Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bernie Ward press release

Aug 28, 2008 12:25 America/Los_Angeles

Former Talk Radio Host Sentenced to 87 Months in Prison for Distributing Child Pornography

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bernard V. Ward, 57, a San Francisco resident who previously worked as a radio station talk show host,
was sentenced today to serve 87 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of
the Criminal Division announced.

On May 8, 2008, Ward pleaded guilty to one count of distributing child pornography through the Internet. According to the plea documents, Ward
admitted that in December 2004, he used an online screen name to engage in an Internet chat conversation with an unknown individual also using a
screen name. During that conversation, Ward admitted that he sent an image of child pornography depicting nude children engaged in sexually explicit
conduct via his e-mail account. Ward also admitted that he used the same e-mail account to distribute 15 to 150 images of child pornography to other
individuals. These images involved prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, some with sadistic, masochistic or violent conduct.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Steve Grocki, Jennifer Leonardo and Michael Yoon of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and
Obscenity Section and investigated by the FBI.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

CONTACT: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs,
+1-202-514-2007; TDD, +1-202-514-1888

Web Site:

Rob Fisher
Manager, Media Relations
PR Newswire

Bernie Ward found guilty: but where are the other 100 pornography viewers?

I heard the news of KGO host Bernie Ward's sentencing from a press release, sent out by the U.S. Justice Deparment...or a contractor it hired.

Prosecutors patted themselves on the backs, like stars or athletes, for ridding the streets of this danger to society, a man who viewed disgusting and illegal images of children in sexual and painful poses.

But where were the other 100 people in the investigation? Where were their prosecutions? Where were the backslapping prosecutors for the people he was emailing with?Where was the investigation of them?

This was political judicial grandstanding at its worst, selective prosecution.

And just as I am writing this, Christine Craft is saying the exact same thing on KGO-AM (810) radio.

Bravo Christine.

It's a disgusting, unfair show by our Justice Department. Unless, that is, I'm going to receive press releases from them for prosecutions of all of the other child pornography viewers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Madonna Pisses off McCain Campaign

Read this article about Madge launching her new world tour and the complaints from the McCain campaign.

Now the great irony: Madonna is now under contract with Live Nation, the Clear Channel spinoff that has Clear Channel's executives on its Board of Directors.

Clear Channel's Lowry Mays is a staunch Republican, who strongly encourages his executives to donate to Republican campaigns. I've heard stories of him buttonholing them at various company functions and reminding them to tithe some 10 percent of their salaries to the cause.

Politics and music, such strange bedfellows.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cindy McCain abandons half sister, claiming to be an only child?

There's a great article in the New York Times today tracing Cindy McCain's wealth..a must read.

NeoCons are always talking about the "mainstream" media and what it leaves out. I'd like to hear just one of them bring up this McCain story, particularly the part about her abandoning her father's first daughter.

The relevance is that we're already hearing about Barack Obama's half brother in Africa living on $1 a day, as reported in Italian papers. The great irony here is that Cindy McCain similarly has avoided her half sister, even claiming at her father's funeral that she was an only child, while her half sister sat in a front pew.

Given the fact that Cindy represents most of McCain's earnings and seven homes, it is relevant.

And while we're at it, we hear nothing about John McCain having an affair with Cindy while he was married, and abandoning his first wife while she was ailing, ala John Edwards.

I can't decide if Obama should take the high road on this stuff, or do what his opponents do, and "Swift Boat" McCain: dig up the dirt on his family money, Cindy's father's mob connection (which reportedly had a journalist murdered) and his infidelities.

I heard KGO-AM evening host Gene Burns the other night claiming that Obama should avoid negative campaigning...but notice that McCain's numbers swelled after he started honing his negative chops in TV ads aired during the Olympics.

I'm afraid that's all that most of this country understands: name calling and ignorance, like some giant pro wresling match. How else can you explain the success of Karl Rove and GW?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is Pandora going down??? Tragic if true

An interview in the Washington Post with founder Tim Westergren makes it sound likely:read here.

This is really a big death for Internet radio. He's got a great site, that has given jobs to many musicians. It's one of the best ways I know to find new music, using Pandora's DNA system to find like music.....

Really sad.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

KGO in ratings trouble, or another "analyst" jumping on bandwagon too soon

Radio Equalizer Brian Maloney reports that KGO has taken a big dip in the first third of the summer ratings, now that the ratings are done by People Meters, monitors that can report exactly what people are listening to.

Regular readers of this column know that we've seen other so-called experts make big predictions based on one or two-thirds of a book, and be embarrassed when the final book came out. I'll take betting action that Maloney joins their ranks.

If he were more than a neo-Con shill, he would tell his readers that the summer book is always slower for talk radio anyway. People are on vacation; kids are out of school and dominating the family radio with music; urban stations and music stations crush talk on the beach.

