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Game changer: new rules limit the performance of baseball bats

In March 2010, Gunnar Sandberg, 16, was pitching for his team at Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield, Calif, when he threw a pitch that would change his life. The line drive came back at him traveling more than 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour, striking his head and fracturing his skull. He spent the next three weeks in a coma, clinging to life.

Catastrophic injuries such as Gunnar’s are rare in baseball, but they are less rare than you might think. Baseball has the highest fatality rate of any sport among players ages 5 to 14, with an average of about four deaths each year. Even when injuries aren’t fatal, the consequences can be serious and lasting. Although Gunnar has largely recovered from his accident, he still suffers from seizures and memory loss.

The line drive that nearly killed Gunnar was struck using a metal bat. Soon after the accident, Gunnar’s school announced that it would switch to wooden bats. Traditional wooden bats are used by professional baseball players, but metal bats are the norm for just about everyone else, including most school leagues.

Are wooden bats safer than metal bats? Statistics are murky on that question, but many lab tests have demonstrated that baseballs struck by metal bats can and do travel faster and farther. A “hot” metal bat might smack a ball as much as 13 kilometers (8 miles) per hour faster and more than 15 meters (50 feet) farther than a wooden bat could- enough to turn an out into a home run.


A traditional wooden bat is constructed of one solid piece of ash or maple. Those hardwoods can withstand the extreme forces involved in a solid collision with a baseball-up to 8,000 pounds of force, equivalent to the weight of three cars. Metal bats are typically made of strong, lightweight aluminum, with a solid handle but a hollow barrel.

Even though a wooden bat and a metal bat may weigh the same, the metal bat will feel lighter and be easier to swing. Baseball players call that feeling the swing weight. It depends on a bat’s moment of inertia, a measure of how difficult it is to rotate something. Because the barrel of a metal bat is hollow, more of the bat’s weight is concentrated in the handle. That makes a metal bat easier to swing faster. As any seasoned player will tell you, faster swings make for harder, faster hits.


The bigger advantage of metal bats over wooden bats is something called the trampoline effect. It causes baseballs to spring off metal bats as if from a trampoline.

When a 145-kilometer- (90-mile-) per-hour pitch collides with a solid wooden bat, the baseball deforms incredibly, squashing to as little as half of its diameter before rebounding off the bat. In the process, a lot of precious kinetic energy, the energy of motion, is lost.

When the same pitch collides with a metal bat, the hollow barrel of the bat deforms, too, much as an empty foam cup does when you squash it sideways. The squashed bat stores the kinetic energy of the collision much more efficiently than the ball can. As the squashed bat unsquashes, the stored energy is released, sending the ball flying, as if from a trampoline.

High-performance metal bats are specially designed to exploit the trampoline effect. Composite nsa softball bats, for example, are aluminum bats that have a thin layer of graphite lining the wall of the barrel. That layer is stronger and lighter than aluminum and is designed to flex, amplifying the trampoline effect and increasing the speed of batted balls.


New bat regulations have been adopted to rein in the trampoline effect of metal and composite bats. Those regulations will force the bats to perform more like wooden bats. The current standard for bats-called the ball exit speed ratio-is measured by comparing the speed of a baseball before and after it hits a particular bat. Starting next year, all bats used in high school games across the country must meet a tougher standard called the ball-bat coefficient of restitution (BBCOR). It’s a measure of the “bounciness” of the ball-bat collision.

BBCOR-approved bats became required equipment in college games this year, with dramatic results. Baiting averages are down by more than 20 points, and the number of home runs per game is off by 45 percent.

Doug MacLean, a coach at Marin Catholic, thinks the new BBCOR bats will do more than improve safety by slowing down batted-ball speeds. He expects that wooden and BBCOR bats will bring strategy back into the game. They’ll de-emphasize what’s called gorilla ball-power hitting and home runs-and put more stress on “small ball”-runs pieced together from base hits.

“Kids are going to be much better players,” says MacLean. “Before, you’d be down 3 to nothing in the fifth inning and you wouldn’t even be nervous. You knew one of your big kids was going to come up with a composite bat and clear the bases, and you’d be ahead 4 to 3. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now instead you’ve got to use your noggin.”

