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September 29, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-29

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C

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, September 29, 1983

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCIV - No. 19

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Bi Ten take a bigger step

A NEW BIG TEN proposal
barring freshperson athletes
from competition would be an im-
provement over the existing eligibility
requirements, but would fail to solve
many of the student-athlete's real
problems.
The proposal, which is currently
being debated at each conference
school, needs the support of six
member schools before it can be
presented for a conference vote next
month. If the proposal survives that
vote, it will be presented at the
National Collegiate Athletic
Association convention this year. The
University's athletic board endorsed
the proposal unanimously this week.
In many sports, -however, the
proposal would not give freshperson
athletes the one thing they need most:
more study time.
For instance,. barring freshman
football players from games, while
still allowing them to practice, would
save them very little time for studying.
Freshman football players spend the
overwhelming bulk of their time on the
practice field during the season and in
training the rest of the year - not on

Saturday games or weekend road
trips.
For these players the rule would not
give them more time at study tables, it
would only force them through hun-
dreds of hours of practice without any
chance of getting into a game.
For other sports, where athletes
spend much more time travelling, the
proposal would be more effective. The
rule would free freshperson baseball,
basketball, and hockey players from
lengthy roadtrips which can pull them
out of class for up to a week
Even for these sports, however, the
proposal ignores the tremendous prac-
ticing and training commitments
which big-time sports currently
demand.
Perhaps the proposal is the best one
can expect from athletic officials. It
solves a small part of the problem
without threatening the quality of
athletic teams.
But real help for first-year student-
athletes will only come when the long
hours of practice are reduced to give
athletes more time to study every day,
not just once a week.

NEW YORK-Television-in the
form of non-stop broadcasts on
the cable network known as
"MTV"-may have saved rock
'n' roll from the ash heap, of
history. Now reaching 12 million
households nationally, two-year-
old- MTV has quickly become a
major force in the once-sagging
American music business.
But in the process, it has also
refashioned the relationship bet-
ween rock and its youthful public.
The rock music industry was
experiencing the worst
depression in its history when
MTV appeared and revitalized
album sales across the country,
particularly in smaller markets.
According to a Nielsen survey
last October, 80.9 percent of those
viewers polled had heard of a
popular musical performer for
the first time on MTV.
"ABSOLUTELY, it's helping
us," Tony Santone, manager of
an Athens, Ohio, record store told
Billboard, the record industry
periodical. "A lot of New Wave
and obscure stuff is selling that
I'm sure wouldn't sell other-
wise."
The network's potential selling
power is unprecedented. Even
such imposing AM radio stations
as WABC in New York and
Chicago's WLS were unable to
reach from coast to coast at the
peak of their influence 15 years
ago. MTV has been doing just
that since August 1981. And
unlike a Top 40 radio station, the
television network likes to pick
the hits before they make it to the
charts. "We want to put our em-
phasis on the cutting edge," MTV
director of programming John
Sykes explaines.
MTV's phenomenal impact on
the way records are sold has been
most obvious in the case of the
band Duran Duran, whose album
"Rio" flopped when it was
released during the summer of

1982. The record idled between
numbers 127 and 164 on the album
charts until MTV added a video
from the Duran Duran album
"Hungry Like A Wolf" to its
broadcasts. Four months later
and a year after its release,
"Rio" hit Billboard's Top 10.
ALTHOUGH MTV may
represent a new multi-media
vision, its underlying concept
dates back to 1956, when Dick
Clark introduced rock 'n' roll to
television on "American Ban-
dstand." And the first rock-video
clip, according to legend, was
made by the Beatles in the early
'60s. But overall, video clips
remained rare until MTV. Now
Billboard runs the network's
video playlist weekly.
Video production can cost per-
tormers anywhere from $10,000 to
$200,000 - what David Bowie is
reported to have spent on "Let's
Dance." The results fill a very
simple MTV programming hour:
eight minutes of advertising, 2.5
minutes of self-promotion, twice-
hourly doses of "the Music
News," and all the rest is video.
MTV is a prominent prac-
titioner of "narrowcasting," a
programming philosophy which
is sweeping the entire cable in-

MT V spurs
new lovefior
rock 'n roll
By David Rubel

dustry. Just as Cinemax shows
only movies and ESPN shows
sports, so MTV aims itself at a
narrow segement of the available
audience.
BECAUSE MTV's advertisers
concern themselves primarily
with which American youth, it
programs narrowly for the white,
12-to-34-year-old crowd. That
means lots of rock, synthesizers
and curvaceous young women
gliding across the screen. It also
means a new way of adapting
rock to television.
"The networks see music
through our parents' eyes,,,
Sykes, 28, contends. "You can
see it in the sets. They are things
that don't relate to us at all as
young adults. That's why we
have a look that's completely dif-
ferent."
Agrees Brian Setzer of the
Stray Cats, another MTV sucess
story: "College radio and MTV
were the only two sources that
were hip to us."
MTv's visual component often
requires a quantum leap in atten-
tion, fully engaging the audien-
ce's eyes, as well as its ears, in a
recorded performance. "Video
changed the way I approach
making an album," performer

