Monday, March 31, 2008

My first assignment

It's been awhile since I've written anything that's been published.
Not in a book, nothing that big. Just magazine stuff.
Back in the 80's, I wrote for this small student-based newspaper
Estudyante, where I worked with my old chums like graphic artist Angelo Santos
and writer turned TV correspondent (now reknown indie film director) Jim Libiran.
Writing music articles and record reviews was my thing. I even did a very upclose, eye-opening and revealing interview piece on Jerks vocalist Chickoy Pura back then. If I find it, I'll repost it here. That is, if.. I find it.
But back to the here and now.

Since mentioning interview pieces, that brings me straight into my first assignment.
I recently snagged a writing gig with Burn Magazine, thanks to an old friend,
Philippine Daily Inquirer's Music Editor (and High School batchmate) Poch Concepcion.
And those old articles I wrote for Pinoy songhits magazine sort of paid off.
Anyway, my first assignment is an interview piece for the local band Paramita.
They've got a launch sked for the 4th of April.
Yours truly's gonna be there.
Will try to take some pics.
Wish me luck.

POLL : What's a good name for my radio show?

Greetings guys!
Need your help.. what's a good name for my radio show?
This is not an official poll or some such, just an uhm err.. opinion poll, of sorts.
Simply select from the two choices below.
Your opinion is most valuable and welcome.

Jimmy's Jam
The Big Bad Jam Session

I know they sorta-kinda-mejo suck, but those are the two I'm throwing in.
But of course, if you have other name suggestions, hey, feel free.. I'm all ears!
Thanks guys!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's back! Campus Aircheck's Summer Crash Course 2008

So you wanna be a Student DJ, eh?

99.5 Campus FM is poised for yet another search for the most talented Student DJs in
Metro Manila. The original Student DJ program that started all the other programs, is back!
Campus Aircheck's Summer Crash Course 2008.
The #1 Hit Music Station in Metro Manila is looking for students currently enrolled,
aged 18-25 years old. Filipino, with the talent and potential of becoming a
Campus FM Student DJ.

Auditions will be held on APRIL 7, 2008 at 99.5 Campus FM, Rm. 906B, 9th Floor
Paragon Plaza, EDSA cor. Reliance St., Mandaluyong City, from 9am-5pm.
Don't forget your resume and a 2x2 picture.

If you can't wait for that day, you can CALL 99.5 Campus FM and audition over the phone!
Leave your name, age, your school and contact numbers, and show us what you've got.
If we like what we hear, we'll get in touch with you and sked you for the auditions.
Who knows. Your chance to being part of Campus Aircheck's Summer Crash Course 2008
may just be a telephone call away!
(Dedicated phone line to be announced soon or call 633-0995 for details).

It's the chance of a lifetime. And it's happening again!
Be part of the Student DJ program that started it all!
Campus Aircheck's Summer Crash Course 2008.
This is one summer class you wouldn't want to skip!
Only from the #1 Hit Music Station in Metro Manila.
99.5 Campus FM.

I got "Airchecked!"

The radiojingles dude strikes yet again!
This time, he airchecked my Monday night show, boo-boos and all.
(How embarrassing)

Hey, happens to the best of us (convenient excuse). But, I say "you're only as good as your last boardwork." Which is why I, personally, always give 100%. Boarding like it's your last ever boardwork. But, back to radiojingles.. some very interesting, and if I may say constructive, criticism. Read on. My personal critique below the article.

99.5 Campus FM Aircheck

99.5 Campus FM Aircheck

I pulled a Campus FM off air montage last night, I caught Jimmy Jam on the air from 5-7 pm. He was having this cut-by-the-vocals ’syndrome’ which is of course common among DJs. It was like at the top of the 5 pm drive when Jimmy Jam introed a Linkin Park song only to be caught by the vocals. I am always been a big fan of Jimmy Jam, but I believe the guy has an excellent talent in reinventing himself. Not because he was absent for a while in a CHR radio, but his style is just so 90s. (I’m sorry)

Big deep voices on the radio are not obsolete, they sound best in promos and liners. These days, what sells and cuts through in DJing are the boy-next door type of DJ voices. Gone are the days of the old Rick Dees or Casey Casem style of disc jockeying, so I should say my dear friend should reinvent himself.

Not in a way, that he should sound like a 16 year old kid. It’s just that the usual DJing stuff just don’t cut it anymore.

Anyway, I’d like to commend 99.5 Campus FM for a having a decent radio station imaging. Nothing beats a simple non-processed voiceover liners that say the words “99.5 Campus FM Is The Number One Hit Music Station in Metro Manila”. The traffic promo was nicely done, just lengthy though.

As I said, most constructive criticism and concise observations.
Here's my two cents.
You're right about the LP song, introing without prior audition.
My bad.
As for my voice..
Honestly speaking, I am NOT happy with my voice.
Okay, I know what you're say.. "Aww, that's modesty speaking.."
But for the longest time, I have NOT liked my voice, personally.
But it's my voice.
I'm stuck with it.
So there.
It's done me well for the last twenty years, thank you very much.
And listeners seem to be happy with the way I handle business.
Back in the day, a high premium was placed on how "baritone" your voice was.
Definitely Old School, as opposed to today.

