(Draft 1 – pending proof)

In general, media output all over the world has degenerated into plastic molds. Technically, content and presentation wise, it is all so far of track, with Hollywood the only savior and even half the output from there is so ham and poorly directed sometimes, despite literally millions being spent on production. In such cases, the director does not perceive his or her inability.  Canada tries hard, but sometimes, they need to look in the mirror.  In the UK, it seems to be hip to put out crap or is that just being part of this self idolizing, protectionist, marginal and quite degenerate at times media agenda?
One simple reason for this mayhem is our quest to create the endless ‘throw away’ society who cares little about anything, having no pride in their work, but that applies to all trades. Looking deeper though and the caring nothing about the quality of output on a station for example, be it audio, visual or media content, actually relates to all forms of appalling media bombarding us nowadays. It is not only broadcast, but up on every billboard or in every magazine.
Intangible industries such as art increasingly have no value and with everyone owning a computer, the entire world is full of instant experts with zero skills. If you are a studio for example and not a commercial entity but an artistic one and professional, this is what you have to put up with everyday.
Now more and more public (the same people who work in the industry) care less and less as to what standards they are bombarded with, unless it wakes you from your snooze or you have to reach for the remote because it interferes with your own activity. Satellite stations by the zillion, set up and run by deluded opportunists who are conditioned with the notion that any platform  which broadcasts is just a money making machine. Content and quality of this machine is the very last concern or even thought about. Take the money and run and if the automation can handle it all well and good, if it cannot, nobody cares. The FCC has terrestrial guidelines in America only. Britain and Europe have similar, but much of the rest of the world really has no idea what you are talking about. In South America, stations broadcast on top of each other with huge harmonic distortion, modulating at over 120 or more percent. Nobody cares!  The public are used to it and if you set up a clean high band width stereo station in Latin America, most would not understand what you were doing.

In the Middle East, Civil Servants who were appointed to look after the government chicken farm one minute, might easily be told to run the TV or radio station. Gasp and horror, this is happening in UK and America too now.
Bad media from a technical stand point to content is now a disease and spread from the top of course.  Thirty years ago, the BBC for example was the first to force what they termed ‘ethnic minority’ into media jobs and it has become a very rude liberal obsession. With good intention, but a failure to understand that in general, traditional or stifled cultures have little ability to grasp the abstract as say an American or European (culture if you want to call it) might.  It doesn’t mean that these people are unfriendly savages, quite the opposite in fact, but it does mean that thousands of years of religious bigotry or tribal traditions are firmly implanted, taking up 100% of their brains. It is going to take another 1,000 years to produce a Leonardo DaVinci, because art as I might know it is not in their programming.  So we have; why pay for a professional if the boss is oblivious to the need.

Bizarrely, when it comes to the creative arts, most bosses and many marketing managers unfortunately perceive the amateurs they hire and promote as professionals. DJs, video or audio producers with not a gram of talent!  But who decides? Just because I say it is crap does not mean others think that in the abstract world.  Crap!  It is human instinct to know that something is not quite right, but arrogance and delusion drives most on and when intimidated, dig their heels in further and just move on to someone who will do what you want for the ‘lowest price’.  So the ‘people’ are fed the same old crap day in day out and become anesthetized to it all, but the amateur industry churns on, feeding itself, lying and plagiarizing with extensive use of and spreading the ‘pronoun virus’ . ‘Your call is important to us’.  ‘Call us’  – ‘Visit our web site’ or the inane brutally boring and insignificant ham voices having some incredulous conversation. ‘Hey Mary, I’m so fed up” – ‘What you need is a new credit card from xxx bank’… ‘Oh do tell me more”.  Let me pause to be sick a moment.

The very people trading this skill are far from qualified and completely oblivious because to so many these days, art in all its forms is perceived as ‘no skill required’.  If you cannot see it or feel it, then you cannot trade it, so why pay for it. Accept God of course!

You Tube on the other hand is a great barometer. Look at the rubbish and see how many hits, look at what is going to generally be considered pretty good or professional and you will see masses of hits.  I commented on this video, that the firm concerned, a so-called professional audio company advocating the industries finest, had the audacity and lack of diligence to put this heap of absolute dung out.  They had my comment removed instantly.  I assumed it must be the boss’s underage girl friend or daughter hauled in to do the voice. What else could it have been? The result; the epitome of what I am talking about in general.

