"If you think of something new to say, if a cyclone comes, or a flood wrecks the country, or a bus load of school children freeze to death along the road, if a big ship goes down, and an airplane falls in your neighborhood, an outlaw shoots it out with the deputies, or the working people go out to win a war, yes you’ll find a train load of things you can set down and make up a song about. You’ll hear people singing your words around over the country, and you’ll sing their songs everywhere you travel or everywhere you live; and these are the only kind of songs my head or my memory or my guitar has got any room for.”
-- From Woody Guthrie’s autobiography “Bound for Glory”
"Sony BMG Music Entertainment, one of the world's largest record companies, agreed today to stop providing lavish gifts, free trips and other giveaways in exchange for airtime for its artists on radio stations, under the terms of a settlement with the New York attorney general's office.
"The settlement, which includes a $10 million payment to a fund for music education, is the first in a broad investigation by Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general, into incentives that record companies offer to radio stations in hopes of getting airtime that will raise their artists' profiles, increase a song's ranking and, of course, drive up sales.
"In an e-mail sent in January 2003, an irate promotions employee instructs a colleague to withhold a free trip, known as a "flyaway," from stations that bury Celine Dion's "I Drove all Night" in its overnight rotation of songs. Written all in capital letters, it read:
"OK, HERE IT IS IN BLACK AND WHITE AND IT'S
SERIOUS: IF A RADIO STATION GOT A FLYAWAY TO A CELINE SHOW IN LAS
VEGAS FOR THE ADD, AND THEY'RE PLAYING THE SONG ALL IN OVERNIGHTS,
THEY ARE NOT GETTING THE FLYAWAY. PLEASE FIX THE OVERNIGHT ROTATIONS
"Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays...recently let
slip that he has no interest in the public interest-or in producing
radio that serves it. 'We're not in the business
of providing news and information,' he told an interviewer
for the business magazine FORTUNE. 'We're not in
the business of providing well-researched music. We're
simply in the business of selling our customers products.'
"That candid statement from Mays--who entertains dramatic visions of expanding his company's empire within the borders of the US and beyond them--reflects the fundamental conflict as corporate America lobbies to eliminate the few remaining rules that assert a public interest in media ownership.
"It is now understood that the media systems in most countries are dominated by a very small number of large corporations. This situation concentrates a great deal of social, cultural, economic and political power into their hands, and it is a direct violation of the core values that are the basis for a viable liberal democratic society.
"What is less well understood is that these corporate-dominated, advertising-marinated media systems are not the result of some mythical free market. There is nothing 'natural' about them at all. They are the result of specific government policies, regulations and subsidies that authorize these corporations' power and protect their privileges.
"When the government, for example, gives a corporation monopoly rights to broadcast channels or monopoly rights to cable TV systems or monopoly rights to content, it is not merely setting the terms of competition. It is picking the winners. Nobody else has a prayer.
"The crucial determinant of any media system is the policies that create it. And the crucial determinant of those policies is the context in which they are made. In the United States, a handful of super-powerful corporations and their trade associations generally duke it out behind closed doors for lucrative government licenses and subsidies, while the general public has no clue what is going on and no representation in the proceedings.
"Importantly, and not surprisingly, these corporate media grabfests get not a whiff of attention in the corporate news media, so there is no way anyone could have a clue if they so desired."
* * * * * * * * * *** * *
surprise, surprise again...the FCC voted 3-2 to deregulate media ownership by relaxing restrictions on television, newspaper, and radio companies. this happened on june 2nd, 2003 even after enormous protest and petition. what a mess.
on a positive note, the internet has been a rallying tool and the FCC has received over 700,000 comments on this issue. as of last count, about 1 in 1,000 of these supported the rule change. the FCC clearly knows where the public stands.
"this is an industry, it's a business. we exist to make money. we exist to put commercials on the air. the programming that is put on between those commercials is simply the bait we put in the mousetrap."
highly recommended viewing. check out his "Intolerable Beauty" show if it's still online.