DJs today (if they may be called as such) have less errr, bass, oft of the tenor variety, as opposed to the abovementioned "big, deep voices."
Maybe it's the age.. no, the maturity behind it, I guess.
Not to discount the experience, as well.
Not to slag today's breed of DJs, but let's face it.
Is sounding "good" a higher premium than sounding off with sense?
Today's thrust in Radio is towards the more talk, less music approach.
Fewer and fewer DJs are playing music and talking more.
My point being, are they really saying something?
I was trained that whenever you open your mouth in front of a microphone,
you had better say something substantial and entertaining, and not just blab.
Say something.
With sense.

That's why we at 99.5 Campus FM are bringing back the old standards.
These "so 90's" ethos that "don't cut it anymore.."
or do they?

Campus Radio has always been about more music, the very staple of Radio, with not exactly less talk, but informative and entertaining talk.

As a matter of fact, we do talk more, in a way, the only difference is it's done between songs and during intros/extros, as opposed to talking at a stretch for five, ten, fifteen minutes or longer; which we can do, too.. but we don't.
Because we're not only DJs.
We're entertainers.
After all, it's the sole purpose of a DJ.
To entertain his/her listeners.
Once you cease to entertain them, you have failed as a DJ.
It's Old School, yes.
But without the Old, there wouldn't be any New.
And we're bringing that back.
Sure, talk is in at the moment.
It's in, but is it entertaining? Really entertaining?
We feel that that's what Radio needs right now.
A return to the Old School standards.
At least, like you, that's my two cents.
Again, thanks for the critique.
Keep listening.

You can listen to my boo-boo's on his site or click here.

Day Two

Our first day, Easter Sunday, as 99.5 Campus FM was a mixture of feelings.
Anxiety.. (do I still have it?) a bit of Fear.. (how do you make this damn thing work??!!)
and of course, Excitement (an over-two-month hiatus will do that..). More than anything
else, it was unfamiliar wares, both hard and soft, that worried me. The rest quickly fell
into place. And though sitting in front of a microphone always feels like home, we aren't
quite settled into the new territory we find ourselves in. But given its present course and perhaps a short period of time, we will have made the new house we're in, a home.

Day Two was a new challenge altogether.
Current songs.
Remember that we'd been away for a year, away from the Mainstream Pop arena,
no thanks to the Bobo-nic Plague that was barangay hell-s.
Plus the fact that having been away, the local Radioscape
had been reshaped by other stations, minus us, so there weren't
any songs that we could call our own, thus sort of alienating us.
Hopefully, for the time being.
A smattering of ex-Campus Radio hits came to the rescue,
which aided in bringing that old sound back.
No biggie.
It's only been two days.
We've got a long way to go.
But we're certain of getting there.

Relieving a leather-jacketed Braggy a little before 4pm (that airconditioning is arctic),
I was faced with yet another dilemma. A short playlist and nothing much left to play.
To top it, an even shorter recurrent playlist, and an accidental replay of Nickelback's
"Far Away," previously played by Brags.
Mental note: more recurrents.
An issue which I am addressing as we speak.
My first few songs.. hmm, Linkin Park's Shadow Of The Day..
Matchbox Twenty's These Hard Times and some such.
Some minor flaws.. a few quick gaps (oops).. and boo-boo's during Dada's news
portions and miscues.. all part and parcel of the first few day blues.
We're getting our feet wet.
Getting all set for the Big Splash.
I'm on it.
I'm all over it.
So look out.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New fave

Hey there Delilah
What's it like in New York City?
I'm a thousand miles away
But girl, tonight you look so pretty
Yes you do
Times Square can't shine as bright as you
I swear it's true

Hey there Delilah
Don't you worry about the distance
I'm right there if you get lonely
Give this song another listen
Close your eyes
Listen to my voice, it's my disguise
I'm by your side

Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
What you do to me

Hey there Delilah
I know times are getting hard
But just believe me, girl
Someday I'll pay the bills with this guitar
We'll have it good
We'll have the life we knew we would
My word is good

Hey there Delilah
I've got so much left to say
If every simple song I wrote to you
Would take your breath away
I'd write it all
Even more in love with me you'd fall
We'd have it all

Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me

A thousand miles seems pretty far
But they've got planes and trains and cars
I'd walk to you if I had no other way
Our friends would all make fun of us
and we'll just laugh along because we know
That none of them have felt this way
Delilah I can promise you
That by the time we get through
The world will never ever be the same
And you're to blame

Hey there Delilah
You be good and don't you miss me
Two more years and you'll be done with school
And I'll be making history like I do
You'll know it's all because of you
We can do whatever we want to
Hey there Delilah here's to you
This one's for you

Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
What you do to me.

"Hey Delilah"
Plain White T's


I'm back.
Yesterday was my first day on-air after a long two-month hiatus off-air.
I had my qualms. I had my reservations.
I even had the opening mike jitters.
More than anything, I was just concerned about operating new equipment.
Using Ots and Wavepoint is new to me.. but other than the technical stuff,
it's no biggie. Turning the mike on and hearing your voice in the headphones
again is a feeling like no other.

Like riding a bicycle.
You never forget.

