Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: Anchorage Daily News, don't shoot us! We're just the piano player, and the bass player, and the singer, and the...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Anchorage Daily News, don't shoot us! We're just the piano player, and the bass player, and the singer, and the...

One of my BFFs on the planet is the "queen of the Alaska music scene" Ms. Patti Greene. For those of you who don't know about Patti, she is an awesome bass player, singer, arranger and is absolutely without rival in organization and promotion. What truly makes her "the queen" is that she has the only real unifying force among hundreds of musicians in this state, an email classified-ads newsletter called "Gear Junkies."

She has traditional ads in catagories like "Band/Performers Wanted," and "For Sale: Guitars, Amps and Accessories." However, she also has scores of cleverly-organized ads and information in catagories like "Will Play for Gas" - musicians looking for other musicians to play with, or "Think Outside the Bar" which frequently gives events requiring children performers or, my favorite, "I Think Therefore I Jam" which is the most extensive list of Alaska Jam Nights found anywhere.

Lately, Ms. Patti has included areas in her publication dedicated to what I call "the politics of music." This mainly revolves around finding ways for the live music community to survive in a very hostile environment...and we ain't talkin' weather.

I will be including Patti's "Gear Junkies editorial" (my description) on the blog and this week it's a "special edition."

The Anchorage Daily News recently decided it will drop the entertainment calendar from its Friday "Play" section. (This is the grid that lists the various clubs and the bands playing in them for the upcoming week.) They say this is part of an overall reduction that'll drop the number of pages from 24 to 16 and save them a big ol' pile of money.

What this means is that, with one hasty decision, ADN editors will have all but erased the local, live music scene from the map, rendering local musicians invisible.

They say we can still put band listings on their website, and that's a great service. However, not everybody uses the web. We know for a fact there's a whole audience out there that relies on the Friday paper to tell them where the bands are playing. And there are thousands of music lovin' Alaskans and tourists who will want to go hear live music when they come to Anchorage --- but they won't have a computer with 'em and won't have a clue where to find the live bands.

ADN probably figures that the clubs will increase their advertising -- but we know differently. We learned a long time ago not to rely on the clubs to get accurate information into the paper. That's why we figured out how to go directly to the entertainment calendar in the first place.

When the entertainment grid goes away, there will be no mention of live local music in the Anchorage Daily News --- not in reviews, not in a calendar, not anywhere. I'm not sure that was the editor's intent, but that's the net result.

So as a group, Gear Heads, it's our job to educate the Daily News as to what their decision really means. I won't tell you what to say, but I will tell you that this is precisely the time when we, as a group, should say something. This is precisely the type of situation where we must stop being anarchists and start thinking like an industry.

If you play in a band that relies on the ADN calendar for your promotional efforts, you should probably say something. If you live out of town and like to go out for live music when you're in Anchorage, you should probably say something. If you've made any money in the last year playing music -- even twelve bucks in tips -- you are a musician, and you might think about saying something. If you have ever used the ADN entertainment column to see who's playing where, you might think about getting involved.

Folks, I'll stand up for us --- if you'll stand up for us, too. Here's where you send your comments:

Anchorage Daily News Editor Pat Dougherty

Thanks for listening.

Patti Greene, Editor
Gear Junkies Newsletter


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