EDITOR: No! No! No! I'm sorry, but your article about FSU ["The Show Must Go On," Megan Seling, Jan 5], is about as wrong as wrong can be! We aren't hardcore punk kids who merely stroll around and beat up defenseless music lovers... Nay! We are forlorn souls who wax philosophic on the plight of mankind beneath the rhythmic tempo of our brass knuckles. Should you filthy beasts put forth further scorn upon the belligerent ethos of this trophied brethren, you may just have to pay the ultimate price for besmirching our integrity... a knuckle sandwich and a mean phone call from my mommy!
Bryan O'NeillGOOD FOR THE SCENE
EDITOR: Though I am not in FSU, I believe they are a good thing for the hardcore scene. They are Friends Standing United—they help each other whenever someone else is in need, all over the country.
Paul M. RichterJENNIFER GENIUS
JENNIFER MAERZ: That John Roderick piece you wrote/edited a couple weeks back was INCREDIBLE ["Regrets and a City," Dec 29]. I so wish I would have done that thang.
Chris EsteyPENGUINS STILL A SORE SPOT
DEAR EDITOR: Thank you for the update about the violence in Ballard not reported in the dailies ["Bloody Ballard," Thomas Francis, Dec 29].
Also, if you're going to have someone review a film, perhaps you should send someone who actually has an interest in the subject, unlike Charles Mudede on March of the Penguins [On Screen, June 30, 2005].
Alan R.RADIO IS HIBERNATING
EDITOR: Regarding "Radio Contorts into New Shapes for the Future" by Chris Parker [Jan 5], I must heartily disagree with one sentence: "The competition between traditional and on-demand media is getting fierce, and radio has finally awakened from its slumber."
Yep, the competition has never been more fierce; no, the radio industry hasn't awakened from its slumber. They're simply experiencing a nightmare.
People who are awake are much more aware of their surroundings. Most radio stations these days, while well stocked with slogans and positioning statements, do not even have a genuine commitment to their listeners.
Bobby OceanPOETRY LIVES
POSTED BY ROBCROWE ON JAN 5 AT WWW.FORUMS.THESTRANGER.COM: We respectfully demur on the proposal that poetry is dead ["We Regret Poetry," Charles Mudede and James Latteier, Dec 29] on the behalf of Poetry (I saw her the other night, though I am not speaking either on her behalf or with her endorsement, as Poetry does not wish to respond to accusations). Poetry will continue to happen, with or without the support of Mudede and Latteier. But still, it is rather strange that one of the few articles about her recently in The Stranger is convinced that she is done for—what has Poetry done to deserve this? The Stranger has killed off Theater recently, but then The Stranger still covers Theater, while it barely acknowledges the existence of Poetry. We suspect that there is a projection here, or some rather virulent repression behind all of this, but finally we just don't know. In any case, publishing this manifesto abolishing an art form in a paper that rarely acknowledges it is something along the lines of pointing out a black cow in the middle of night.MORE LETTERS:
EDITOR: I read this article [“Face Off,” Chris Parker, Jan 5] with interest. You said, "The competition between traditional and on-demand media is getting fierce, and radio has finally awakened from its slumber." Not as far as I can hear. I live in central Iowa and can hear stations from New York to Denver.
Radios biggest problem is that it is boring. They want to be everything to everybody and you can't unless you want to bore everybody to death.
The NAB seems to think that going digital, and having CD quality sound will save them. I think not. As we say in the computer industry, "Garbage in, garbage out" Digital boredom will be just as boring as Analog boredom.
-Most stations no longer have much of an individual personality. Tuning across the radio dial it sounds as if there are only 4 or 5 stations, cloned, and repeated all across the dial. They all play the same tiny bland group of songs over and over. Boring.
-Radio used to be the town crier, especially in smaller towns. No more. The voice you hear is on a computer in NY or someplace in LA. Stations rarely have a connection with their market. They talk at you, not to you. In your article Del Colliano said, "I don't care if terrestrial radio stands on its head, it's not where the kids will go," says Del Colliano. "Do [you expect young listeners to] give up these virtual communities, this back-and-forth communication, for radio—[which] you can't program and you can't get what you want, when you want it (a hallmark of this generation)?"
It can be done. When I was a kid you could call the station. The stations made you want to call them because you got what you wanted. They communicated with you, not at you. KTKT in Tucson, from the late 50's to about 1965, used to regularly take down large chunks of the local phone company. Kids used to talk to each other that way. When too many folks all dial the same exchange at once they get a busy signal. But if the number of callers is large enough the ones who get busy signals can hear and talk to each other in real time.
-Radio used to have, through smaller stations, a farm team for growing talent. No more.
-Each station had it's own team of DJ's doing their imaginative, creative, best to get you to listen them. Competition bred some great radio. Growing up in the 50's and 60's in Tucson Arizona there were some fierce battles between stations for listeners. And these produced some wonderful radio. No more.
