Sharp Notes February 12 2003

FOR 'CRIS SAKE. An angry rant in support of Ludacris: Pepsi! You stupid freakin' morons! OK, so you showed some questionable judgment in the first place, signing up our potty-mouthed local rapper as a spokesman. And OK, you exhibited some ugly, Machiavellian cynicism in your damage-control efforts — deciding it was better to piss off some blacks by dropping 'Cris, rather than risk having Fox News' chief of homeboy morality Bill O'Reilly rally the whities against you. For a while, it looked like you were off the hook, as the fracas dissipated (after all, how long can folks stay mad about a cola-related controversy?).

But then you had to go and hire arch-cusser, animal-mangler, longtime faux-Satanist and old white guy Ozzy Osbourne to sell your soda. What were you thinking? Now you've got Russell Simmons on your ass, you bad-drink-making, double-standard-having dummies. And not only is he rallying the wrath of the hip-hop nation to boycott you, he's entirely right to do so.

Simmons has made some demands in order for him to call off the boycott — my favorite is the one where Pepsi makes a $5 million donation to Ludacris' charitable foundation. But Earshot has some demands as well, if you ever want us to buy your stinking product again:

1) Quit trying so hard to be hip. You're embarrassing us and yourself.

2) Donate another $5 million to the Russell Simmons for President 2004 campaign.

3) As neither Ludacris nor Ozzy meet the proper character standards to be a pitchman for an international corporation, we demand that, from here on, only Pat Boone is allowed to try and sell us Pepsi on television.

RADIO SCORECARD. Having trouble keeping up with all the format-jumping along the radio dial these days? Here's a handy guide for the perplexed:

- 97.1 FM stopped playing oldies, though it was the only game in town, in order to become Jamz, the fifth station in town playing R&B and hip-hop. For old time's sake, the station is playing a healthy mix of dated songs, which skews its target audience just a little older than V103 — but not quite as old as its sister station, Kiss 104.1. The goal, eventually, is to have 50 black-music stations so that each can focus exclusively on listeners born in one particular year.

- Mix 105.7 FM conceded the classic-rock competition to Z93 and took 97.1's departure as an invitation to swoop into the oldies format. That sets up a nice little continuum on the rock spectrum as well, from modern-rocking 99X to good ol' hard-rocking 96 Rock to classic-rocking Z93 to oldies 105.7.

- 99X, however, seems to be putting the moves on 96 Rock's sheltered-and-ignorant-white-guy audience, with Barnes, Jimmy and Leslie adopting the Regular Guys' brand of backslapping racist bantering disguised as mere "political incorrectness" and "just telling it like it is." Last week, for instance, the hosts picked this as the winner of the morning's call-in joke contest: "What did they call Freaknik 100 years ago? An auction." Shame, shame, shame. Et tu, Leslie?

-WABE 90.1, by the way, still targets its classical-music programming to the over-103 demographic (which is apparently growing fast), a group largely unaware of the existence of 20th-century composers. Second cup of prune juice, anyone?

Got a question for Earshot? Ask away at localmusic@creativeloafing.com.