Days of Lore

Sandra Porola: Maybe next year.

Sandra Porola: Maybe next year.

Radio free America While commercial radio stations are getting bought up, downsized and homogenized, one of the few sources for discovering new and interesting music is at risk of going the way of the dodo.

Web-based broadcasters across the country received news last week that was akin to being booted in the face (or another vulnerable place that would hurt something awful if kicked there). The Copyright Royalty Board, an arm of the music industry group RIAA, announced that it was raising royalty rates for the first time since 2002. Not only that, Webcasters will now have to pay “per play”—or every time one listener hears one song.

The real rub is that the change is also retroactive—to January 2006—which will force Internet radio sites to shell out an entire year’s worth of royalties to record companies. Not a good thing, as this affects Webcasters large and small—from Chico State’s KCSC all the way up to the incredibly popular

KCSC general manager Matt Kiser, along with Bill Goldsmith, who runs Radio Paradise from his house up the hill from Chico, have been vocal in getting the word out about the rate increase.

“If this thing sticks, it’s going to kill off Internet radio,” Kiser said this week.

Pandora founder Tim Westergren told me that, from a business standpoint, it wouldn’t make sense to carry on.

I think the three guys who make up the Copyright Royalty Board (probably John Mayer fans) believe they’re doing the right thing: “It’s for the artists!” they say proudly. In actuality, they’d be cutting off the some 70 million listeners per day who opt to get their music online. It’s the principle more than anything. Why is Internet radio being singled out?

More to come on this issue …

Meanwhile, Internet broadcasters are mounting an appeal, which would take the issue to Congress. Of course, it’s safe to say Congress has plenty on its plate right now—like a triple helping of Iraq war, a double bacon Bush-burger with cheese, mashed economy and gravy ….


For more info, including links to other stories, check out To fill out the online petition to Congress, go to

Boobs madness In the “Dudes Rule!” category (or would it be “Chicks Rule!”?), College—that indispensable study aid for students all over the country—is holding its “America’s Hottest College Girl 2007” contest.

The contest is modeled after the NCAA’s “March Madness.” In this case, 64 women find themselves duking it out in brackets, competing for the $10,000 prize.

The contest was featured in a front-page story in the San Francisco Chronicle this week with the headline: “A beauty contest for the online age.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true party without a Chico State representative—in this case it’s 19-year-old Sandra Porola, a second-year business major, who’s doing her university proud. Unfortunately she was knocked out in the first round by a buzzer-beater from Gettysburg College’s “Jaime L.”

After losing, Porola told the Chronicle, “I’m just mad that I lost to a woman I think I’m way better than. She just went with that pull-a-football-jersey-up-halfway-and-wear-a-bikini look. Guys love that.”

Porola continued: “Next year, I’m going with full body shots.”

There’s that Wildcat pride!

We have a winner Good god—someone actually took the time to figure out my little puzzle/equation last week that would magically reveal my age. Stephen Rodas, a 21-year-old journalism student (ahhh … a life of poverty), did some serious number-crunching and figured it out. No, I’m not going to tell you!

It took a couple of attempts (the price of a PBR at Duffy’s and a square root threw him off … I am genius!), but he was persistent, and nailed it. Stephen got himself a pair of movie tickets and will no doubt go on to win a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.

Nice work, my friend.