Besides, KGO is in first place with the 12 and up demo, the public one that counts for its claim of being No. 1 for 30 years. As for 25-54, if the station continues its trend as he shows and ranks 18th, it really would be in some trouble for advertisers. That demo is the one they use to buy ads, figuring that people between those ages spend the most and don't have buying habits ingrained (both not true in this new age, where 60 is the new 40, I would add).

BUT, what Maloney also doesn't figure is that with the political conventions heating up this month, and school starting in August, KGO will likely get a big bump, back up to its usual high numbers. (Although I'm burning out on the election talk already. They should have rationed it earlier, and waited for the conventions to step it up.)

I think the guy has jumped the gun...and not without some real motivations (see this post to get a feel for his absolute bias). Who would call KGO and Citadel's ranks "ultra liberal?" And who would begrudge the station a good party for an unprecedented 30 years of success? (And no, I didn't get an invite, even though I hosted and guested on shows there many times, at all hours.) Although I agree that not inviting all the engineers, prodcers and rank and file is tacky, tacky, tacky on Mickey Luckoff's part.

He is right about one thing: dropping Melanie Morgan will prove to be a huge mistake for KSFO, which shows up 22nd now in the morning, when it was in the Top 10 with her. No one gets rid of a hugely popular morning host on top. It's just plain stupid or greedy. I only wish she would go to another station and make them suffer for it.

So, we'll see what happens when the monthly trends turn into the summer book. I bet Maloney eats crow.

PS: I've been saying for a long time that KGO should start thinking more about younger listeners. Most of its hosts are out of the 25-54 demo and so are their topics (Ronn Owens is a big exception. He's in touch with what's going on out there, in part because of his teenage daughters. Hell, he had Tommy Chong on yesterday and didn't make any pot jokes. Yeah, right.) Karel touches younger and cooler demos and Pete Wilson used to. (So did Bernie Ward (pun intended). But I'm not sure who else there is the least bit hip. (The news staff is.)

I appreciate their loyalty to tried and true staff. But when one leaves, maybe they should be thinking of younger, rawer talent.

When I did a tryout, my first topic was police crackdowns on San Jose nightlife, and the phones raged with younger callers. It's not a topic any of those others would know about unless it was in the newspaper first. (Enlightened self-interest alert here, but regardless, it's something Mickey should think about when he looks at filling host slots).

PPS: Thanks Pen Press Club for keeping me posted on this. You should get their daily newsletter!

(Photo: from Maloney...KGO staff gets down at party)

Monday, August 18, 2008

El Tri in Salinas...con mi

Savage loses again...follow the money

Radio huckster Michael Savage has dropped his suit against the Arab American organization CAIR.

You can read an objective account of the news here.

As a blogger, I have serious questions about Savage and his smarmy attention-seeking attorney, Daniel Horowitz.

This is the third apparently frivilous suit Savage has dropped after getting rebuffed by the courts. In the last one he sued the University of California for not hiring him as the dean of its journalism school, a ridiculous waste of legal time, considering he had no credentials for the job. Savage also lost suits against Web sites Savage Stupidity and Savage Sucks, trying to shut them down.

In his retraction of this suit, his lawyer casts aspersions on CAIR, acting as if Savage was afraid of some other repercussions. To an objective observer, CAIR's use of Savage's sound bites was in keeping with fair use, the same fair use that Savage uses in playing sound clips from other media on his own show and on his Web site.

The bigger question is this: where is the money he raised? He claims on air that it cost $150,000 to file his actions, a figure that seems exhorbitant at best. And he claimed on air that thousands of listeners donated. One wonders just how much was raised and where it went.

Savage has a questionable history with donations: he raised close to $1 million as a tax exempt entity for his Paul Revere Society. The tax exemption was pulled by the IRS and the State of California, and there has been no public accounting since 2004 of where the money went, and to what non-profit ends.

One can't help but wonder why Attorney General Jerry Brown,who received $5,600 of donations from Savage, hasn't investigated this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One of the Jesus Twins shot by police

I always wondered what became of those obnoxious, over-the-top singers who appeared on Howard Stern's radio show in 1997 and deluged him with requests to put them on his movie soundtrack.

They were obnoxious, loud, pushy, cocky and entertaining. You loved them or hated them, not unlike Stern himself.

Turns out life didn't turn out well. One of the brothers, Eric, was shot by police last week in Los Angeles, in "suicide by cop," in which he pulled a gun and held it until police shot him. This was reported by the other twin, Jeff, who is now a dog trainer in Texas.

It's a sad end to the duo, who were so cocky, they turned down record offers looking for something bigger.

Hear their music here, at their myspace page.

Read the transcript of Jeff's appearance here, on Mark's Friggin Howard Stern summary.

Jeff said his brother suffered from manic depression, and they only found out about it after their show appearances in 1997. Almost anyone listening could have told him that. Those guys were either great actors, or sick pups.

