Tuesday, May 03, 2005

SWEEP THIS : Television Drug of The Nation ,

a pic from my personal archives of Michael Franti rockin' da mic at a protest against the US invasion of Panama while fronting The Beatnigs at the SF Federal Building in 1988. ( Helios Creed watches )

Television, Drug of The Nation...Sweeps Week, Media Mayhem & Culture Clashes

In honor of May Sweeps Month, and all this over /under/ sideways regulated slothfulness mentioned below...

try Television - Drug of The Nation -a remix from the late great Beatnigs...

Michael Franti now has a more hippy friendly sound, but the Beatnigs were a great live act with an industrial edge in the late 80's that were a not to be missed live act. Franti had no dreadlocks back then, and wore his hair close cropped and looked more militant, almost Malcolm X-ish.

This track is from the Beatnigs 12" release on Alternative Tentacles. The group also featured Kevin Carnes on drums, and a cat named Andre' . The group broke up and Franti mellowed out a bit, and signed to Island after changing his operating band name to Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, keeping only the power tool wielding Rono Tse' from the Beatnigs lineup. They were managed by Peter Jenner, and reworked "Television" and toured with Billy Bragg and even U2 for awhile. But they never were commercially sucessful in that their overtly analytical lyrical subject matter wasn't ghetto enough for the street Hip Hop crowd to accept it.

Eventually Franti found all new people and formed Spearhead, who were signed to Capitol for awhile in the mid nineties. They continue on as an indie sensation, and became one of the better, if not one of the only, politically conscious acts touring the world.

His support of controversial causes, and diverse uplifting, soulful, intelligent & spiritual music has brightened many an activists day, and bummed out naysayers, FBI agents & right wing idealogues for almost two decades.

Now you've had your MP3 incentive , so let's move onto the techno-illlogical hipocrisy and further media saturation for your waning attention span ...

Your Tax Dollars @ Work, (seem to be showing people not at work...hmmm)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released some new survey data. Americans spend half their leisure time -- and effectively 11% of their lives -- in front of a TV screen. Teens spend only seven minutes a day reading paper-based materials.

College educated people spend less than an hour and a half a day watching TV, while those with a high-school diploma & no job spend 17% of their existence sucking up reruns of The Fresh Prince of Beverly Hills & Rescue 911.


PDF graphic charts:

audio bug Consumer Time Management Chart
audio bug Media Consumption Time Chart

Meanwhile ... back on The PBS Frontlines in the rats nest of the culture war under heavy fire of federal media CONTROL:

The insiders at PBS loudly fear the Republican control of the public network's funding (aka Corporation for Public Broadcasting)... There's been increased scrutiny of programs like Jim Leherer's News Hour & those from Bill Moyers. Moyer's was analyzed by outside consultants and found to have aired the views thet were "anti-Bush," "anti-business" and "anti-Tom DeLay". Moyers left his Now program late last year.

With nearly $30 million in tax dollars annually pumped into PBS via CPB there's a charter featuring a Fox-like pledge of "objectivity and balance". Cronies of Bush are now installed at high levels and demanding that programming reflect the Republican "mandate". The director of the White House Office of Global Communications was recently made a senior staff member of CPB.

This is a NY Times pic of Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the Bush appointee
& fat cat chairman
of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,
who says his goal is to
satisfy "a broad constituency" of viewers.
He is likely why
the editorial board of The Wall Street Jouranl
has replaced veteran broadcaster Bill Moyers on PBS.

Ironically, the right wing assertions & complaints on PBS do not mimic some recent outside studies.

According to the Center for Digital Democracy, the surveys show, that:

"public broadcasting had an 80 percent 'Favorable' rating; only 10 percent of those polled had an 'Unfavorable' opinion of PBS and public radio. ... More than half of those surveyed believed that PBS news and information programming was more 'Trustworthy' than news shows on the commercial networks. ... "
"Similarly, more than half of those surveyed believed that PBS provided more 'in-depth' news and information programming than the networks. ... Finally, more than half (55 percent) said that PBS programming was 'fair and balanced,' with strong support for its 'high quality programming.'"

But no matter, as even, some inside the FCC have referred to the transistioning as a 'right-wing coup' of PBS.



comment to the CPB here:

Obviously consumers mandate content... and whenever and however they can get it.

Within days after the launch of Sony's new PSP hand-held gaming device, hacker instructions were on the web on how to get the device to play TV shows via the 2-by-4 inch plasma screen. Now Sony has announced ads for the handhelds. US Cell phones are beginning to offer streaming feeds from Fox News & Sesame Street.
Next year ESPN will target sports fans with its branded cell phone service, and a key part of the offering will be the handset itself. ESPN wants to create "somewhat different looking phones."


subscribers to SkyTV in Britain can change the camera angles on the soccer games they're watching, can dump the game's official announcers in favor of commentary from rabid fans and bet on the games themselves.

It is predicted DVRs will be in 25 million homes by 2007, and that researchers estimate that 41 percent of homes will have DVRs by 2010.

The hope of big media companies hough is to ween users away from personal content storage, and into streaming and Video ON Demand. They want the consumer tied to the trough, not fixing his own meals. $60 Billion worth of TV ads were shown last year...and that all potentially becomes moot when consumers skip through them.

"It's one of the frustrations of this business right now -- cable companies and satellite companies are rushing to provide people with DVRs, and that's sort of undermining the VOD market, which is really the better solution for all of them," David Poltrack of CBS recently told the Chicago Tribune.

Poltrack ( a great name for a marketing survey flac or what? ) works out of a dedicated CBS research facility in Las Vegas, where his staff tests and studies the acceptance of VOD on consumers.

"If we offer this to the public in a reasonable way, give them what they want right now," the future of TV could be rosy. "If we don't, we'll be fighting the video version of Napster."

Ironically an unscientific poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune showed readers were much more interested in DVR technology than VOD where the choices are made by the broadcaster what content to offer.

One of the ways networks seek to combat the Fast FWD issue is to work sponsors and product placements into shows more coordinated through storyline than at the breaks... ex. 15 million viewers watching a reality show where contestants shop for appliances at Sears. A recent ABC sitcom episode took place entirely in an Olive Garden. America Idol judges drinking from large oversize Coca Cola cups, and Donald Trump getting his apprentices to work on projects for Domino's and Burger King.


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