Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Amazing Aces rock Plaza Cesar Chavez

And the kids join in!!!!

My New Car Stereo Seriously Cuts into Radio Time

This is for my friends at AVIC 411 so you can see how this controversial unit works...It's gotten mixed reviews. Pioneer released a letter apologizing for the problems for "early adaptors," which is incredibly frustrating. When you pay more than $1,000 for a product, you expect it to work. These guys treat it like a website that is released before all facets are complete.

I don't buy it...But I did buy it. As you can see from my fairly lame video, the pluses outweight the minuses for now, and I'll wait for Pioneer to make a software patch to get it up to speed (literally).

Hey, if the video sucks, at least fast forward to the end, when you can hear my friend's joke.
And,I have to say, right now my favorite radio station is my iPod...with 6,000 songs on random shuffle, it builds great sets, connecting musical themes like the best disk jockey.

And I like all the songs. No wonder music radio is in a bit of trouble.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hawaiian Music Hurt by Santa Cruz Fire

APTOS -- Hawaiian music lovers across the county had their listening schedules thrown off by last week's Trabing Fire.

The blaze, which scorched 640 acres, also knocked out power in the Larkin Valley area, which temporarily halted broadcasts by KAPU, the all-Hawaiian music radio station that has a broadcast antenna on Trabing Road.

KAPU hasn't broadcast its trademark island tunes since around 3 p.m. Friday, according to Norman Markowitz, a member of the station's board of directors and one of the station's volunteer DJs.

Flames crept up to the base of the antenna and might have damaged it, he said, but the damage can't be assessed until the antenna can be tested after power is restored to the area.

"It all depends on PG&E," said Markowitz, who goes by the handle "Kaukini Norm." "They're working very hard."

Power won't be restored for a few days, said a Cal Fire spokesman.

Meanwhile, the station has been receiving phone calls and e-mails from listeners curious where the music has gone.

Markowitz said listeners yearning for a Hawaiian music fix should check out the station online at, which has recordings of several interviews with Hawaiian artists as well as links to local bands and music samples.

The station, which transmits at 104.7 FM, began operation in September 2004 as a low-power station; it uses a

Need Passport

52-watt antenna, which allows coverage from the edges of Santa Cruz to Watsonville. A link on the station's Web site encourages viewers to write letters to the Federal Communications Commission requesting that KAPU be licensed for 100-200 watts, which would increase coverage to most of Santa Cruz County and hopefully swell the ranks of listeners, now estimated at roughly 5,000, according to Markowitz.

There is a strong interest in Hawaiian music and culture in the Santa Cruz area, Markowitz said. Local musicians who play Hawaiian music often visit the radio station, located in Watsonville, to perform live on the air.

"We're one of the hubs of groups of people that love all things Hawaiian," he said. "It's an important part of the Hawaiian community in Santa Cruz."

Contact Keenan Weatherford at 706-3254 or

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sirius Trouble if the Merger is depending on Howard (Yawn) Stern

I still check in, but if I were paying for Sirius because of Howard Stern, this would be the time I'd be asking for my money back.

The newness of the swearing is over; he can't round up A-list guests because his numbers have dropped so much from his days on terrestrial radio; and frankly, success is killing the entertainment value of Howard Stern.

Now that he's living the Hamptons lifestyle, tooling between mansions, and happily set to be married, the angst, the danger and the edge are plain gone. The spark has dimmed from the (not so) shock jock's show.

Today the talk was about who Stern would invite to his wedding, and frankly, it was about as boring as hearing any stranger doing his wedding planning. AM talk radio was on fire by comparison.

And then, worse than the show itself, is what they call "The Wrap Up Show," in which producer Garry Dell'Abate (or more accurately, Dell'Aboring ) and John Hinds discuss the most "dramatic" moments of the show. And I thought postgame baseball analysis was dull.

Today the big question, stated breathlessly by Dell'Aboring, was: "Should Howard invite Lisa from his news team to his wedding, because she wishes she was marrying him?"

You couldn't even goof on them for being so serious about the topic. They just didn't have any real material to work with. Maybe this is their way of preparing listeners for his annual endless summer sabbatical of repeats.

And here's the real problem. Stern always had something or someone to be mad at: his program directors, the FCC, the women who never wanted him. But he's got everything he wants these days. He's got the money; he's got the girl; and he can say what he wants on the air.

His contract is running out, and the more I listen, the more I think that this time Stern will stride off into the Hamptons sunset, before he ends up even more boring and irrelevant than Imus.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Alejandro Escovedo Joins Bruce Springsteen and the Boss's Manager

This is the news I'd hoped for for years....As long as I've been loving Alejandro Escovedo, which is about 15 years.

The guy was rock's best unknown talent, and I always compared him to Bruce Springsteen, saying that his songwriting is on the same level, but his fame is nowhere to be found.

Well, finally, Springsteen's manager Jon Landau signed Al, has him appearing on Letterman, Conan and Jimmy....and had him jam with Springsteen in Houston...not on a Bruce song, but on one of Al's..

Check the video, posted on Springsteen's site here.

Now, if only Eric Clapton would find Jason Ricci and Bill Miller would get discovered by Bono or Chris Martin, my favorite unknowns will finally get their due.

At least this shows that persistence pays off.

Friday, June 13, 2008

MOBY Grape's Skip Spence gets a great tribute

Members of the Santa Cruz group, the White Album Ensemble, who have paid tributes to the Beatles for years, take a big step this month covering the music of Skip Spence, with Spence's son Omar (pictured above) doing the singing.

The group includes Doobie Brother Tiran Porter, who sings backups and Dale Ockermann, who plays with the Funky Meters and Mighty Mike Schermer, among others.

