from Rock & Rap Confidential/1998

The automated disc jockey now takes another step into the future. With VTVI software, instead of a broadcast chain simply storing DJ patter, weather, and sports on a central hard drive for distribution to hundreds of satellite stations, all you need is a half-assed computer anywhere. VTVI’s creators, Scott Studios, brag that instead of paying a disc jockey for a four hour shift, you can pay someone off the street for just 15 minutes of the work it takes to read bits and intros. The software fits it around the music to create a complete pre-recorded show. This also means that the copy could be read into a computer in another country or even by prisoners, thus lowering labor costs even further. This is hardly far-fetched in a world where U.S. companies hire dirt-cheap computer programmers who beam their work in from China and U.S. maximum-security prisoners book plane reservations and cruises for pennies an hour.... For over fifty years, Oakland’s KDIA-FM boomed an exciting brew of news and music to the Bay Area, including such innovations as Sam Skinner’s "Soul Sports" and making a turntable hit out of the instrumental tag to the Rolling Stones’ "Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’?." Then in December 1997, the station was bought by Disney, which went to a tight Top 40 format and replaced KDIA’s highly-regarded public affairs programming with "health tips" like this November 18 nugget: "Contrary to popular belief, chocolate or fried foods do not cause acne." Radio Disney’s sponsors include Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and McDonald’s .... Meanwhile, across the Bay at San Francisco stations KCBS and KGO, the average commercial load is now 22 an d 20 ads per hour, respectively, up from averages of 12 and 14 before the passage of Al Gore’s Telecom bill.... The latest idiotic device for the idiot box is the Foul Language Filter, which picks up over 100 "offensive" words and, before tender ears can hear them, changes them to words like "cripes." God forbid that radio stations or music video shows or even record companies get ahold of this. In the past, this could have meant "Dang the Police" or "Show Affection Like a Beast."... Country music’s in trouble. In 1998, 34 new country acts were promoted at radio. One single went to number one and one other (which the label bought the radio time for) got into the Top 20. Yet they keep chasing the same stuff.

[from Rock & Rap Confidential/1998]

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