Just forget the words and sing along

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

News Hound: Year One

Holy moly! It's my one-year anniversary!

I've officially been the news hound for the Athabasca radio station for one year now.

I've only been here a year, but I've already gone through so many titles. I was hired under the title of "news director." Someone in the company insisted on putting "broadcast journalist" on all my business cards. (On my business cards, I scribble out "broadcast journalist" before handing it out.) I tend to introduce myself as a "news hound." But, at the end of the day, I'm a reporter. That's the simplest and best way to describe it. (And it's what I write on my business cards to replace the scribbled-out "broadcast journalist.")

The fun thing about having been here a year is I finally feel "established." And by "established," I mean that a lot less people run away screaming when I whip out my digital voice recorder and say, "Can I get this on tape so I can play it on the radio?"

But still, I can't help but feel a little bit empty inside. After all, I got into radio to be an announcer. I first wanted to get into radio when I was 10 years old and saw Good Morning, Vietnam. When you look it at like that, I've been working towards being an announcer for 20 years.

I got my first real taste of announcing when I started doing my college radio show. When you look at it like that, I've been working towards being an announcer for 10 years.

I got serious about being an announcer when I first applied to NAIT. When you look at it like that, i've been working towards it for 6 years.

Am I announcing right now? No. I'm reporting. It is a little bit painful to know that your dream job...your goal for 20 years...is literally in the next room.

My goal right now is the same as it's always been: get into the next room.

But the past year has been a good life.

Good enough.

Since it is my one year anniversay, it's kind of appropriate that today sees the DVD release of WKRP in Cincinatti: The Complete First Season. Anyone my age who works in radio would be lying if they said that WKRP didn't have some influence on their career choice.

However, this DVD release has proven to be somewhat controversial. It's brought to the fore one of the big issues among DVD enthusiasts like myself, and that's the issue of music replacement.

See, as we all know, it's quite common these days for a TV show to use some contemporary music as part of the soundtrack. Hell, Smallville is often mocked for having Clark and Lana stare longingly at each other from across a crowded room while the latest pop ballad plays. Well, see, when you release that show on DVD, you've got to pay the music artists royalties. And, sometimes, those roaylties are so much, that it makes it prohibitive to a DVD release. That's why Ally McBeal has yet to be released to DVD...to release it, they've got to pay Vonda Shepard a boatload of money.

So, here's where music replacement comes in. What happens is the DVD executives will go in, remove the expensive song, and replace it with a generic, made-for-TV sound-a-like. Sometimes, if it's done with care and the involvement of the show's creators, it can be pretty seamless. But, if it's done by just a group of random editors, it can wind up being a pretty brutal alteration of the creator's orignal intent.

Now, with WKRP, being set at a radio staiton and all, the music was rather integral to the plot and/or the jokes. So, many feared that WKRP would be savagely edited for DVD. And, today, they're being proven right.

Advance reviews from a month ago report very bland made-for-TV sound-a-likes replacing the classic rock of the show. Whole scenes where characters discuss the music being played are cut out altogether, and jokes where the music being played is the exact opposite of what's happening on screen just don't make sense anymore.

Needless to say, there's a lot of upset people.

the official statement from the folks who put it on DVD? "Well, we still think this is better than not releasing it at all."

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