Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
This money-skimming outfit has offered to reduce the royalties it collects for music played online. It initially tried to triple current rates, retroactively yet, but is willing to settle for a mere 10 percent of all gross (not net) revenue up to $250,000 and 12% of all gross revenue above that amount. How generous. And how nice for them that they seem to have the US federal govt in their pocket.
Some more backgrounder here and here. Check the comments ... very illuminating, and sometimes entertaining!
If mainstream media and the entertainment industry don't pick up on the public mood and make some signficant changes to their business model soon, things could get very interesting. "Necessity" being the "mother of invention" and all...
In the meantime, may we suggest the RIAA, SoundExchange, and their legal beagles read this little story about a goose that laid golden eggs once upon a time.
Of course it is possible they may not get the message.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Will it help the players learn a bit of Ukrainian history and maybe something about the consequences of not respecting the perils of nuclear energy?
Or will it just desensitize them by confusing the reality of human suffering (i.e., the consequences of such disrespect) with the stuff of science fiction and fantasy?
The project involves a compilation CD of some very big name Ukrainian artists, with proceeds of CD sales going to the Kherson Children's Hospital. Names like Mandry, Iryna Bilyk, Okean Elzy, and others.
H/T to Vasyl at his uamuzik blog for this info. Vasyl, not surprising, played a significant role in this project. Get all the details here.
EastBeat's website is here and there's a permanent link on this blog. Expect to hear and read more about this in the future!
Many people in Russia would support a merger with neighbouring Ukraine, according to a poll by All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center.
You gotta wonder what kind of polling this is. Another exercise in PR, maybe, to test the waters of public opinion? Or a "trial balloon" to flush out Ukraine's political allies before sending tanks down from Moscow?
I find it interesting that the analysts don't point out that those in favour of such a "merger" ... even according to this ridiculous poll, amounts to less than half the population of Russia.
You'd think that maybe such erudite minds might consider that Putin & Co. may have cause to worry about such low public support, which may have something to do with the fact that there's no iron curtain to block the winds of freedom from blowing into Russia these days.
Of course, they might know something the rest of us don't ...
They are getting ready to embark on a journey, a cruise even, to make a film about Josh Dolgin, aka. Socalled, the young, eclectic, and talented musician who through his love and creation of hip hop, discovered a whole new world of mixing possibilities with traditional Klezmer music, and his own diverse musical influences.
The "Socalled" King of Klezmer, directed by Garry Beitel, begins on a trip down the Dneiper River in Ukraine, on the Dneiper Princess cruise ship, aboard the first ever Klezmer Cruise, that will have other talented Klezmer musicians, and enthusiasts who are also re-discovering their Jewish history and roots, and getting a taste of the Ukrainian culture.
To date, video posts by the production crew include such titles as: Arriving in Kyiv, Klezmer cruise jam session, concert in Kyiv, cossacks and choir, and Sevastopol and Socalled. The group encourages reader interaction, tips, and posting on their blog (here).
Thanks to Irena Bell, producer of the Ukrainian program in Ottawa, for this tip!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Initially I had thought that Vasyl's post at his uamuzik blog would suffice, and kind of agreed that Verka Serduchka was an embarassment.
But, well, even then I had to admit that altho I found the visuals rather revolting, I found the tune quite catchy. (Yes, I am a true "radio" person... give me audio any day!)
Anyway, I was chatting with my radio colleague Pavlo this morning, and admitted to him that Verka has actually been growing on me. We agreed that really, whether or not you like his/her act, s/he does do what s/he does well, i.e. show biz.
It seems, tho, that in coming around, I'm swimming against the current, as usual. Pavlo (who was a prominent broadcaster in Ukraine before coming to Canada a few years ago and so knows these things) told me that Verka has never been really appreciated at home, i.e., in Ukraine, because s/he uses a lot of "surzhyk" ... Ukraine's equivalent of the Canadian prairie Ukie lingo known as "half na piv". Language being a touchy issue amongst Ukrainians, I guess that's understandable. But s/he made a decent living touring ... mostly in Russia, where s/he was very popular.
