Chicago Public Radio Station Scraps Jazz For News

“WBEZ, Chicago’s National Public Radio (NPR) member station and among the oldest public radio outlets in the United States, has decided to scrap scheduled music programming — the bulk of which was nightly jazz — and move to a 24-hour news and public affairs format. The change — which has sparked a backlash from loyal fans — speaks volumes about the worries facing independent radio stations.”

Not So Simple To Copy The World’s Books

Google wants to digitize the world’s books. Publishers are balking. “The problem is that to compile the index Google uses for its search engine, it has to scan the entire book. Publishers claim this infringes copyright and want Google to ask permission for each book. The trouble is that only 20% or so of books are in print and because many titles are “orphaned” when publishers go out of business, finding out who to ask for permission could take years.”

Next-Gen Pops?

Los Angeles and Boston Pops programmers are giving alternative-rock acts with cult followings a chance to collaborate in arranging, adapting, and performing their material with orchestras. “Symphony orchestras want to attract younger fans, and many of their musicians are young enough to have been contemporary rock fans. So it’s not the alienating idea that it once might have been.”

Separate and Unequal

The Pittsburgh theatre community has lately been focusing on how to increase and promote racial diversity within the local scene. Ideas are wide-ranging, but most in the city agree that just producing more “black theatre” isn’t enough. Indeed, the larger issue may be not just how to involve more African-Americans in theatre, but how to encourage the creation of shows with truly integrated casts.

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has acquired a series of nine studies by Andrew Wyeth. The studies are a gift from Wyeth’s family, who were impressed enough by a private tour of the museum’s Wyeth retrospective to offer up the additional works, which show “how Wyeth’s thinking evolved before he arrived at the final eerie image of a place setting absent a diner” in his painting, Groundhog Day, which is part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Homogenizing The Cable Universe

There was a time when the 500-channel universe promised a niche for everyone, a channel to suit every taste. And for a while, that’s what we had. But lately, it seems that nearly every cable channel is sliding towards the same middlebrow pit – a show that airs on TLC could just as easily air on Discovery, Bravo, or even the once-highbrow A&E. But dumping the niche also seems to mean drawing a bigger audience, so truly distinctive channels may be a thing of the past.

It’s The Creativity, Stupid

Everyone hates ads, of course, but most of us would confess to occasionally taking pleasure in a particularly entertaining specimen or two. Still, if there’s one sector of the advertising world that has always seemed immune to the entertainment factor, it’s political ads. So when an advertising exec emerges who specializes in creating ads that people actually like to watch (and that are powerful enough to get a professional wrestler elected governor,) it’s quite a story…

Museum Acquires Van Gogh Correspondence

“The Van Gogh Museum said it bought 55 letters written by Vincent van Gogh that give important information about the 19th Century painter’s worldview and development of his artistic thought. The letters were written by van Gogh to fellow artist Anthon van Rappard from 1881 to 1885, when van Gogh was undergoing major transformations in his conception of art and his skill as an artist. Officials from the Amsterdam museum did not say how much the museum paid for the letters, but… a manuscript expert at Sotheby’s auction house put their value in the millions.”

Portrait Of The Artist As An Antisocial Loner

It’s a phenomenon that seems to cross all artistic genres and mediums: the live-fast, die-hard lifestyle of artists from James Dean to Lord Byron. But why is it that artists capable of communicating such profundity through their work are so frequently incapable of normal social interaction? ” A new exhibition at Britain’s National Gallery traces the image of the artist as rebellious loner from its Romantic roots through works by Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Edgar Degas and others.”