It's great to be back.
I'm happy, yes.
Elated, even.
But.. not completely.
Something's missing.
Someone's missing.
Missing someone..

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Will 99.5 Campus FM be successful? (Another re-post)

Here's that Radio Jingles guy again.
Playing devil's advocate, I see. It's all good.
The original post can be read here on his blog.

Will 99.5 Campus FM Be Successful? Questions About the Return of Campus Radio

I was so damn right when I guessed that Campus Radio will be returning today as Campus FM. Please refer to my blog post on March 13, 2008 here “Campus Radio Returns Easter Sunday as Campus FM?”.

99.5 Campus FM SuccessI also would like to congratulate jsbata at PEX for guessing the right dial point for Campus Radio’s return. Please refer to his post here. But above all I would like to congratulate Real Radio, Jimmy Jam, John Hendrix, the Campus Radio fans, to those who helpe in the petition and everyone responsible for the return of the legend. Hats off! Now, the buzz about the return of Campus Radio was unquestionably hot. It turned out to be a very successful publicity stunt, so again congratulations to all of you. In the coming days, you will start raking serious money. You have successfully grabbed, combined and built a good market.

The questionable part however is that will this Campus Radio/Campus FM-return frenzy stay for long. Will this give Real Radio high ratings? Will Jimmy Jam and John Hendrix and the rest of the Campus FM staff live up to the expectations of the listeners? Will it turn out to be a real HIT this time? Will Jimmy Jam and John Hendrix become a victim again of MASS TERMINATION?

The answer? We will never know.

Now it's 99.5 Campus FM (Re-post)

99.5 Campus FM is now on-air but the buzz is still building!
Here's a re-post of a blog entry from Ed Arevalo. Check out his blog here.
Or read on.

It’s Easter Sunday in the Philippines now. But there’s another big thing happening now aside from the easter and the egg-hunting activities—the birth of the official school of pop and the no. 1 hit music station in Metro Manila, 99.5 Campus FM. Yes, it’s back!

99.5 Campus FM, the new and improved Campus radio according to Manny Pagsuyuin, has started airing this Sunday, March 23, after the Lenten break. It started with ‘Campus Classic Weekend’ where music lovers can indulge into the best hits of the 90’s and onwards every Saturdays and Sundays.

Loyal followers of the former Campus Radio has been looking forward to its comeback in the Radio land after it was replaced by ‘Barangay LS’ 97.1 last February 14, 2007.

On board on its launch are veteran jocks John Hendrix, Jimmy Jam, and Joe Spinner. First song to be played is Daliri by Kwjan and with Sting’s Brand New Day as the official launch song.

Formerly occupying Campus FM’s radio slot is 99.5 Hit FM which officially signed off last March 19 this year.

With its grand comeback, there are still questions hanging along with the curiosity on its listeners mind. Who will be the DJs to be included on its lineup of programs? What are those programs? Will old Campus Radio programs be included on the lineup? Who will be the traffic anchor/s? What about some of Hit FM’s programs especially the sensational ‘The Brewrats’.

Welcome back Campus Radio! Bye Hit FM, hello Campus FM! It’s been a while.

YM Account for 99.5 CAMPUS FM

The #1 Hit Music Station in Metro Manila now has a YM account.
Stay in touch with 99.5 CAMPUS FM!


The official website complete with streaming audio, chat options and the like coming soon!
Maintain this frequency!

T minus 30 and counting

Happy Easter everyone!
Hallelujah, the good Lord has risen.
In about 32 minutes, so shall Campus Radio.
I'm already here at the station, together with John Hendrix.
Soon, we shall be joined by the others. Jaybee, who'll be joining John onboard,
most prolly with Joe Spinner in tow. Braggy will most likely breeze in later in the day in his usual dazed, not-a-care-in-the-world fashion. Me, I'm here early coz I haven't gone home yet since yesterday. It's been a loooong day and night, and I'm looking forward to my bed.. as well as going onboard, too. That comes later tonight, but first, maybe some breakfast.
Time's ticking and I can't believe this is really happening.. once again, to everyone who's been so supportive of Campus Radio over the years, through the good times and bad, its brightest
moments and through the dark ages, we thank you all!
God bless and Happy Easter.
Long live Campus Radio.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My first working Lenten holiday

Holy Week is a sacred time for us Catholics.

Pasyal for the pasosyal. Fasting for the fastidious. Rest for the overworked.
Today was Bisita-Iglesia church visitations, which usually ends with
a tense race for vacant tables and elusive waiters at overcrowded restaurants for the
folks who hate to cook on Maundy Thursday. Me, I hate to cook, period.

This year marks my first working Holy Week. Usually, us broadcasters enjoy
a three-day Lenten break, resuming on-air duty on Easter Sunday. Not this year.
Today, I found myself at our future home studio, in an unusually deserted building,
rubbing elbows with the technical crew, bustling with console rewiring work, the upkeep of telephone lines and patches, the cleaning and maintainance of in-booth PCs and CPUs. And in the midst of all this activity is me, sitting in front of a monitor, putting together the playlist
for the eventual return of Campus Radio on Easter Sunday. And I'm not even halfway done yet.