The operative word here is "was." Apparently, Russians have no sense of humour whatsoever and their noses can get seriously out of joint over even imagined slights. It seems an influential Russian national (or two) interpreted Verka's nonsense phrase (lasha tumbai) in the Eurovision entry as meaning "Russia goodbye" and then, as per usual, the rumour took root. So now post-Eurovision, Verka is persona non grata in Russia. Sheesh. They really need to get a grip, learn to lighten up a bit. Life is short... Oh well.
Although I am not a big fan of drag queens, I think there is room for a variety of styles of artistic expression in a vibrant culture. That gives everyone choice, and (at least in theory) keeps everyone happy. So while it's not something you'll likely find on Nash Holos, I still tip my hat to Verka Serduchka for great showman(person?)ship and audience draw.
Since I discovered Eurovision a few years ago, I've come to the conclusion that it is sure a lot more interesting than American Idol or the Canadian version. Maybe because it's just entertainment for its own sake, not entertainment for the sake of commerce? And western commerce is so uninspired. If they were smart, the record labels would be beating a path to Verka's door, but they are more smug than they are smart, as arbiters of culture tend to be.
Anyway, if you want to see the Verka Serduchka Eurovision entry, go here. To date there are over 800,000 (!) hits at this site alone, and there are several other sites with almost as many. The winner, Serbia, had a lovely entry but hasn't been getting near the hits on YouTube. (My personal favourite for this year was by Sarbel from Greece, who Pavlo describes as Greece's answer to Ricky Martin.)
Oh, and if you haven't seen the 2004 winning entry by Ukraine's Ruslana, it's here. Enjoy!
... This event brought together diverse ethnic groups and families for a fun event. The music, dancing and singing provided a full afternoon of quality entertainment, and all for free. The Irish and Gaelic dancers and costumes were every bit as colorful as the lively El Folkloric Hermonica. But who would have expected Russian, Ukrainian and Hungarian folk dancing to draw as much admiration as Mexican folkloric among the large Latino audience? ...
Who'da thunk, eh?
Full article here.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
In the wake of the Imus, Elvis & JV firings and the Opie & Anthony suspension, now might be a good time to take some advice from Mancow. Not the Bay Bridge blocking Mancow of old, but the new, rested, relaxed, reflective and self-regulated Mancow who’s now advocating that radio personalities practice responsible radio. To aid jocks in being responsible on-air, Mancow has created Ten Commandments for Radio Personalities.
So, great. I'll be getting competition from the big guys now.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I unfortunately wasn't aware of Mr. Sydorenko and his brilliant work. Sounds like another unsung hero and a national treasure Canadian society was content to remain buried, quite possibly simply because he was Ukrainian and of little interest to Canada's nativist establishment.
Well, at least there was a great article written about him while he was still alive in the New Pathway .
There's also a nice tribute by blogger Peter McCormack.
Deepest condolences to the Sydorenko family. A great loss to all of us as well, tho.
Seventy years ago, following a decision by the top Party bodies in the USSR another bloody “purge” began. It was to last for two years. Historians often refer to this campaign as the “Great Terror”, while ordinary people call it simply “Thirty Seven”.
... More than 1.7 million people were arrested on political charges from 1937-1938. If one adds the victims of deportation and those convicted as “socially harmful elements”, the number of those repressed came to over two million. ...
Nineteen Thirty Seven was the revival in the twentieth century of the norms of the medieval Inquisition ... as during the Inquisition, the main proof was the ritual of “confessions” by the accused themselves. The endeavours to gain such confessions, combined with the arbitrary and absurd nature of the charges led to the mass use of torture. In the summer of 1937 torture was officially sanctioned and recommended as a method of running the investigation.
