While covering radio for eight months earlier this year for Radio-Info.com (since sold and shuttered), a disconcerting trend was taking root nationwide: Many of the nation’s mega-broadcast owners were shifting their AM talk programming to the FM dial. Every time this occurred in any market, I’d scowl, because it obviously meant that radio was tossing away a music station in its place.
As someone that has covered (and loved) radio for more than 25 years, I can’t see this as anything but self-sabotage on the part of Clear Channel, CBS and the rest of the big boys. As the airwaves become increasingly irrelevant to new generations—thanks to such previous missteps as loading 16 minutes of commercials in an hour and replacing local talent with nationally syndicated personalities—the last thing companies should be doing is supplanting music with talk.
Today it was announced that CBS Radio is purchasing New York’s 101.9 FM from Merlin Media for a reported $75 million. Their plan is to strip off alternative rock to simulcast Sports Radio WFAN-AM. What a fucking waste.
Mind you, it was only three months ago that 101.9 returned to rock, after a dismally failed experiment to air FM news on the frequency. The station was a no-go from the start—because it couldn’t compete with New York’s well-entrenched all-news WINS… at 1010 on the AM dial.
My teenage nephew explained to me a few years ago that the only thing he uses his car radio for is the plug-in for his iPod/iPhone. In fact, he had never listened to FM radio. Now… just wait until online “radio” is available in vehicles. Talk about the grand finale. How heartbreaking it is to see terrestrial radio continue to lodge its collective head up it arse. What an absolute pity. *
On Friday, September 28, I celebrated my humble lil’ birthday that ended with a “0″ with a grand celebration at Fontana’s Bar on New York’s Lower East Side. Man, these pics are less than comprehensive. Unfortunately, some guests appear in no pics, while other images were so dark that I had to do major digital enhancing.
Likewise, sigh… many that promised to show up… simply didn’t. Par for the course, as we all recognize, and so I shall revel in the good and positive, and understand that you’ve got to dismiss regrets and be grown up enough to accept that some folks you thought were by your side for the long term have, in fact, turned a page. And so shall I. Such is life. So now, let’s make a joyful noise for the wondrous celebration that ensued. *
As I posted Saturday, I was stunned to discover that out of nowhere, Blogger owner G**gle had issued a moratorium on posting any more photos to The Smoking Nun, unless I agreed to pay up $5 a month for the rest of the life of this blog. Nothing doing… Not only is this another example of the danger of one company possessing too much power, but it reverses a previous policy of linking a G**gle gmail address with Blogger and unlimited storage on (G**gle’s) Picasa for photos.
This morning, I received an email from a friendly gay blogger who has dealt not only with this issue, but other egregious meddling from Big Brother G**gle. I hope to utilize his suggestions in the next couple days to resolve this hideous issue… *
Whoa! For the past four years, I’ve loaded photos at will on Blogger’s The Smoking Nun here. As I attempted to add a half-dozen pics to a post about my birthday party last Friday, I was informed that G**gle has decided I’ve used more space than I’m entitled to—requiring me to pay a monthly fee to continue posting images “across all G**gle products.”
While I own this same domain on WordPress, I’ve always found Blogger (owned by G**gle) simpler and more user-friendly to use for a simple blog such as The Nun. Now I will reconsider my options. This is another example of how too much power by a single entity crushes the little guy. I’m incensed, and the idea of paying $5 a month (with no annual plan as an option) is utterly demonic. *
When my friend Paulie introduced me to a site called Fiverr several months ago, it seemed like an amusing destination to earn a buck or two here and there. The concept: Let folks know what you’re willing to do for $5. At first I posted crap like, “I’ll take a picture of your company logo anywhere in NYC for $5.” I got a few grabs and made $4 on the take, after Fiverr took its commission.
But as I began digging into the site, I saw that folks were offering writing services, so I posted gigs for simple 150-word bios and quickie song reviews, posting my credentials as a professional journalist and Billboard writer for the past 25 years.
At the beginning, I was getting a couple assignments every week, which time-wise, did little more than bite into the hours I’d normally be surfing the webbie anyway. More recently, as the site has grown more sophisticated and popular—and my feedback has been consistently positive—I’m now getting gigs by the boatload.
Fiverr now also offers “extras,” including longer versions of the same for more $$ and quick turnaround for $. And so… over the past month, I’ve earned $280, which is suddenly becoming real money… enough to pay the cable bill or the electric bill and purchase the occasional steak.
Mind you, my mainstay is still writing full-on professional bios for musicians, which include detailed interviews and quotes, garnering three-figure$ per pop. But for bite-size writing, what began as an amusement has evolved into a real profit center. And thank god for that, as a guy who still picks up pennies on the sidewalk. *
What a wondrous birthday surprise I had Friday night, at my “Five Decades of Decadence” party at Fontana’s on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Pals Christa and Donna helped arrange a visit from my beloved Kristina, all the way from Los Angeles. She entered the room through a dramatic velvet curtain, looking like a brunette Marilyn Monroe, with her arms outstretched and a big grin.
Here’s the play by play below as I take it all in. This is actually not only pretty damn amusing to me, but endearing… as shock turns to tears and one gargantuan smile. Many more pics from the night to come. *