Soldier in Iraq Records Country-Music Hit
July 29, 2005 1:20 PM EDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - His boots battered, his spirits sinking, Luke Stricklin struggled to explain his experiences in Iraq to his family and friends back home who kept asking him what it was like to fight in Baghdad.
"Time calling home was precious," the soldier said. "That's the last thing you wanted to talk about. Mom always said I wasn't telling her the truth, which I wasn't. I would tell her everything was just fine. Ashley, my wife, couldn't hear me talk about it. We just talked about anything else."
He couldn't speak the words. But he could sing them. He looked at the bottom of his boots one day. The boots he'd worn 12 hours a day for 14 months became the breakthrough.
"Bottom of my boots sure are getting worn," the 22-year-old Arkansas National Guardsman wrote. "There's a lot of holes in this faded uniform. Hands are black with dirt and so is my face. Ain't ever been to hell, but it can't be any worse than this place."
He kept on writing, entering lines on his laptop computer or jotting them down in a green waterproof Army-issue notebook he was required to carry while on patrols.
The song became "American by God's Amazing Grace," and by the time Stricklin came home from Iraq in March it was on country radio stations from Albuquerque, N.M., to Lima, Ohio, and Lexington, Neb., to Jackson, Tenn.
While writing the lyrics, Stricklin showed them to his Army buddy J.R. Shultz. The two worked out the music and decided to record the song. Stricklin grabbed his $25 guitar - which an Iraqi boy found for him at a Baghdad street market.
"You can't expect much being over there, but it was good enough. I played the heck out of that thing while I was over there," said Stricklin, who, on top of the money spent on the guitar, gave the boy a $25 tip for finding it.
The soldiers shut themselves in Shultz's room in a bombed-out concrete building at their Baghdad camp. They set up the laptop recording software and hooked up a cheap microphone.
"I sat on a five-gallon Igloo water cooler," Stricklin said. "We called them recording stools."
With guitar on knee, Stricklin finished the song and e-mailed it home, writing, "Mom, listen to this."
His mother, Sheila Harrington, said she was excited to see a note from her son, but didn't expect his creative response to her continuous questions.
"The song started playing and I literally broke down in tears," she said. "It all came together, the whole scenario of it for me."
Harrington quickly forwarded the e-mail onto friends and family, but she thought her son's song deserved a larger audience and she sent a copy to the local Fort Smith radio station. It prompted dozens of requests.
(Stricklin's song follows Big Neal's rap album, "Live From Iraq".)
Upon his return from Iraq four months ago, Stricklin started playing local shows in Fort Smith and before long was on his way to Nashville, Tenn., where he recorded a studio version of the song and his self-titled debut album, due out in September.
Before leaving for Iraq, Stricklin worked in an electric motor shop, but now he's trying for a full-time music career. Internet chatrooms buzz with talk of him as a rising country star and "American by God's Amazing Grace" has been released as a single. Stricklin has made appearances on national television and radio shows promoting it.
He hopes for a hit, but his mom is just happy for the lyrics.
"I think I know them by heart," she said. "I carried the CD with me everyday and listened to it."
Check the website here.
The American Book Awards, established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation, recognize outstanding literary achievement by contemporary American authors, without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre. The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge the excellence and multicultural diversity of American writing.
Hip-Hop, The Police and The Media
By Davey D
Last week two St Louis deejays from radio station KATZ (100.3 FM), were suspended after local police deemed their on air remarks inappropriate and called for a boycott of the Clear Channel owned station known as ‘The Beat’. For some this may seem like an unusual story, but in fact there's a long history of police being able to use their influence and sometimes the law to silence those who wish to speak out against them especially within Hip Hop.
The most glaring example is what happened to NWA after they released the song 'F--K Tha Police'. The popularity of the song resulted in numerous police departments all over the country stepping to concert venue owners and insisting that contracts be drawn up prohibiting the group from performing the song. In one infamous scenario in Detroit, the group tried to do the song and were bum-rushed by 20 undercover cops.
Although the group went on to do another ‘F--k tha Police’ type song on their second album, the point was clearly made-think twice before you go out and make or play those records. As far as many of the police unions were concerned such incendiary records could actually lead to violence against the police hence it was in their interests to make sure that at the very least these songs were put on the back burner somewhere.
I recall the concern that was raised during the Rodney King riots in April 1992. Disruptions happened up and down the state for two days in various cities including a serious one in San Francisco. During the second days of disruptions I had witnessed a SF police officer chase down an unarmed man hitting him with his bully club. He never caught the guy he pummeled and through all the confusion I saw him turn in my direction and thought he might come after me.