... Throughout the entire country meetings were held at which people were forced to energetically applaud the public lies about the exposed and neutralized “enemies of the people”.
Contemporary historical knowledge about the period of terror needs to become commonly known. ... The history of the Soviet Terror must become not only a compulsory and considerable part of school education, but also the subject of serious efforts in public awareness-raising in the broadest sense of the word. ...
As one of the most terrible anniversaries in our shared history approaches, “Memorial” calls on all those who care about the future of our countries and peoples to look back unflinchingly at the past and to try to understand its lessons.
Hear, hear. (But I'm not holding my breath it will happen in my lifetime.)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
On Sat. June 9, 2007 the Ukrainian Cultural Center in cooperation with [other kind and generous folks] will host the inaugural Ukrainian Day in New Jersey.
This event will feature a festive dinner of traditional food and drink, and performances by Otaman Karpat IVAN POPOVICH; Violin Virtuoso VASYL POPADIUK from Canada; award winning singer and performer from Ukraine, LUDMILA FESENKO; dance ensembles Yunist and Barvinok from NY and NJ; fashion show by GALIT COUTURE. Dance the evening away to the melodies of popular band VIDLUNNIA. ...
To top off the festivities, the SECOND UKRAINIAN VARENYK EATING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP will be held, with the Champions of Canada and Ukraine participating. ...
Since this will be the first event of its kind in the State of New Jersey, TV-1- the premiere television broadcasting company throughout Ukraine – will be present, along with other American, Ukrainian and Russian press from local newspapers, radio and television stations.
Unfortunately, that won't include me as a trip to the other side of the continent isn't in the Nash Holos budget, but we wish the organizers best of success and "Mnohaya Lita!" in this inaugural bash, and many more to come.
The story is pretty much the same for radio. Ethnic programs aren't even included in ratings sweeps. Hence ethnic programming is marginalized and programs like Nash Holos are limited to an hour or so a week ... and even then, they're there for the most part only because the CRTC says so.
If the media beancounter types had their way, programs like ours wouldn't exist at all. No matter that our audiences are loyal to the extreme. The problem for the beancounters in the ad agencies and media exec suites seems to be that these audiences can't be measured in a way they (the beancounters) understand.
It's so much easier and cost-effective (read: cheaper in the short run, to hell with the long run) to measure quantity than quality, regardless how farcical the process has become.
Any wonder there's a technological revolution going on?
Monday, May 14, 2007
She is a UBC grad and past president of the BC Federation of Writers. Her list of publication credits is very impressive indeed, and includes 10 years as editor-in-chief of Eastern Economist, an English-language weekly in Ukraine.
Hopefully she will get an RSS feed on her site soon, but in the meantime just bookmark it and visit from time to time. Some very good reading there.
On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia has some tips for a simple and delicious way to prepare that quintessential Ukrainian vegetable ... beets. On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Fr. Bruce has some practical tips for all travel destinations, and on A Spiritual Moment (Із Духові Твоєму), has a special Mother's Day message.
And as usual, the Proverb of the Week and plenty of Great Ukrainian Music! CD of the Week: Olya Fryz: Запроси у сни (Into your dreams).
Friday, May 11, 2007
I've been very remiss in not putting Taras Kuzio's blog on the blogroll here. (My bad...)
Taras is a very prominent political scientist and foreign policy expert on all things Ukrainian. And the operative word here is "scientist." His commentaries are refreshingly free of political bias. He is also an excellent writer, and actually allows his readers to make up their own minds. (Imagine that!)
Yes, reporting "just the facts" along with a balanced analysis is old-school journalism, unlike the advocacy that is now de rigeur in the western media. (If you've studied your Soviet history well, you can spot agit-prop a mile away, and it's so annoying.)
Anyway, enough ranting. It's time to get happy again. ;-) Maybe go watch some videos on UkeTube or at the Strilka site. Come join me, but do visit Taras's blog first. Or, if you're more in the mood for music than politics, come back later. He'll be on the blog roll here so you can find him easily enough.
