ibe 3irti u Buatig
A t some point between my
weekly bowling night and
ESPN's SpeedWeek, I
realized this Sports Illustrated
swimsuit issue was the best thing to
happen to men since malt.
The issue came out a couple of
qMeeks ago, with these two sexy
omen smiling back at me from the
These women are just beautiful. I
don't just mean beautiful - I mean
beautiful, the kind you'd marry even
if they didn't cook that well.
This is the epitome of what Sports
Illustrated is about. I mean, look at
the magazine's name - they
illustrate sports. And where do we
play sports? Well, I have always
*Joyed playing sports on the beach.
Ttjust makes sense to print pictures of
women on the beach, in keeping with
the magazine's mission.
There are those who argue that the
swimsuit issue is insulting to women.
Seriously. I mean, hello, people -
women do not read Sports Illusrated.
How can it insult them if they don't
But even if, hypothetically
Oeaking, a woman happened to pick
up a copy out of the cushions of my
couch, she would find that it is not
insulting to women. She would even
find that the issue actually promotes
women, even helps them.
First of all, look at the bodies on
these women! Clearly they are in fine
physical condition - they're lean and
sizzling. This should be a goal of
every woman - to be uncommonly
in. Without question, these women
re in great shape. They are down-
Now, shouldn't women who want
to be athletes model themselves after,
say, Kathy Ireland? I think that's
Besides, you have to look at the
financial windfall for women's
athletics. Sports Illustrated rakes in a
ton of money from the swimsuit
sue. They take at least - at least -
1/20th of that hard-earned cash and
pour it into coverage of women's
The people at Sports Illustrated
don't need to do that. They could just
keep the money. But they don't. They
use that 1/20th and devote it to
important articles on female athletes,
articles that appear at least - at least
- once a month in that beloved
Again, I remind you - they don't
have to print those stories. Nobody
reads them. They're not interesting.
But they do print them, because
above all, the people at Sports
Illustrated believe in promoting
women - even some fairly unattrac-
So while some women wear
skimpy little outfits, others benefit.
's a small price to pay when you
ink about it. Women have their
sports promoted in exchange for just
one issue of near-nudity per year.
Really now - wouldn't you exploit
your daughter to help pay for her
Then there are those who say the
issue should have pictures of men in
it. Oh yeah, bubba - there's a good
idea. Like men want to look at other
One other thing -- let's not forget
that these photos are as much about
swimsuits as they are about women.
if a woman did happen to pick up a
copy of the magazine, she could find
out how much these swimsuits cost,
-so she could save up her money and
buy a few. Then men could look at
her the way we look at those women
in the magazine.
I'll tell you, I really like this
Wimsuit issue. I think I like it even
better than the latest Hustler. The
problem with Hustler - the only
problem, really - is that it always
features beautiful naked women.
That's what I have come to expect.
It's different with Sports Illus-
D etroit is a musical city. Since the Motown hey-
day of the '60s, Detroit has been recognized for
its musical roots and its encouragement of the
bands that formed in the Metro-Detroit area.
Well, the '90s are no exception. Lately, Detroit has brought
bands such as Sponge, Hoarse, Charm Farm and Speedball
into the public eye. And there's no sign that the end is at
Perhaps the most influential part of a band's movement
from the local scene to the mainstream can be attributed to
radio airplay. Once a band has a "hit single," a song that
makes it into heavy rotation on the air, the band's future is
clear. Thousands of people at a time will hear the song,
hundreds of them will like it, and those who do will ask to
hear it again. This phenomenon makes radio stations an
integral part ofthe local music scene - and also a part of the
There are several radio stations in the Detroit area that
firmly believe in supporting local music in any shape or
form. They are also highly involved within the city itself,
offering their resources to help fund concerts and raise
money for charities. A few stations that have been actively
promoting local. music in recent years are "The Planet"
WHYT 96.3 FM, CIMX 89X FM, WCBN 88.3 and WDET
101.9, stations that turn local bands into nationwide sensa-
tions, make albums with only one hit song into Billboard
chart-toppers and set in motion phenomena like "grunge."
As is clear after only one listen, 89X and 96.3 seem to have
cornered the "alternative" or "new rock" genre in the Detroit
area. "I'd have to say we're really Top 40 right now," said
Fogel, a disc jockey at 96.3. "It just so happens that the
current Top 40 is alternative music, which sort of makes it
not alternative anymore."
Vince Cannova, music director and disc jockey at 89X,
tends to stay away from defining terms, though he agreed
that "new rock" is also 89X's main focus. "We play a lot of
Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains and Nirvana. I guess that
could only be classified as 'new rock,"' Cannova stated.
In addition to playing "alternative" music day and night,
many stations are attempting to make a space for local
music. As more and more people are realizing, it's important
to support local music, as it reflects directly on the city itself.
One need only look to Seattle for an example of a city whose
local bands generated much publicity across the country.
People feel a strong kinship for bands from their hometown
(even the bad ones) and acknowledge the fact that most
bands need all the help they can get.
