As we get into the new year, 2009 is starting to look a lot like 1984. Of course I am referring to George Orwell’s book. Read it if you haven’t already. We see Obama backpedalling on most of his campaign promises, the economy worsens by the day and the wars show no sign of letting up. Part of the so-called “war on terror” seems to include shutting down micro-power radio stations nationwide. Here in Berkeley, our local station continues to get harassed. If you have a “pirate” station in your town and you appreciate what they do, please won’t you let them know? Even a letter of support could help. If they get raided by the FCC, show up and let the authorities know you don’t approve. Rally support and speak out. Better yet, get your own transmitter and go on the air. For those of you who want to stay legal, consider a small AM transmitter. Contact www.trutham.com for one of their type 15 packages. Of course www.freeradio.org is still selling FM transmitter kits. Check them out too. The prospects for freedom are looking dim right now, so use your rights before they get taken away. Please check out my new blog. You’ll find this newsletter and other information there. The URL is:
-Paul Griffin (for the AMPB)
Free 103 point 9 Gets a Full-Power License
The Greene/Columbia community radio project is a community-run media project, re-envisioning radio as an innovative platform for local participation. Our inclusive programming connects diverse voices, and distributes information across the public spectrum in New York's Greene and Columbia Counties. We will launch a 3,300-watt community radio station on 90.7-FM throughout Greene and Columbia Counties in 2010, and an online radio station in 2009. The project will be much more than just a radio station, including media training for youth and other members of the community, and a blog, local calendar of events and meetings, photography, and more. This will be an interactive multi-media project engaging the community to report about what's going on in Greene and Columbia counties. To launch this radio station, members of the community in Greene and Columbia Counties in New York will have to become involved and help to form the station so it reflects the community. To do that we will hold many public meetings, as well as media training workshops. The aim is to create a new team of citizen journalists, radio hosts, DJs, and media makers who will make the Greene/Columbia radio project their own.
Massive Layoffs Hit The RIAA: Maybe Focus On Building Business Rather Than Suing Customers Next Time?
from the just-a-thought dept
Details have been spilling out over the last few days that the RIAA has been making pretty massive cuts to staff. We already knew that EMI was cutting back on its support of the RIAA/IFPI, and it seems that with the rest of the RIAA's major label supporters also having economic troubles, the writing is on the wall that the RIAA is about to go through a major transformation. I'm sure some will somehow "blame piracy" for this turn of events, but it's hard to see how that's even remotely the issue. The real issue is that the RIAA has basically managed to run one of the dumbest, most self-defeating strategies over the last decade. Rather than helping major record labels adjust to the changing market, it continually, repeatedly and publicly destroyed its own reputation and the reputation of the labels -- each time shrinking their potential market by blaming the very people they should have been working to turn into customers. They may claim that they "had" to take this strategy because it's what the labels wanted (and, indeed, that was Hilary Rosen's excuse), but that's ridiculous. It was evident to pretty much anyone who took the time to understand the issues back in the mid- to late-90s, that the internet represented an opportunity to those who embraced it. The RIAA's decision to fight progress and its own customers at every turn has been nothing short of a complete disaster. That the group is now being gutted is the inevitable result of a poor strategy that could have easily been avoided.
BBC's secret war with the pirates
By Chris Hastings, Public Affairs Editor
Previously unseen documents from the BBC archives disclose how the corporation was so alarmed at the rise of the stations that it launched a secret “dirty tricks” campaign to have them shut down. The files show the extraordinary lengths to which the corporation went to undermine their new rivals, which operated without restriction from ships or wartime forts outside British territorial waters. Measures included lobbying acts such as The Beatles, Cliff Richard and Ken Dodd to ban their records from being played by the stations and blacklisting pirate DJs such as Tony Blackburn and Simon Dee. The BBC banned its own presenters from broadcasting any reference to Radio Caroline, the most popular of the pirates, and suppressed audience research on the stations’ popularity. Bosses also put pressure on the Conservative Party not to support the pirates. The public broadcaster, which had a monopoly of the radio waves at the time, even complained about an episode of the ITV spy thriller Danger Man which was set aboard one of the ships, claiming that the show gave pirate stations undue publicity. It was also upset by a review in The Sunday Telegraph of one pirate programme which, although critical, would have “drawn attention” to the station. This newspaper has obtained the documents ahead of the release of a new British comedy film, The Boat That Rocked, by the makers of Notting Hill. It stars Kenneth Branagh, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans and Bill Nighy in a story of the often farcical attempts to close down a fictional pirate radio ship inspired by Radio Caroline. However, the official papers suggest that the on-screen events are not far removed from reality. They disclose how the BBC routinely taped Radio Caroline’s output, in the hope that its DJs would say something derogatory about Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister, which they could pass on to Downing Street. Nonetheless, a report of Caroline’s coverage of Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965 concluded: “They proceeded to play music of such a funereal character that it made our own solemn music sound like a wedding march”.