A billboard in Baltimore of Rush Limbaugh was defaced this week and a spokesman for the city agency responsible for cleaning up graffiti said he liked it that way.
That graffiti "artist" is nothing more than a vandal with a political opinion. And that a public official, paid by taxpayers, would publicly condone an act of vandalism because he shares that opinion, is irresponsible to the extreme.
The issue to me is not Rush Limbaugh and his on-air views. The issue is that intimidation is so fashionable in western society that the term "civil servant" is becoming an oxymoron.
I have never listened to Rush Limbaugh (or any other American political talk show host ... I prefer ChickChat myself) but I do know that he has his detractors.
So what. So do Howard Stern and Al Franken. These guys are paid, and paid well, to attract as large a listening audience as possible for advertisers to "reach out" to between on-air rants. Obviously, that audience includes both the vandal and the public official in this story.
Because we live in such a "monkey-see monkey-do" society, however, this on-air audacity is creating an unfortunate and unpleasant trend whereby venom and vitriol are replacing respect and restraint not only in the public discourse but in society at large.
We can only hope that citizens who actually take talk show hosts and other entertainers seriously are not the canaries in the coal mine of a collapsing civil society, as Limbaugh suggests. Altho you do have to wonder about people who condone everything from vandalism to attempts at murder ... as long as "their side" is "winning."
But in the end, no one wins. As history has shown us, a society dominated by such sentiments is easy pickings for tyrants and totalitarians. And as the present is showing us, war really is hell.
The moral of this story is: It all starts at home, folks. If you want peace, then spread peace. Show the world, and especially your political adversaries, how to "overcome."
Here's a suggestion, tho. Try doing something more meaningful than committing or condoning an act of vandalism against a radio personality you dislike.
As this article illustrates, you're just giving more ammunition to the other side.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
The quality of the video is poor (very pixelated) but you can still make out what's going on ... and the music is great!
The music has a lot of deep bass which I've only ever heard in the really old music recordings (and perhaps from some European groups).
There are some interesting moves, on the part of both the guys and the gals, that I haven't seen done here in North America ... and believe me, I've seen a lot of Ukrainian dance groups!
The other thing that struck me is that they seem somehow, um, sexier ... in a subtle way. I can't explain it, I just got that feeling watching them. The guys seem so macho and the girls more feminine. Maybe in South America men and women just be themselves more, possibly because of the dominant Latino culture? I dunno, but I like it! ;-)
Closer to home, I came across this clip of the Kvitka Dancers of Surrey doing the Hopak at their Vesna 2007 concert. Looks like it was another fabulous show... (That'll teach me to miss their concert!)
There's a lot of great clips on UkeTube, go there often and enjoy!
Merely hogging the airwaves is naturally not enough for greedy media moguls. They have to elbow their way onto the internet now with their boring, "cost-effective" canned programming.
American Media Services-Internet LLC ... has launched 20 new online “multi-channel” formats designed for broadcasters to stream highly targeted and locally branded content to their online audience. ...
We can only hope that "targetting" and "branding" are the kiss of death on the internet and that the moguls and ad agencies just keep on digging their own graves.
Long live indie music! May it usher in a new era, and prevail better than radio did against media misers intent on killing the golden goose. (How's that for mangling metaphors!?!)
The tactic is simple: bankrupt us all.
The SaveNetRadio coalition is asking the public to support a counter-measure:
The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on July 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!). If the increased rates remain unchanged, the majority of webcasters will go bankrupt and silent on this date. Internet radio needs your help! H.R. 2060, The Internet Radio Equality Act was introduced by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL ) to save the Internet radio industry. ...
So if you live in the United States, and would like to ensure that webcasters can continue to operate and offer you the variety and choices that big media can't (nor would), please contact your Congressman or Congresswoman and ask them to support the Internet Radio Equality Act.
