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An Alternate Perspective On Tribune Hiring Lee Abrams

Posted by: Jon Fine on April 1, 2008

Tribune recently hired former all-star radio consultant Lee Abrams to be its chief innovation officer.

When the company did so, it likely did not expect some bloggy backlash from diehard rock fans who are still smarting over how Abrams and his ilk began standardizing formats for FM rock radio back in the Seventies.

Nevertheless: that's exactly what they got from author and former co-owner of noted indie lable SST Joe Carducci, who penned a long, logorrheic takedown on Abrams on Arthur Magazine's blog. (I should mention: Carducci is a longtime pal.)

One does not read Carducci's writing about music for temperance, and you won't find any in the blog item:

Lee Abrams' memo (posted at follows his abusive invocation of Rock with three bullet points headed: Soul, Art, and The Economics.

He poses as coming from vital, innovative ROCK N ROLL!, when actually he was one of the handful of people who made their fortune destroying rock and roll radio and all but extinguishing vitality and innovation.


Without Lee Abrams there wouldn't be a Ramones song called, "Do You Remember Rock ‘n' Roll Radio."

You get the idea. This being Carducci, he can't help but also get in a few digs in at Jann Wenner, FDR, and the New York Times, which are all among his longstanding bete noires. as well. Listing my objections to some of Carducci's manifold assertions would require a blog post at least as long as his (which is saying something), and, frankly, it's late, I'm tired, and not in the mood to be obsessively annotative.

But his screed nevertheless reads like a riot. At the very least it suggests that there's a downside to the kinds of innovation Tribune's new innovations guy came up with. And it's sort of the flip side of the Chicago Tribune's invocation of the, ah, slightly cliched phrase "Rock and roll never forgets" in its piece on Abrams.

Because Carducci is more in the rock-and-roll-never-forgives camp:

What is Abrams supposed to do at the Tribune? Kill newspapers too?



The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.



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