I first encountered such a lack of artistic concern or ability 30 or more years ago as I traveled the ‘developing world’, as we are forced to term it in all its political correctness.  I still call much of it the ‘3rd World’ and it now seems to swamp us all. Initially these developing nations gained access to radio and TV and tried to emulate the BBC or whatever else they could relate to. The result;  ‘Patronizing, condescending content, monkey see, monkey do, chronically bad, creatively zero, radio and TV ads, badly voiced, loud or mumbled unattractive voices , ultra ham acting and appalling quality video or audio with output levels to match.  So something was going wrong.  If you criticize, they circle the wagons and you are persona non grata. Whoever wants change will change nothing because they cannot perceive change for good.  Similarly the hugely boring formatted radio across Europe and the States is just a cloak for inadequacy and an intimidated fear of change by artistically void unqualified controllers, protecting their bottoms and jobs.

I bang on and on about dire commercial and programme content, but quite often the degradation is on the technical side. We have different levels for these chronic commercials; news readers you cannot hear or boom louder than anything else.  Such poorly recorded audio and commercial content, none of which is rejected.  Money honey, take it and who cares?  Those that do will soon be extinct.

I think my first unbelievable encounter was while I was working at a TV station. I was at home watching and I noticed the audio track on the airing film, going up and down all the time.  I called in, but nobody knew of any issues, so I drove to the station and stormed in to the control room to find the controller talking on the phone.  I asked her why the audio was going up and down on the film and should we not check the reels before airing. She was oblivious to any complaint or even acknowledged that anything was wrong and by then, all was well. I checked everything and left as I could find nothing wrong. No sooner had I left and again it happened.  I ran back to find the controller on the phone again and this time, the main output fader on the consol was faded down.  I realized then what this rather stupid person was doing; each time the phone rang, she would fade down the master channel feed rather than the local monitor level.  Oblivious is the right word! I have since heard this hundreds of times over the years, even during the World Cup broadcasts. Nobody cares. On some of the Satellite channels I have witnessed movies being stuck for 40 minutes or more until programme change, but no error card or anything. I’ve heard day time radio DJs, give dead air for many minutes, leave stuck records or CD’s cracking away for many minutes, talking on the phones having left their faders up, embarrassing themselves. We’ve all made mistakes, but those mistakes normally only last a second or two, not half an hour before anyone notices.  During nonstop music nights, I have heard CDs stick for many hours. It is all too often and nobody seems to care and nobody is checking and nobody gets sacked.  Oh,  if you happen to say something that some might be considered a bit off track by our politically correct fraternity, or  a religious or political joke or accidently break wind in the studio, you’ll be out the door instantly.  Destroy the stations professional imagine in any other way and you are ok.

Now we witness the very same silliness on many of our own (American/European) channels. (Watch the current ad for Beyonce’s forthcoming concert in Egypt as aired on Sky News now, the quality is disgusting and Beyonce herself has recorded the voice in a toilet. You must have clocked the monotonous stream of country promotional ads running on CNN, BBC and the likes.  Countries with Civil Servants in control of budgets are paying for this.  Worse still – complain, write to the stations, blog, send letters to papers, ‘NOBODY CARES’,  nobody responds, and the stations just take the money and run.  Funny enough, I have never seen anything like this on Fox; I might have missed it or it is mostly likely political.

In the last 30 years that I know of, places such the Middle East, India and so on, develop technically and physically, but abstractly or socially never seem to advance or even want to. A phrase I coined years ago has become a local idiom; ‘The only thing that changes around here is concrete’ In fact media standards both artistically and technically have degenerated further than what many might have thought they could, assuming the original stuff was already under the barrel.  Now literally millions of these culturally conditioned people are living and working in the west and in media, because it is seen as an industry for making money, not art and no skills required. In the Middle East, the Lebanese have their own very fine art of manipulating this market, whereas in the UK, a lot of it is now run by immigrant Indians and the likes. Some of it of course is good, but the majority not.

It is not ever going to change until someone very very famous somewhere stands up, intimidates and shocks or offends the culprits into the realization that what they are doing is pish.  Advertising Agencies to corporate marketing and the heart of radio and TV; these positions of ‘no physical graduation required ‘are filled by virtual dynamos these days, most of who are nothing more than virtual fillers themselves.
But Hollywood is still the last bastion of creativity and indeed for the industry and the art, plus the odd record producer here and there who manages to set standards.


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