Our said return being a Sunday, and Easter at that, it should be Retrojam.
But we're no longer calling it as such. If you've been prodiguously following my blog, you're aware that it's now called Campus Classic Weekend, and lasts for Saturday and Sundays.
Forty-eight full hours of the best of the Nineties. And I'm still not done populating a hard drive that's hardly ready to be driven. I need more, more, more. So it's work, work, work.

Coupled with that, I've voiced new stingers, a new Top Of The Hour plug, as well as a plug for Campus Classic Weekend, which Joe Spinner and I have been fleshing out. We called it a day earlier at around midnight, and shall resume chores on Black Saturday. We've also finished the OBB/CBB for our traffic update portion The Grid. We are also requesting's Hot Mama Maria to rejoin the new Campus Radio. I'm sure she'll be onboard come Monday.

We're also currently brainstorming the new Campus Radio logo, under the watchful auspices of John Hendrix. We'll soon be mapping out the content for the long-overdue Campus website, yes, replete with streaming audio, chat access, and bloated with upcoming events, the regulation Campus Radio Launch party, the Top 20 @ 12 countdown, videos and info, info, info the way you've come to expect from Campus Radio. Meanwhile, Jaybee is busy liasing with many local bands for voicings, while Braggy is err.. nowhere to be found. He now owes us an expensive dinner soon.

And the work doesn't stop there. This is only the beginning. We can hardly wait for everyone to hear what we've got in store, and when Easter Sunday comes around, this spells the end of our lengthy two-month vacation from radio and our return to the salt mines. It's work work work.. and it's great to be back!

The end of audacity in FM audio (A re-post from 4ever7heaven)

It's coz of listeners such as this that makes what we did on Campus Radio and what we will be doing again on the NEW Campus Radio worthwhile. Kudos to you, 4ever7heaven.

And thanks!

Campus Radio: The end of audacity on FM audio

I am a certified audiophile. My digital music collection which is close to 20,000 in total, includes songs from various genres--pop, rock, RnB, house, jazz, classical, new age, techno, animé, Christian. This collection is a growing one. When I have the time, I make it a point to shop for music or download online. Do I get to listen to all of them? Well, I admit that I collect some songs just for the mere fun of it. But I get to listen to most. I hope some day they can coin up a term like philatelist or numismatist for someone like me who loves keeping music.

Thanks to advances in technology music is now available anytime, anywhere. But for me--you may refute me on this--nothing beats old school FM music.

In the Philippines, FM radio stations enjoy a high level of competition against each other. Today, it is impossible to tell one from another, save for their call signs announced every half hour or so. They offer basically the same type of music in a battle for supremacy and domination over the airwaves. Of course, there are exceptions: 89.9 Magic known for Good Times with Mo (his Forbidden Questions being the most awaited part of the program),
RX 93.1 which has Chico and Delamar as its most famous jocks, Mellow 94.7 and 96.3 WRock which both play mellow and lite rock music (go figure!), 98.7 The Master's Touch which serves as an abode for classical music lovers and NU 107, the home of nu rock, and home of the annual rock awards. For a time, there used to be another radio station that went against mainstream music. It was known as Campus Radio WLS-FM until midnight of February 13, 2007--the eve of Valentine's Day. Even after its reformat however, somehow people still associate the frequency and the call letters with the old name--Campus Radio--because of its impact to a generation of listeners it once had.

When I think of Campus Radio, I think of my fondest High School and College memories. I imagine waking up each day to the early morning mix of John Hendrix, which I as listen to as I prepare myself for school. I see myself as a teener, calling up at noontime, trying to best out all others just to guess the top 12 songs and catch a prize from snobbish Triggerman. I remember sleepless nights working on endless projects, theses, term papers while tuned in to Joe Spinner. Plus of course, how could I ever forget Braggy, Master T and Jimmy Jam?

Campus Radio was like MTV, only without the videos. Its programs offered were revolutionary for a radio station that played music 24/7. Campus Radio sought not only to entertain, but to inform.
I literally grew up on Campus Radio. For me, it was not just another radio station; it was a way of life.

I was saddened by the change in format of the old home of Campus Radio. I thought, GMA would be kinder to its target audience. I thought an acquisition of another weaker radio station into the RGMA network would be GMA's move to reach out to the masa. But I was wrong.

I love GMA. I love DZBB. I used to love WLS-FM but now I'm unsure, because I feel it has alienated itself from people like me who listen to more thought-engaging music than what is being played in most radio stations today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I'd so like to say something.. but I'm keeping my big mouth shut..

Monday, March 17, 2008

Campus Classic Weekend

Here's a scoop for all who have been following Campus Radio's return to the airwaves.
As you all know, Easter Sunday is Resurrection Day for the new, improved (hmm sounds like a detergent hehe) Campus Radio. It being a Sunday, that'd usually mean it's Retro Jam day. But for uhm err, certain reasons, we will no longer be calling it as such. Our new weekend bent shall be called Campus Classic Weekend.

Campus Classic Weekend shall comprise not only Sunday, but Saturdays as well.
An entire weekend's worth of nothing but the biggest hits of the 90's onwards. Mind-boggling, to say the least. Patterned much after Campus Radio's original weekend thing The Great Music Jam, which, by the way, we initially wanted to call it, but again, didn't because of the same uhm err, reasons. (Hints galore here..)