The Michigan Daily
Kim Carnes recently admitted~
"As we're recording, we're
thinking in terms of what's going
on visually."
Conventional live-action videos
of a band in concert may have lit-
tle effect on the song. But MTV's
different look is dramatically ap-
parent in the more daring "con-
cept videos." These three-
minute melodramas attempt to
counterpose a sequence of
related - and frequently obscure
- images to rock songs.
"We're programmed for mood
rather than plot," Sykes obser-
ves. The concept videos, he says,
"can be just as abstract as the
songs if they're done correctly.
They can expand the imagination
to another level."
But some rock lovers fear the
abstractions may overwhelm the
music, as well as "define" a
viewer s response. In this sense,
MTV could be anathema to the
unrestrained character which
has been a vital element of rock.
Other criticism has focused on
content. Earlier this year per-
former Rick James publicly
charged that MTV was racist
because it refused to play his and
other black artists' videos. In-
deed, until the network inserted
Prince and Michael Jackson into
its rotation in the spring, it was
just shy of exclusively white.
MTV's defense was that its
, programming simply reflected
the taste of the market segement
is sought to attract.
MTV's musical selections and
video emphasis are not its only
controversial aspects. Its
growing power in the industry is
being perceived with commen-
surate fear.. As long as the net-
work plays releases from a wide
range of record companies, as it
presently does, these fears
remain muted.
Rubel wrote this article for
the Pacific News 'Service.

Stewart

New source of EPA woes

'.53

W HEN ANNE BURFORD and her
unseemly cohorts- left the
Environmental Protection Agency late
last winter many people breathed
sighs of relief. Maybe, they thought,
the EPA could get back to its job of
protecting the environment. But
despite the more positive efforts of
William Ruckelshaus, Burford's
replacement as head of the agency,
problems persist.
It appears that the Office of
Management and Budget has been tip-
ping off industry to proposed EPA
regulations so it could get a jump on
protesting the changes. According to
former EPA officials testifying before
Congress, the OMB has told cor-
porations about EPA proposals before
they were announced on numerous oc-
casions. The OMB gets to review new
proposals as part of its budgetary
responsibilities.

Both the OMB and the Department of
Energy strongly have opposed a plan
to combat acid rain - a plan that
Ruckelshaus favors. This modest idea
would aim to reduce the amount of
sulfur released into the atmosphere in
the northeastern section of the nation.
Ruckelshaus has not come up with a
firm plan yet. He isn't sure on how
many states the proposal will cover,
how much money it will cost, and who
should pay for it. But the OMB and
energy department already oppose the
plan because it will cost too much.
No one thought getting rid of Burford
and her gang would be the end of
troubles at the EPA. But it is sur-
prising that the agency's most recent
troubles come from outside its own of-
fices. Now the EPA can't do the job it
was supposed to do, even though it's
more willing to do it.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Communicating another complaint

4

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To the Daily:
Despite communication
department head William Porter's
letter ("Students love com-
munication 101, Daily, September
28) in support of his department,
Barbara Misle is not alone in her
disillusionment with the classes
in the communication depar-
tment, nor were her accusations
unfounded.
As a highly motivated woman
who hopes for no less than to get a
job related to my com-
munication major upon
graduation, I have come to
realize the communication
department will be of little help to
me other than as a statement on
my transcript informing the
reader of my direction in college.

tless would-be newscasters,
producers, and others hoping to
find a technology-related job,
many of them know little about
the use of the various pieces of
equipment vital to a career in the
industry they choose.
I'm not saying the theory
taught is unimportant -- much of
it is a vital partner to the skills
that should be taught. And if one
simply wanted to learn to use a
camera, there are easier and
cheaper ways of doing so than at-
tending the University.
However, I believe the com-
munication department is not
listening to what its'students
want. In addition to understan-
BLOOM COUNTY

ding the theories behind com-
municating, students want and
need to know how to use the
equipment they will encounter in
the business world.
The department must realize
that not every student wants to or
has the funds to attend graduate
school to get this vital practical
experience they too often
graduate lacking. And although I
have been lucky enough to get
several valuable internships to
fill in the holes in my education,
many students cannot afford to
accept a non-paying position or,
are unable to get an internship.
During a pre-concentration
meeting in my first year, my ad-

visor told me I might have to
come back after I graduate to get
into the "Radio-TV Sequence,"
the coveted communication
course which teaches some of the
productions skills so vital to my
career plans.
Professor Porter, I ask you, is
it too much to want to touch and
perhaps even know how to use a
TV camera with some proficien-
cy before I graduate?
As long as this situation con-
tinues, the Department of Com-
munication is in dire need of
change.
-Amy Alkon
September 28
by Berke Breathed

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