Letters for the week of May 9-15, 2007 

Readers' thoughts on Alameda Point, Web radio, HD radio and more.

"Base Politics," Full Disclosure, 4/18

Welcome to Alameda
Thank you for researching and printing the information about donations from developers to Beverly Johnson's mayoral election campaign in Alameda. Obviously it takes regional papers and reporters to investigate the politics and money trails in the City of Alameda. There is "linen" here that needs to be hung out for all to see.

Rosemary McNally, Alameda

Come back soon
Thank you for covering this story. Most of us here in Alameda know that the local papers won't cover it, as they are complicit in the mayor's schemes and have their own self-interests to protect. It's nice to see some true investigative reporting finally covering Alameda.
David Howard, Alameda

And bring your friends
Thanks for the article — can you get it printed in the Trib and Chronicle next?
Helen Jefferson, Alameda

"The Age of Dark Payola," Press Play, 4/18

Ragtime RIP
I run a small Internet radio station using Live365.com. I broadcast independently recorded performances of ragtime and ragtime-related music.

There are very few venues in the world to hear this genre of music that is the heritage for almost all of our popular music today. I make NO money from these broadcasts. In fact, I pay monthly fees to be able to do so. There are almost NO places on broadcast radio to hear ragtime.

My listener base is relatively small (~2,500 listeners per month), but the proposed changes would put me out of business and the other — yes, there are only two full-time ragtime radio stations in the world!! — is also run on a purely NONprofit basis and would likely go out of business as well.

This is, of course, only one case example. There are thousands of similar radio stations that would be forced out of the market, leaving the music that people can hear decided by only a couple of incredibly large corporations. This new ruling does not help the average musician either; it only helps the "superstars" and the major labels rake in their millions.

Internet broadcasting is about the people, as is this country. Internet broadcasting should not be singled out and penalized in deference to the radio stations.
Victor Aires, San Mateo

Save net radio
This Monday morning, the 16th of April, the copyright royalty judges for the Copyright Royalty Board (the "three dudes in Washington") summarily dismissed all parties' request for a rehearing. ALL PARTIES being everyone who put in an appeal, which included NPR, college radio, Internet radio, and more. So, any chance of a rehearing or reconsideration of these fees is now gone.

Their reasons for doing so emulate the SoundExchanges' reasons for why they should deny us a rehearing so closely; it's suspicious. We at SomaFM (I'm the music director for Indie Pop Rocks! on SomaFM, where I work with Rusty Hodge) are currently working with a new coalition called SaveNetRadio (SaveNetRadio.org), trying to overturn this ruling. But we need people who think that this ruling is unfair to write their Congressional representatives. Many congresspeople are only vaguely aware of what we're going through with this, and haven't voiced their opinion regarding the issue. Thanks, in advance, to anyone who can help out by writing in and making their voice heard.
Elise Nordling, San Francisco

What's the beef?
I recently got an HD radio and have been quite happy with it. I like the additional stations, the commercial-free broadcasts, the fact that I don't need to pay a subscription fee. (I have noticed some repetition, but that's no different than regular radio.) I am also outraged at all the stuff going on with Internet radio. I'd hate to see some of my favorite Internet broadcasts go under because of ridiculously huge fees from the men in Washington.

I still don't entirely understand why y'all think HD radio is such an evil thing, but would like to know more about what HD radio is really about. I side with the local, anticorporate folks here, but also feel like the arguments presented are very one-sided and lots of trash-talking. I'd like a better and fuller understanding of what HD radio is really about. I've wondered how they make money if they don't play commercials.
Bailey Levis, Kensington

"Fist in the Mist," Books, 4/25

Muchnick ado
I very much appreciate the East Bay Newspaper of Record's memorializing the Black Oak Books event for Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal. My late uncle the wrestling promoter was among many who have counseled that it doesn't matter if you come off as a heel or a babyface, only that your name gets spelled right. You nailed both "Irvin" and "Muchnick" — no small feat.

I do think that pencilneck geek Mark Nichol confused the views of the Berkeley crowd with the content of my book. I say that "sports entertainment" has led to the mainstreaming of antisocial values, not "behavior." And I don't believe readers will find Wrestling Babylon quite as nostalgic or nerdy as Nichol suggests. If they want an academic treatise on pro wrestling, they can go find Roland Barthes or Professor Hieronymous Buttocks.
Irvin Muchnick, Berkeley

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