-I used to find out about new music to buy, by listening to the radio. I have not heard the music I buy, and listen to at home, played on any radio station in years. For a while I could hear some great music on Internet radio stations, but the music industry fought like heck to shut many of them up. Are they nuts? If I were a musician I would sue the RIAA for keeping people from hearing my music. How would they know to buy it, if it NEVER gets played on the radio?
A local oldies radio station with a small boring playlist did something interesting last year to mark the new year. They played every song in their library, in alphabetical order from A to Z. It was great. It took them quite a while to get through it once. We heard great stuff we had not heard in years. I called them up and told them to keep it up. I told them that for the first time in a long time they were interesting. No. They did it two times then back to the same boring playlist. When I gave up on them I could nearly tell you what song would come up next. Now many stations seem to think that "if our music is broad enough we will catch everybody, so lets play the bland hits from the 60's to now". They will be a mile wide but an inch deep and I'll have to wait for hours to hear one thing I like. No Thanks.
I have exchanged email with several folks who were programmers, or consultants to programmers. One told me in all seriousness the most people preferred "bland" music.
Your article said: "Radio's tendency to ignore the very young and very old (those over 50 are the largest audience for satellite radio) may already have doomed it with the coming generation for whom radio is like the phonograph."
You can say that again. As a listener, and one who grew up loving radio, broadcasters are driving me away. I am a "Baby Boomer". At this point in my life I have more disposable income than I have ever had since I started working. My kids are grown and on their own, and I am making more money then I ever have. My house is paid for, my cars are paid for, and I have no kids now to put through school. My income is much greater then at any point when I had all of those payments. So you would think that radio and TV would be after those dollars big time. They sure don't seem to be. Programmers and advertisers seem to think that if you are over 50, you have no money.
Dear Editor: KEXP deserves lots of credit for the creativity of its programming, but Chris Parker lets his enthusiasm get the better of him when he says that KEXP is "one of the most ...popular stations in the country." It's not even one of the most popular stations in Seattle -- it doesn't make the Top 20. Ranking #1 on the Web may sound impressive, but that means an online audience of, optimistically, 40,000 to 50,000 people. Add that to KEXP's weekly local audience of around 100,000, and you get a total of 150,000. For the sake of comparison, the top station in New York has an audience of around a million. Now that's popular.
Megan Seling's report on KNDD dropping DJ No Name and Jennifer White for the syndicated Adam Carolla show followed one of the standard narratives of the progressive press: that any change in the status quo signifies a Betrayal of Principle. Given The End's commitment to local music, she asks, "Why would the station opt to replace local-music-loving DJs with a syndicated program?" The answer should be obvious: listeners, it turned out, don't especially like to hear local music in the morning. (In fact, radio listeners mostly don't like music of any kind in the morning.) KNDD's decision is about giving the audience what it wants to hear. If more listeners had supported local music in the morning by tuning in, the outcome might have been different.
STRANGER: your article [“Fuck the ‘New York Times’,” Nicholas Wind, Jan 5] is the first i've ever read that reflects my awareness and feelings.and now i don't feel alone in my convictions. i have always known that 'the Good guys' knew way in advance of the terror of 09/11/01as well as the fbi knowing ahead of time in oklahoma. why else would the office of the fbi in the fred mcmurra building be completely empty during a work day. my feelings are these...our 'government' knows...not much gets past them. but, when it comes to getting congress to initiate statutes assigning huge $$$ for american business further engaged in the domination of the world economy-lives, human lives of innocent children, men and women carry a certain 'price tag' vs monetary gain and boy did the guys in the know gain a few bucks. it has always been this way-our government will sacrifice any-and-all for the sake of money. it is N-O-T money that is the root of all evil...it is the L-O-V-E of that money. with our track record of wwll europe, n. korea, viet nam, cosovo and other engagements before and since 1776 the only thing gained is, firstly the great and wise dollar and geo-political positioning. i am an american, i am ashamed of my government. while in the u.s. naval school of spec-war i believed in what i was training for. until i learned of a widely known and quietly spoken of code of conduct that i could never perform and, thus, i would not have been an asset to my teammates. instead i would have been a liability. this 'rule of engagement' is simple..."any living person within sight or sound of any seal team operation is a target." age and gender do not enter into the equation. so, i found a way to end my training and keep face. i would never ring out. hell, i was having a ball! i had a great deal of fun in that school along the silver strand! i just played-up an awie-boo to get medically dropped from training. stranger, st ay where you are. there will be many more americans turning to you for the truth and insight. take it to 'em, stranger. never quit. second place is no more than first looser
EDITOR: I have just read the article called "From the Desk of Michael Jackson" [Dec 29] and I was absolutely appalled at what you wrote. I do appreciate people have different opinions on his guilt/innocence but surely you can find a more humane way of expressing this. He was found innocent so why can't you just let it go. He is suffering enough right now as a result of his debts hence he is finding it difficult to stay in his home. Please just let him be...if you have any doubts on why he is so loved by millions just listen to his music and appreciate what a genius he is and geniuses deserve to be respected.