That night I was scheduled to do an on air mix at our radio station KMEL and because I was angry from what I witnessed earlier that day, I was inspired to do something ‘special’. I started off by playing a message someone had left me where they read a heartfelt letter that appeared in the LA Times from a despondent woman who felt like justice would never be done when it came to people being brutalized by police. The letter was read over the instrumental of Gang Starr’s ‘Take It Personal’. The letter combined with the song made a profound statement that left one feeling really pissed at the police. Quite naturally the follow up song was ‘F—K tha Police’.
When I arrived at the station that night our on air jock Kevin Nash had noted that there were reports that the riots in San Francisco had taken a turn for the worse and things were on the verge of really getting out of hand. I told him that I had prepared a special mix for this evening which at the time everyone was gung-ho to hear. As soon as the beat to Gang Starr’s ‘Take It Personal’ hit an eerie silence fell over the room. I remember Nash looking at me with concern asking ‘Hey man do you think we should be doing this? Should we not be calming things down?’ It was too late to stop the mix, but he pulled a couple of carts to put in cue just in case we had to dump the mix and go to something a bit more tame..
Nash knew as well as everyone else in the room from the tone of the letter what the next song was going to be and what it would mean. It’s one thing to bump ‘F—k tha Police’ while driving down the street in your ride with the stereo turned up loud. It’s a whole other thing to play ‘F—k Tha Police’ in the middle of a riot over 69 thousand watts of music power. You’re essentially making not just a bold statement with all the backing of an official established media outlet that happened to be number one in the market at that time. In other words, whether it was intended or not, by playing that song, we had involved ourselves in that evening happenings and if anything crazier jumped off, folks would be factoring in our involvement as both on air deejays and as a radio station. Mind you we were never told we could not play the song, we just knew from all the stink the police and law enforcement had already raised that a line was drawn in the sand and we had crossed it..
When ‘F—k tha Police’ hit the airwaves you could feel the energy…It felt like every ear in the Bay Area was tuned into us. To this day I’m not sure of the reaction if any we may have caused. All I know is that every phone in the station lit up and all of us were too scared to answer any of the lines including the hotline. No one wanted to hear any sort of disapproval or expressed concern about what we were doing that night. We just let the song play as we collectively resigned ourselves to whatever fate would come upon us. At the end of the a statement was made about the police, but as I said earlier they had already laid groundwork to get their message across.. Think twice before you dis…
For folks who wish to go down memory lane for a bit if you recall, around that time in ’92, you had a lot of activity on behalf of law enforcement. First, you had 2Pac catching heat because of the video to the song ‘Trapped’ where he shows a police officer being shot at the end. A few months earlier Pac got beat up by Oakland Police officers who stopped him for jay walking and started making fun of his name. That’s what prompted the song. In any case Pac not only found himself under fire from law enforcement, but also from Vice President Dan Quayle who put him on blast for his anti-police rhetoric.
If that wasn’t enough, Pac also found himself being sued by the family of a slain police officer who stated that the perpetrator was listening to Pac’s music when he shot him..
Also that year Ice T was caught in the crosshairs, when he did a rock song with his group Bodycount called ‘Cop Killer’. To this day people still refer to it as a rap song even though most hip hop fans never heard this distinctly heavy metal tune. Nevertheless, Ice T also caught the ire of law enforcement as well as President Bush sr. His song put into motion a well healed campaign by police agencies which resulted in him being dropped from the Warner Brothers record label and them severing ties with anything that could be classified as ‘gangsta rap’. A lot of people to this day think all that hoop-la was because rappers were talking about ‘bitches’ and ‘hos’ and morally corrupting the youth. The truth of the matter they had pissed off the police and those who we pay to protect and serve via our tax dollars was not trying to have folks talk bad about them on records.
There are lots of other stories that we can point to that show type of swift reaction the police have had toward Hip Hop acts that have spoken out against them. One of the most egregious tales centers around the incidents leading up to the bank robbery conspiracy conviction of the late Bay Area rapper Mac Dre.
Around ’92 scores of young Black men in Mac Dre's Vallejo neighborhood called the Crest were being rounded up and questioned after a series of bank robberies. The police accused a loosely knit group who resided in Dre’s neighborhood called the Romper Room Crew. Dre responded by releasing a song called 'Punk Police' which smashed on VPD for their faulty moves. He gave props to the Romper Room cats and called out an overzealous police sergeant by name. The rest they say is history.
