Thursday, March 26, 2009

the rise and fall of the print newspaper industry

I thought I'd tackle another media industry that has definitely shown signs of weakness. It's easy to pinpoint what has caused the downfall of the print journalism industry. It's also sad to see so many jobs get laid off, and so many columnists not being able to find work (with the exception of some of the NYT people lol). Just recently, Seattle became the first major US city to drop its official newspaper. Of course, the bad economy played no small part. Even the Internet couldn't save the struggling paper.

I've been wanting to write this blog for the longest time, ever since I was going to school at SIUE when I made friends with print journalism majors and Alestle people. What really got me doing this was the other day at work, when I saw that the St. Louis Post Dispatch slim down everything. There's a paper delivery guy who comes through my drive thru every night and gets coffee and sometimes he gives me a newspaper. When he handed me the slim thing (it wasn't even an inch long I believe), I began thinking about some of the people who work in this industry whose careers may be in danger. What's looking like replacing the Post Dispatch soon is (I regularly check it sometimes)

Newspapers have been around even before our country's Constitution was written. That of course, was during the Industrial Age. Now, this is the Information Age, and as a result, people are reading everything online. So, now will be the part where I start talking about what possibly went wrong. As mentioned before, things have totally moved online. Maybe not as fast, but the printing business may find themselves halted.

Look at it this way: when was the last time you seen someone under 40 reading a newspaper? I work at Steak 'n Shake very early in the morning and most of the time our customers our senior citizens that have nothing better to do than sit, read the newspaper and drink coffee. The same goes for Hardees and the Bread Company. So many people have utilized the Internet for everything. It doesn't matter if its blogs or any other kind of 'mainstream media' sites. I'll give you one example, and that's the Drudge Report. It's a site that gets more than 20 million views a day, and gives links to all the major news sites as well as independent media sites. The Drudge Report claims that it was the first 'all-free' news source on the web. Of course, it has its criticisms, that its too conservative-leaning. I check it regularly all the time. In fact, my dad has it as the start page.

And of course, there's bias. No matter where you look, there's media bias. The print media division has long been criticized for its leftist views. A hefty example of this is the New York Times and Chicago Sun-Times. The list goes on and on.

There's other factors too, that point the downfall of the print media industry. But the way I see it though, is that more local newspapers will continue to circulate. After all, everyone needs to know what's going on in their town. For example, I live in Glen Carbon, IL and I read the Edwardsville Intelligencer every day. So even as it makes its transition online, it'll find a way to survive. Whaddya think?

don't mess with the WMG part deux

A month ago I wrote a blog about how Warner Music Group (WMG) muted my 'WLCA' video on Youtube. Well, now they muted my 'portfolio' video. (I used Junior Senior's song 'Move Your Feet' as my theme music) So, I decided to do some more research about this disturbing thing. Look, I know what I did wrong, and I respect the copyrighting and licensing laws and such. But, all of the other 'big 3' music companies seem to be cool by people taking their artists work and posting it for different purposes. So, why the WMG? I'll think of a great place to start.

Warner Brothers has been a well-respected media company since the 1920s, and as we all know, they've been bought out many times, and they have several sister companies. Today, its Time Warner. In the music division they're competing with Universal, Sony and EMI. Their CEO, Edgar Bronfman Jr., stated that they don't make a lot of money with Youtube and, Google, in general. In addition, apparently, there's a lot of backstage drama between Google and Warner. Youtube was forced to mute or pull down videos from WMG artists last year (and still in the process) because of the disagreement between the two parties. It's not just the uploaders (who use the songs without permission) that are hurting. It's also the artists/bands that are signed with the WMG's labels that are feeling the pain. Several up-and-coming artists have greatly utilized the Internet to advertise their music (like Myspace and Youtube) but so many complaints have come from these artists that its definitely easy to make the switch to another label. Even Death Cab for Cutie, who has found success the last few years, is even rumored to boycott the WMG for refusing to upload their Atlantic Records material on Youtube.

