Sunday, July 19, 2009

And Now, A Public Service Message

Stay with me here.

The Columbus, Ohio ABC affiliate is WSYX - the call letters remind you to tune to channel 6.

Or they used to. After the analog shutdown, WSYX's digital signal is now on channel 13.

But the VHF signal isn't cutting through very well. So now, WSYX has applied to the FCC to move their digital signal to channel 48.

So, remember Columbus: be sure to rescan your digital TV in the coming months so you can receive Double-U Six on 48, not 13.

Television: making your life easier.

Friday, July 10, 2009

On Michael Jackson

I've been waiting until the time is right to post anything on Michael Jackson. I wanted to take it all in and gain some perspective. That's the luxury of blogs. I don't have a deadline. I also don't have an editor or news director yelling, "Get me a local angle on Jackson! And don't mention the child molestation thing! I want schmaltz. Besides, Sony Music won't pay if we don't play along. Did I say that out loud? God, I need a beer."

Back in the 1980's, the City of Cincinnati, caught up in Hit King Fever, decided to honor Pete Rose by naming a street after him. Second Street became Pete Rose Way. And there was much rejoicing. And then came the gambling scandal. It's Second Street now.

Whatever your opinion of Pete Rose may be - and having only talked to him over the phone for about 20 seconds, I can say he seemed like a nice guy and magnanimous with his time when it comes to baseball - we can all agree that he will, indeed, someday be admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Posthumously.

Michael Jackson has passed not only beyond our earthly confines, but beyond our media scrutiny. In other words, it's OK to like him again. In the name of sensitivity and good manners, we must now judge him only by his accomplishments in his chosen field, and not dwell on the sordid details of his private life. Radio stations that, in response to listener backlash and advertiser hand wringing about airing the music of a child molester, had quietly "de-emphasized" Michael Jackson on their playlists, substituting MJ hits with superficially urban but ultimately inferior Prince songs, are now free not only to reinstate The King of Pop back into their All '80's weekends, but actually run dedicated blocks of his music or even All Michael Jackson Weekends. We're off the hook. Let the Thriller begin.

But should it have ever ended?

Gary Glitter has been charged and jailed for child sex offenses more than once. Is this taken into account every time your local baseball stadium plays Rock and Roll, Part II to rally the crowd? I heard Gary Glitter on the radio on the way home yesterday - on a station that won't touch Michael Jackson with a ten-foot pole.

John Lennon was murdered. His signature song, Imagine, was produced by Phil Spector, a man who has just been convicted of murder. Will this tarnish the beauty and the meaning of the song? Will the recording live on? Or will your local Mix station quietly de-emphasize it?

This December, will oldies stations somehow manage to misplace their copies of the "A Phil Spector Christmas?"

Did we ever stop listening to Jerry Lee Lewis? (Married a 13 year-old cousin) Chuck Berry? (Jailed in 1959 for basically being a pimp) The Platters? (Busted in, where else, Cincinnati on "morals" charges) And The Rolling Stones? (The Altamont Concert fiasco that resulted in 4 deaths, one a homicide)

What made Jackson different? Was it the weird plastic surgery face? Was it the protracted news coverage of his trial - the likes of which no other celebrity had ever faced? Was it due to MTV programing shifting away from music videos? Or was it perhaps due to The King of Pop's lack of output during and following his legal troubles?

Whatever the cause, it's a moot point now. Michael Jackson is legend now. And if you think the overload coverage of MJ is going away anytime soon, think again. We have to compensate for at least a decade when he was relegated to Second Street.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Additional Note

If you are thinking about buying a microphone that costs more than a thousand dollars, and it will be used in your home studio, consider the fact that you will want to insure it.

A Neumann purchased by a recording studio or broadcasting facility would be covered under that operation's business insurance. It becomes a line item on a balance sheet that can be recouped in the event of a fire, break-in, flood, or other catastrophe. A boutique mic you bought as an individual for home use can also be stolen or damaged, but the cost of replacement out-of-pocket is probably beyond your means. And even if you can afford to replace it, you won't be very happy about it. All the more reason a quality mic that's "Damn close" to the Neumann sound might be a better buy. Besides, if your CAD M9 takes a walk, you can probably buy a new one the next day at Bob's Music. Good luck getting a Tiffany mic replaced any time this week. (Scroll back to why I suggested keeping a Shure SM58 on hand.)

This also applies to the preamp, which can run you well over a thousand just for an Avalon M5. (It sounds great, but it's light on features.) Ah, that $65 ART preamp doesn't look so bad now, does it?

If you still want only the best in your home studio, call your insurance agent and check on getting your gear covered in your homeowners policy. Put on your Big Boy pants and pay the insurance. It's worth it.