, though, is the group of knowledgeable people who comment on it (I rarely get the courage to do this). I have discovered so many new things through you and your readers.

Like some of your other commenters, I am not a podcast kind of guy. If I'm interrupted when listening, you have to specifically 'pause' the playback or you lose your place. On the blog, I just stop reading and then come back and pick up where I left off. Also, another nice feature of Blogger is that you can search for words and phrases and get a list of past blog posts about that subject. If that's possible with a podcast, I don't know how to do it.

Finally, I read on the This Day in History site (another of my daily blog readings) that today is the day in 1981 that Natalie Wood drowned. Sorry for the sad reminder. But your lovely pictures of her over the years is something I don't think we would get in a podcast.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/actress-natalie-wood-drowns

Roger Owen Green said...

As I wrote to you directly, I've been reading your blog for a long time. But until this very moment, I had been too lazy to search your blog for the info. It was the December 6, 2006 post, it was about Frasier, and YOU DIDN'T WRITE IT. You had gotten Peter Casey to create something.

I must have gotten a referral, possibly from Mark Evanier. Actually, I could search Mark's blog, too, couldn't I? Yup, although he didn't post it until December 7. I'd say it was a date that will live in infamy. Too soon? https://www.newsfromme.com/2006/12/07/grammer-lesson/

I've been blogging daily since May 2, 2005, so only six or seven months earlier than you. It's mostly my therapy. https://www.rogerogreen.com/

ed.j.bowers said...

Huh. Well, basically, what NED said. I too came here through Earl Pomerantz's blog BUT I took your sitcom room weekend so you got some monetization out of it. I would have bought Earl lunch if I could since I am in Toronto and remember him from before he was famous.

Hope you keep writing the blog; I have same issue as NED, I can't do other things while listening as I learned to my dismay in my darkroom days when I tried listening to radio plays while processing film. I still wonder what was on those 4 rolls I cooked for 7 minutes because of a CBC Agatha Christie airing.

Thanks for what you've done so far.

Tim said...

Thank you for the many years of entertainment via the blog. When the podcast started I often did not listen to them, but now almost always do in time. Might I suggest eliminating the "weekend post" if you are feeling burnt out? I'd gladly take that to avoid losing you in my life!

Pete Grossman said...

Mazel Tov on Sweet 16. Definitely get your desire to possibly retire the writing and keep on podding. Just keep on keepin' on. Your work is thoroughly enjoyable.

maxdebryn said...

I am a big fan of your blog, Ken. Usually it's the second site that I go to (after checking my email to see if I've won millions of dollars from that Nigerian chap). I find the blog informative, funny, and I agree with your politics. Long may you run.

Barry Traylor said...

I love your blog Ken and visit it every day.

Jahn Ghalt said...

It's unlikely we will ever meet (Rickie Lee Jones got the nod when you were in/near Albany for a play) - but as long as you "do content" I be there to "consume it".

This seems like a good time to request a "sequel" - Growing up in the Seventies.

(lord knows I didn't start "growing up" until the daughter was born in my mid-30s)

You made a very smart choice to "embed" your podcast into your blog page - and to not f##k with your blog page. leaving it essentially unchanged since I showed up (about 2016). Also smart - to make the podcast available via common browser

(f##K "apps").

I'm sure it occured to you that your early 'performing' skills - running for student president, going for Dating Game laffs, and filling in for Wolfman Jack, all informed your podcasts - which are nicely disciplined and well-edited.

And that your post-DJ career, writing-on-demand, makes blogging seem like a walk in the park.

That all makes the "competition" an unfair "fight" - keep it up!


PS - perhaps you could check the Hebrew Calendar - this may actually BE an anniversary on that.

Brian said...

Happy Sweet 16. I actually googled and found the blog post that sent me to your blog. Its from 2007. So assuming I immediately started reading your blog when I saw it, that means I have been reading it for 14 years. I listen to the podcast too, mostly while running.

https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20070110-38/?p=28453

Here's a quote from the blog where I learned about Ken:

Ken Levine has written for some of the most well-known television programs of the past few decades. M*A*S*H, Cheers (for which he won an Emmy), Frasier. And that’s not counting his second (third? fourth?) career as a baseball announcer. He writes about whatever is on his mind, be it Barry Bonds’ 715th home run, what not to put into your television script, more Cheers trivia than you know what to do with, or Thanksgiving travel tips, and every single one is filled with his personality and attitude. It’s a joy to read.

