Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Sunday, October 03, 2021

With all the FCC heat shock jocks have been getting this year, the satellite radio alternative has to be looking better and better. In fact, satellite has been actively courting the most controversial personalities. That courting has borne fruit in the case of former NYC shockers Opie and Anthony, who debut their XM Radio show tomorrow.

How about Bubba the Love Sponge, whose firing by Clear Channel lumped Tampa into this landscape? He’s running for Pinellas County Sheriff.

While Bubba insists he’s serious about wanting to serve in public office, there are reasons for skepticism:

There has been widespread speculation among critics and local political observers that [Bubba] Clem’s real interest is landing a contract on satellite radio, where listeners purchase a special receiver and pay a subscriber fee.

Clem said he isn’t negotiating such a deal now. He’s focusing his time on becoming sheriff. But if a deal came his way, Clem said he could do both jobs. He would go as far to install an emergency phone into his radio studio so he could be contacted by his deputies.

“People would know I would have to leave,” Clem said. “They could run tapes.”

Otherwise, he said he could do the morning drive time, then arrive at work at 10:30 a.m. for a full day of law enforcement.

“Radio has been my career,” Clem said. “Could I do both? Probably. Would I do both? Probably not. My No. 1 priority is to be the sheriff of Pinellas.”

And if you believe that, you’re probably not only dumb enough have formerly listened to Bubba’s show, but also dumb enough to vote for him.

The true story here is that Bubba has not been able to get either XM or Sirius interested enough to give him a show. That shouldn’t be surprising: The Tampa Bay area’s demographics likely don’t represent a robust subscriber radio market, and that’s probably doubly true of Bubba’s target market. In short, no one is actually going to pay to listen to Bubba’s show, especially not when over-the-air alternatives are playing. And if the Tampa Bay area isn’t buying, no one else will.

So the run for Sheriff is a publicity stunt, designed to get his name back in the media (where it’s been largely absent since he’s left the airwaves). He won’t win, despite what that idiot UCF professor thinks; name recognition won’t be enough to motivate his former listeners to the polls in large numbers.

I’ve said it before: Bubba is strictly small-time, and he’s going to stay that way. Once this nonsense blows over, he’ll resume his slow fade by guest-emceeing various fringe events, until time when no one will remember who he was.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/03/2021 04:23:11 PM
Category: Politics, Radio
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Friday, September 24, 2021

It’s campaign season in a Presidential election year, so voter mobilization is popping up all over, including through a rejuvinated political movement in rap.

Rodney Thrash did a good job with looking at the roots of enlightenment within rap music, and makes an especially good point as to why it tapered off:

[Vibe’s Erik] Parker refers to the late 1980s as the golden era of hip-hop.

[Ex-Source editor Bakari] Kitwana says it was a time when “many of the record labels were independent.”

That independence allowed artists “a lot more diversity and range in terms of the content of hip-hop,” he said.

It didn’t last long.

Kitwana calls it “the formula.”

“The corporatization of the music industry and the consolidation of rap labels under five main distributors limited the range and the content of the music to one main theme: gangstas, playas, b-es and ho’s,” he said…

The formula worked, even penetrating a demographic far removed from the experiences described in the lyrics: white suburban teens.

Whereas most hip-hop albums in the 1980s went gold (sales of 500,000 or more) or platinum (sales of 1-million), the gangsta rap and sexually explicit themes of the 1990s garnered hip-hop artists multiplatinum sales. N.W.A’s Efil4zaggin sold nearly 1-million records in weeks and became the first gangsta rap album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Two years later, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic sold 4-million copies.

Because of that success, the content of hip-hop lyrics has not changed in more than a decade, Kitwana said.

Money talks. When competition narrows, output becomes more and more lowest-common-denominator. I’d argue this dynamic has extended throughout the entire music industry. So it’s not your imagination: Most music today really does suck.

There is, of course, a long history of using music to motivate younger people to get political. Folk music is almost synonymous with activism. The various musician-promoted voter drives (from “Rock the Vote” to P. Diddy’s current “Vote or Die”) have taken advantage of popular music’s pipeline to young minds who otherwise might never visit a ballot box.

Whether or not it’s the right medium for conveying the message is questionable. I tend to think it does lead toward a faddish impulse, without a truly lasting impression. But if the aim is to just get out the vote for the current election, long-term results aren’t necessarily important (not any more so than any other segment of the population). And indeed, despite some expectations of taking on this role, no musician is bound to take up the call (and given the critiques that outspoken artists get, there’s reason to hesitate).