A few weeks after the song was released Dre found himself being monitored by both VPD and the FBI. When he made a road trip to Fresno, California, a passenger he was rolling with, told police that him and Dre had planned to rob a bank-a charge Dre had vehemently denied to his recent death. That accusation coupled with the lyrics in Dre's song helped get him convicted for conspiracy to rob a bank. He served 5 years.
Two weeks after Dre's conviction he called into Bay Area radio station KMEL from prison to discuss his situation. He let listeners know he was set up by a police informant. The following day law enforcement showed up at the station in mass and held a closed door meeting with station managers and basically put the fear of God in them. The result was we were not to diss the police on air or take anymore phone calls from prisoners especially Mac Dre.
Dre's scenario was the start of the whole Hip Hop Police thing which made headlines a couple of years ago. Here in the Bay Area police over the years used their influence to determine what acts could and could not appear at certain concerts or even the type of music one could play at a night club. Those who decided to oppose any police department recommendations or ordinances would find their entertainment permits pulled by these various police agencies and over the top policing of their venue with patrons and even artists being harassed. For years KMEL would have to consult with local police to see if it was ok to have certain rap acts perform at their Summer Jam concert. The people who were most penalized were local rap acts who the police had erroneously determined had gang affiliations (meaning they lived in neighborhoods the police considered dangerous).
For those who think this is far fetched look at the type of steps that have been taken by police unions around the country that have called for the boycott of entertainers who have called for a new trial for political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal who is now on death row in Pennsylvania accused of killing a police officer.
Over the years we’ve heard stories of popular Hip Hop radio deejays and radio stations either being warned or stepped to by the police with the goal of making sure heated rhetoric was toned down and particular songs not played on air...
Folks in Los Angeles may recount a colorful incident that took place with comedian Steve Harvey when he was doing morning drive on KKBT. There was an incident a few years back when an up and coming actor was attending a Halloween Party. He was dressed as a cop and was outside the house looking inside the window when LAPD officers rolled up on him and shot him under the pretense that they thought he was gonna shoot them with his fake gun. Party goers were horrified and angry as was Steve Harvey who promptly got on the air the next morning and blasted the police a new one for their mistake.
The next day after then LA Police Chief Bernard Parks got at Harvey, he went on the air the very next day and apologized for his outburst and said it wasn't his job to be a police critic and basically toned down any anti-police rhetoric all the way up to the time he left-which was earlier this year.
Another case which falls in the same vein was the overwhelming silence that took place after the Amadu Diallo trial where the cops accused of shooting him were released. If you recall, popular radio station Hot 97 which has made a career promoting beefs, avoided that beef like the plague and never opened up their phone lines or even acknowledged the verdict or sentiments felt by many of its Black and Brown listeners to what was one of the NYC's most watched trials. Go figure that...
Adding insult to injury was stations like Hot 97 and other all over the country hardly playing the anti-police Brutality collab song put together by Mos Def and Talib Kweli called 'Hip Hop for Respect'. I want everyone to peep out this article that outlines the group’s initial response and plans of action after the Diallo acquittals and ask yourself the following questions:
1-Why did my favorite radio station for Hip Hop and R&B not show their efforts any love?
2-Why were they not nominated for an NAACP image award for their tireless efforts that year?
the link to the article...
Also peep out this other article about the turbulent relationship between Hip Hop and the police…
As you read the article below, keep in mind that while these two deejays got suspended after threats of a police boycott, you still have stations where the N word and other racial and sexist epithets are used day and day out. You also have the recent case where a Clear Channel station in San Francisco hired a racist producer who penned a parody song for Emmis’ Hot 97 where he made fun of Tsunami victims by calling them ‘Chinks’ and ‘Gooks’.
So Clear Channel will suspend two jocks for making inappropriate remarks about the police the week of a funeral for a slain officer, yet that same company will go out and hire a known racist who made fun of 220 thousand innocent victims to a horrible tragedy. So where do we draw the line as to what's appropriate and what isn't?
So the message is clear, our tax dollars which support the public airwaves LICENSED to the Clear Channels of the world can be used to support over the top racist behavior, but those same tax dollars will not tolerate anything said against the police who by the way we pay with our tax dollars… Something to think about…
"Another take on 'Tsunami'
Fired staffer rips Hot 97
By DAVID HINCKLEY
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Todd Lynn, fired by Hot 97, tells his side.