I've done my own research on this to learn more, just in case my more-important videos get pulled or muted. In the latest issue of Spin magazine there's a full article about the issue and it's leaning towards sympathetic to the people who want to use the music. If you type in WMG on the Google/Youtube search engine, you'll find plenty of videos that want to fight back with the WMG, and plenty of vlogs to go around. There's also more on Wikipedia. Speaking of which...

It's not just the Youtube people that are hurting from the WMG. It's the video game industry....bigtime. I, as mentioned before, don't care too much for the new crack (Rock Band and the Guitar Heros), but from what I understand, the music industry has extended its life by having artists collect royalties from having their songs played in these games. Its also to help introduce multiple audiences through the older music as well. From what I understand, these games have sold over $100 million...combined. And here's the WMG CEO as quoted: 'The amount being paid to the music industry, even though these games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small, and will not license to those games'. (Source: Wikipedia) and at one time there were rumors that MTV Games (Rockband's publisher) has boycotted the WMG, but it has so far been proven untrue by both parties. I'd like to think that its happening though :)

Overall, its not the record labels that are the enemy. Sure, they've made bad decisions to influence the music industry's downturn spiral. But the real enemy is really the hypocritical, clueless mind of Edgar Bronfman Jr. that those who care about the music industry should look at. So, to the Warner Music Group, here's a choice: a) grow up, keep up with the times and technology, show some love to those who want to spread your artists/groups work (if not the wrong or right way) or b) let yourselves self-destruct and be hated. Again, its their choice.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

25 great albums

There's been a lot of ridiculous chain letters and such floating around, but I found one to suit me well......
Alright finally, something worth filling out (sure beats the heck out of that '25 random thingy' on fb). A couple people did this, so as a music man, why not me? I must admit this was tough. I came up with 40 albums, and had to narrow it to 25. I left out soundtracks and compilations, just to be fair. After all, if I did include 'greatest hits' or 'the best of', I may as well be naming my favorite groups and such... This will probably the most diverse music list you'll ever see. There's no way I should be having all the fun, I want to see your list too

***Think of 25 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. When you finish, tag 25 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good.

'Breakfast In America'-Supertramp -The album I mostly grew up on. This is the only one I have in all formats. I got the 8-track, the vinyl, the cassette, the cd, and the iTunes version. When my family went on vacations in the Dodge Ram (with the 8-track player!), the 6 of us would listen to 3 tapes: the Beach Boys' Endless Summer, The Best of the Guess Who, and Supertramp's 'Breakfast in America'. Loaded with great songs and good enough to listen to all the way through dozens of times!

'Pet Sounds'-Beach Boys -I would put 'Endless Summer' on here, but its a compilation...but Pet Sounds is close enough! However, for years, I was wondering why this was the most critically acclaimed and fan-favorited album. After listening to it, you'll definitely know why!

'Licensed To Ill'-Beastie Boys -I was in the fifth grade ('93?) and my sis Kelly got me into the Beastie Boys. When my oldest sister Jenny found out, she gave me a cassette tape she received back in the 80s: 'Licensed To Ill'. She wasn't crazy about it at first, but I listened to this album hardcore and by the time I was in the 6th grade, I felt cool when I found out two of my other classmates (Mike M.) was into them. We later listened to Cypress Hill's 'Black Sunday' (which almost made this list). We were just insane in the brain.

'Wish You Were Here'-Pink Floyd -A great album no matter what mood I'm in

'War'-U2 -I had to put a U2 one on here. The greatest of them all is without doubt, the 1983 lp 'War'. Great album from start to finish, and the only U2 one I listen to over and over. I even got great feedback after playing 'Drowning Man' on my show!

'Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night'-Stereolab -On my 18th birthday ('99), I walked into a Vintage Vinyl and as I was browsing they played this record. Needless to say, it grabbed my attention (the jazzy-folk alternative sound) and I remember asking the clerk "Who is this?". "Oh, its some British experimental group called Stereolab. Wanna buy it?" I agreed, and I've had several great listens. Later during my senior year of high school in Mr. Lipe's Composition class, he had us write a review (as if we were working for a magazine). My review for this album was voted by my peers as the best in the class. I wish I knew if I still had the review somewhere in my room. It also helped inspire more confidence in my editorial-style writing.