With that said, Campus Radio's return is definitely shaping up to being even more eagerly anticipated come Easter Sunday. A great way to kick things off, if I should say so myself.
Check it out on March 23, as early as 6am.
John Hendrix is first at bat, so be there.

Comeback playlist

As the initial on-air launch date for the all-new Campus Radio fast approaches, we, meaning John, Milo, Miguel, Brags, Jaybs and myself, have been meeting regularly regarding production concerns, assignments, decorum and of course, programming. Since we'll be returning to the airwaves on a Sunday, that spells only one thing.. recurrents. I'd divulge our true intentions for weekend programming, but that'd spoil it for everyone, so for now, that tidbit, for the meantime, shall suffice.

We've thought and re-thought of our initial day playlist, and it's shaping up to be a real heavy trip down memory lane. Big, gargantuan, monumentally humongous hits are the order of the day, goes without saying, from the fairly recurrent, (Maroon 5, TBS, MB20, PATD, Damien Rice) through the not-so-current (3EB, BSB, N'Sync), all the way to the Campus Radio classics (STP, 4NB, Nirvana, Pearl Jam). And let's not forget the OPMs (6CM, Pupil, M88, Eraserheads, Teeth to name a few).

Definitely a Welcome Back party you wouldn't want to miss.
If you think this is whupp-ass, wait til you hear the Current playlist.
Stay tuned.

20 Dumb-ass record company screw-ups of all time!

Way cool article by Jon Dolan, Josh Eells and Fred Goodman off the March 2008 issue of Blender magazine.

recordCompanyScrewups_20prettyBoyFloyd.jpgThey Never Even Recouped Their Aqua Net Expenses
#20 As grunge dawns, one label bets on hair metal
In 1989, with hair metal reaching its zenith, the A&R department at MCA Records finally decided to get in on the act—by tossing a rumored $1 million at L.A. band Pretty Boy Floyd, who at the time had played only eight shows. The band's debut, Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz, peaked at No. 130 on the Billboard charts, and the Floyd blew another mil or so of MCA's money before the label finally dropped them in 1991 … right around the time the suits blew a chance to sign a fledgling Seattle outfit called Nirvana.
Unintended consequence Around 1992, the Sunset Strip pizza-delivery scene gets a fresh infusion of talent.

The Vinyl Solution

#19 The industry kills the single—and begins its own slow demise
In the early '80s, the music industry began to phase out vinyl singles in favor of cassettes and later, CDs. Then, since it costs the same to manufacture a CD single as a full album, they ditched the format almost altogether. But they forgot that singles were how fans got into the music-buying habit before they had enough money to spend on albums. The end result? Kids who expect music for free. "Greed to force consumers to buy an album [resulted] in the loss of an entire generation of record consumers," says Billboard charts expert Joel Whitburn. "People who could only afford to buy their favorite hit of the week were told it wasn't available as a single. Instead, they stopped going to record shops and turned their attention to illegally downloading songs."
Unintended consequence The Eagles still top the album charts.

Come Back, Kid

#18 BMG dumps Clive Davis, begs him to return
In 2000, when company retirement policy deemed Clive Davis too old to run Arista, the label he'd founded 25 years earlier, he was pushed out the door in favor of Antonio "L.A." Reid. After loud public complaints from artists including Whitney Houston and Carlos Santana, parent company BMG was shamed into giving Davis a nice going-away present—his own label, J Records, along with a $150 million bankroll. Ironically, while J spawned hits from Alicia Keys, Luther Vandross and Rod Stewart, Arista reportedly chalked up hundreds of millions in losses. In 2002, BMG forked over another $50 million to buy J, then two years later ousted Reid and hired a new CEO of BMG North America: an ambitious young turk named Clive Davis
Unintended consequence Rod Stewart's The Great American Songbook, Volumes I-IV

Dim Bulb

#17 Thomas Edison disses jazz, industry standards
America's most famous inventor, and the creator of the phonograph, also had his own record label: National Phonograph Company, later Edison Records. Naturally, it was the biggest one around at first but made two fatal errors. One was that Edison Records worked only on Edison's players, while other manufacturers' conformed to the industry standard and worked interchangeably. The other was that Edison let his personal taste govern Edison releases—and he hated jazz: "I always play jazz records backwards," he sniffed. "They sound better that way." So after releasing the world's first jazz recording—Collins and Harlan's "That Funny Jas Band From Dixieland"—the company spurned the craze in favor of waltzes and foxtrots. Edison Records folded in October 1929.
Unintended consequence Edison adds "tin-eared A&R" to his list of inventions.