Todd Lynn doesn't defend the 'Tsunami Song' that led to his firing in January from WQHT (97.1 FM). 'A very, very bad mistake,' he called it. But he also thinks he's taken too much of the blame. 'Management heard the song and approved it,' he said. 'After it aired, they said keep playing it. They thought it was great until the protests started. Then they fired me and [producer] Rick Delgado and said, 'We don't condone this,' as if it were all Todd's and Rick's fault. But they did condone it.'
The 'Tsunami Song,' which ran a week on the morning show, was intended as a parody of do-gooder disaster relief projects. But its ethnic slurs and graphic lines about victims sparked a firestorm that reportedly cost Hot 97 several million dollars in ads.
Morning host Miss Jones, DJ Envy and assistant Tasha Hightower were suspended for two weeks. Delgado was fired for writing the song and Lynn primarily because he joked on the air, 'I'm gonna start shooting some Asians' - a gag motif he used often, but which he admits was ill-advised this time.
The station also donated a million dollars to tsunami relief, and while critics wanted more, the station has gone forward, regaining its ads and rising slightly in the ratings.
WQHT yesterday issued a statement saying, 'Hot 97 stands firmly behind the strict disciplinary actions that followed the unfortunate 'Tsunami Song' incident, which included terminating Todd Lynn.'
Delgado was hired last week to produce the morning show at KYLD in San Francisco. Lynn, who has a master's in education and was a teacher before he went into standup comedy, hasn't done so well.
'I was doing the voice-overs for Budweiser. Gone,' he said. 'A development deal with Buena Vista. Gone. I've lost gigs at comedy fests. It's affected my family, too. I was engaged, and now that's shot all to hell.
'Almost everyone else involved with the song is still there, and I'm getting killed.'
That's one reason, he said, he's now breaking his silence on the subject. He's scheduled to appear today with Opie and Anthony on XM Satellite Radio.
The real root of the 'Tsunami Song,' he said, was Hot 97's 'deep fear' about Star coming to a rival station, WWPR (105.1 FM).
'They were terrified of Star,' he said. 'We were all under constant pressure to push the envelope. They told me to be an antagonist, be 'edgy.' They told me I was the agitator and Miss Jones was the mediator. As long as we didn't violate the FCC, they said, everything was cool.
'When Rick wrote the song, none of us really liked it, but it was the kind of thing they'd been telling us they wanted. This and Smackfest, which was the dumbest thing I ever heard of. So Rick, Envy, Tasha and I sang it. Miss Jones wasn't there. We recorded it on Friday, and on Monday Rick said management told him the lawyers had cleared it and go ahead and play it.'
Lynn said that after the controversy erupted, he asked if he could apologize on the air and was told no.
'So I'd like to apologize now,' he said. 'The song should have been pulled, and I should have been more sensitive.'
Originally published on July 13, 2005
HOW TO DISMANTLE A TICKING TIMEBOMB…
A few days after the July 2 concerts, Live8 organizers Bob Geldof and Bono traveled to the G8 summit of the world's leading capitalist nations in Edinburgh. They went at the express invitation of British prime minister Tony Blair to discuss the African "debt relief" package promoted by Live8. To the best of our knowledge, Bono and Geldof went into the meetings unaccompanied by a single African or a single poor person of any nation. None of the G8 nations is African. None of the leaders who gathered in Edinburgh is poor.
What could G8 leaders have discussed with this pair? Bono and Geldof can't possibly believe that Blair, Bush and the rest don't know the facts---that 35,000 children starved to death worldwide on July 2 and every day afterward. They know because these kids die as a direct result of the policies of the G8 nations, including the massive debts with which poor nations are saddled under the guise of "foreign aid."
Bono and Geldof asked the G8 nations to cut in half the debt carried by poor African nations. But if you only have a quarter in your pocket and I say you owe me $50,000,000, what difference does it make if I decide you only owe me $25,000,000? They also asked the G8 countries to double the value of relief sent to Africa--even though they must know that aid comes with "austerity" requirements that further ruin the lives of the poor and that the nature of that aid makes it easy for corrupt rulers to siphon it off.
All of the G8 nations have large-scale domestic poverty problems of their own, although not as glaring as the catastrophic situation in Russia. The disintegration of living standards in the former Soviet Union has been accelerated by the guidance of Bono's good friend, Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, to whom the U2 frontman dedicated a song at their recent Madison Square Garden concert. None of the G8 governments is even slightly inclined to end poverty among their own citizens: Bush recently signed a law that prevents heavily indebted Americans from seeking bankruptcy relief. Why do Bono and Geldof believe that these men will listen?
