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Hoffman column: First lady of rock 'n' roll aims for Congress; the Trivago Guy's Houston connection

Hoffman column: H-Town's first lady of rock 'n' roll aims for Congress

Houston, Ken Hoffman, Dayna Steele, May 2017
Dayna Steele plans to run for the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas’ 36th Congressional District.  Photo by Brett Chisholm
Shake Shack pop-up
Shake Shack ranks among America’s Top 10 favorite burger joints.  Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Tim Williams Trivago spokesman
Tim Williams may be the “Trivago Guy,” an export from Germany, but he’s Houston’s own.  Courtesy photo
Carlos Correa, Houston Children's Charity lunch, March 2016
The Astros are easy to root for, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa (shown her in 2016 photo) are the best 2nd and short combination in baseball. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Houston, Ken Hoffman, Dayna Steele, May 2017
Shake Shack pop-up
Tim Williams Trivago spokesman
Carlos Correa, Houston Children's Charity lunch, March 2016

Dayna Steele is an author, lecturer and entrepreneur. But to radio fans in Houston, she’ll always be the “First Lady of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the deejay with the sultry voice from KLOL-FM’s hard rocking glory days in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Wednesday morning, Steele is expected to announce that she is a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas’ 36th Congressional District. Steele describes herself as an “independent Democrat.” She first will face announced candidate Jon Powell in the Democrat primary, with the winner challenging incumbent Republican Brian Babin in November 2018. (The Texas 36th Congressional District includes portions of southeastern Harris County, including the area around the Johnson Space Center, as well all of Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, Orange, Hardin, Liberty, and Chambers counties.)

Steele factoid: She was born Dayna Nicholson, but used “Dayna Steele” on radio. She legally changed her name to Steele last March.

I had five questions for Steele.

Ken Hoffman: What is your No. 1 issue?

Dayna Steele: Healthcare for everyone, at rates everyone can manage.

KH: What do you miss most about being on the radio?

DS: Radio gave me large-scale, high-impact opportunities to connect with and serve people. And Congress is a large scale! Social media fills a lot of that void now, but meeting and greeting in person is still very satisfying. Connecting with listeners has now become connecting with voters in my district. You’d be surprised how many of them were ‘Steele Workers’ (her KLOL listeners).

KH: As the wife of a former NASA research pilot, will you push for more funding for NASA?

DS: We need long-term, sustained funding for NASA that includes deep space exploration, STEM education for all ages, and continued research and development into everything from pharmaceuticals to agricultural to national security. You’d be surprised how many common items related to safety, heating/cooling and protective clothing are the result of NASA engineers. If NASA hadn’t needed a portable, cordless vacuum cleaner, we might not have had one so quickly.

KH: Who is your political hero?

DS: Ann Richards. There’s no finer example to follow than a strong, Texas woman who’s ready to serve.

Note: because of recent events, (the Montana candidate who body slammed a reporter), I had to ask …

KH: Do you think you can beat me up?

DS: With one hand tied behind my back! But it’s highly unlikely we would have to ‘Go Montana’ on each other because I think we should all find a way to get along.

“Do not disturb”

I’ve got a great two weeks of sports TV coming up. Don’t know when I’ve been more excited about the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors (12-0) in the playoffs are facing the Cleveland LeBrons starting Thursday night. I’m all over the Warriors, even though LeBron James is my favorite player and, I think, the best of all time. He’s Michael Jordan, only bigger, and a better passer, so edge to LeBron.

Then there’s the French Open, where my money is on Rafael Nadal to … what’s the word when you’re going for your 10th championship? I’ve got my alarm set for 5 a.m. to catch the tennis on TV. Be careful how you watch the French. Monday I noticed that NBC was airing a “live” match that ended 30 minutes earlier on Tennis Channel. Very lame, NBC.

Of course, the Astros are the best show on television. If anybody didn’t believe in the Astros, their comeback 16-8 win over the Twins on Memorial Day should remove any doubt. It’s the first Astros team where they can hit 1-9 in the batting order. The Astros are easy to root for, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are the best 2nd and short combination in baseball. Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers are ridiculous 1-2 pitchers and Josh Reddick is a huge WWE fan. What’s not to love?

Hold the reservation

Borrowing and switching a word or two from Mark Twain, reports of the Trivago Guy’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

Last month, Trivago, a Germany-based travel site, began running commercials featuring Canadian actress Gabrielle Miller instead of our trusted friend, Tim Williams, who’s played the rumpled, casual “Trivago Guy” since 2013.

Williams may be the “Trivago Guy,” an export from Germany, but he’s Houston’s own. Williams was born in Houston and went to Lee High School. After years of studying acting in New York, and bit roles in TV and movies, Williams moved to Germany and found steady work on soap operas. But it’s those commercials for Trivago that made him a national sensation and unlikely sex symbol.

Turns out that Trivago is just adding Miller to the mix. Having two spokespeople works better than just one. So our guy is holding on as the Trivago Guy.

I contacted Williams in Germany: “I’m still in there. No worries and great things on the horizon,” he said.

It wasn’t like Williams was the one and only Trivago Guy in the U.S., anyway.

Actor Gonzalo Pena has played the role on Spanish-language stations since 2015.

Walk don’t run

Earlier this year, Major League Baseball announced plans to speed up games. Among other rule changes, pitchers no longer waste time and four pitches for an intentional walk. The manager simply wiggles four fingers and the batter automatically goes to first base.

So baseball games are taking less time this season … right? Nope, the games are dragging longer than ever, five minutes longer than last year. Here’s Astros president Reid Ryan explaining why baseball is such a slowpoke in 2017.

“Baseball has become a game of strikeouts, walks and home runs. The emphasis on walks has made guys take more pitches each at bat. There’s more information available to pitchers. It’s harder to get hits because teams are using shifts. So the game between the hedges is taking longer. But the game is still intriguing and it’s still fun,” Ryan said.

“The thing is, longer games aren’t a problem if your team is winning. If your team is losing, then it feels like forever to get the game over with.”

Burger Biz

Courtesy of a Harris Poll of 100,000 burger destroyers, here are America’s Top 10 favorite burger joints:

1, Five Guys. 2, In-N-Out. 3, Shake Shack. 4, Wendy’s. 5, Culver’s. 6, Whataburger. 7, McDonald’s. 8, Sonic Drive-In. 9, Smash Burger. 10, Steak ‘n Shake.

This poll considered all the national chains. Personal note: I guess Fuddrucker’s isn’t considered a national chain, because …


Ken can be reached at ken@culturemap.com or on Twitter: @KenCultureMap. To have all CultureMap stories, including Ken's columns, delivered to your inbox in one Daily Digest every morning, sign up here

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