Saturday, December 26, 2009

The worst case of short-sightedness by anyone in 2009

Category: Technology Author : Steven Hodson Posted: December 26, 2009
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The worst case of short-sightedness by anyone in 2009

There have been a number of reactions by media and entertainment industries right across the board that showed how short-sighted they can be when it comes to the changes that new technology brings to the table. In my opinion though we can go right back to February of 2009 for what has to be the worst case.

Back then I wrote here about how the Authors Guild was getting all up in arms about how Amazon’s Kindle was going to have text-to-speech enabled by default. As I wrote then

What it boils down to is that this Guild; which is suppose to be acting on behalf of it’s member authors, says that by creating an audio version of a book you are in fact creating a whole new product that is totally based on a copyrighted book. In other reports on this the Guild has even gone to the point of suggesting that any verbal or audio reproduction of a book is and infringement on a copyright and there for illegal.

In the end Amazon capitulated and shipped the Kindle with text-to-speech disabled as well as providing publishers with the option to totally disable the feature. Of course this was a great feature that would have been a boon to visually impaired people and maybe even have encouraged more sales of the e-reader.

However the Guild had its way and Amazon scampered back to its corner licking its balls wounds. Instead of seeing this as a way to encourage additional sales, and not just to  the visually impaired the Guild decided that being able to double dip on sales was more preferable to providing added value that would benefit everyone.

Short-sighted and dumb.

Amazon and the Authors Guild did a major disservice to the visually impaired community, many of who would have bought the Kindle and he books that fwent on it. Shame on Amazon and the Guild for denying those who can't read normal books the ability to enjoy and learn from Authors Guild members.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Has the recession gone too far? (pic) --The Live Feed | THR

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Christmas Song Of The Year

Merry Swiftmas (Even Though I Celebrate Chanukah) by Evan Taubenfeld  
Download now or listen on posterous
01 Merry Swiftmas (Even Though I Cel.mp3 (4092 KB)

I love Christmas music.  I love the standards, the songs I grew up on, the original tunes from my favorite artists, and a good novelty Christmas song too.  Its only December 12th, and I'm declaring the winner in the Christmas Song Of The Year race.  AndImagine that, its kind of a novelty song. 
For your listening pleasure (just listen, if you like it BUY it for goshsakes) Mr. Evan Taubenfeld and Merry Swiftmas (Even Though I Celebrate Chanukkah).  Not bad for the son of the owners of a Kosher catering company.
No matter what you celebrate, enjoy!

Posted via email from Mark Edwards 3.0

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Arbitron’s ‘little gadget’ causes major static |Robert Feder

Luis Gutierrez, the Chicago Democrat, surprised fellow members of Congress earlier this year with the revelation that he and his wife were participants in an Arbitron ratings survey. They’d been chosen to carry Portable People Meters, which are compact devices that monitor radio listening electronically.

What Inside Radio called Gutierrez’s “shocking announcement” not only ignored Arbitron strictures against survey panelists disclosing their participation, it also underscored why the PPM system — which replaced the old paper-and-pencil diary method — has not yet gained full acceptance by the industry or federal regulators.

“It really is very burdensome technology,” Gutierrez said of his experience during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on minority broadcast ownership. “My wife’s dresses sometimes did not accommodate the little gadget.” While joking about the five-dollar fee he received as a Hispanic participant, he said it was a struggle to remember to carry the pager-like device each day: “I barely take my medicine when I’m supposed to, and I forget about my glasses. . . . I can’t see an auto mechanic using this. If you’re a nurse or a doctor, are you really going to walk around with this pager all day long?”

Even more controversial than the technology is the sampling Arbitron has been using to gather its data. As stations aimed at minorities have seen their ratings decline (by one estimate they’ve dropped between 40 and 60 percent nationwide since PPM kicked in), Congress has been holding Arbitron’s feet to the fire. As recently as last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform grilled Arbitron CEO Michael Skarzynski, who declared: “We share the concern regarding the health of minority broadcasting, and are certain that PPM is not the cause of its problems.” According to a summary by Radio Business Report, Skarzynski said his company had spent more than $100 million to develop technology that produces valid and reliable audience estimates.