At this point, both 89X and 96.3 play local music on a
regular basis, and each have helped to make names for bands
in the past. 96.3 broadcasts a special local feature each
Monday through Friday at 9 p.m. appropriately called "Lo-
cal Nine Six Three." This program consists of only one song
by a local band, but on Friday nights, The Planet welcomes
all five featured bands to the Foundry for a "five bands, five
In this way, The Planet not only plays local music on the
air, but also encourages people to attend the live concerts.
89X has a similar program called the lomeboy Show which
is broadcast on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. While the show is
only on one night a week, it lasts for a half hour and is sure
to quench your local music thirst. In addition, 89X also
makes an effort to play bands like Hoarse and Speedball
outside of the local show. As Cannova said, "We're always
looking for local artists to play on the station. It's just finding
one that fits in with what we're doing that's difficult."
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Dailly irts Writer
While 89X and 96.3 might have the most nationwide
influence, smaller stations such as Ann Arbor's own WCBN
88.3 and WDET (Detroit's public radio station) are also
getting in on the local bandwagon. On Fridays, from 7 to 8
p.m., Dan Banda has a local music show on WCBN, which,
in the past, has included visits by local singers and
songwriters. "Dan has even had entire bands in to perform
on the air," said a disc jockey at the station.
WDET, with a format that could only be called "eclec-
tic," is another station that devotes much of its airtime to
local music. "We play a lot of local bands, but we don't
have one particular show that is devoted to local music in
particular," said Cari Wells, assistant to the station's gen-
eral manager. These smaller stations, though not always
the ones to push a song into the mainstream, have much
more leeway with their programming and can play more
local bands, should they choose to do so.
In the case of The Planet, neither the program director
nor the disc jockeys have much say in which local bands
actually make it on the air. "We're a big company. We're
owned by ABC, which is now owned by Disney. They
really play by the rules to make sure that music doesn't get
on the air unless it really deserves it," Fogel commented.
"It's very subjective. But, we really want to play local
music. When they don't have record labels it becomes ...
Cannova heartily agreed. "We're not gonna just play a
band because it's local. It's important to support local
music, but just because they're local doesn't mean they get
special treatment. They have to be good."
In any case, regardless of amount of airplay, any radio
station can be the difference between making or breaking a
band, particularly a local one. Both stations interviewed felt
as though they have played an integral role in helping out
certain bands, most noticeably Charm Farm with 96.3. Due to
the exposure given by the station, Charm Farm has sold plenty
of albums, going on to win several local music awards. This
is not to say that without The Planet's help Charm Farm
would not have done well, but the added exposure certainly
did not hurt. "If a record guy hears them on the air or people
go to see them in concert because we played the music, then
yeah, I'd say we help them," Fogel added.
Dennis White, the lead singer and often publicist for Charm
Farm, agreed that 96.3's airplay had a major impact on the
success of the band. "Radio airplay was singularly responsible
for all the band's success," White shared. White was also eager
to offer his opinion on the best-way to get radio play.
"Don't spend too much time always playing gigs, as it's
more important to have two or three really good songs and
record them. Then, take them to a radio station and find out
who the program director is. Just be a pain in the ass until they
give you a shot. Call everyone you know and have them listen
while the song is on the air. Then have everyone call and
request it all the time. Consequently, the radio station will
notice and put it on their most requested list. Ifyou're on three
or more of these lists, the record companies will notice. All
this can be done without gigs," he said.
Interestingly, Charm Farm's success with their single "Su-
perstar" didn't really follow this route. According to the
band's story, 96.3 heard the single and loved it, though the
band thought it was a little too early to release it. Despite this,
96.3 played the single, which received much attention. Al-
though Charm Farm has decided to remain with independent
PRA Records, they're currently being courted by Mercury.
When they aren't busy introducing a new band to the
general public, both radio stations also attempt to actively
take part in their community. "The other night I went to the
Band Jam at Seaholm High School in Birmingham," Fogel
mentioned. "It was five local bands. They sold out the little
auditorium at Seaholm. I just got up there and said, 'This is a
cool thing you guys have been doing.' They have been doing
this for eleven years now."
89X also sponsors two concerts during the year - the X-
Fest and the Birthday Bash. Both shows contain approxi-
mately ten bands, two or three of which are from the surround-
ing community. In this manner, 89X offers a large-scale
concert where people still have a chance to support the bands
from their own city.
Finally, when asked where the Detroit music scene is
heading in the future, both disc jockeys had high hopes.
"Where's it heading?" asked Fogel. "I'd have to say to
Toledo. Really, this has always been a pretty musical town.
I'm sure we'll just continue that." "I think (local music's
influence) has definitely gotten stronger recently," said
Cannova. "It's one of the biggest untapped resources that
there is in the country for new talent. Now, all of a sudden
there are some bands out of Detroit that are starting to get
signed. But, who was there before Sponge? Now there are a
lot of bands generating a lot of interest in Detroit. We're
sparking interest across the country."
In any case, as bands from Detroit continue to get signed to
major labels, it will be the disc jockeys in the soundbooths
that will be continuing to help them get there by giving them
some much-coveted airplay.
Photos are (clockwise from right):
*Local rockers gone national: Sponge
96.3 disk jockeX Fogel
Detroit techno superstars" Charm Farm
89X D.)., music director Vince Connova
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