Poker and Liquor

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Joe Loy Effect

Several people in my business have died recently. A year ago May 22, Chris Gulfman, age 35, a videographer from my previous employer of eight years, WYFF-TV, had a brain aneurysm and died suddenly.

April 30th, WHNS (Fox Carolina) videographer Cliff Cross, 41, passed away from a very short battle with a very aggressive cancer. Fox Carolina also unexpectedly lost their research director, Stephen Dillard, 42, two years ago from a heart attack. My wife worked at WHNS for 9 years, and knew Cliff and Stephen well.

On May 10th, a colleague and close friend of mine when I worked at WYFF, Mike LaBoone, 49, Broadcast Engineer, committed suicide. He taught me a lot about television, audio in particular. He always said in a twangy Ross Perot accent "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone." I will.

This week, Joe Loy, Assignment Editor/Videographer was hit by a van and killed while covering another accident. He also worked at WHNS, Fox Carolina. He was well known in this market, not just by people in television, but by many in the community. As assignment editor, he makes all the calls to everyone who is anyone, looking for the stories to send the news crews out to cover. They all knew him, and they all liked him. Who wouldn't? Look at that smile . . .

It is very sad and tragic for everyone who knew these fine folks. It can also be a tough issue for those working in the business. Joy Loy's death, in particular, strikes a cord. He died on the job, doing what we all have done. I used to be the engineer in the live truck. I've been on the side of the road so many times, I can still smell the brake dust. All news crews have been there. It's what they do. Everyone in this business that goes on location has been on the side of the interstate at some point. So many of the police officers and emergency crews Joe talked to on the phone daily are on the side of the interstate constantly. Heck, nearly everyone's car has at least broken down once. It is a scary place to be, and it makes us all identify with his tragedy.

But believe it or not, I'm not just blogging this to express my sorrow. Television can be competitive, and competition can be ugly sometimes. But I was amazed and awestruck when I heard a little something about Fox Carolina's competing stations. As I heard it from a reliable source, WYFF (the NBC affiliate) and WSPA (the CBS affiliate) both offered to help out Fox Carolina by producing their news for them, so that the entire staff could attend the funeral. The entire newscast, done by your competition as an act of kindness and compassion. Can you imagine Applebees sending over cooks and wait staff to help out TGIFridays? I am proud of these station's behavior.

I doubt FoxCarolina will take them up on the offer, but I am very impressed to see it made.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, May 12, 2007

09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0, and Save Internet Radio

For those who don't know, this hexadecimal series of numbers was posted on Digg a bazillion times. It is the encryption key to HD-DVD. Oddly, it might've just been posted only a few times, except that there was a cease and desist letter sent to Digg, and they felt they had to take it down in order to avoid legal action. The intarweb revolted at the idea of being censored, and went post-happy. Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, finally decided that freedom of speech, and the desires of his clientèle were more important than possible legal action against him. That, and it was probably becoming impossible for him to stop the avalanche of posts.

Funny side note, as the lawyers tried in vain to prevent this code from being released to the public, they filed many official notices to stop it. These are now a matter of public record. They contain the encryption code. Brilliant move, idiots!

So, I would never know what to do with this number, but there are those out there who do. While I don't encourage the theft of music, movie, software, or any truly intellectual property, I do feel that the MPAA and the RIAA are out of control with their desire to inhibit our abilities to copy music and movies that we have legally purchased. The RIAA's unbridled greed to hold fast onto their product, and charging $16 for a piece of 15 cent plastic while giving the performer/artist pennies on the dollar is criminal in nature.

The really sad part is, that if they quit trying to stop copying, quit investing millions into copy protection and encryption, and quit fighting the legal battles associated with it, they could lower the prices of the music and movies enough so that no one would bother in the first place.

EMI has realized this, to a degree, and has dropped DRM on all music at iTunes. I encourage everyone to support their decision by purchasing EMI music on iTunes. When you buy an EMI song on iTunes, it is yours--you can put it on your laptop, your iPod, burn it to a CD, burn it to eight more Mix-Tape CD's, put it on your computer at work, and not have to worry about it not working. THANK YOU EMI! I will finally buy music on iTunes.

Should I rant now about NetRadio? I'll try and make it brief. The RIAA, ASCAP, BMI, and Broadcast Radio lobbyists have succeeded in killing internet radio. They have increased the ASCAP and BMI fees to as much as . . . well enough to make it almost impossible to do:
"The rates include a minimum fee of $500 (U.S.) per year, per channel with escalating fees for each song played. In 2006 (the decision is retroactive), the applicable fee would be $0.0008 per performance. Since a performance is defined as streaming one song to one listener, a webcaster with 10,000 listeners would pay 10,000 times the going rate for every streamed song. The fee structure increases each year with rates that more than double by 2009"-Toronto Star
Did you get that? 2006 fees are retroactive???!!! If CJ and Otis had started fooling around with UPFORRADIO, they would retroactively owe enough money to be bankrupted!I can't imagine how this could possibly be legal, but that is the legal ruling.

Like to hear radio on the internet? Too bad. Broadcast radio has killed it. It will be dead. Time of Death: July 15, 2007. It may have even backfired on the broadcasters as well--many stations that simultaneously stream their broadcasts on the internet will have to pay as well. KUDOS to NPR for fighting the good fight!! It is a shame you lost.

There is still hope here, PLEASE wirte your congressman and demand them to pass the Internet Radio Equality Act, and check out

Enough of my ranting at The Man.

Labels: , , ,