I heard them on KPIG's live music show "Please Stand By" Sunday and was blown away.

They really captured the blissful side of Spence's music. Spence, an original member of Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape, was a sad fixture around San Jose before his death, a bearded homeless guy suffereing mental problems who hung out at Santa Clara and 10th streets.

The band will perform his music live at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz June 20.

Led Zeppelin were huge fans of Moby Grape, playing their songs at Zep's first rehearsal. Robert Plant performs on a Skip Spence tribute album, "More Oar," as does Tom Waits and Beck.

Spence's son is the music director of Elevation, a new age ministry in Santa Cruz.

This should be a great show, well worth checking out.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Radio Soup Writer Wins Two Awards

I'm in shock. I wish now that I had gone to the awards ceremony. To tell you the truth, I was afraid of what I might say to some of the mediocre minds who were instrumental in laying me off. I'll be curious to see how the Mercury News covers the story.

One day in this space you will read some of the true stories behind life at the Mercury News, that my lawyer says I can't print yet.

Meanwhile check out the list of Bay Area awards here at

Here are the ones I won:

FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Male Call,” Jeff Thomas
SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Columns by Brad Kava,” Brad Kava
THIRD PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “East Side/West Side,” Joe Rodriguez

Feature Story of Light Nature
FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Eat My Sports,” Daniel Brown
SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “What If No One Calls,” Brad Kava

Well, thanks to anyone who voted for me and to the Press Club for having the ceremony. If I had been able to afford a ticket, I would have worn my "Will Write For Food" shirt and how come the guys who took my job didn't win any?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Help Save Internet Radio

read this story in the LA Times

and see the letter below on radio soup from Pandora founder Tim Westergren.

I wrote about this situation a year ago at the Mercury News...and It's getting worse than anyone could have imagined. We all thought logic would take over and people would realize that these draconic fees would crush a budding, wonderful business.

And the steamroller keeps moving forward.

I know so many people who love Pandora and have found new music there, the way we used to find it on conventional radio. Don't let this music lover's tool be taken away by greed and ignorance.

Real artists will be hurt more than anyone can imagine. It's harder and harder to find real music, in the deluge of commercial pap on the regular airwaves. We'll even lose links to great broadcasters such as KPIG and KCRW.

Alan Colmes: Rotato Host

I just heard the freshest thing I've heard on talk radio in a while, although apparently a lot of listeners weren't smart enough to pull it off.

On his nationally syndicated show, which I pick up on KSCO-AM (1080), Alan Colmes had a chain of listeners fill in for him while he nursed a sore throat. It started awkwardly, but blossomed into something as interesting as Ronn Owens lets listeners get on for 30 seconds and say whatever they want.

Colmes took the first call and then that caller became the host who would take the next call and on and on. Later he picked callers at random and had them interview each other to find out what they had in common...brilliant! Really felt like a slice of America, folks chatting on the porch.

Great stuff....fresh...different....a new twist on a format that can sometimes get as stale as week old news, and as predictable as a Sean Hannity rant.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Plea to help save Pandora, the great Internet music service

Hi, it's Tim from Pandora,
I'm writing today to urgently ask for your help. Our future and that of all webcasters is being threatened by the actions of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). In an effort to cripple Internet radio they have defied Congressional direction to negotiate reasonable performance fees and are trying to shut us down.
In spite of overwhelming opposition, including from thousands of musicians, they have blatantly pursued a strategy of undermining the process, making outrageous demands, and trying to run out the clock, hoping we will just quietly fade away. There is only one way to stop this violation of the public trust, and that is by mobilizing the collective will of our listening audience.
I am writing to you because your Senator is on the crucially important Senate Judiciary committee. It would be tremendously helpful if you would take just a minute to call your Senator:

Senator Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841

** When you call, please tell them your home town, and ask them to support the Brownback Internet Radio Equality amendment that will be considered in the Judiciary Committee this Thursday.
This amendment sets webcasting royalties at the same level as those paid by satellite radio, which would compensate musicians fairly and allow web radio to survive. For more info on the bill, please visit:

I hope you'll take just a few minutes to call. It's easy to do and it will truly, truly make a difference. As a young industry, we do not have the lobbying power of the RIAA. You, our listeners, are by far our biggest and most influential allies.
Thank you very much for your support,

-Tim Westergren
(Pandora founder)

Excerpt from a compelling book about shock jocks and hate talkers

This book by Rory O'Connor looks like a solid portrayal of at least one of these hate talkers, Michael Savage.

Check it here.

He's even got the Savage letter to Allen Ginsburg wanting to put a camera in Ginsburg's rectum and take photos.

Sure, some people change with age...but to go from a gay waiter to a gay hater...that's more than extreme. It's pretty clear from this short bio that Savage has some serious issues. But you already knew that.

Here's an excerpt that should be read to all the morons in the Sewage Nation:

In his first and only novel, Vital Signs, the protagonist (a fortyish Jew named Samuel Trueblood who shares many of Savage's biographical details) says, "I choose to override my desires for men when they swell in me, waiting out the passions like a storm, below decks." There are Savage's years with Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti, including a note to Ginsberg that read, "Watched a tourist from New Zealand taking pictures of Fijian people in the marketplace [and] thought of inserting my camera's lens in your A-hole to photograph the walls of your rectum." These days, his attitude is outright hostility, with, for instance, his continual assertion of a "homosexual mafia" trying to control the state of world affairs. Savage has also said that gay parenting is "child abuse" and that the sight of a gay couple "makes me want to puke."

Who were all those suckers who donated to his suit against the Arab group CAIR? The same type of lunatics who used to follow Jim and Tammy Bakker?