Jahn Ghalt said...

lovely pictures of (Natalie Wood) over the years is something I don't think we would get in a podcast.

For the likes of Natalie Wood (Peri Gilpin, Shelley Long, Nancy Travis, Loretta Swit, MTM.....) the NEXT STEP - YOUTUBE!!!

There are many "tubers" who do little more than stills over a soundtrack - some of them (apparently) are "monetized" - though the latter is not strictly necessary.

fred said...

To totally understand what's going on in a TV program, I need closed-caption. Just can't catch it all. Multi-cam is not my friend. So frustrating when people stick their head into a cupboard or refrigerator and keep talking. You would think there would be some kinda software that could output/translate a video into text version, so all hearing impaired folks could just click "text version" on a news video or whatever. Occasionally the closed-caption is funnier. One time it said "And Fred McGriff slapped that next bitch into right field ..."

Mike Bloodworth said...

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to you and the blog! (Popping champagne cork emoji) I can't even remember what I was doing sixteen years ago. (Empty birdcage emoji) I also can't remember how I found your blog originally. (Blind man in a minefield emoji) Although I think it may have had something to do with radio. (Guglielmo Marconi headstone emoji)
Ironically, I knew you personally before even knew you had a blog. You couldn't say to me, "Hey! I got a blog?" (Guy with 300 cigarettes in his mouth emoji)

But seriously, your blog is must reading for me. I love to learn about the workings of show business. And the behind the scenes insights you give. I admit I poke the bear sometimes. (Poking a bear emoji) But you know me. And you know it's all in fun. (Clown squirting an old lady with seltzer emoji)

I would love to listen to your podcast, but as I've said before I don't have a computer or wifi. (Caveman being devoured by a T-Rex emoji) And listening on my phone would use up too much data. (Appropriate emoji unavailable) But I promise I will listen someday.

In the meantime I'll keep reading the blog as long as you keep writing it. (T-Rex reading a bedtime story to Marconi emoji)

Once again, congratulations and Happy 16th Anniversary! (Orgasmic extasy face emogi)

M.B. (Appropriate emoji unavailable)

stephen catron said...

Hey Ken, I don't remember how I found you but it has been a pleasure reading for many years. As for me I don't care for podcasts because I don't enjoy being spoken at, but I truly have enjoyed reading and learning. Whatever direction you continue may it be filled with success.
Steve

Cheryl Marks said...

Congratulations and Thank You!

I've been reading faithfully since 2008 and have never been disappointed.

And who knows .... with the Seahawks experiencing a miserable season, it may just be the Mariners time to shine .....

maybe

BUT being the M's I'm not holding my breath ;>

LMNtrees said...

I love the podcast. I listen while I fold laundry. I usually run out of podcasts before I run out of laundry.

Hugh said...

Been reading since something like 07, but never figured out how to post. Maybe this will work.

benson said...

Congratulations, and thank you, from me, too.

I've been here for probably 15 of the years and have enjoyed pretty much every word.

You are the new millennium's version of the daily newspaper column. It's become a habit. Again, thanks.

Ed said...

Happy 16th!
I really enjoy reading your blog, and I would really miss it if you stopped writing. I have learned so much about writing, and even though I will never attempt to write for TV, it's still useful advice!

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Congrats.

wg
(Also still blogging.)

404 said...

Happy Sweet 16, Ken. I've been coming here a long time, and always look forward to reading you each day. I'm looking forward to many more!

(And, just to echo what some others have said, podcasts are great and all, but they are much more time-consuming to listen to and require much more energy. I can easily pull up your latest blog and read it during a 10-minute break, or read bits and pieces of it as I grab a few minutes here and there. Much harder to do that with a podcast!)

Xmastime said...

I started my blog in November 2005 too! 25,000 posts later, still nobody cares...my big regret is my every first post ever was about...Wally Joyner? What? 😜

Andrew said...

Congratulations, and thank you. This blog has been a near-daily enjoyment and escape for me, for years now. A continuous dose of humor, humanity, and wisdom. Like a reliable friend.