In 1964, the BBC introduced a ban on employing anyone involved with the pirate stations. A list of names included Tony Blackburn, Simon Dee, Tom Lodge, Doug Kerr, Chris Moon, Gerry Duncan, Terry Withers, Errol Bruce and Bobby Brown, all pirate DJs. When Dee quit Radio Caroline in 1965 so he could work at the BBC, some managers argued for the ban to remain. However, he was eventually allowed to join the corporation and other former pirates would follow. The BBC believed that the pirates were part of attempts to break up its monopoly via the backdoor. Its dirty tricks campaign was prompted by the reluctance of politicians to take action against the stations, for fear of alienating young voters. The BBC conducted extensive research into Radio Caroline, which had ships off Felixstowe, Suffolk, and the Isle of Man, including finding out how many of its listeners were under 21 – the voting age, at the time – so it could prove to MPs that a ban on the pirates would not damage their election prospects. However, the corporation decided not to release its research because “the potential disadvantages to the BBC outweighed the potential advantage… some aspects of the report could be interpreted in such a way as to be favourable publicity for Caroline”. The BBC’s campaign did nothing to dent the success of the pirates which, by the mid-1960s, had audiences in excess of 20?million. The campaign ended in 1967 with the introduction of the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act, which made it illegal to work for, advertise on or supply pirate stations. They all closed with the exception of Caroline. A month later the BBC launched Radio 1, its first pop music station. Commercial radio was not introduced until 1973.
NEW MUSIC FEE COULD CRIPPLE RADIO
by Bob Lonsberry
Government is the enemy of business. And as it is business and not government that brings prosperity to Americans, it often follows that government is the enemy of the people. Which is extra disappointing as the Founding Fathers intended the government to be the servant of the people. In this world, however, the government is the servant of the special interests. Like millionaire entertainers and the billionaire companies that employ them. The latest example is the radio you listen to. The government is attacking the American radio industry. Last week, another Democrat senator called for hearings and laws to rein-in conservative talk radio. But this week, the attack is on music radio. This week, the Congress wants to bankrupt it. Here’s the background. Every time a song is played on the radio, the person who wrote that song gets paid. That’s because singers and recording companies have traditionally cut songwriters out of most of the profit from record sales. Money for the songwriters comes from licensing fees that radio stations pay to organizations representing song writers and publishers. It’s been that way forever.
Under new legislation, however, radio stations would also have to pay fees to the person singing the song, and to the company that owns the “master recording” from which the song comes. This would, essentially, be a doubling of the cost of broadcasting a song. The problem is, radio companies can’t afford that. The radio industry is in the midst of real turmoil caused by the economic downturn, layoffs have been and will be widespread. Radio companies literally are in a death struggle to survive. And this is too much. It is also unfair. See, the sponsors of the legislation say that radio companies make money playing the songs of singers and recording companies. In actuality, singers and recording companies make money because radio stations play their songs. It is not the music industry that helps radio, it is radio that helps the music industry. Without radio, there would be no recording industry. Yes, television and the Internet play a part in record sales and concert promotion, but the lion’s share of record promotion – and all of the music industry’s history – has been a free gift from radio. Every time a song is played on the radio, it is a free advertisement for that singer and that singer’s recording company. Record sales directly reflect air play. That’s why recording companies and singers have, from the very beginning, worked very hard to get their songs on radio. That desire is so great, in fact, that it has prompted tough radio-ethics rules and even federal laws to make sure that recording companies and singers aren’t bribing radio stations or disc jockeys. If you hear a car-dealer commercial on the air, the radio station didn’t pay the car dealer. Likewise, the radio station shouldn’t pay the singer. Both the car dealer and the singer are receiving airplay that makes them money. This would essentially be a national performance tax put on music radio. The exception, of course, is public broadcasting which is essentially exempt from the new fee and has two things that make it unique: 1. no listeners and 2. taxpayer subsidies. Another troubling aspect of this is that a lot of this money would be going out of the country. The largest recording companies are foreign – like Universal, Sony and EMI – and to take money out of the American economy in these troubled times, just to send it overseas, makes no sense. There is also the interesting fact that – just like the bailout and the salary cap – this new intention of government financially rewards those who supported the new president and financially punishes those who supported his opponent. Singers and recording companies – just like all the entertainment industry – lined up behind Barack Obama. The owners or executives of radio companies had a greater likelihood to support George W. Bush or John McCain. So this ends up being a policy that smells a lot like payback. The music industry is lining up behind this policy because, obviously, it brings it a great deal of money. Politicians are lining up behind it because we have entered the era of corporation bashing, and the phrase “big radio” has been coined with all the classist hatred of “big tobacco,” “big pharma” or “big box store.” But this is a case of killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Singers sell CDs and downloads and concert tickets because radio stations play their songs. Without radio – or a lucky break on “American Idol” – most of the people in the music industry would be waitresses and short-order cooks, or standing in the welfare line. Far more importantly, radio is how most people listen to music. Sure, we have iPods and computers and a whole bunch of “new media.” But when you get down to it, plain-old radio is just what it always has been – America’s favorite, best and most convenient way to listen to music. And this new fee threatens to destroy that. It is framed as a fee for radio companies, but it really will be a fee on music listeners. It is a case of the government turning on the people. The special interests win – the millionaire singers and the billionaire recording companies – but the people lose, the people who just want to turn on their radio and listen to their favorite songs on their favorite stations. Maybe the American people should tell Congress to stand up for them, instead of the foreign recording companies and the Britney Spears of the world.
