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Media: July 2012

Former “Local 101″ producer Jaime Black just landed a gig in front of the cameras at “JBTV.”

The 29-year-old music-scene watcher and IE contributor had been focusing on his local music-focused “ChicagoVerseUniteD” and “Dynasty Podcasts” since the demise of Q101. Then Jerry Bryant came a-calling via Twitter.

“[He] mentioned that he’d love to air some of my ‘Dynasty Podcasts’ video interviews,” says Black, who goes back a long way with Bryant. “From there, it led to discussions about me contributing to the show.”

He adds, “Having grown up in the Chicagoland area, of course I grew up watching ‘JBTV.’ So to get to be a part of it is obviously very exciting.”

TV is a new frontier for the Oak Park native, who started as Chris Payne‘s intern at The Blaze (Rock 103.5) and Q101 when he was just 15, and started his Chicago music/“Dynasty Podcasts” network in 2005. “It’s definitely a different type of exercise,” he says. “You have to be a bit more quick on your feet, do a bit more improvising, and you have to figure out what to do with your posture, your hands, where you look, etc. Audio interviews are much easier – or at least much less to worry about!”

His first interview, with Belgium’s Black Box Revelation, was a breeze. “They were fun and laid back, so they greatly contributed to making my TV debut a painless one.”

Black’s local favorites are Smashing Pumpkins, Scattered Trees, Loyal Divide, Scott Lucas, Gemini Club, The Lawrence Arms, Rockie Fresh, Patrick Stump, and Kill Hannah. But he’d love to interview John Cusak “about Chicago, music – anything.”

In the meantime, Black is focusing on his other gigs and Rockit.LIVE, a monthly event at Rockit Bar & Grill that can include a music industry panel, a one-on-one interview, or a music performance that’s turned into podcasts and short films. (More at jaifidelity.tumblr.com.)

And he’s always trolling for new talent with product to push. “If you’ve got a CD release, a big headlining show, or new music you want to premiere, hit me up on Twitter [@jaimeblack].”

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: We were not amused when the Reader was acquired by hedge fund Atalaya Capital Management LP in 2009, but far worse was learning that the venerable independent weekly has been purchased by Sun-Times parent company Wrapports LCC. In addition to diminishing the independent print voices in Chicago, we fear that the Reader‘s incisive, long-form investigative reporting will be muzzled in favor of a focus on food, entertainment, and content sharing.

Then there’s that ownership issue: how can one company own a major daily newspaper, an independent weekly, and 30-odd other local mainstream publications and cover the area with integrity? The Sun-Times‘ seemingly endless spate of layoffs and now, talk of platform-sharing, could mean even fewer reporters and resources devoted to covering increasingly complicated issues. The Reader isn’t the only publication with ownership issues: Time Out Chicago owner Joe Mansueto is an investor in Wrapports, and Chicago magazine is owned by Tribune Co. Tribune Co. creditors are poised to sell off its assets – including the newspaper (possibly to Wrapports). And The Onion recently slashed all of its loca arts coverage.

As with radio and TV, it seems there are many choices until you search for relevant, surprising, or subversive content, come up dry, and realize that most outlets are owned by the same few entities. (Full disclosure: my byline has appeared in every publication listed above.)

Not that anyone will look up from their smart phones long enough to notice or care. Neil Postman hit it on the head in his masterful 1985 anti-TV diatribe, Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse In The Age Of Show Business:

“[In 1984, George] Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in [Aldous] Huxley’s vision [Brave New World], no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity, and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.”

ODDS ‘N’ SODS: Steve Dahl‘s podcast network has added TV funnyman Dino Stamatopoulos to the roster (Stamatopoulos plays Starburns in the NBC sitcom “Community”) . . . In an odd mix of old and new, artists wishing to submit music to Kevin Matthews‘ podcast must download and send in a release form with their CD – via snailmail. Details at dahl.com . . . The Tribune recently reported that Pandora expanded its local office and is going head-to-head with radio for local ad dollars – and winning . . . Merlin Media‘s Q87.7 sounds a lot fresher than the old Q101-FM. So why not switch it back to its old frequency, and flip the fledgling FM News into the hard-to-find slot?

– Cara Jepsen

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