Canadians might want to get informed on this as well. Historically, the U.S. media industry has always considered Canada part of its domestic market. Which means that whatever happens south of the 49 will soon be repeated north of it. (You will notice that this issue isn't in the "news" anywhere...)
More info and the link here.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The theme is Hutz looking to find his Ukrainian roots ... perhaps inspired by his supporting role in the 2005 film Everything Is Illuminated. The few instances of foul language in the trailer were offset somewhat by Hutz' observation that "This is one of the most hurt peoples in the world" and his experience finding that reconnection of the soul that a trip to Ukraine can bring on.
You can find the link to the movie trailer at Olechko's excellent blog on contemporary art and culture in Ukraine here.
Find out how to prepare beef in a delicious Ukrainian way, more about Solaway Travel's summer tour to Eastern Europe, and some Ukrainian Easter customs that actually pre-date Christianity. The usual proverb of the week, community events, and plenty of great Ukrainian music!
Monday, May 07, 2007
Now if someone on the right of the political spectrum were to market "fun stuff" like, say, brown shirts, swastika banners and Mein Kampf bookmarks to give their detractors a poke in the eye, I doubt many would consider satirizing Nazis the least bit funny, or fun.
But communists? Well, that's different. In fact, the nice folks at the CBC apparently consider it quite hip (and maybe even daringly "audacious") to recall the glory days of communist gulags, forced famine, Stalinist purges, and other "fun" happenings under communism with cutsie peacenik paraphernalia.
Likewise the CBC fan club ... which seems to consist of a considerable number of apologists for mass murderers. What is there to say about human beings with hearts so cold that they can equate the unspeakable suffering of communism's victims with the triteness of their political disaffection (better a communist than a conservative, says one) ... and dismiss those who are appalled at such callous disrespect as lacking a sense of humour? Perhaps they never saw films like this, read books like these or visited websites like this. Or, maybe they did and just didn't care.
Oh and btw, this "fun stuff" at the CBC comes on the heels of a big brouhaha over the "castro hat" ... where you'll find more exhortations to lighten up and have a good laff at the antics of communism's mass murderers. Easy enough for some, I suppose, here in complacent Canada.
I don't consider myself a particularly funny person, but I think I have a reasonably good sense of humour. And sorry, but I really don't consider communism any funnier than nazism. (As far as I'm concerned, both ideologies are fascist.)
But then, maybe I am just not sophisticated enough to appreciate and share the CBC's sense of humour.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Recently, Cargill announced that it has invested about $20 million in the installation of boilers fired by sunflower husks at its oil extraction plants in eastern Ukraine. Company officials said this would enable the plants to use their own production waste and meet their own demands for heat energy while using environmentally clear fuel. Three boilers have already been installed at the oil extraction plants Donetsk and Kakhovka.
Interestingly (but not surprisingly) no Hollywood celebrities or grandstanding ex-politicians are touting something so mundane yet innovative and effective in fighting global warming.
Good luck finding even a tiny mention (let alone a decent article) about it in mainstream newspapers or the wire services. Of course, it could be that people who are actually doing something about global warming prefer not to waste their time trying to get the attention of people more interested in celluloid fantasies than real-life solutions, and just get on with the work ... even tho they'll get little thanks for it.
I learned about this real-life solution thanks to the folks at Art Ukraine who compile an excellent news roundup called The Action Ukraine Report (best viewed on Firefox). It's a great source of interesting and useful information on Ukraine and Eastern Europe.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Yes, I realize it's on the other side of the continent and the border, and that it's not a Ukrainian program. But still, in its own right it is counter-cultural, sort of like Nash Holos but in a more mainstream, American way. And since this is a blog about radio, I figured it merited a mention.
Anyway, it's called ChickChat, and it's talk radio for women. What a novel concept! The hosts, Lara and Heidi, have been featured on Fox News, and get some pretty impressive guests on their show. Probably because, just like us Ukie producers, they believe in having fun doing radio ... unlike some of the jaded jocks cluttering the airwaves.