Double Jeopardy

#16 Warner pays for Wilco record twice
When Wilco handed over their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to Reprise in June 2001, acting label boss David Kahne—best known for producing Sugar Ray albums—reportedly thought it was "so bad it would kill Wilco's career." The band refused to make changes, so Reprise handed them their walking papers—and the masters to the album. A few months later, Wilco signed with Nonesuch, which, like Reprise, was a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, meaning that after shelling out roughly $300,000 to make YHF in the first place, the corporation was now paying for it again. The record remains Wilco's best seller to date.
Unintended consequence Jeff Tweedy's poetry collection is published in 2004.

recordCompanyScrewups_15carleyHennessy.jpgMoney For Nothing

#15 MCA's teen-pop calamity
How sure was MCA that slinky Irish teen Carly Hennessy was going to be a gargantuan pop star? So sure that in 1999 they staked the former Denny's sausage spokesmodel with a $100,000 advance, $5,000 a month in living expenses and an apartment in Marina Del Rey, California, spending roughly $2.2 million in all on her 2001 debut, Ultimate High. How wrong were they? In its first three months in stores, Ultimate High sold a whopping 378 copies, putting the label's investment somewhere in the order of $5,820 per copy sold. Last seen, Hennessy had resurfaced—still looking for her big break—on season seven of American Idol.
Unintended consequence "Sausage spokesmodel" proves a less embarrassing resumé entry than expected.

Always Read The Fine … Oh, Never Mind

#14 Stax Records unintentionally gives away the store
Soul fans can credit Memphis's Stax Records for classic hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and Booker T & the M.G.'s—but the real winner was Atlantic. In 1960, Atlantic partner Jerry Wexler liked one of Stax's first releases enough to pay label president Jim Stewart $1,000 to lease it, and Atlantic soon contracted to market and distribute all Stax releases. Seven years later, with Stax reeling from Redding's death, Stewart finally took a close look at the Atlantic contract and discovered he'd been bamboozled: Contrary to industry practice, Atlantic became the owner of any Stax release it handled. Stax had signed away its catalogue and future.
Unintended consequence Bob Dole flips "Soul Man" into "Dole Man" during his '96 presidential campaign.

The Last Of The Mega-Deals

#13 One label's big spending single-handedly ends "alt-rock" boom
In 1996, Warner Bros. signed R.E.M. to a five-album contract for a reported $80 million. It was the most costly record deal in history and elicited one of the lowest returns. Warner needed R.E.M. to sell at least 3 million copies of all five records to come out in the black, but sleepy folk-rock albums like 1998's Up moved a fifth of that. The execs went further into the hole by allowing R.E.M. to keep the masters of all their Warner releases, forfeiting future revenues generated by the band's popular '80s and early-'90s discs. No one knows how much the label lost—but the debacle brought to a close an era in which acts known for their "integrity" could score huge paydays.
Unintended consequence Warner executives still hoping "Daysleeper" makes it on to The Hills soundtrack.

Axl Grease

#12 Geffen pumps millions into (the nonexistent) Chinese Democracy
Ten years ago, Guns N' Roses still looked like a good investment—they'd gone platinum 32 times. So in 1998, Geffen Records could be forgiven for paying Axl Rose a million bucks to complete GNR's fifth album, promising a million more if he delivered it soon. (Rose had already spent four years working on the LP, losing every original bandmate in the process.) Beset by perfectionism, lack of focus and plain-old nuttiness, Rose never got that bonus million. But his label kept spending: In 2001, monthly expenses totaled $244,000. Four producers and a gazillion guitar overdubs later, the album is no closer to release. And Geffen's in the red for $13 million.
Unintended consequence A frustrated Rose gets into a well-publicized fistfight
with … Tommy Hilfiger!

Just Be Yourself—Or Else

#11 Geffen sues Neil Young for making "unrepresentative" music
At the dawn of the '80s, David Geffen signed Neil Young to his new record label, promising that "commercial" considerations would never get in the way of art. Young took this to heart, wandering so far off the reservation with albums like 1983's synth-driven Trans that Geffen filed a $3 million breach-of-contract suit: effectively charging the folk-rock icon with not making "Neil Young" records. Young filed a $21 million countersuit before settling out of court, but remained somewhat bemused by Geffen's judgment: "He didn't seem to comprehend how … uh, diverse my musical career had become," Young said.
Unintended consequence Young's Happy House and Tejano albums remain on the shelf.

recordCompanyScrewups_10columbiaRecords.jpgYouth Movement

#10 Columbia Records loses Alicia Keys, drops 50 Cent
Columbia had a way with young talent in the late '90s and early '00s. First, after plunking down a reported $400,000 to sign Alicia Keys, they turned her over to high-priced producers who tried to transform her into Whitney Houston. Frustrated, she bolted—and signed with J Records, where she has sold more than 20 million albums to date. Around the same time, another languishing Columbia prospect, 50 Cent, recorded "How to Rob" in a desperate attempt to get his label to notice him. But when he was shot nine times in 2000, skittish execs dumped him—and then watched as he became an unstoppable one-man money factory at Interscope.
Unintended consequence Fedoras and bullet­proof vests become essential urban-fashion accessories.

Spy Game

#9 "Digital-rights management" backfires even more badly than usual
In a 2005 effort to combat digital piracy, Sony BMG packaged millions of CDs with copy-protection software that automatically installed a "rootkit" on users' PCs, which, in addition to preventing consumers from making more than three copies of their legally purchased CD, also made them vulnerable to viruses and hackers. Sony BMG initially downplayed the problem, but after the Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory, the label recalled more than 4 million CDs. Sony was accused of spying on its customers' listening habits and was forced to pay several million dollars to settle class-action lawsuits that alleged violations of spyware laws and deceptive trade practices.
Unintended consequence Radiohead offer up In Rainbows for a bargain pay-what-you-like price.

