Bobby Conn, King

I’ve been actively posting elsewhere — check my recent posts at LAist here, here, and here to see what was shakin over the weekend. bobby conn

Meanwhile — I just got Bobby Conn’s latest in the mail from Thrill Jockey, and it’s his best. It stays in the same vein, of the miraculous and unique Freddie Mercury-cum-Weather Report overridden with Chicago-crossed falsetto dream-funk. Very hard to pick one track from this record as it is the most serial of all of his records — a listen-through-all-the-way type. By the end, he proclaims “(I’m Through With) My Ego.” As if. For all you “Winners” out there, you’ll surely dig “Love Don’t Let Me Down.”

See the legend — er, I mean, King — for yourself via YouTube.

The Newsroom That Spends More, Earns More

The first good news story about the newspaper industry that I’ve read in a while and I sure hope it ends up on the desk of editors and publishers of the country’s finest newsrags.

My colleagues and feel acutely futile arguing that rampant job-cutting at newspapers not only lowers the quality of the rag, but shrinks profits in the long run (we’re months from graduating, J-school, so give us a break), Finally, there’s a study to back us up.

The upside for papers to hire, hire, hire:

“If you invest in the newsroom, do you make more money? The answer is yes,” Esther Thorson, an advertising professor and associate dean for graduate studies at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, said in a statement.

Reuters discloses the ugliness of the recent management of the news media industry that is (I pray) at its nadir.

According to job outplacement tracking firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of planned job cuts in the U.S. media sector surged 88 percent to 17,809 last year.

Since the start of 2007, Time Warner Inc.’s Time Inc. said it would cut 289 jobs, and the New York Times Co. announced plans to shed 125 jobs and close foreign bureaus for its Boston Globe newspaper.

“Until recently, people have been doing it because the results looked good to investors on Wall Street, but it’s… ignoring the long-term aspects,” said marketing professor and study co-author Murali Mantrala.

The study (which I can find no mention of on the Missouri site) will be published in April’s Journal of Marketing

Villaraigosa Pledges CityWide Wi-Fi in 2 Years

villaraigosa wireless municipal los angeles

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today declared “the start of Los Angeles version 2.0,” announcing a plan to roll out what would be the largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the country.

Bidding for the project may begin as soon as this fall with a target of mid-late 2008 construction and early 2009 completion. It could cost up to $60 million to cover Los Angeles’ 470 square miles, city IT assistant general manager Mark Wolf told the Times, which, by my calculation, amounts to around $15 or so per capita (few, if any, tax dollars will likely be involved).

Municipal WiFi is a no-brainer for Los Angeles, with an economy bolstered by a tech and entertainment industry that will no doubt be gratefully attracted to such a system, while bridging the digital divide. “On a practical level, this means providing integral, high-speed solution for entertainment companies to juggle simultaneous projects in real-time at lower cost with reliable teleconferencing, for example,” said Villaraigosa.

Philadelphia’s mu-fi project appears to be going well after a slow start ($21.95/mo or $9.95 and Houston today became the largest city to sign on a carrier (Earthlink).

SF announced their wifi ambitions in 2004 and its still not certain when it will be fully operational — perhaps the way will have been paved for LA by ’09.

Read the full presser at MuniWireless. More at LAist.

Other LA metro wifi spots live and/or in development include:

* Culver City (the first in the LA metro)
* 17 wireless access points along the promenade, at city hall and by the end of May, Santa Monica Pier and the civic auditorium.
* 1 square mile +/- of wifi in Downtown Burbank (via Qwest DSL and access points aimed at a large hillside satellite)
* West Hollywood Public Wifi — along Santa Monica Blvd between Fairfax and La Brea.
* Anaheim (right now at $21.95/mo. – similar to PHilly except not sure if it has the lower-rate plans)
* Newport and Laguna Beach Harbors (up to a few miles out at sea)

Further reading:

* Ars Technica on the pros and cons of muni wifi.
* Worldchanging on the politics of municipal wireless.
* Muni Wifi notes and legislation.
*
Free Press — Community Internet.

photo by Eric Richardson via flickr.

Interview With Jailed Journalist Josh Wolf

josh wolfVideoblogger Josh Wolf has been imprisoned for longer than any journalist in history. He is also featured in (I believe week two) of the PBS Frontline series News War, which begins tonight.

Video blogger and independent journalist Josh Wolf has been in a federal jail for 171 days for refusing to turn over to a federal grand jury a video of a San Francisco demonstration. On Feb. 6 Wolf’s length of incarceration set a new record for US journalism. “Democracy Now!” has an interview with Josh Wolf from his jail cell. If federal authorities can jail bloggers with impunity, it does not bode well for the future of citizen journalism.

via slashdot.

read related posts.

Fun With FineTune

I’ve been broadcasting via Live365 since 1999, as many of you know, but it’s always fun to check out new toys. FineTune invites you to choose a 45 song playslist — and they’ve got access to lots of songs in fact. It takes forever, however, to choose an entire setlist, and since I’m busy, I only picked about 12 songs and let it automatically choose the rest (basically more songs from the same artists I had already chosen. Below you’ll see how your customized setlist is embedded onto your blog.

I’d have to say this takes the participatory recommendation listening formula of Pandora a big step further. You can recommend stuff, say what you like and discover similar music that you haven’t heard before. But you can make your own mix and spread it — a bit like Last.fm but more advanced.

I still don’t understand exactly how royalties are counted for these systems — I know Live365 has a base rate that they pay and which I chip in towards as a station operator. But, like Last and Pandora, Finetune is free.

See ZDNet
for more on the dev specs of finetune.

TechCrunch recently summarized the pros and cons of all the latest social music players.

Thanks to Whitney at PopCandy for the suggestion — after all, she did it first.