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A Tech-Econ Mashup with a Libertarian Flavor

Talentless Hack Fired from Humdrum Radio Station Does Not Violate 1st Amendment

Mankato-area radio DJ Jeremy “Fat Kid” Powell was evidently given the axe this week by his employers at 95.7 “The Blaze.” Fat Kid’s facebook page is awash with comments from fans who vow to boycott the station until he is reinstated. Or at least until they remember that the Blaze is the only broadcaster within listening range that plays their brand of crappy, testosterone-fueled Shock Rock.™

For those of you who don’t hail from southern Minny, Fat Kid is an “edgy,” cookie-cutter radio DJ, another voice in the slew of Howard Stern-wannabes that station execs hired en masse in the mid-90s to capitalize on the angsty, anti-commercial rock music that was, well, commercial at the time. Most of these guys bring nothing original to their profession, and most of them fail to be shocking – afterall, only the richest stations can afford to pay FCC indecency fines – and instead settle somewhere between “annoying” and “grating.”

Anyway, back to the story. Mr. Kid’s side is that he was fired for saying something inappropriate over the waves (he supplied the facebook comment “don’t call cheerleaders fat on air.”). His account of what happened has prompted his crowd of facebook supporters to rage back against the machine. From panicky boys who don’t know whut im gonna listen to now that FAT KID IS GONE!!! THIS SUCKS!, to witch-y little half-wit girls who believe being labeled fat by a radio DJ provides adequate motivation for those other ugly fat girls to lose weight, the kids are pissed. Many have cited the constitution, specifically the 1st Amendment, and the value of Freedom of Speech in America, Or Whatever. And therein lies the problem, boys and girls.

The first amendment protects citizens from government censorship, not from employer censorship. It’s very important for the managers at Wal-Mart to have the freedom to fire the idiot kid who curses at and insults his customers. It’s also very important that the managers can’t call the police and have the same idiot kid hauled away and thrown in jail. People don’t like being insulted, and businesses generally try not to piss off their customers. Contrast this with a society without a first amendment. In such a society, Fat Kid could be imprisoned with no legal recourse, a prospect which I’m sure we’ll all agree is much more horrifying than merely being unemployed. Fat is free to go find employment elsewhere, switch to a more lucrative vocation. I’m sure he’d make a great Tucker Max rip-off.

Bottom line: Fat Kid sucks, the Blaze was never a great radio station, and the first amendment applies only to the government and can’t be wielded against private citizens or companies. So please, go ahead and boycott The Blaze. Not because of Fat Kid, but because there’s better ways to discover and listen to music. www.pandora.com

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Filed under: Entertainment, , ,

MTV, VH1 Losing Their Audience (Viacom is Screwed).

Wired.com posted an article yesterday about media giant Viacom and its disappointing 2nd quarter results. Apparently, those darned kids are to blame:

The culprits, according to the Wall Street Journal , were MTV and VH1. And although the company expects the ratings to return soon, thanks to the season premiere of “The Hills” and the MTV Video Music Awards in September — we suspect it’s not just the economy or a short-term ratings dip that ails Viacom.

The fundamental problem could be that the “youth demo” that Viacom has hotly chased after for the last couple decades is a bust. Teens and twenty-somethings don’t watch TV anymore; they don’t read newspapers; and they’re technologically promiscuous — how can big media sell advertising against them if you can’t corner them in front of any single device?

Dauman hinted at the problem, but he didn’t address it head on when he said some viewers are migrating from broadcast networks to cable channels, but “the trend did not benefit some of our networks that cater to younger demographics.” The key takeaway: Young people have left, and they’re not coming back.

Memo to Viacom: Instead of suing Google and Youtube, realize that Youtube can be your friend.

Related: Viacom and “Gootube” have reached a deal that will allow Youtube to remove usernames and IP addresses from user data before handing it over to Viacom. Score another point for privacy!

Filed under: Entertainment, , , , , ,

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