Feeling the Squeeze

When a baseball hits a bat, some of the ball’s kinetic energy (energy of motion) becomes potential energy (stored energy) for a split second, and some of it is lost. The potential energy then reverts to kinetic energy, shooting the ball into the field. A bat made of metal or a composite material absorbs more of the kinetic energy as potential energy than a wooden bat does. It becomes slightly squashed in the process. The greater the potential energy, the faster and farther the ball rebounds.

Modern technology weds traditional craftsmanship

By the time Basel ’84 ended its eight-day run April 12, more than 102,000 visitors had marveled at the gemological and horological “creme de la creme” of 16 nations.

But the quality of visitors transcended their numbers. Trade buyers outnumbered that general public 70 to 30. Americans and West Germans led the influx from abroad; visitors came from 95 countries in all.

The vast array of new and established items on display–from prestigious gem-set pieces to costumejewelry, goldware, writing instruments and lighters–proved enticing to visitors. Some pieces were unusual or unexpected. Among them Miniature decorated gold ingots worn as jewelry, antique and period jeels, and scratch-resistant hard-metal designs. Visitors also scrutinized huge quantities of precious, decorative and man-made stones.

In watchmaking, quartz time-pieces with analog time displays made a stronger showing than ever. New extra-thin movements built into two-tone, multi-colored, paired and scratch-resistant models featured prominently in Basel ’84 spring collections. Luxury watch designers seemed in a more classic mood this year, but opulence in ornamentation and gemstone selection still was evident. Sports and stylishness again met in superbly designed water-resistant models.

Other major styling developments this year included:

  • * The increased importance of dials. They became the focal point of the Tissot automatic watch, around which conflicting trends vied for popularity. Moon phase functions were widespread.
  • * On nearly half of this year’s entries, the bezel was scaled back, sometimes to nothing more than a bevelled edge. Others even did away with it completely–a sapphire crystal might cover the entire top surface.
  • * By contrast, some watches featured elaborately decorated bezels with engraving work, “claws,” studs or even slim metal-cable torsades.

Hard-metal designs abounded, with titanium (even gilt titanium) increasingly in vogue. Pocket watches, moreover, confirmed their success of recent years. New quartz calibres were introduced in 1984, as quartz watches finally outstripped traditional mechanical models in Switzerland, among other nations. Most mechanical designs were clustered either in pocketwaches or at the top luxury end.

Table and wall clock manufacturers likewise had many new models to show…from quartz and electric designs styled with new materials to classic key-wound clocks with a skeleton movement.

A sampling of the dazzling product assortment at Basel ’84 is shown on the following pages.

