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Weekend Feedback: 1/16/04

Friday, January 16, 2004

The inspirational Miss M

Bette Midler inspired fans last week at the Mellon Arena.(Matt Freed, Post-Gazette)

After attending my first Bette Midler concert last week at the Mellon Arena, I discovered that at 58 years young, Bette Midler is one of those rare entertainers who is able to transcend age and gender in her vast fan appeal.

Her voice never sounded any stronger and her physique was never more slim and trim. She's an inspiration to us mid-50s women, that life doesn't have to be over once you reach the age of Britney Spears.

Forest Hills

Not well radio-ed

I'm guessing that you will be inundated with letters about the demise of WJJJ-FM and the debut of a news/talker that features more conservative talk out the ying-yang and another place for the "Steeler yinzer" to kvetch about the team after a loss or a win, blind to the fact that we have other teams in the area.

Then again, I knew that this was coming, considering that Pittsburgh is not a well-radio-ed area. Anything that's on a 5000 watt AM, the listeners will gripe that they can't pick it up. Any station that tries innovation (remember The Revolution?) will incur the wrath of the yinzers. So they tried a decent format on 104.7 and it kind of worked. Only thing was that you could only play the same 40 disco and '70s jams for so long before people got bored. When the company decided to blow up the staff and make the station automated in most parts, the writing was on the wall.

They could have turned the station into a full-blown urban station geared toward adults who weren't happy with the "bling-bling" direction of WAMO-FM. They could have said, "listen to AM 860," but the usual bugaboos of being a small-watt AM station still remain.

Oh well, this is radio in Pittsburgh 2004. People who have a passion for it are few and far between. Those who are still there are browbeaten by the bean counters that still run radio in America.

Let corporate radio have its fun toys, those of you who are into the music have a few options such as satellite radio (XM), Internet radio stations from other places (WOXY-FM, BBC's Radio 1 and 6Music plus Australia's Triple J network), noncommercial stations (WYEP-FM, WPTS-FM and WRCT-FM) and the old standby -- mp3s. While they may not have the "yinzer" flavor, they offer perfect alternatives to conservative conspiracy theories disguised as Republicanism, heavy metal disguised as modern rock in Pittsburgh and the usual whine about the Steelers.

Executive producer, Steel City Video Mix

Save the Beat

I am writing to voice my opinion on Clear Channel's decision to replace WJJJ-FM 104.7 The Beat with a 24-hour talk radio show. I am really upset that they decided to take off a very good radio station. The four DJs, Chris Reynolds, Brother Matt, Bill Simpson and John Anthony, did a very good job in playing classic R&B and old school music for the Greater Pittsburgh area and surrounding communities.

I feel Clear Channel Communications doesn't realize how many loyal listeners The Beat really had. Everyone I talk to seems to have the same feelings I have on the cancellation of this great music station.

No other radio station in the listening area plays this type of music. Maybe all of the loyal listeners of The Beat can get together in a grass-roots effort and show Clear Channel what a big mistake they made in taking 104.7 The Beat off the air.


Bringing in the hate-mongers

I was excited when I first heard there would be a new FM newstalk radio station. I saw the billboards; I heard the ads. But when I tuned into 104.7 it took me all of three minutes to realize what happened.

Sadly, the all-talk format is an ultraconservative-biased format with opinionated hate-mongers like Quinn and Hannity. The only thing they are missing is a hopped up Rush Limbaugh. It is bad enough we have television stations like Fox, which claim to broadcast "news," but now 104.7 can spout pro-Bush sentiments and anti-everything else all day.

Why not a more Pittsburgh-based news talk? I do not need to hear Quinn regurgitating everything Rush Limbaugh says. For those of you who support this station, I say, "Congratulations, now you have a station that can tell you how to think."

Forest Hills

Trouble with Sprout

I strongly agree with Charles Seroky's letter, "Sprout at Club Cafe: Great idea that could have been better" (Feedback, Jan. 9). We really didn't care about making a buck, we just wanted to get our name out there, but unfortunately I don't think it's going to happen when most of the crowd were band members waiting to play or were noisy regulars, like he said. Club Cafe was fun, but it's way too small.

The first band that played the night we did had five people in the band and it looked as though if they had tried to move an inch, they would have fallen off the stage. I liked the suggestion for the Rex. It's a great place for music, with a good-size stage, standing room in front and theater seats, too. The separate bar is good, too. My band hasn't played any place that is under 21 yet. I know there's got to be a way to have 18+ nights somewhere.

The under-21 places around here seem to be filled with 12- to 16-year-olds who want punk music as loud as they can get it, but our band sounds like Radiohead or something more calm, so it's hard to find a place for us to play anywhere in Pittsburgh where the people aren't mad at you when you don't play their favorite AC/DC cover.

I like Pittsburgh, but we can't stop talking about getting the hell out of here so we can find an audience who appreciates our music. I wish it didn't have to be that way.

The writer is in the band School of Athens.

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