'Tiffany'-Tiffany -The first cassette tape I got when I was in the first grade, given to me by my sis Laurie. I later gave it back (lol), but it was good to feel hip playing this on my little Fisher Price tape recorder.

'Cosmic Thing'-The B-52s -Another early cassette tape I had in my early years. For a while I thought I was the coolest kid in my 2nd and 3rd grade class! A great comeback album for the Georgia peach party group (the bands early drummer died a few years before this was released). Also, if you got time on your hands, check out their early stuff as well'

Violent Femmes'-Violent Femmes
'Disintegration'-The Cure -Definitely the inspirations for my 80s radio show, thanks to having a cool older sister! In high school and college, she hung out with great people who introduced her to the greatest in 80s and 90s modern/alternative rock! I remember the good ol' days hanging out in my sisters' room just straight up listening to Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and other great classic alternative artists, as well as cassette tapes from her friend Alicia's collection! (This was also back when 105.7 The Point was actually cool to listen to...) Now I'm the one who is teaching this new generation about how great alternative was...back when it was alternative! (not skate punk and emo)

'Led Zeppelin IV'-Led Zeppelin -When you make out with a lady, play side one of Led Zeppelin Four. (Great movie line!) When I was in junior high, I was introduced to LZ, again, through my sister Kelly. One of my favorite albums of all time, from start to finish. What I mean is the great riff at the beginning of Black Dog, to the weird riff at the end of 'When The Levee Breaks'! Every song on here is a classic.

'Hooray For B**bies'-Bloodhound Gang -This one reminds me of my senior year h.s. days when I got in trouble for bringing this into Mrs. Motley's class. We were playing this while rehearsing theater! One of those (what I call) cult-mainstream bands that comes out with an album every 5 years

'Whipped Cream and Other Delights'-Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass -The chances of you finding this one in your grandma's or mom's collection is 1 in 2. When I was very little, one of my phobias was the image on the cover of this album. It was a dark image of a lady with shaving cream all over her. I'm not sure what phobia it was I had with record albums, but it was one of those phobias where you find the image way too graphic. The album's music was creepy too, but I learned how to love it and appreciate the talents and genius of trumpetman Herb Alpert.

'Thriller'-Michael Jackson -Had to put this on here too. I had the phobia of Michael Jackson's serious face and gleaming white outfit when I was young. Nowadays, its okay to be scared of Michael Jackson (laughter inserted here!). But, it's the music that counts. :)

'White Album'-The Beatles -What's a list without a Beatles record? All of them are great. Revolver? Cool. Abbey Road? Cool but too dark. Magical Mystery Tour and Let It Be? Awesome. Sgt. Pepper? Seen on too many professional critics lists. But the album with the stark white cover always sticks out. The 'White Album' has no hit singles, but does have memorable songs. The cover is said to be a sign of how the Beatles were falling apart at the time. John Lennon once said, 'There is not a single Beatle song on here...'. In other words, its simply a collection of solo Beatles songs, most with other Beatles doing the instruments (and unfortuately, Yoko Ono singing twice on here...bleh..). Either way, you still got the music, like John Lennon's 'Dear Prudence' and 'Helter Skelter', Paul's 'I Will', George's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and Ringo's 'Don't Pass Me By'. This is probably the album which shows that no matter what the atmosphere is like in the band, you can still put out a great piece of work.

'Toxicity'-System of a Down -Arguably the greatest group (besides the White Stripes) to make it big this decade. For a couple years, SOAD was a band that I loved to hate (I wasn't down with the new metal yet), but then I saw them live and I was hooked. I had to get all of their stuff including bootlegs. Short catchy songs, great hooks and lyrics and the shouts of Serj definitely make this one a classic. Random fact: this album was released on 9/11/01

'Receiving The Gift of Flavor'-The Urge -Albums like these make me proud to be from the St. L area! High energy from Steve Ewing and crew! There's other great St. Louis albums out there, especially from Nelly and Stir. Take that, Huey Lewis, who failed to mention St. Louis in his song 'The Heart of Rock and Roll'!