That can change as the audience gets older, as well as the genre itself:

But there’s another influence besides the 2000 election: Hip-hop is getting old. This month marks 25 years since the release of the Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, which eventually entered the Billboard Top 40, the first time a rap song achieved that feat. The pioneers of the genre are now fathers, mothers, husbands and wives. What may have mattered to them as teenagers and young adults - cars, money, jewelry, clothes and women - matters less as 30-, 40- and 50-year-olds. They want what is best for their families: access to good schools, good jobs and a good quality of life. The person sitting in the Oval Office determines if access is granted and more, Parker said.

A notable omission from the citations of politically-charged albums of late is “To the 5 Boroughs” from the veteran Beastie Boys. It hasn’t been marketed as an overtly political disc, but the lyrics throughout are unmistakably anti-Bush. Between them and Public Enemy, oldschool artists are well-represented here.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 09/24/2004 07:31:22 PM
Category: Politics, Pop Culture
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Thursday, September 16, 2021

President Bush better hope all his supporters aren’t this clueless: Lynne Gobbell of Moulton, Alabama was fired from her job for refusing to remove a John Kerry bumper sticker from her car, and was promptly hired by the Kerry campaign afterward.

Given the obvious jackass-like qualities displayed by Phil Geddes, the owner who did the firing, you’d think he’d the perfect Democratic mascot. Apparently, he needs to brush up on the Thirteenth Amendment, and disabuse himself of the notion that his cruddy little company is some sort of plantation.

This event did provide a golden opportunity for the Kerry campaign. Bush supporters come off as arrogant jerks, and Kerry gets to play hero by giving the injured party a real job. Yes, Geddes is an extreme case that doesn’t typify any rational business owner, and Gobbell is likely out of a job as soon as the election ends. But this is campaign season, and image is everything; you couldn’t have scripted this better.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/16/2004 08:29:48 PM
Category: Politics, Society
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Monday, September 06, 2021

prepare to
Inspired by arcade classic Joust, it’s White House Joust.

Because if ostriches can fly, then so can donkeys and elephants.

(Via DrikoLand)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/06/2021 01:39:23 PM
Category: Internet, Politics, Videogames
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The November run to the White House is looking like another tight one, so both sides are looking for every edge they can find to reach all voting persuasions: Democrats, Republicans and undecideds. The obvious medium? Television, of course. But where on TV? On the shows each voter group favors, thereby giving campaign ads their most effective timeslots.

Let’s see what shows click with which political bent, as determined by research by Interactive Media Worldwide:

For Republicans:
“Everybody Loves Raymond”
“The Amazing Race”
“8 Simple Rules”
“Last Comic Standing”
“Without A Trace”

For Democrats:
“Will & Grace”
“Extreme Makeover”
“Judging Amy”
“For Love or Money”
“Crossing Jordan”

For undecideds:
“My Wife and Kids”
“Fear Factor”
“CSI: Miami”
“Who Wants to Marry My Dad?”

Hmmm… So basically, all three groups have one thing in common: All the shows they like suck. Suck hard.

Maybe the radicals are right: The two-party system is an illusion.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/31/2004 10:12:15 PM
Category: Politics, TV
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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Back in January, I did sports fans a service by framing the Presidential race as a hockey (Kerry) vs. baseball (Bush) decision.

I think I’ve made an impact! Tonight on “The Late Show with David Letterman”, Dennis Leary declared that he’s casting his vote strictly based on his accord with Kerry on the hockey issue — namely, that they both play it.

On the other hand, it could be that Leary was just stealing my material. He’s been known to do that sort of thing.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 08/25/2004 01:28:54 AM
Category: Celebrity, Politics, Sports
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Friday, August 20, 2021

Highlighted by campaign visits from President Bush’s Hispanic nephew, Mexico is becoming an election-year battleground for these United States.

Initial thought: Just how many Electoral College votes do the Bush and Kerry campaigns imagine Mexico has?

But of course, the target is not Mexico itself, but the estimated 1 million American citizens who live there. In what’s looking like another tight race, both parties are scrounging for every vote they can get. Similar pushes are being made among expats in Europe and Asia.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/20/2004 04:53:46 PM
Category: Politics
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