The $50 Editorial
by Dave Mahalik
When I first started this magazine back in ’95, people told me “this town is too small for what you wanna do”. They were referring to how “closely-knit” the artistic community is here and how if WGO was as honest and no-holds barred as it’d have to be we’d be pissing people off – biting the hand that feeds us, so to speak. But as my brother Peter once said, “some things suck”. He’s right.
Unfortunately, it seems so were the others. This issue of WGO (#27 if anyone’s still counting) had space booked to advertise the 10th Annual Ben Eoin Fiddle and Folk Festival. Alan Peddle booked the space for the festival and then borrowed a picture of the Barra MacNeils we had on file to make his posters. When it cam time for us to do the artwork for the ad he informed me that he “didn’t feel inclined” to spend any money with us. It seems I pissed him off with a piece I wrote in WGO WEEKLY concerning the practical monopoly of “local” commercial radio. I suggested we tune out the stations, who just fired a bunch of local people and cancelled programming of local content in favour of pre-programmed material which eliminates the need for DJ’s, in order to send a message to Maritime Broadcasting that we want more local music on our airwaves. Apparently, Mr. Peddle works for Maritime Broadcasting, selling advertising for one of the stations I suggested tuning out, so he pulled his advertising. It’s unfortunate that he took it so personally. His decision not to advertise the festival in Cape Breton’s only Arts & Entertainment magazine was based on my criticism of his employer. It had nothing to do with the effectiveness of advertising with WGO or appropriately promoting the Ben Eoin Fiddle and Folk Festival. This is not to suggest that WGO is the only way to go for advertising arts and entertainment events, but merely to point out that his conflict of interest may have hurt the festival and that this is the kind of small town thinking that has kept things the way they are around here. Dylan says, “You gotta serve somebody” and that may be true, but why can’t it be OUR community, OUR island and OUR people we serve instead of the American department stores and off-island media chains? Working for the man without questioning it is what left us with North America’s worst industrial waste site in Downtown Sydney. Change has gotta come and it’s gotta start somewhere and if that means we lose a $50 ad, so be it.