Now that he's unloaded the U-Haul and settled into his new office in Irvine, Freedom Communications CEO Mitch Stern sat down for an interview with a reporter from his media company's flagship newspaper, the Orange County Register.
This is important to Grand Avenue wags as Freedom emerges from banruptcy proceedings leaner and creamier.
However, Clockwork has it on good authority that Mary Ann Milbourn did not transcribe everything in her notebook for her piece.
Indeed, according to sources who revealed this information in a dream I had last night, Stern said some things that are presented here exclusively–through the wonders of italicized type. Remember, the regular type is from the actual interview, while the words in italics were left out of what was in print–surely due to space constraints.
Milbourn: You're coming here out of retirement from New York. What's your impression of Orange County.
Stern: I lived in L.A. 16 or 17 years running TV stations,
including KTTV/11 back when it had Hogan's Heroes on an endless loop. I got to know the region and made many visits through
Orange County, usually at 120 mph as I headed for TJ and its cheap hookers. The idea that I could come to a job like this and move
to Orange County? BWAA-HA-HA-HA . . . Uh, wait a tick; you'd better erase that. I said erase it now or you'll be shoveling coal like Dillow in the basement on Grand, Milbourn! Now, where was I . . . I probably shouldn't say this, but they could have
paid me less and I would have come. BWAA-HA-HA-HA . . . Do you believe this crap? I actually just said that with a straight face. Look at my face, have you ever seen one straighter. Again, erase that. Where were we? When Santa Claus comes knocking, you
answer the door, because there's more a chance of that happening than me squeezing any more blood out of this turnip of a news operation. My first impression versus New York is I keep looking for all the cars, because I've been told there is usually change in the ashtrays of the unlocked ones. Yeah, Mickadeit told me, how do you think he affords those cigars? And I've never seen people so friendly–hell, they'd better be or they're fired. Got that, Milbourn? Smile!
Milbourn: You've said you plan to buy a home here. Have you decided where?
Stern: I've spent two weekends looking for a home. The real estate
agent picked me up and took me south to TJ and the cheap hookers and then back up here (Irvine).
There's some really good stuff with pretty good views. I'm still referring to TJ and the cheap hookers. I haven't decided
yet but it will probably be a coastal community, maybe not on the
water, but coastal, although I like the foothills–and Henry Nicholas' sex dungeon, of course.
Milbourn: Orange County is a pretty tech savvy place. You learned a
lot about technology at DirecTV. Are you an early adopter? What
Smartphone do you use?
Stern: I have a BlackBerry. Actually, I have two BlackBerrys, if
that counts. They are my personal valets, Fred and Jerry Berry, African American brothers. That's it, although I'm supposed to be getting an iPad
soon for my personal hygiene issues.
Milbourn: Freedom Communications came out of bankruptcy
reorganization in late April. What can you say about the state of the
Stern: I'm lucky because I got here after the bankruptcy was over, so I just pretend like it never happened. In fact, mention it again and you're down there with Dillow, Milbourn.
The company is no longer in distress. Certainly we feel challenged, like those kids on the short buses, but
we're not a distressed property and have no distressed assets. Hell, we barely have a newsroom! Have you been in there? There's more life at Arlington National Cemetery. I don't
want to go into the future looking into the rearview mirror. I mean, come on, Mary Ann, look at me. Would you want to stare back at this mug? Don't answer that! People are
back to putting our full attention on our customers, who we find at nursing homes throughout La Habra. We're not in
quicksand. We're strictly grounded now, focused on improvements. Like installing quicksand. Really, the Times was built on quicksand, why don't we have any?
Milbourn: What one thing do you want Freedom's customers to know?
Stern: Be curious. Go to all our sites. Look at all our products.
Give us feedback. Drink Mountain Dew. Make war not love. See the forest but fuck the trees. Ride a painted pony and let the spinning wheel ride. Smell like a woman but be strong enough for a man. We want to get close to our customers. Eerily, creepily, uncomfortably close. For those who
thought they could live without a paper, come back. Have you seen the price of toilet paper? You're gonna need us whether you realize it or not. Our newspapers have a
lot to say to our communities. Things like, “Please hold death's door open for us.” If you care about your community, or the
government or the people next door, you should read our newspapers, because there's a good chance they are in the police log.
And when you visit TJ, tell 'em “Itchy Mitchy” sent you!