I just noticed that last January they kindly acknowledged my post on their blog. Being May already, it's a tad late, but I'll say "thanks" anyway! It's always exciting to get a link, and especially from such an illustrious source!
Now I don't imagine they play or talk about Ukrainian music on their program much ... or at all, for that matter. But, because they've been so kind here in the blogosphere I've added them to our blogroll. Who knows, maybe someday they'll play a song by Ruslana or the Telnyuk Sisters and maybe chat with Yulia next time she's in Washington.
But in the meantime, check out their website and experience talk radio by chicks! Click on the "Listen to ChickChat" page to hear a demo or an archived program, or subscribe to their podcast.
And make sure to go to their "fun stuff" page and check out the video clips at the bottom. Being female, I found the last one in particular hysterical!
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Here's how he describes it:
[There was] no focus on creativity or on policies that meet the needs of creators and users... [Instead we got] a private function for MPs and Senators on Parliament Hill ... [with an RCMP display of] counterfeit batteries and unsafe extension cords ... an op-ed from the U.S. Consul General in Toronto ... and a major press release from CRIA touting declines in physical CD sales ... with claims that counterfeiting and P2P are the major reasons behind the declines.
Needless to say, there is:
- no mention of the tens of millions of dollars collected through the private copying levy that arguably covers those P2P downloads
- no mention of the most recent Canadian Heritage Music Industry Profile which focused on the growth of sales of Canadian artists since 2001
- no mention of the Canadian Heritage sponsored study that distinguishes between the health of the music industry and CD sales while placing much of the blame on the industry itself
- no mention that Canadian digital music sales growth was double the rate in the U.S. last year
- no mention that Canada has more online music stores than the U.S. when measured on a per capita basis
- no mention that the CRIA member strategy of relying on DRM is being quickly abandoned
- no mention of the changes at the retail level that even the Wall Street Journal points to as a critical reason for sales declines.
That is because World Intellectual Property Day has become little more than a lobbyist day with creators, users, and the facts once again getting lost in the process.
... it is worth asking whether the new CRIA data is somewhat skewed by the departure of the six major indie labels last April [that] have enjoyed significant commercial success ...
Worth asking, indeed.
Sylvia gives cooking tips on duck. Fr. Bruce has travel tips on Poland, and a true story on how Ukrainian faith trumped Soviet sophistry. (The latter also at his BC Byzantine podcast.)
As well, the usual proverb of the week, and plenty of Great Ukrainian music, on both Nash Holos (with me, Pawlina) and Chetverta Khvylia (4th wave) with host Pavlo Manugevych.
CTVglobemedia executives faced tough questions from broadcast regulators Monday as hearings began into its proposed $1.4 billion purchase of CHUM Ltd.
"I'm trying to give you what you want but why couldn't you have made your request for an exemption less monumental?" commissioner Stuart Langford asked.
You have to wonder, what good are regulations when erosive exemptions are so easily granted? (That's a rhetorical question btw.) So much for a "free market" system. Thanks to crony capitalism Canada is fast becoming an oligarchy quite recognizable to Ukrainians and other East Europeans.
The CTVglobemedia/CHUM hearings are the first of three media takeovers the broadcast regulator is considering. The others include:
- CanWest Global's $2.3 billion deal — in partnership with U.S.-based Goldman Sachs — to take over Alliance Atlantis Communications.
- Astral Media's takeover of the privately owned radio stations of Standard Broadcasting.
As this article illustrates, it's no better south of the border where the big players also keep minority broadcasters shut out.
But it's not not just ethnic communities and racial minorities that suffer, it's anyone in the general listening public who wants (or needs) to know more about them. What I find very puzzling is that industry and governments so stubbornly overlook and underserve these demographics, many of which are quite sizable and/or affluent.
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