What an amazing cast of characters in Jacob Bernstein's "Portrait of the Artist as a Litigant" (October 8)! A vicious gossip so envious of anyone truly famous that she grasps at anything despite the truth. A crybaby poet/artist so in need of publicity he screams to his lawyer about what the gossip says. And last but not least a true artist who is trying to earn an honest living and who did so without the help or obligation of the exile community.
It's obvious that Armando Valladares's reputation is more soiled by his attitude concerning a fellow artist than a place mat at La Carreta. He should just grow up and face the fact that Mario Valladares gets more exposure in one day at La Carreta than he can get with his army of lawyers and supporters.
How typical that a person so revered in the exile community would care little about freedom of expression and attempt to silence another artist with fear and intimidation. Didn't he learn anything since he was given permission to live in the United States?
Is Broadcasting a Privilege Only for the Privileged?
With regard to Kirk Nielsen's story "Making Airwaves" (October 1), I have a few opinions. Back in the Sixties, I worked at a small radio station in suburban Chicago. It was a great place to start and it's too bad stations like that -- where young, wannabe DJs can get a start -- aren't around any more. To blame the Federal Communications Commission for the crowded airwaves is like blaming Dadeland mall for its crowded parking lot.
I support WDNA-FM (88.9) public radio, which is currently broadcasting on a 7000-watt signal. They have excellent programmers and fine programs via satellite. Following Hurricane Andrew, the station went through a tough time getting its South Dade transmitter back up.
The staff at WDNA works hard to put out a quality product -- lawfully. But drive downtown, and as you approach the I-95 bridge over the Miami River, their signal is covered by someone's pirate signal. North of 79th Street another pirate signal on 88.7 has wiped WDNA right off the air. That rankles me.
Then there are occupational licenses, building and zoning codes, and sales tax on commercials that are blatantly ignored by pirate stations. To label this a free-speech issue is bullshit. Having a license to broadcast is a privilege, like driving a car or selling liquor or practicing medicine. None of us was born with a right to broadcast.
Having Kirk Nielsen provide the recipe for others to participate in this illegal, annoying enterprise is very much like Sound Advice running an ad for a new CD recorder that says you can copy records, tapes, and other CDs, and of course break a few copyright laws along the way. It all comes down to respect for the rights of others, not just Big Brother and the FCC.
John E. Brown
The FCC and Me
In 1957 I received a visit from the FCC for operating an illegal, unlicensed radio station. Two guys in suits arrived and explained the FCC code and the Communications Act of 1934.
A friend and I had put a fun station on the air. It dealt mainly with high school items: sports, teacher-student conflict, student parking locations. Mostly we talked or played music, but soon I was approached by other students offering me money to announce dedications with the songs. Wow, girls who would never talk to me were now offering me money to play a song!
The reason for our shutdown? Our signal was too close to Alan Freed, then the most popular DJ in the New York area. This was back in the days of AM radio.
We were on the air for about a month, and the FCC had us on tape almost from the start. We were not fined and none of our equipment was taken. Being juveniles seemed to help us.
Thanks for the interesting article.
William J. Weeks
Truly Sorry about DeFede's Felonious Conduct
There used to be a time when newspaper reporters reported the news and we, the grateful consumers of their thorough work, could orient ourselves to local and global events without too much interpretation. Those times are, alas, long gone as reporters and the press generally have morphed themselves into cultural critics, moral philosophers, FBI-type investigative operatives, and true-blue guardians of the public chastity. Most significantly, the reporter has become a self-promoting personality vying for media attention with legitimate newsmakers.
As a case in point, let us consider Jim DeFede's cynical article "I Am Truly Sorry" (September 24), in which he names four local politicians whose misdeeds produced unfortunate consequences for those individuals. DeFede then objects that Bill Clinton has had the benefit of an indulgent public response that excuses such misdeeds while condemning the press for obsessing over the private lives of public people.