'Jars of Clay'-Jars of Clay -Despite of my confusion over religion, I find this album to be great. Something about Dan Haseltine's vocals that grab me. Rumor has it that these guys spent hours in the Greenville College studio making this album, alienating their fellow classmates. Great spiritual messages, and powerful vocals make this one a killer. Again, its the music that always counts.

'Big Willie Style'-Will Smith -This one comes with a great story. One Christmas (1997?) my brother-in-law Kyle (or Kelly's bf at the time) tried to be a good friend by buying me this Will Smith CD, and I pretended to like it. But later that night I confided to him that I wasn't satisfied and he should have asked me to pick it rather than Kyle himself choose. I couldn't take it back 'cause it was already opened, and I was out of luck. We even argued about it. After being stuck with it, I actually gave the album a couple listens, and I actually realized Will Smith had great musical talents and it had great songs on there like 'Miami'. A few months later, 'Getting Jiggy With It' became a smash hit, and Kyle wanted to buy the CD from me, and I refused. I still regularly listen to this fine disc. Thanks Kyle!

'Flood'-They Might Be Giants -The album that reminds me its alright to be goofy. With this albums ever-changing moods, it relates to me in every way.

'Ghost in the Machine'-The Police -Picking out a new wave/early 80s alternative album to put on here was tough, but this is the one I kept coming back to. Back in junior high, I bought this at the old 'Record Shoppe' in Edwardsville for a $1 and I got more than my money's worth. Sting and the boys put out this masterpiece the year I was born ('81).

'Diamond Life'-Sade -Bought this album at Goodwill for 50 cents, bc I liked the songs 'Your Love Is King' and 'Smooth Operator'. Probably the most relaxing vocal album ever. (Now I know why Sade puts out an album every 7 years, bc people love her and she doesn't need the money!)

'Supernatural'-Santana -Definitely the greatest comeback album ever. 10 years ago, who knew that Carlos Santana would put out more hit songs in addition to his Woodstock/70s days? With a little help from recordman Clive Davis, he made it happen. Even though this is celebrity-oriented mostly, its a great listen either way. Every song after one another, starting with 'Daleo' (vocals by Santana).

'Feed The Animals'-Girl Talk -Little by little, I've been trying to get plugged in with new music (with all the crap that's on the airwaves, it's hard! lol). I've really gotten into Kings of Leon and Vampire Weekend but this is a definitely a non-stop party album from start to finish. And no, I am not a fan of using other people's work for one's own benefit, but the way I look at it, music is running out of ideas anyway. This dude (aka Girl Talk) makes mashing look like totally easy and fun. I definitely can't wait to see him live with his laptop next time he swings into St.L! Thanks Beka for getting me into him!

'The Cpt Theorem'-Greydon Square -There's dozens of rap/hiphop albums I can mention (JayZ's the Black Album and Tribe Called Quests 'Low End Theory') but most recently I was introduced to this unknown guy from Compton who raps about the truth (about society and religion). Check him out! Thanks Marc for introducing me to this man!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I gots me a twitter. Now what?!

I'm now the latest to join in on an Internet craze. Yep, I'm a follower! I'll go ahead and give off a checklist to see what I've done so far on the web.

Myspace. Check it everyday. Don't do much as I used to on there.

Facebook. Check it everyday.

Youtube. Check the number of hits I get. Haven't put up anything new lately.

Classmates. Have it, but verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry rarrrrrely check it.

Hi5. Have it, but same applies for

Blogger. I'm still getting started. This is also where I'm posting my blogs at.

And now my twitter at

Problem is, whats there to do besides writing down what you're doing? Is it just posting your status? If that's the case, then why do I even bother? Where does it get more exciting from there? These are just some of the questions that come into my mind. Oh, yeah, why the goofy name? Why not put two words together like myspace and facebook did, rather than make up some weirdo name like google.

