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Better Live!-ing

An Advice Column for Journalists Looking to Get in on the Lucrative Alt-Weekly Market

Posted 4/23/2003

We here at City Paper have been doing this a long time--25 years, in fact. And we have had such a blast doing it that, well, it's a little surprising that it's taken our esteemed colleagues at The Sun this long to try to get in on the fun with their newly revamped LIVE! supplement.

But we can see that, like many fledgling startups, they're going through some growing pains. After all, we may make it look easy, but there are a lot of things that go into making a paper like ours--it's certainly going to take more than throwing a bunch of personality-devoid wire copy at a half-tab and seeing what sticks. But we must admit, we're sort of flattered that you guys over on Calvert Street have been paying such close attention to what we do here. So being the magnanimous sorts we are underneath our underachieving exteriors, we thought we'd offer a few pointers, as a professional courtesy.

First things first: We love the All Mighty Senators. They are funky, they are soulful, they are nice guys, and they've paid their dues and then some. We were happy to see them getting the major four-color play on the cover of the debut neo-LIVE! on April 10 with a big write-up from the new pop-music critic in town, Rashod D. Ollison. Really, we were--no hatin' (you guys should ask someone younger to explain that to you). Still, the Senators also happened to grace the cover of the concurrent issue of Music Monthly

. We don't know if you're familiar with MM, but we'll bet they're mighty pissed at you for copying them. Don't piss off Susie Mudd. She works hard on that thing, and we bet her staff isn't nearly as big as yours. Jeez, business is business, but you're supposed to be competing with us.

Also, we usually go ahead and shoot "fresh" pictures of local bands we put on the cover, rather than use the same canned picture--as lovely as it was--as Music Monthly, because we have a budget to spend on stuff like that. We don't know what kind of budget you guys have to work with over at The Sun, but you gotta have a coupla Tribune Co. bucks lying around somewhere to lay on some of the talented local photographers. Anyway, it's something to think about.

And 25 years means 25 Best of Baltimore issues. And if we've learned anything in 25 years of asking people to vote for their favorite band, it is that music fans are some ballot-stuffing sons'a guns. So when the April 17 LIVE! announced that Black-Eyed Susan won your inaugural SunSpot "Survey Says" readers poll with 263 votes over your debut issue cover stars, the All Mighty Senators--who quite possibly have more than 30 fans here at CP headquarters alone--well, you might want to give those results a tougher squint in future. That said, we will have to check out second-place finisher Other--apparently they're more popular than we thought. Thanks for the tip.

OK, guess that's it for this week. Good luck, and keep reading.

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