Because the Live8 leaders don't say anything the G8 bosses don't want to hear. Bono and Geldof's "debt relief" schemes do nothing to restore any of what has been stolen from poor countries. The poor are not empowered. And, true to their allegiance to the likes of Sachs, the only proposal to end poverty put forward by Live8 leaders is that G8 staple, "free trade."
Live8 also did the G8 leaders a huge favor. Gatherings of the powerful are haunted by the specter of the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, where tens of thousands marched and rioted to protest "free trade" policies and their consequences. By diverting millions of people with fairytale "solutions," Live8 helped keep the lid on in Edinburgh.
What's in it for Geldof, Bono, and the other rock stars? For Geldof, a knighthood and now, a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. For Bono, further confirmation of his own righteousness. For the rest, not much.
The Live8 leaders seduce rockers and their audiences by making this claim: We must deal with the world as it is. In that world, only the powerful can make change and the only way to get the powerful to listen is to treat them kindly. The first assumption begs the question, since the nature of the world is very different for even a one-hit wonder than it is for a homeless person or a peasant farmer. The historical evidence for the second two assumptions is nonexistent.
Geldof compares the movement he hopes to create to those led by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela. But none of those movements sent "representatives" on bended knee to ask the rulers to yield. All of them activated the energy and vision of the people affected by the policies of those rulers. All of them grew strong precisely to the degree that they allowed the disenfranchised to speak for themselves.
There is no evidence that Geldof, Bono or any of the Live8 leaders from the non-governmental aid organizations reached their conclusions about what Africa needs by consulting poor Africans. Geldof dismisses as "ineffective" all those who criticize him, claiming that they've done nothing because, after all, there's nothing else to do. This is also Bono's justification for working with Bush cabinet members, the most right-wing members of the American Congress (most notoriously, Jesse Helms), and even his little-noted support for anti-Semite evangelist Billy Graham.
Don't believe the hype: There is something else to do. Rock stars and their audiences can align themselves with movements led by the poor themselves. There is no nation affected by the G8 policies that lacks such a movement. Some musicians--Steve Earle, rapper Immortal Technique, Tom Morello, and Bruce Springsteen in the U.S., Thomas Mapfumo in Zimbabwe--have lent effective aid to such movements. The results aren't sent out by satellite TV, but the leaders of those movements regularly attest to them and are eager for more involvement by musicians.
Rock stars can do a lot to help organizations of the poor: gaining publicity, making connections across state and national borders, raising funds. Instead, we are confronted with the ridiculous spectacle in which RRC, a newsletter for God's sake, is in touch with more poor people than all of the Live8 artists and organizations combined. These range from the MST, Brazil's huge movement of the landless, to the hardy band of sick and disabled TennCare recipients who, at press time, were in the second week of a sit-in at the office of the governor of Tennessee.
We would love to correct this imbalance--we urge artists who want to be part of helping the poor end poverty to contact us at email@example.com or 310-398-4477. Operators are standing by.
There were only three days of testimony in the trial, which began June 21 but was interrupted when an anonymous tip led to the discovery of large numbers of LAPD documents that hadn't been turned over to attorneys for the rap star's family...
Family attorney Perry Sanders Jr. said the family - including Wallace's mother Voletta and widow R&B singer Faith Evans - didn't want to have to go through another trial but would do so. He said the case would now delve into a corruption scandal in the LAPD's Rampart division dating to the 1990s.
"We're about to get to the bottom of Rampart," Sanders said. "We're about to peel the onion back to its rotten core."
Perez was a central figure in the scandal, which involved alleged misconduct or brutality by corrupt officers in an anti-gang unit at Rampart. More than 100 criminal convictions possibly tainted by police misconduct were reversed. Perez alleged wrongdoing by others after he was found to have stolen cocaine from an evidence room.
Perez was the focus of most of the recently discovered documents, which had been sitting in an LAPD detective's desk drawer until last month. The detective said he forgot about them, a claim the judge called "absolutely incredible" during Tuesday's hearing.
The plaintiffs filed a motion Tuesday seeking a mistrial based on what they claimed was deliberate concealment of evidence and on the need for time to further investigate Perez.
The court did not immediately make the mistrial ruling public. A written ruling will be issued Thursday, the judge's clerk said in confirming the mistrial.