Sorry to hear me rant on this one folks, but I just want to know what the big deal is with twitter. When I went to see Ralph Nader speak last year, he responded to the web socialnet craze by asking "Why do we have to know where all of our friends are every 20 minutes?". I may actually find this one interesting as this trend passes.

But meanwhile if you have a twitter, follow me and I will follow up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

stl radio loses a longtime jock

As I was reading the Post earlier today, it got my attention on Page 5 that 'Mark Klose among victims of layoffs at Emmis Radio'. I mean, I know we're in a bad economy right now and in radio there is no job security, but this kind of thing surprises me. (As I was reading the comments on, a lot of people thought JC Corcoran should have got canned lol) But this guy has been on the air for close to 30 years. Klose did the afternoon drive on K-hits 96. I remember meeting him and working with him when I interned at Emmis back in '02. Like all the radio veterans, he was cool to be around as he can tell a great story.

So is this the beginning? The beginning of what we'll probably see a lot of layoffs and downsizing in good ol' radio? We shall see. I remember last year talking to Amanda Valentine (who some of us know works in Rochester, NY radio) and she said that a classic rock station (similar to KSHE) up there took a big hit when their big 3 disc jockeys (again, similar to KSHEs Favazz, U-man, and Katy Kruze) got fired all in one day. In other words, things could be worse.

But on the other hand, if they still want to hire someone who's aspiring and if they don't want to pay a lot of money, I'm always looking for work on-air (hint...hint). Not just me, of course (!), but some of my fellow radio alumni......

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Internet is full of memes

I've been wanting to write about a bunch of stuff lately on here but I haven't since I've been sick. It is now week 3. First I had shingles, now I believe its the flu. But I'm at the stage where its all sinuses, so I should go uphill from here. But the weather guy said this month (March) will be the worst in flu and colds. So be aware of what's going around.

So while I've been sick, I've been definitely using my laptop to the greatest advantage, mostly using those socialnet sites and keeping tabs with everyone I don't check on all the time. I know there's some that are reading this that are not on facebook, so bear with me a little here. When I get on fb, usually the first thing I do is go down the newsfeed, and its the same people who get mentioned. On the newsfeed, it will say (depending on the person) that so-and-so was 'tagged in an album'. Lately the last 2 weeks I've been noticing a picture of, I guess, a chart. There's about a few twitches here and there, but they all talk about grouping people and I guess, stereotyping, like who's loud, who's likely to have a good time, who's likely to take a s**t, list goes on and on. Honestly, I don't find this Internet meme that amusing. If someone wants to tag me, and find where I fit mostly in, then awesome. But this makes me wonder how everyone is all up in the air over this stupid diogram that relates to h.s. yearbook days.

Meme #2: I've noticed the last few months (or ever since he performed at the Macy's T-day parade), that Rick Astley has been making quite a comeback. Who's Rick Astley? This guy was a musical hit machine in the late-80s, when I was beginning grade school. You probably heard his biggest hits 'Never Gonna Give You Up' and 'She Wants to Dance With me'. I've been noticing the last year that a lot of Internet stuff related to Rick Astley, so I was trying to figure out what in the world was going on. According to his wikipedia page, Rick is part of an Internet meme called 'Rickrollin', where people get tricked by being linked to something. But the link ends up being his 'Never Gonna Give You Up' video (no wonder its gotten over 16 million views!). Now what 80s hasbeen singer should be revived for Internet fame? I'm predicting Howard Jones.

Meme #3: If you take a picture of yourself everyday for 6 years, or 2 months, then the public will indeed love it. Just ask Noah Kalina, who has gotten great fame (hey, he got to meet Weird Al and Paris Hilton!) for his amazing art. You may have already seen it already on Youtube, where Noah took a picture of himself everyday for 6 years. It's not too bad to watch. Only bad thing is it spawned off so many lame imatators, but some are actually inspiring like the weight-loss ones.

More to come soon!