Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Song Strike and FDR Bashing

By Sue Schuurman

JANUARY 4, 1999: 

Imagine most of today's pop songs being taken off the radio airwaves due to failed contract negotiations--no Madonna; no Gloria Estefan, Spice Girls or Garth Brooks. There's really no contemporary comparison to what was about to happen in 1935 (see first excerpt below) when the pop tunes of the day were on the verge of being banned. But the following two excerpts from the Albuquerque Journal carry a familiar tone of partisan political attack directed against one of the most popular U.S. Presidents of this century: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Tin Pan Alley Frantic in Trying to Replace Tunes Under Music Ban

"NEW YORK--Radio maestros sang the blues Saturday night as they dourly contemplated the swan songs of their theme songs--and some 36,000 other copyrighted tunes--at midnight next Tuesday.

"Tin Pan Alley has been burning the midnight oil in frantic efforts to bring forth substitute themes to supplant the musical trademarks which will be withdrawn on and after January 1, through the secession of eight music publishing houses from radio royalty contracts.

"The houses are controlled by Warner Brothers which resigned this week from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. This body collects from the network all royalties from the tunes played over the air and in turn pays the money out to the publishers and individual composers.

"The publishers in resigning said that the present royalty scale was insufficient to compensate for sheet music revenues lost through too-frequent airing of the songs on the radio.

"Unless the publishers can make individual agreements with radio stations--which appeared likely Saturday--the music of some of America's foremost composers of popular airs will be banned from the airways.

"In vain will radio listeners dial for some of the music of George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Sigmund Romberg and other popular composers affected by the royalty battle. There will hardly be a musical show left on Broadway whose tunes may be broadcast. One of the few major composers who will escape radio exile is Irving Berlin, who publishes his own works."

Fears New Deal Will Bankrupt Col. Knox Decries Tax Burden, Blames Federal Spending

"COLUMBUS--A prediction that 'we shall be bankrupt before very long if the present rate and manner of spending are continued,' came Friday night from Col. Frank Knox.

"But, said the Chicago publisher, regarded as a possible Republican candidate for the presidential nomination, ... the solution, is to 'quit dosing ourselves from the strange bottle of the New Deal medicine men.' ...

"He termed the Administration of President Roosevelt as 'socialistic' and declared the President had violated the principles of the Constitution and the Democratic platform. ... "

GOP Widens Its Drive on New Deal

"WASHINGTON--Reporting a campaign surplus of $124,000, Chairman Henry P. Fletcher said Saturday the Republican National Committee 'from this time forward' would 'steadily expand' its drive 'for the overthrow of the New Deal and the defeat of President Roosevelt.'

"In a statement, Fletcher asserted:

"'All this has been made possible by voluntary contributions of men and women who see in the Republican party the only organization through which the country may rid itself of President Roosevelt, the New Deal, the brain-trust, the endless experiments and boon-doggling, and by means of which alone the United States Government may be returned to the paths of safety and sanity, and to the people themselves. ... "

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