Glenn said...

"Traditionally, the 16th anniversary gift is wax (cue candles) as it represents the burning passion of your relationship."

Congrats on the blog, Ken.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Ken, when I said above, "I mostly enjoy the comments," I meant that I enjoy most (as in almost all) of the comments, not that I enjoy the comments more than your posts! Realized that when I re-read it.

Andrew B said...

my day isn't complete without reading your blog Ken. Thank you for the enjoyment and I will get around to listening to the podcast when I have more time.
Andrew

Vincent said...

Happy (belated) anniversary from the creator of your younger sibling, "Carole & Co." Alas, I suspended operations in early February after 13 1/2 years when I developed weakness in my lower extremities that made it impossible for me to walk.

I was sent to the La Brea Rehabilitation Center (no connection with the goofy non-sitcom on NBC!), but the good news is I'm nearly back to full strength, and may be able to leave by week's end. (Where to? Some senior assisted living center... preferably the one run by the wonderful Annaleigh Ashford on "B Positive.") Watched a lot of TV, especially CNN and Chris Cuomo, stablemate channel Turner Classic Movies, and late-night TV -- in particular Stephen Colbert on CBS and Seth Meyers on NBC. (I pity those who instead watch lapdog Jimmy Fallon -- Jon Batiste & Stay Human > The Roots -- and the silly James Corden, who is no Craig Ferguson.) If I can, I'll resume "Carole & Co." before the year ends, though I want to finish my third rom-com feature and hone my other two.

Yesterday also was the birthday of Anna Faris, who doesn't blog but is your podcast competitor with "Anna Faris Is Unqualified" (the same title as her semi-humorous autobiography). A recent guest was Lucy Lawless, whose comedic skills are often overlooked; Anna and Lucy would make a terrific Mutt-and-Jeff comedy team.

Johnny Walker said...

Holy cow. 16 years of daily blogging. 5 years of weekly podcasts. I don't know how you do it. Next stop, YouTube star. Congratulations.

Charles Bryan said...

Congratulations, and thank you! I've enjoyed the blog for a long long time (I know that I discovered it from Mark Evanier, and based on other life landmarks, it had to have been about 15 years ago.) It continues to be a pleasure to read, and I've learned so much from it and your podcast. You've attracted a good community here - it's nice to see the familiar names, even if some are pseudonyms. Be well, and just know that if you do decide to stop, I will certainly miss it, but I'll be glad that it was here.

MikeKPa. said...

I do check out the podcasts but really enjoy the blogs because they are your stream of creative consciousness at that moment in time and usually pretty funny.

Breadbaker said...

FWIW, I bought the travel book, and you autographed it for me at Safeco Field one afternoon. Also bought all your other books (one was the first Kindle book I ever bought).

I also subscribe to the podcast and listen to nearly all the episodes.

But I do hope you keep up the blog. I started reading it with your Dave Niehaus tribute (it was linked from a Mariners blog) and it's kind of a nice connection back to him.

Tom Asher said...

Congratulations on the anniversary!

The Moderate said...

Ken, big fan of the blog. I love the podcasts as well (even though I don't listen to as many as I should) but the blog is a great haven for me during the workday.

GirlDownUnder said...

Absolutely love this blog. Aside from being a huge Cheers fan, I'm probably not your target audience (late-20's, female, Australian) however I hope you keep blogging for a long, long time to come...regularly, too!
Perhaps my most favourite post is a recent one, the Oct 23 Weekend Post on Shari Lewis. That final paragraph really hit home for me, and what great writing it is. A timely reminder to do (or attempt to do) great work even when no one is watching.
I also love the podcast and am a regular listener so please keep that up. Who knows, being a millennial hopefully I have my own podcast in the near future and can interview you on my show! In the meantime, happy anniversary.

DyHrdMET said...

I wish I had marked the first time I found your blog. I remember it was linked in one of the sports media blogs that I used to read, and might have been 10 or more years ago. The short bio of you intrigued me, and I think at the time, you were linked because of work you were doing with the Dodgers. Most of those sports media blogs and columns I used to read seem to be gone and you're still here. I think we're all better off for that (even on days when you re-post classic commentary and old FQs).