July 13, 2006

The Fourth Season

Dr X. posts this from the studios of a dynamic radio station that is switching formats from Adult album alternative to JackFM, after an unpleasant commercial experience with Freeform:

"Season Four of NewsRadio is out on DVD. I personally mark this moment in time as the end of a brief American Golden Age. By 1998 emerging markets were in crisis, Bubble Time was getting underway, and San Francisco seemed to go from its relaxed and slightly hip/dingy mid-decade demeanor to Little New York in a New York minute. And after 2000, of course, the whole thing goes to hell in a basket.

"So 1997 is a moment in memory, and the first year I actually noticed this show. Season Four (the last in which Hartman appears) wasn't as good as the earlier ones, but it had its high points. Chief among these is Pure Evil, which I consider to be one of the finest episodes of the whole series. It is a work of art in its own right, despite the fact that it is funny. The comical tragedy of a Good Man who discovers how effective evil is, but cannot bring himself to commit fully to it is, of course, a universal one. Who among us has not been confronted with the ugly intrusion of our conscience in the midst of a brilliantly conceived Machiavellian maneuver intended to destroy the career ambitions of a former lover? Dave Nelson plays it to perfection.

"I also have a soft spot in my heart for Super Karate Monkey Death Car, which is easy, but charming and enjoyable anyway."


Blogger First Sea Lord said...

I must indulge a full-on rant on the introductory topic.

Contemporary commericial radio, with the rarest exceptions, is a sickening affront to freedom, to music, to art, to rock, and in no small measure to democracy. Radio is utterly dominated by a small and getting smaller number of content companies, it damages our culture, it robs us of the extraordinary and nearly unheard creativity of American music.

The larger song formats (Jack) are actually worse, by providing a very slightly deeper illusion of openess. There is nearly no room for new work unless it's pushed by money, and although that's not new, the tiny number of decision makers is.

It's a form of nearly total corporate domination, micromanged down to the last song. It is violently anti-music. Expect to see the soul-sucking, freedom-crushing, morally vacant, economically exhausted (note the rising prices and lowering revenues indicating monopolistic practices) starting to dominate all forms of cultural production. Fuck them all six ways from Tuesday, and the horses the rode into Tuesday on, and Tuesday itself for letting them in. Commerical radio could end tomorrow and music, and America, would be a better place.

The wikipedia list of "freeform and eclectic" stations, which is maybe two paragraphs, is virtually complete. But how many total stations are there in America? Thousands and thousands. That's about how healthy freedom in music is in America.

As funny as News Radio could be, the great radio comedy was WKRP, which in the last show, warned us about exactly this transformation of the temporary freedom of a technology into micromanaged corporate dominance of culture.

The fight is over the internet now, and you may have noticed freedom is just starting to lose.

Here's what I suspect - the Temporary Autonomous Zone of a new information technology exists because, for a while, only those motivated by expertise and interest are involved and making key decisions (think of the almost forgotten chaos of early radio); as the expertise spreads, the economic interests move in to carve up and, in effect destroy.

Commerical radio killed both rock and hip hop as a political music, and now that's over, it has purged country of its affinity with working people and folk and turned it into a ghastly company puppet in a designer cowboy hat line-dancing with fascism.

Thank you, thank you, you infinitely untalented, cement-eared, fuck-faced new ReichsMusak corporate meat tools at Clear Channel.

July 13, 2006 at 12:51 PM  

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