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"Shameless Dam, Or...Damn Shame?"

                        By Kenny Love

Being the ed-u-ma-cated fool I am, a recent article in the
Birmingham Weekly newspaper got me to thinking (usually,
a bad thing for me, at any point).  The article reviewed the
current well being of the two radio satellite stepchildren...
XM Satellite and Sirius Network.  Now, get this...

In just over 1 year of existence for XM, and just under 1
year of existence for Sirius, there are already nearly
500,000 subscribers.  That's right...500,000 people who
finally had enough and yelled, "Hell No!  We won't go!" in
response to the state of watered down commercial radio
that most of us have come to know and hate.

And, their rebel yells are, largely, because of the watered
down "music" and endless unbearable advertising that is
a mainstay staple of commercial radio, and which is also
fast becoming much the same way with public radio, of
which its "underwriting" label is now guised thinner than
J-Lo's evening gowns (we're talking flesh-level, babe).

500,000 people demanding a water-free, commercial-less
radio experience!  My goodness...what will these numbers
reflect this time next year, or even 5 years from now?  Don't
ya just love it?  At this rate, any degree of geometric
multiplication could reflect phenomenal results at the end
of a 5-year period.

And, in regard to non commercial radio, unless your music
happens to fall within the parameters of Classical or Jazz
(and, primarily, limited to the "traditional" aspect), you can
forget about approaching or becoming a public radio
darling whatsoever.

But, back to commercial radio...

Upon reviewing the Birmingham Weekly article, I
immediately entered one of those trances similar to the
ones David Letterman used to enter when he was still a
funny comedian.  In this trance, I saw two characters known
as "Dam" and "Clear Channel."
Now, at this point, you are probably wondering if I had
finally gone off the deep end, aren't you?  Well, so did I.

And, with my last bit of sanity, I managed to snap out of the
trance-like state and, for some odd reason unbeknownst
to me at the time, I sought out my copy of Webster's
Collegiate Dictionary, turning to the phrase, "dam."  And,
here is what I discovered:



Function: noun
1: a body of water confined by a barrier
2a : a barrier preventing the flow of water or of loose solid
materials (as soil or snow); especially: a barrier built
across a watercourse for impounding water.


Hmm...through these definitions, my vision was starting to
become self-fulfilling and becoming all too, pardon the
pun, crystal clear as I now reviewed the information at
hand, and before me.

I decided to break it down, in the interest of making a
sane connection between the two terms that had
previously befuddled me.  And, here is what I found
through comparing them...

Webster: "DAM" - def. 1: A body of water confined by a

KL: "Clear Channel" - def. 1: A 1,200 radio station network
barrier confining a body of unsigned and independent
recording artists.


Webster: "DAM" - def. 2a : a barrier preventing the flow of
water or of loose solid materials (as soil or snow);
especially : a barrier built across a watercourse for
impounding water.

KL: "Clear Channel" - def. 2: A pain-in-the-asset barrier
preventing the flow and exposure of true creativity, or of
unsigned solid music (with intelligent lyrics); a barrier built
across the entire country for impounding artists.

<*Sometimes, this stuff is just too unlawfully sweet.*>  :-)

Anyway, the vision had now been made "clear," I saw the
connection, and realized what I (and you) must now do. 
And, that is, to begin utilizing, yet, another alternative outlet
in marketing and promoting our works, through cultivating
relationships with the satellite networks.

And, it is, indeed, a damn shame that a document such as
the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has allowed a single
entity, obviously driven by greed, to gobble up so many
stations, so as to stifle and slay the very element that is,
supposedly, a much coveted possession known as
"freedom of speech."

In such commercial radio station acquisitions, verily, verily,
I say unto thee...wherefore cometh now, the commercial
outlets for unsigned and independent artists' freedoms of

Alternatively, these satellite networks appear (for now) to
be the exact antithesis of what commercial radio has now
become, although it began as the satellites have begun...
focusing mainly on great music, with only a handful (if any)
commercials.  And, in our own interests as artists, we can
only hope that more such ideological (and hopefully,
implementing) resources are not far behind.

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