With interest and anticipation I've received your publication for nearly two years. It has become a trusted reference for myself and my peers. I especially looked forward to listening to the monthly cassette of work from radio production pros around the country.

That is, until today.

While some might find Al Peterson's "Flower Girl" hysterically funny, I found it pathetically sad. Since when did severe alcoholism become such a joke? I don't know Mr. Stevenson's story or how his tapes ended up in the lap of Al Peterson, but I find it embarrassing that a radio station would take the "joke" so far as to broadcast it. And I find it even more tragic that Radio And Production would find this so hilarious.

Today, when so many individuals are suffering the effects of substance abuse, and when we are trying so hard to eradicate drug and alcohol use in our communities, I find it incredibly irresponsible to make fun of the illness of another human being.

Al Peterson's time would have been better spent finding help for Mr. Stevenson and/or putting his own considerable music and production skills to work holding a benefit for a local halfway house. And Radio And Production should have saved their tape for better use.

There is no redeeming value in belittling another human being, no matter what his or her circumstances are or how easy a target they might be.

Mary Collins-Angier
Knight Quality Creative Services

Dear Mary,

You're right. Too many people are suffering from substance abuse, and there is no humor in that.

For the record, we have no knowledge that Flower Girl was ever put on the air. We also have no knowledge of Mr. Stevenson. True, he may be suffering from severe alcoholism, but he might also have been someone who never had a drink before "that day." In fact, he could have been completely sober when he did the track. We just don't know. The point is, the cut wasn't placed on The Cassette because we thought, "hey, we have a drunk on tape so let's make fun of him." It's on the tape because of what Al was able to do with the tracks. If you have any musical background, you must know how difficult it was to write the music for Flower Girl, but Al pulled it off. Not only did he write music for this very unmusical vocal track, but he performed it and produced it. That is the main reason the cut is on the tape.

Yes, this editor found the tape to be funny, and maybe I shouldn't have expressed that aspect of my warped sense of humor. Yes, the picture of an old, beat up man in dirty clothes, unshaven, poverty stricken, and wreaking of alcohol is sad. But, his tracks would not have gone on The Cassette if all we had were the dry, untouched tracks. This was not an attempt to poke fun at an alcoholic, or someone who sounded like one.

We apologize for having offended you with the January Cassette. Each month, as The Cassette gets produced, we're faced with many questions. Will the gay production people out there (if any) be offended by some of the gay humor we've displayed? Will the folks at the many subscribing Christian formatted stations be offended by the sexual innuendos, foul language, or the "preacher" characters in spots and promos? Will our women subscribers be insulted by some of the sexist copy our male subscribers have written? Should we leave such and such spot off because it might offend so and so? Should we omit anything that might offend anybody, regardless of its production value?

Radio And Production in no way attempts to bolster or make light of alcoholism. This is a publication about radio production, and both the publication and The Cassette are merely a reflection of the production rooms and radio stations across the country, no more and no less than television reflects our society. Please be aware than any issue of Radio And Production and The Cassette MAY have material in it that might offend some people, though we try to keep it fairly clean. It's your choice whether or not to listen and read, and we hope there's more good than bad inside each issue.

As I was going through some spots, trying to decide which "stuff" to send in this month, a salesperson interrupted me (imagine that) to tell me about a new account, a night club downtown. I went through my usual line of questioning: "What's different about this club?" "Why would someone want to go there rather than someplace else?" "Do they have any specific promotions or nights they want to focus on?" What answers do I get?

"It's in a hotel." (Almost every dance club in Richmond is.) "They play Top 40/Dance music." (That'll stand out.) "They've got ladies night on Thursday." (Original.) "They want us to come up with a creative, exciting promotion." (In Virginia, you're not allowed to promote drink specials, happy hour, or anything that might "entice" people to drink, which, according to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, includes almost everything.) I love my job.

But since radio and nightclubs seem to attract each other like Glenn Close and Michael Douglas, I thought I'd send in some night club commercials and promotions that have worked well for us at B103.7. I'd also love to see some night club commercials and promos on The Cassette. Any form of inspiration, no matter how warped, would be much appreciated!

Holly Buchanan, Creative Director
WMXB-FM, Richmond, VA

Dear Holly,

Thanks for your tape. We've put a sample of your work on this month's Cassette to spark some ideas for others, and we've added a few more club spots to shoot some ideas your way.

Amazing. In one paragraph I'm telling the world how R.A.P. doesn't advocate alcoholism. In the next, I'm providing assistance to help you get more people in the bars in Richmond. Go figure.