The PopCulteer
December 31, 2010

As the year 2010 careens head-first into the brick wall of history, Your PopCulteer takes a moment to pause and reflect and present a random assembly of unrelated items, masquerading as a year-end column.

IFC Killed, Replaced With A Basic Cable Channel

This logo is no longer applicable

The Independent Film Channel has been transformed. After studying how to make the plucky cable channel more successful, the folks in charge have decided that the major obstacle in their quest for profitability was those darned Independent films.

Starting earlier this month, IFC began interrupting their programming with commercials. Soon they will begin censoring their movies so they can attract more advertisers. However, they plan to drastically reduce the number of movies they show anyway. The plan is to cram the channel’s schedule with reruns of old sitcoms and a few new, cheaply-produced, comedy programs.Art house flicks will be shunted aside to The Sundance Channel, in favor of more mainstream fare and recycled reruns.

This article in Advertising Age covers the change without explaining how it’s an absolute betrayal of the channel’s core principals.  Let’s hope that The Sundance Channel doesn’t meet a similar fate.  There’s already been an unsettling influx of crappy reality programming on Sundance.

Jeff Ellis makes the cut

WV Rockscene’s Top Ten Local CDs.

Our Friend, Max Power, has compiled a rather striking top ten list of local CDs, and you should go check it out now.  People ask me how I keep my finger on the pulse of the local music scene for Radio Free Charleston. One of the ways is by reading WV Rockscene. It’s the cutting-edge of what’s hot in the mountain state.

Geek Fight

Patton Oswalt has written an essay on the death of geek culture over at Wired. I think his major point is a bit overblown, but any essay on culture that references Steve Ditko’s “Shade The Changing Man” is well worth a read.

Harry Knowles has responded, in a somewhat embarrassing, stereotypical fashion.

Speaking of Geeks And Disappointment

Has anyone else noticed that the new Best Buy, the first one in Charleston, is way less cool than any other Best Buy you may have encountered on out-of-town travels?  The store is not logically organized, the staff is pleasant but uninformed, and the selection of CDs and DVDs is piss-poor.  Why does every chain store have to suck before they enter the Charleston retail market?

Jazz From Hell

The first Radio Free Charleston movie will resume production in January, and with any luck, wrap by the middle of February.  Meanwhile, watch this trailer again, and then watch episode 113 of RFC, to whet your appetite.

RFC 113 "Jazz From Hell Preview" from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

Suddenlink vs. Viacom

While all the local media attention has been focused on the Time-Warner Cable spat with WCHS and FOX 11 (a battle which will have no effect on anyone in West Virginia), Suddenlink and Viacom are engaged in a war that may see Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV and all their related channels disappear from Charleston as early as midnight tonight.

Viacom is playing hardball, asking for a 20% increase.  Suddenlink has dug in their heels and is complaining that such an increase is unreasonable with the current state of the economy.  Suddenlink also claims that Viacom is trying to force them to carry “a new network with R-rated programming.”

I don’t know what Suddenlink is trying to accomplish by complaining about what sounds like a very, very cool new channel, but I hope that both sides calm down and manage to work out a deal that doesn’t result in our cable bill going up. Of the twenty channels involved, I actually watch Comedy Central, and just recently picked up the HD channel, Palladia.  If we lose them, I expect my cable bill to be lowered, as Suddenlink has promised.

Ringing In The New

Tonight the RFC crew will be on hand at Tomahawks, because this guy is supposed to be there…

With that, we wrap up 2010.  Next week we’ll look back at 2011.  Happy New Year from PopCult and Radio Free Charleston!