December 15, 2006 A music industry pioneer has died. Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records, died Wednesday. He was 83 years old.
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November 28, 2006 On Tuesday night, a tradition continues: ABC airs the animated special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Its jazzy Vince Guaraldi soundtrack is a holiday staple, too, but it wasn't embraced by all who first heard it.
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October 31, 2006 Mitch Koulouris once worked as a manager for the now-defunct Tower Records retail chain. Five years ago he realized digital music distribution was the wave of the future. Now his company, Digital Music Group, Inc., is buying up old song catalogs and selling them online.
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October 2, 2006 New York state is eliminating a food and beverage sales tax paid by jazz clubs so that the money — about $20 billion — can be redirected to the musicians union for pensions. The plan, supported by the union and most club owners, is voluntary. But many club musicians don't belong to the union and would rather get better pay.
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September 19, 2006 A group of musicians has filed a class action lawsuit against Sony BMG, which charges that the label is underpaying the artists for music sold online.
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August 18, 2006 This is it for me at Mixed Signals, at least for the time being. I have to say, it's been a blast. Next week, Ken Rudin, our master of pun and wit, will be at the helm. As a despedida (farewell), please indulge me and let me offer a heartfelt shout-out to two musicians who died this week whose passings you may not have noticed. I am a long-time fan of Afro-Cuban music of all stripes (dance, folkloric, Latin jazz), and this week we lost two very talented drummers: one who was an up-and-comer; the other, a veterano of many sessions and gigs. Miguel "Anga" Diaz died in Barcelona earlier this week. Just 45 years old, he had become known as a talent worthy of the distinction "Master Drummer." Journalist Agustin Gurza wrote a wonderful obit for Anga this week. Percussionist Ray Romero also died. He never led a band or recorded an album under his own name. But Lil' Ray Romero's (as he was known by his peers) influence among drummers that came after him is immeasurable. Musicians from Puerto Rico, Miami, Manhattan and California have mourned his passing. If you get a chance, give these guys a listen -- their music is incredible. Catch you later.
August 18, 2006 There is a woman making news in Chicago by invoking her right to use a church as a sanctuary against deportation. The single mom is attempting to remain in this country so as not to be separated from her 7-year-old son who was born here and thus, has U.S. citizenship. Seems the feds are backing off from entering the church to grab the woman. The media coverage illustrates that right and wrong are in the eye of the beholder. Check out this Latino blog to note how the woman is described by the various media outlets covering the story.
August 18, 2006 It seems putting your foot in your mouth is an equal opportunity activity. Add Andrew Young to the list of high profile people who shoot their mouths off, then instantly regret it. With the diversity cred he has, one can only wonder what happened. But he did say it and he owned up to it (just as the others have done). But does that make his gaffe any less insulting than the others?
August 18, 2006 Tramm Husdon is running for Congress in the 13th District of Florida. In a video that is making its way around the Internet, he makes a derogatory remark about African-Americans during a campaign speech. Now his campaign Web site offers an apology for the remark. Mel Gibson, George Allen... and now this guy. What is troubling is how natural the ethnic stereotyping and baiting comes to them and how they have to be told later that what they said was wrong. What is more troubling, in the case of the politicians, is people will still vote for them
August 18, 2006 For a post yesterday about Spanish-language radio, Mixed Signals producer Melody Kokoszka included the headline: "I Heard It on El Radio". Jessica Dancel of Colorado Springs wrote in to offer a correction. It should be "La Radio," she wrote. In the interest of journalistic integrity and accuracy, I went to work. I am fluent in Spanish, but English is my first language. So the first thing I did was go to a native Spanish speaker. NPR producer Marisa Penaloza was born in Chiapas, Mexico. She thought that the actual gizmo that the sound comes out of could be referred to as el radio but the transmission could be referred to as la radio. Muy bien. My next stop was reference librarian Kee Malesky. She brought one of those impressive looking big dictionaries out -- The Oxford Spanish Dictionary. There are two definitions of "radio" in Spanish...
August 18, 2006 Moms of the world, please find something else to do right now. Don't read this post. According to a recent study, television is more soothing to kids than a comforting mother when dealing with physical pain. There are still more studies out there that say too much TV is not a good thing. But when it comes to taking the ouch out of a kid's "boo boo," it seems Scooby-Doo is more effective. Although they didn't study it, I bet the old Mexican mom's soothing "Sana, sana, colita de rana" can trump Fred Flintstone every time. And speaking of soothing sounds, check out Oliver Wang's review of the new CD Panama! Latin, Calypso and Funk at the Isthmus on Morning Edition today. The CD gives us a peek into the amazing music scene of Panama in the 1960s and '70s when it was the crossroads of the Americas. The music that was brought in from foreign ships and radios created a cultural mix that resulted in sounds that are as fresh now as they were then. Give it a listen... you won't be disappointed, and you may, in fact, be quite surprised.
August 17, 2006 The entire radio industry is trying to cash in, I mean, reach out to the Latino immigrant population that recent census reports predict will only get bigger. Well, commercial radio is. From the Pacific Northwest comes a story about a local broadcasting company that is expanding its Spanish language radio operation. There are similar stories from around the country in communities that have growing immigrant populations. An immigrant media factoid: According to a communications attorney in D.C., usually the first groups to reach out to new communities are the churches. He says you can tell a community is changing when churches start leasing time on AM radio stations to spread their gospel in Spanish.
August 17, 2006 From the "Interesting Things Heard on the Radio" department: Seems Inetta the Moodsetta, a part-time air host on WBLX in Mobile, Ala., is mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore. So last Saturday she quit the Urban format station -- while on the air audio. Myronda Reuben, WBLX's program director, returned our call and offered, "We do not have much comment on that." She would not comment on Inetta's on-air accusations and complaints, but said, "We wish her the best." When we last checked, Inetta the Moodsetta's name was no longer included in the list of DJs on the station's Web site. But Ray Ray, Myronda and Nick at Nite, among others, were still there.
August 17, 2006 A comment about the arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey case: What about that Thai perp walk? As the suspect, John Mark Karr, is paraded before a cluster of photographers in Bangkok, Thailand, it sounds like he actually confesses to the killing while being jostled about. Then, during what looks like an impromptu press conference, he answers some questions directly, seemingly implicating himself, then offers a "no comment" to others. I've watched enough Law and Order episodes to wonder if his statements will be admissible later during a trial here in the U.S. Never mind the possibility that he may falsely claiming responsibility. A bizarre event in a very sad story.
August 17, 2006 Excuse me while I speak up about journalism and journalists. It’s time to string together a handful of news items about repression, legal challenges and even some good news regarding fellow practioners of the 5 Ws. First, the good news: A Brazilian street gang released a TV reporter they kidnapped and held for 40 hours. According to the AP wire service, the reporter was freed after his network agreed to broadcast a video from the gang calling attention to Brazilian prison conditions. Now, reporters under fire: A California court upholds a subpoena of two San Francisco Chronicle reporters to reveal their sources in the story about baseball great Barry Bonds' relationship with performing enhancing steroids...
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