In a culture that valued cloistered domesticity, a foot the shape and size of a lotus bud was the ticket to a more important kind of mobility. —”Brutal Beauty” by Deanna Isaacs

Post-NYT Readers

Re “Stop Big Media... Before It Stops Itself” by Michael Miner, August 7

[The New York Times‘s Chris] Hedges is clueless about how people use the Web: We don’t linger on the NYT because there’s so many other choices online (like the Chicago Reader). We can get news reports from outlets around the world at will. That’s not possible in print.

Moving into a post-NYT world is not the same as post-literate; it’s hyper-literate.

Bradley J. Fikes

The average news reader on the Web spends far more than a mere 45 minutes sitting at the computer. Many spend hours.

The reason? They are checking numerous new sites, writing comments, blogging, and social networking. The multitasking nature of today’s news reader has replaced the leisurely pace of yesterday’s newspaper subscriber.

Although there is certainly more sensationalized news that grabs attention (that has always been the case; check out the supermarket checkout counter), the mainstream newspapers are all recognizing the enormous numbers generated on their Web sites. They see how the online world reaches far more readers of news than print distribution.

Media moguls fret over how to make money from such service to the public. That business model hasn’t yet emerged to the satisfaction of the greed that was rampant in the industry for generations. But smaller newspapers can be, and are, successful financially, both in print and on the Web.

What we may be seeing overall is a diminishing of the incentives for large corporations to buy up as many media markets as possible. That business model is definitely a dinosaur, as Sam Zell has recognized, being its first major victim.

Mike Green

Rooting for the Uptown

Re “Rooting for the Big Guy” by Miles Raymer, August 7

If the Riviera, Park West, or Vic is any indication of how Jam will be handling the restoration of the Uptown Theater, I would say that I would rather Live Nation or C3 have won the bid. At this point, the restoration of this theater is more important to those of us in Uptown than the health of the local music scene.


DuMont on Dobson

Re “Anyone but Him” by Deanna Isaacs, July 31

I write to correct errors in fact or perception in Deanna Isaacs’s article on the National Radio Hall of Fame and the induction of “Focus on the Family.”

First, I did not feel like I was on the “hot seat” from the start in this year’s voting process. Fact: There was little publicity nationally.

Second, there was not “plenty of indignation” about who was left off our list of 2008 nominees as stated. The Reader‘s Michael Miner and Andrew Patner were upset that Studs Terkel was not nominated.

Ms. Isaacs stated that “other media mavens wanted to know why Steve Dahl and Howard Stern were just now being considered.”

Fact: Steve Dahl and Howard Stern have each been nominated for the National Radio Hall of Fame three previous times—and both have failed to win enough votes for induction each time. In Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, Ron Santo has suffered a similar disappointment.

Ms. Isaacs stated that I “received a statement from the gay advocacy group Truth Wins Out” (the group leading the protest against Dr. Dobson). Fact: TWO sent me no such release. I learned of the protest in an irate e-mail (one of over 250).

The Reader stated that Wayne Besen has “been on Dobson watch for ten years.” If so, where was he in April when the NRHOF announced its nominations online? And nationally voting was going on since May 1.

Besen is quoted as saying with little time left, he “scrambled” and did what he could. Fact: From the day the NRHOF learned of the TWO attempt to “stop Dobson” (July 11) (and after receiving over 250 e-mails) there was little increase in the online vote totals for Bob Costas or Howard Stern, the options TWO suggested for Dobson. Thus, irate e-mails did not translate into pro-Costas or pro-Stern online votes.

Lastly, the biggest misconception in the article is that “the public vote that elected Dobson was something new.” Fact: The public has been able to vote for Radio Hall of Fame inductees for 15 years—if they were museum members or joined the museum. This year we removed the requirement to join the museum.

“Past winners were selected by experts or members of the museum.” Fact: The public selects the winners, the Steering Committee of the Radio Hall of Fame makes the nominations.

Fact: This controversy will make my job harder. But I hope readers will realize that the voting public makes the NRHOF—and the NRHOF Steering Committee makes the nominations.

The MBC and the NRHOF are two separate governing bodies.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications will continue to meet its mission to preserve and present media history—without discrimination and without political bias when we are able to reopen our doors in our new home. Fairness is what we hope for.

Bruce DuMont

Chairman, National Radio Hall of Fame

As Bruce mentions my name, I am responding to the... criticism that I, Michael Miner, *and others* have made about the “Hall.”

Bruce is an old friend and I have long admired his own work on the radio over the past 30-some years and his tireless energy on behalf of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. The museum also has an excellent record when it comes to minority issues, history, and representation, including in the areas of gay and lesbian people.

But the “Hall of Fame” is a joke and has been for decades. It’s not just that “Studs Terkel was not nominated” in 2008 that caught Michael Miner’s and my attention, it’s that this international radio legend was not inducted long ago and that, as Miner has carefully reported, the “Hall’s” board members and nominating committee were not even aware that Studs Terkel was a radio broadcaster!

Similarly, many pioneers of classical, public, and alternative radio have never even been considered for the “Hall” under any of its changing categories and systems of nomination and election while the Rush Limbaughs and Paul Harveys—whose names help with fund-raising events—have, of course, long been on the roster.

Perhaps Bruce can answer two questions in this forum that he has avoided over all of these years:

1. What kind of “Hall of Fame” has no place for Studs Terkel and employs a changing system of nomination and elections that has kept him out of the “Hall” from its inception? As Bruce and company have made and make the rules, saying that Studs Terkel should just accept that he is the Ron Santo of Bruce’s “Hall” is a poor comparison.

2. Will he consider Father Coughlin for posthumous membership in the “Hall”? Coughlin was certainly one of the most significant figures in the entire history of radio and, as an unapologetic anti-Semite and admirer of Hitler and Mussolini throughout the 1930s, puts the two-bit gay-hater “Dr.” Dobson in some perspective. If the “Hall” will honor bigotry and misinformation this year, then why not do so with the best in the game?

Andrew Patner

98.7 WFMT and

Chicago Sun-Times

My Brush with Reverend Al

Re “Reverend Al Gets His Shine On” by Bonnie McGrath, July 31

This spring my sweetie and I visited the civil rights musee in Nashville. They were commemorating the anniversary of Rosa Parks’s protest. The museum has the actual Montgomery bus she rode! Al Sharpton was taping an interview with Tavis Smiley. Joy and I watched and toured the wonderful exhibits including the restored room across the street from which James Earl Ray fired the fatal shot at Dr. King. On our way back to the Lorraine Motel, where the majority of the displays are, we saw Al exiting the building with his posse. Ever exuberant I gave him a shout-out but because we had been so immersed in the whole historical milieu, I mistakenly called, “Dr. Abernathy!” (They do physically resemble one another.) Without breaking stride, Al gruffly said, “He’s dead,” and continued striding on. No one in the posse or any NCR museum staff uttered a word. I sheepishly ducked into the gift shop and bought a mug. What a guy.

Joseph Stastny