Some aspiring psychiatry student should do a study of the rest of Stern's "wack pack" guests. There's plenty of illness to go around.

PS: I defy anyone to read through the entire transcript of one of the recent shows and tell me they are interesting. Meanwhile, they still haven't turned my Sirius off yet, and I was glad about hearing that segment. But reading these's sheer drudgery. Like I'm supposed to care if Sal gets invited to Howard's wedding?

It makes me wonder if he wasn't better on commercial airwaves, where he had enemies to bump against and stay on the air.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A good reason NOT to vote for McCain: his

Here's a pic on Michael Savage's website of the toad-like host with the Republican contender.

Savage, if you haven't been up on the news, is the one who recently claimed that Autism is a "made up disease." Savage claimed he was taken out of context, but you can hear the whole episode here and judge for yourself.

That move drew protests to radio stations....but the best way to get rid of a greedy host you don't like is to boycott the advertisers who sponsor his show and the products he owns.

Note the hat: Savage's son owns RockStar, the energy drink, and his family is on the board.

Tell your local stores they should carry the product, unless they support a man who says that women aren't smart enough to vote, that China should be nuked, that gays are destroying marriage. Read this profile to see some of these things, as well as the pornogaphic letters he wrote to Allen Ginsburg, wanting to put a camera in the writer's rectum.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Is it time to renew or forget Sirius??

Check my blog on it, over here.

What do you think? Should I pay or should I go?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

San Jose Jazz Festival: Strong Lineup..and not just jazz

I'm pretty blown away by the lineup for San Jose's Jazz Festival this weekend.

Check the Calendar here.

Plenty of years I've just camped at the blues stage, and there is plenty of reason to do that again: Big names such as James Hunter (the next Boz Scaggs), Eddie Turner, Gary Smith, Joe Bonamassa. That alone is a brilliant festival.

But then, on other stages you have John Densmore from the Doors doing a jazz thing (pictured above); one of my favorites ever, Zakir Hussain (a fixture around the Grateful Dead..and an Indian superstar) with George Brooks; Les McCann and Lonnie Smith; Tony Lindsay from Santana.

And I've only scratched the surface...

All for only $10.

I'm glad to be taking a stay-cation this year. This is a festival worth traveling a long way to.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Apple's Latest iPod Update Killing Car Players

I updated my iPod 160 gig classic last week, put it back in my car....and CRASH. My Pioneer F-BT90 no longer recognized it, would no longer charge it and got stuck in a loop that wouldn't let it play. Ever.

I took it to Lott's in Santa Cruz, where I bought the Pioneer, and they said a lot of people have been having the same problem since the update, no matter which stereo they bought, Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer...

I'm seeing similar problems at
Apparently the upgrade switched the way the iPod outputs worked with car stereo connectors, another in a series of Apple flubs this month, along with Mobile Me. This one made my iPod not mobile at all.

BUT: there was a happy ending.

I went to the Apple store in Los Gatos, because the same iPod wouldn't hold a charge. They gave me a new iPod with the old version of iTunes, and I'm back up and running. I would have gone out of my mind with frustration if it had happened any other way.

Two negatives made a positive.

I really love the iPod and the Pioneer. Nothing better than cruising Highway 17 and saying: "Play Radiohead," and having it play. Or telling it whom to call.

I feel like I own Kit, the Knight Rider car.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My liner notes discs are doing great

My biggest goal (yeah I think small) was to get listed in All Music Guide, the definitive website for musicians.

And I have, six times. See here.

But what's really cool is that the last three discs I wrote liner notes for are all charting pretty big right now.

See here.

Great to see that Jason Ricci is back on the blues charts. His never-ending tour is starting to pay off.

Also great to see that the Legendary R&B Revue will be playing the Bay Area, and Delta Groove artists are all over the San Francisco Blues Festival coming at the end of Sept.

See lineup here.

Many of the folks playing are the ones I saw in Mississippi last March and I HIGHLY recommend you check them out. Ruthie Foster will blow your mind and the All Star Revue is just that: a great collection of major talents, some you may hear for the first time (Mike Zito and Kirk Fletcher will blow your minds).

Also great to see that Delta Groove signed the 2 man wrecking crew, a group owner Rand Chortkoff saw playing for the first time on a truck bed in Clarksdale...and he got out the pen and paper immediately. I was there and they really were awesome. Their disc comes out Oct. 21...and will set the blues/rock world on fire. Think George Thoroughgood meets the White Stripes and Lightnin' Hopkins.....the real shit.

Sarah and Vinnie return on ALICE Radio

Here's the story I did for the SF Weekly, breaking the return of Vinnie to ALICE.

It's really good news. I like Vinnie on the air, always have. Off the air too. He cracks me up, and for my money is a lot better than the last guy they had, No Talent. I mean No Name.

Check it out.

PS: this was the first place to run the return story. Everyone else cribbed from it.