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AMPB RECORD CHART FOR THE WEEK ENDING 3/14/09
# TITLE - ARTIST - LABEL
1 BIG BLUE BALL - VARIOUS ARTISTS - REALWORLD
2 THE GOLDEN HOUR - FIREWATER - BLOODSHOT
3 THE ROUGH GUIDE TO LATIN STREET PARTY - WORLD MUSIC NETWORK
4 KNOWLE WEST BOY - TRICKY - DOMINO
5 THE UNRELEASED RECORDINGS - HANK WILLIAMS - TIME-LIFE
6 COBA COBA - NOVALIMA - CUMBANCHA
7 DEATH WAS TOO KIND - SUBHUMANS (CANADA) - ALT. TENTACLES
8 DAY BY DAY - FEMI KUTI - MERCER STREET
9 AT CARNEGIE HALL - BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB - NONESUCH
10 DIG OUT YOUR SOUL - OASIS - REPRISE
11 YES WE CAN - COCOA TEA - ROARING LION
12 LIVE VOL. 1 - MASTER MUSICIANS OF JAJOUKA - JAJOUKA
13 ALL REBEL ROCKERS - MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD - ANTI
14 PLUTONIUM BLONDE - LEGENDARY PINK DOTS - ROIR
15 NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL ARABIA - VARIOUS ARTISTS - EMI
16 RADIO RETALIATION - THIEVERY CORPORATION - ESL
17 KEEP IT HID - DAN AUERBACH - NONESUCH
18 IRISH PIRATE BALLADS - DAN MILNER - SMITHSONIAN
19 AROUND THE WORLD - SENOR COCONUT - NACIONAL
20 PUTUMAYO PRESENTS WOMEN OF JAZZ - PUTUMAYO
21 WITHIN MY WALLS - THE IDAN RAICHEL PROJECT - CUMBANCHA
22 AYOMBE! - VARIOUS ARTISTS - SMITHSONIAN
23 WAITING - CECILE - SOBE
24 JAI GANESHA - EMAM & FRIENDS - ETERNAL
25 (SELF TITLED) - FINBAR FUREY - COSMIC TRIGGER
26 CHARACTER - PNUMA TRIO - 1320 RECORDS
27 DESTROY ALL EVIDENCE - REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY - ALT. TENTACLES
28 VICTROLA FAVORITES - VARIOUS ARTISTS - DUST TO DIGITAL
29 MY NAME IS RED ROSE - ANTHONY RED ROSE - RAGGEDY JOE
30 DAMN RIGHT REBEL PROUD - HANK III - THE SIDEWALK
31 YO BABA - FUNKADESI - (SELF RELEASED)
32 INVADERS MUST DIE - THE PRODIGY - TAKE ME TO THE. . .
33 FLAVORS OF ENTANGLEMENT - ALANIS MORISSETTE - MAVERICK
34 DESTINY - GLEN WASHINGTON - VP
35 HAWAIIAN STYLE 5 - VARIOUS ARTISTS - NEOS
36 MR. LUCKY - CHRIS ISAAK - REPRISE
37 THE 3RD WORLD - IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE - VIPER
38 YOU ARE ALL MY PEOPLE - I'M NOT JIM - BLOODSHOT
39 CROSS MY PALM - ANNE FUREY - COSMIC TRIGGER
40 LIVE AT CANTERBURY HOUSE - NEIL YOUNG - REPRISE
NEW ADDS: (Thanks for sending them, folks!)
WELCOME TO MALI - AMADOU & MIRIAM - NONESUCH
VIOLENCE AS FIRST NATURE - SUBMERGED - OHM 10M
DEFINING COOL - J.C. SMITH BAND - COZMIK
MEMORIES OF SUMMER... - THE BEYMAN BROTHERS - DHARMAMOON
SUN DOWN MOON UP - DEREK JONES - (SELF-RELEASED)
WORLD CRUISE #89
(This show can be downloaded from radio4all.net or archive.org)
Mandinga-Buena Vista Social Club
Around The World-Senor Coconut
Aaref Eh-Samo Zaen
Day By Day-Femi Kuti
A Place Not So Unkind-Firewater
If the Moon Loves You-The Master Musicians of Jajouka
Oro, Oro-Finbar Furey
Rov Ha'Sha'ot-The Idan Raichel Project
Big Blue Ball-Karl Wallinger
La Vida Tómbola-Manu Chao
Ain't Too Proud To Beg-Glen Washington
Street Walkin'-Dan Auerbach
Big Idiot Buys A Pig-He Zemin - Huang Peiying
Workin' Man-Hank Williams III
Mind Your Own Business-Hank Williams
Stand Up-The Prodigy
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The AMPB REPORT is produced by the Association of Micro-Power Broadcasters.