‘SF Weekly’ cuts deal with Clear Channel
Two anticompetitive chains seek to dominate concert ads
By Tim Redmond and Kimberly Chun
New Times, which owns SF Weekly and East Bay Express, has cut a deal with Clear Channel, the giant entertainment conglomerate, that could shut other print media, including the Bay Guardian, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in concert advertising, representatives of Bill Graham Presents, a Clear Channel subsidiary, told Bay Guardian ad sales staffers June 23.
Under the terms of the deal, New Times will pay Clear Channel a sum in the high six figures for naming rights to the Warfield Theatre, which for the next three years will become the SF Weekly Warfield, BGP representatives said.
In exchange, Clear Channel will spend so much money on advertising in the Weekly and Express that there will be little or no money left for competing print media.
In effect, one of the nation's largest media oligopolies has joined forces with the nation's largest alternative weekly chain to squeeze out an independently owned competitor.
"It's bad," Jeff Perlstein, executive director of Media Alliance, told us. "As all these dark tentacles become entwined, it gets more and more serious as a threat to independent media."
Nobody at New Times, SF Weekly, or Clear Channel would return our calls seeking comment. But a press release sent out June 27 from SF Weekly and BGP described the naming-rights deal and stated that SF Weekly and BGP “will collaborate across business fronts.”
The press release never mentions New Times or Clear Channel and presents the deal as if it were just a friendly agreement between local companies.
The BGP staffers who informed the Bay Guardian's entertainment account manager, Adam Shandobil, and marketing manager, Warren Spicer, of the deal said it was effective immediately. And in fact, BGP has pulled all of its ads from the Bay Guardian this week.
BGP presents concerts and events at the Fillmore, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Chronicle Pavilion, Punch Line, and Mountain Winery in the Bay Area, and at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Marysville, among other venues, and ads from all of these are affected by the deal.
Media observers we contacted said they'd never heard of a similar deal - but the arrangement comes as little surprise. Clear Channel, which owns 7 local radio stations and more than 1,200 nationwide, is known around the country for its savage, anticompetitive policies and its attempts to establish hegemony in entertainment markets (see "Clear and Present Danger," 4/24/2002). New Times, which owns 11 alt-weeklies, has become an icon of cutthroat, anticompetitive behavior in the alternative press (see "The Predatory Chain," 6/27/2002).
In the 1990s Clear Channel developed an aggressive strategy of buying up not only local radio stations but billboard companies and concert and sports promoters. The idea, as the Wall Street Journal reported June 24, was that "Clear Channel figured its radio stations and billboards could shill upcoming concerts, and performers would gravitate to its venues for the extra marketing. The radio stations would push concert offerings in each market."
But it hasn't worked out that well. "Instead," the Journal noted, "the combination irked music fans, record labels, and artists, who complained that Clear Channel used its might to punish artists who didn't play by its rules and contributed to the sharp rise in ticket prices at venues it controls."
That's why Clear Channel recently announced plans to spin off its concert business as a new subsidiary.
The media company has also been accused of censorship. The day after the Sept. 11 attacks, Clear Channel issued a list of songs that its stations were advised not to play, including John Lennon's "Imagine" and anything by Rage Against the Machine. Shortly after Clear Channel bought Bay Area radio station KMEL, the station fired producer David "Davey D" Cook, who had dared to air a show about Rep. Barbara Lee's objections to the invasion of Afghanistan. The corporation has close links to the Bush administration, and in 2003 Clear Channel stations sponsored rallies supporting the administration's war in Iraq.
These are the people SF Weekly is getting into bed with.
New Times and Clear Channel have at least one thing in common: They hate competition. In October 2002 New Times cut a deal with Village Voice Media in which the two chains agreed to end competition in Los Angeles and Cleveland by shutting down a pair of alternative papers. New Times closed its LA paper and secured the Cleveland market for itself; VVM reciprocated by shutting down its Cleveland operation. The US Justice Department declared the deal illegal (see "New Times Nailed," 1/21/03).
Sherry Wasserman, a senior official at Another Planet, a BGP competitor, said the deal sounded highly unusual. "Look at the Chronicle Pavilion, which still advertises in the Contra Costa Times and every other place," she said.
Guy Carson, owner of Café du Nord, said the arrangement might have a negative affect on the local music scene. "Obviously this has big implications," he told us. "To the extent that it hurts the Bay Guardian and [the] Chronicle, it's going to hurt the local scene.
"Maybe," he added, "SF is not immune to general homogenization."
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