Rap Attack

#8 Warner junks Interscope
When anti-rap crusaders wanted to deliver a body blow to hip-hop, they took aim at the Warner Music Group, because its corporate parent, Time Warner, was American-owned and publicly traded. When Ice-T's "Cop Killer" became too hot to handle, Warner Music dropped him, but the label still enjoyed huge rap hits—particularly through Death Row Records, partially owned by their Interscope label. But when Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole attacked Warner Music in his stump speech, Time Warner panicked, ordering the sale of Interscope to rival Universal. Universal soon became the biggest record company in the world—in large measure due to Interscope hits by Tupac, Dr. Dre and Eminem. Warner Music went on a long slide and was finally sold in 2004.
Unintended consequence Time Warner shareholders never have to worry about who killed Tupac.

Something's Happening, But You Don't Know What It Is

#7 Music publisher gives away Bob Dylan
In the early 1960s Leeds/Duchess was a legendary music-publishing company but far from the hippest: It knew Tin Pan Alley but couldn't find a Greenwich Village coffeehouse with a compass. Yet when Columbia signed Bob Dylan in 1961, they steered him to Leeds, where he happily signed a publishing deal with a $1,000 advance. The following year, Dylan's new manager, Albert Grossman, got out of the deal with the disinterested publisher simply by repaying the $1,000. Dylan's new publisher, the savvier M. Witmark & Sons, received 237 songs—many of them future standards worth tens of millions of dollars—in just the first three years.
Unintended consequence The receptionists at Leeds/Duchess never have to field calls asking what "All Along the Watchtower" is really about.

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

#6 Casablanca rides strong sales straight to the poorhouse
No record label represents the coked-up inanity of the late '70s like disco-driven behemoth Casablanca. In 1978, the label simultaneously shipped a million copies of four solo albums by each member of their biggest rock act, Kiss, so they could justifiably claim the records "shipped platinum." The albums sold well—but not that well. Record stores returned hundreds of thousands
of unsold copies, inspiring comedian Robert Klein to joke that Casablanca's releases "shipped gold and returned platinum." The label continued to lose millions a year throughout the late '70s, until part-owner PolyGram Records bought out founder Neil Bogart for $15 million in 1980.
Unintended consequence Hey, man—400,000 extra surfaces to snort drugs from!

recordCompanyScrewups_05riaa.jpgWhoa, Mama

#5 The RIAA sues a struggling single mom for digital piracy
n In the court of public opinion, it's hard to find a more sympathetic defendant than a single mother of two, earning $36,000 a year. So what in the name of common decency was the Recording Industry Association of America thinking when it went after 30-year-old Jammie Thomas from Brainerd, Minnesota? The RIAA accused Thomas of using the P2P service Kazaa to illegally share mp3 files of 24 songs, including Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" and Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills." Thomas pleaded not guilty, blaming the shared files on mistaken identity, but last October a jury disagreed and fined her $222,000. That breaks down to a whopping $9,250 per song—more than six times her annual salary. At press time, Thomas was planning an appeal.
Unintended consequence The nation's toddlers and fluffy kittens rush to erase their hard drives.

Pay (Somebody Else) To Play

#4 Indie promoters take the major labels to the cleaners
After the payola scandals of the '50s, the government barred record labels from paying radio stations to play records. The solution: set up middlemen to do the dirty work! "Independent promoters" represented the labels' interests to radio programmers, creating a massive cash flow of corruption. Even a mid-size hit could cost $700,000 in promo expenses—cash, vacations, drugs and other illicit rewards for mustachioed DJs—and labels ended up paying to get airplay for huge artists the stations would have spun anyway. A lot of coked-up DJs got nice tans, while the labels spent unnecessary millions and covered their balance sheets in bloody red.
Unintended consequence Colombian GDP spikes each time Mariah Carey releases a single.

Detroit At a Discount

#3 Motown sells for a pittance
In 1988 Berry Gordy Jr., reportedly losing millions of dollars on the label he had founded decades earlier, sold Motown and its incomparable back catalogue to MCA and investment company Boston Ventures for $60 million. How bad was that price? The next year, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss sold their A&M Records to PolyGram for roughly $500 million. In 1990, David Geffen got about $700 million for Geffen Records and in '92, Richard Branson unloaded Virgin Records to EMI for $960 million. And five years after buying Motown, Boston Ventures cashed out, selling the label to PolyGram for $325 million—a return of more than 500 percent.
Unintended consequence The Motown Atlantic airline, and Berry's career as a trans-global balloonist, have yet to materialize.