So what happens when a minority-targeted station does well in the ratings? Consider Clear Channel Radio’s urban adult-contemporary WVAZ-FM (102.7), which finished first among all listeners between the ages of 25 and 54 (the “money demo” coveted by advertisers) in the PPM survey for November. That achievement prompted the Sun-Times to ask in a headline: “Is Arbitron cooking ratings numbers?” Citing unnamed radio execs, columnist Lewis Lazare had them “wondering whether Arbitron, to avert any unwanted action by Congress, might in recent months have been reallocating its  [PPMs] — and/or weighting the data from those meters — in a way that skews the results more heavily in favor of minority-oriented formats.”

The allegation drew a strong denial from Arbitron — and a sharp rebuke this week from Sean Ross, the highly respected executive editor of music and programming for and vice president of music and programming for Edison Research, who wrote:

“Even if Arbitron were showing greater diligence at hitting its ethnic targets in Chicago or any other market, well, that’s what a ratings provider is supposed to be doing, particularly now. Describing that as ‘cooking ratings numbers’ in a major daily suggests naiveté about the vicissitudes of the sampling process and broadcasters’ rhetoric on the topic — every month, the station that goes back up in the ratings thinks it’s because they raised hell with Arbitron about the sample the month before.”

In this market, the effect of the new ratings system is most evident in sweeping talent changes over the past year or two. Everyone from Steve Dahl, Melissa Forman, Ed Volkman and Joe Bohannon to Jonathon Brandmeier, Ramsey Lewis, Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey can blame their predicaments on PPM numbers that were lower than the ratings they delivered under Arbitron’s old method.

Even so, to make Arbitron a scapegoat for all of radio’s ills is more than naïve or simplistic.  It overlooks the double-digit declines in advertising revenue brought about by the economic downturn and competing media — especially the Internet. It disregards the impact of iPods, online streaming and satellite radio. And it ignores the crushing debt loads that threaten the very survival of many radio companies.

But then again, in troubled times, it’s always been easiest to blame the messenger.

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About The Author

Robert Feder

Other posts byRobert Feder

Great story and analysis from the Dean of media writers, Robert Feder. I'll save my own comments and present this "as is" for your reading pleasure.

Posted via web from Mark Edwards 3.0

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Glimmer Of Hope For St. Louis Public Transit

For the next few months, you'll be seeing me write about the public transit situation in St. Louis and the need to pass a modest tax increase in order to continue to provide even bare bones service to the area. This is a topic that's critically important to me as I rely on mass transit to get around (due to a visual handicap) but its also one of the key things that will determine how the St. Louis area develops. Without an effective public transit system, the region will atrophy and ultimately lose even more jobs and residents.

I found a piece of what could be great news today in regards to the upcoming ballot issue, thanks to my co-workers at KMOX Radio.

Posted: Wednesday, 02 December 2009 4:25AM

Metro sales tax officially resurrected; message in focus
Michael Calhoun Reporting
CLAYTON (KMOX) -- Last spring, Chesterfield opened its wallet to prevent transit cuts in west county. Now, the
town's mayor is heading up efforts to find permanent funding for Metro.

"After what happened this year, people are now very aware public transportation and the cuts and what it meant to the region," John Nations says.

St. Louis County Councilmembers Tuesday officially resurrected that half-cent sales tax to fund Metro and introduced it for consideration. A tentative vote will happen next week.

Nations says there's little federal help and no state funding, so it's all on Saint Louisans.

"A lot of people rely on businesses which rely on public transpiration even though they themselves don't ride it," he says of the message to come ahead of April's election.

The half-cent sales tax would generate about $80-million each

Look at the campaign finance reports, he says, and you'll find
both Republicans and Democrats agreeing on that.

In the face of $45-million deficit, Metro earlier this year slashed service to parts of the region. A state bail-out helped restore some of those routes.
Copyright KMOX Radio

Why is this good news? Four words. JOHN NATIONS GETS IT. In a region where so few politicians and their stooges have no appreciation for mass transit, Mayor Nations has distinguished himself as someone who understands why transit in St. Louis is important, not only to people like me who use it, but to everyone in the region.

After the disastrous campaign to get more money for Metro, the St. Louis transit agency, in November of 2008, a monkey could run a better effort for the upcoming ballot question. The people behind the measure went a quantum leap over that and got one of the region's most visionary leaders to lead the charge and hopefully convince enough people to spring for the half cent tax to fund mass transit in St. Louis.

This isn't a partisan thing, its about what's right for the region as a whole and the patrons of mass transit as well. I hope to share objective information about how the campaign is run, the chances of passing the ballot measure, and call out the creeps should they rear their ugly heads. If you're not from St. Louis, please bear with me as this is an important issue. If you are from St. Louis, watch this space for updates.