Tomorrow Never Knows

#2 Decca Records A&R exec tells Fab Four, "No, thanks"
Dick Rowe was not the only record-label executive who passed on the Beatles in the early '60s, but he was the only one who brushed off their manager, Brian Epstein, with the astute prediction that: "Groups with guitars are on their way out." Epstein begged Rowe to reconsider, so Rowe hopped a train to Liverpool to check out the band live. When he arrived at the Cavern, he found a mob of kids trying to force their way into the club in the pouring rain. Annoyed, he smoked a cigarette, went home and signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes instead.
Unintended consequence The Monkees


#1 Major labels squash Napster
Shawn Fanning's file-sharing service attracted tens of millions of users, but instead of trying to find a way to capitalize on it, the Recording Industry Association of America rejected Napster's billion-dollar settlement offer and sued it out of existence in 2001. Napster's users didn't just disappear. They scattered to hundreds of alternative systems—and new technology has stayed three steps ahead of the music business ever since. The labels' campaign to stop their music from being acquired for free across the Internet has been like trying to cork a hurricane—upward of a billion files are swapped every month on peer-to-peer networks. Since Napster closed, "there's been no decline in the rate of online piracy," says Eric Garland of media analysts BigChampagne, who logged users of son-of-Napster peer-to-peer networks more than doubling between 2002 and 2007. And that figure doubles again if you count BitTorrent.
Unintended consequence Your grandmother deciding to trade up from that dial-up connection.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More than a comeback

In just a little over the period of a week, I shall be going back on-air.
Honestly speaking, I've got a lot of mixed feelings about it.
Excitement, yes. That lords it over the rest.
Tension? You bet.
It's been over two months since I've last sat in front of a microphone.
Not the longest I've spent away from DJing, but certainly the longest time
I've been unemployed. Or on vacation, rather.
So it's understandable why I'm getting a tad tense about going back on-air.
Though they say it's much like riding a bicycle, that you can never forget,
having been stunted and bobo-ized for nearly a year in the barangay makes it
not just a tense time, but anxiety-filled as well. It's been awhile since I've DJed
in English. Do I still know how to adlib in English?
We used to joke about it, us ex-barangay jocks; we had gotten so used to speaking
in the vernacular on-air, the hostings and such, we began wondering if we could still
hack it using the English language. Tension and anxiety aside, I'm sure it'll all come
back. I guess the time we've spent off-air is working as barangay detox. Masa rehab.
Masa isn't bad, y'know.
A lotta people listen and they enjoy it. I look up to those jocks at Masa stations
who can really pull it off. It's a feat. Take it from me.. us. We've been there, and believe
you me, it is a feat. Those who can pull it off, do because they're good at it.
But not everyone can pull it off.
Neither is it for everyone.
Myself included.
But through it all, we managed to adapt and survive.
We even managed to prove that we could pull it off, too.
Even if we really didn't like what we were doing, but had to, because we had no choice.
Now that's a feat.
In the end, it was sad, not so much because we were losing our jobs.
But because of the amount of time we had spent there.
Nineteen years is a pretty long time.
It went by so fast, just like that.
That's what saddened us the most.
It went by so fast.
Just like how we were dismissed.
Just like that.
But mixed in with the sadness, was a strange sense of relief.
Because I, we didn't have to deal with all that barangay shit anymore.
Ever again.
In retrospect, it was all just business, nothing personal.
Or was it?
I'd like to say it was both.
Long story, tell you about it sometime, maybe.
But like I've said before, why dwell on the past, when a bright future beckons.
If you really look at it, we gained more than we actually lost.
It was a blessing, really.
Had we not been fired, we wouldn't get the chance to come back.
As ourselves.
Doing what we loved.
Really loved.
And doing what we do best.
Being ourselves.
And we fervently look forward to that.
In just a little over a week, we'll be back in the game.
And if you look at this as well, this comeback sets a precedent.
It's not just a comeback.
It's a happy ending.
How often do you plummet to oblivion, and get the chance to rise above again?
Now that's a feat.
Which brings us to where we're at right now.
We've got a lot to prove, and the chance to prove it.
Excitement is high, and expectations is even higher.
But we're up to the task.
And we're not afraid of the work.
What's work, if you enjoy what you're doing..
it's gonna be fun.
A lot of fun.
I'm looking forward to it.
I'm on it.
I'm all over it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

2+2 = ?

It's (for loss of a better word) amusing to watch the ongoing forum banter over at The radio fans are hard at work, much like private investigators
working a case. Slowly, but surely, they're piecing the puzzle together, the open secret revealing itself in sheddings that shock as more layers to the story are outlayed, further thickening the already intricate plot. This must be how comic book superheroes feel, when their secret identities are about to be divulged. It's a cornball analogy, but it's the closest one I could think of, which makes me laugh just the same.

But I've gotta hand it to these radio afficionados.. they've got their freak on, and they're awfully close to putting two and two together. In fact, I believe they already have, but somehow the equation just doesn't compute.

Perhaps the facts shall reveal themselves further, as the proverbial plot thickens.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

School starts in March!

There's a lot of buzz going on about the unstoppable return of Campus Radio. You can check out the long thread found on, where my comrade-in-broadcasting, the irrepressable John Hendrix hold court, answering queries, thanking loyal listeners, even accepting suggestions, which have been most creative and deserve some serious attention. There's also a beta version friendster-like site for Campus Radio fans, would you believe.. you can check it out at

Yup, the excitement level is reaching fever pitch, as Campus Radio's return draws nearer and nearer. I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "..but these guys are still keeping us in the dark.." and as a post on PEx said, ".. the anticipation is excrutiating.." talk about sweet pain hehe.

Take heed of the subject line, and console yourself to the fact that one particular and very significant day this month shall also be a fateful day for all Campus Radio fans near and far..

Easter Sunday.

'Nuff said.

Stay tuned.