  1. Jewelry set by GMT, Bienne, includes bracelet watch, necklace and ear pendants. The two-tone 18k white and yellow gold settings are enhanced with diamonds and seven teardrop-shaped blue topazes. The Bulova accutron watch itself is topped by a blue sapphire crystal.
  2. New extra-slim (65x32x8mm) gas lighters join the “Les Dior de Christian Dior” collection. Choice of gadroon or satin-finished decor; both versions come with two-tone styling.
  3. Privilege S.A., Geneva, offers this chain jewelry set composed of a necklace, earrings, ring and quartz wristwatch in 18k white and yellow gold. Diamond baguettes and ruby cabochons are featured.
  4. Here gold ingots themselves become pieces of jewelry. Pamp S.A., Geneva, uses pure 24k gold slabs bearing official assay marks as a pendant and ear drops. The designs are in the likeness of Fortuna, the Roman goddess of Luck, whose emblem is the cornucopia.
  5. A long neckpiece featuring a delicate “chaingang” style chain with square-wire spiralled links. Made in steel and gold or in white and yellow gold, by Gay Freres, Geneva.
  6. Henry Dunay’s “Freedom” necklace, designed to lie like a chiffon scarf around the wearer’s neck. Ribbons of diamond pave hold it in place. Earrings, ring and bracelet with their wire swirls among the pave complete the grouping. Necklace retails for $35,000; ring, for $11,000.
  7. Handpainted enamel on sterling silver butterflies are from Hroar Prydz A/A, Oslo, Norway.
  8. Wideband Jewelry Co, New Rochelle, N.Y., presented this collection of gold coin jewelry, all set in elegantly simple pendants.
  9. New versions of the Omega constellation “claw”watch. More than merely decorative, the claws add to the case’s water-resistance. These models are made in white and yellow or white and pink gold, with diamond pave.
  10. The Breitling Navitimer GMT for pilots–with two time zones, chronograph, rotating bezel timer and independent watch for third time zone display–features world’s smallest QA movement. Selection of all-stainless steel or stainless steel case, goldplated bezel and bi-color bracelet.
  11. Swissdesigner Gerald Genta and his wife presented this astronomical wall clock with perpetual calendar and moon-phase indicator.
  12. Blancpain’s men’s and women’s moon phase cheap Nixon watches. Water-resistant to 30 meters, they come in steel, steel and gold, or 18k yellow gold with leather strap or bracelet.
  13. The futuristic Chrono II from IWC, Schaffhausen. Easy-to-grip push-button controls are totally integrated into a black anodized or chronium-plated case.
  14. 18k gold case and bracelet in Baume & Mercier’s jewel-watch for women are worked entirely by hand. The diamond and emerald model has a high-precision, ultra-thin quartz movement.
  15. The Amadeus collection from Raymond Weil combines classic and modern. These 18k gold electroplated models come with a velvet-black anodized finish; black dial adorned in golden pearls; sapphire crystal and ultrathin (2.5mm) quartz movement.
  16. The new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar by Audermars Piguet features an extra-flat automatic movement with a central rotor in 21k gold. Mechanically programmed to the year 2100, the Royal Oak indicates day, date, month, lunar calendar and chronological time, as well as Feb. 29 every 4th year.
  17. A world first: The Nepro “Alrin” electronic ring. Add it to a standard quartz movement and you get an alarm-watch movement with a loud and clear signal (man’s version) or a musical sequence (woman’s version).
  18. The “Ascot,” a new series of M-Watches by Mondaine Watch Ltd., Zurich, features a changeable battery, a huge variety of colors and a new “StrapStrap” band.
  19. From left: ETA SA’s patented Combo Delirium; Combo Dichroic and Flatline Combo will be released for name brand marketing later this year.
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Yamaha’s R&D center: la place des artistes

Stains of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” fill the room as Yamaha’s manager of R&D Pro Products Jeffrey Gusman seemingly dances along, leaping between mixer and sequencer, exclaiming that the bells just don’t sound right, do they? A couple of more magically mixed timbers and the bells peal richly, transforming the control room into an evening at the ballet… electronically speaking.

Gusman, who heads up the new Research & Development Division for Professional Products at the recently opened Yamaha Communications Center (YCC) in Manhattan, says he achieved that sound last year while musical director for the New Jersey Ballet. “They’d been using taped music for the ballet. I came in and programmed the music of The Nutcracker in about a month. Then I sat myself down, one man in the orchestra pit, surrounded by synthesizers. People couldn’t believe it was just me down there.”

Now firmly situated at the R&D Center, Gusman says he couldn’t have found a more well-suited job if he’d written his own job description. A graduate of NYU, and a student of the Juillard School, Aspen Music Festival, Akademic fur Musik in Austria and Lehman Engel’s BMI Theatre Workshop, Gusman began as a classical composer in New York around eight years ago. “I also worked as a music producer for ABC-TV, Texaco, Atari and Warner Communications in LA. But I missed the stress of New York. So I came back,” he grins.

These days he’s only a weekend composer, spending most of his time helping other artists discover new applications for existing technology. “My job now is to serve other artists first,” he says somewhat wistfully.

The opening of the YCC coincided with Yamaha’s 100th year celebration. The YCC is an impressive office situated in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Tower on W. 57th Street, with over 17,000 square feet of studio and display space. It offers a veritable “playroom” for musicians and singers alike. The YCC offers several specific research areas: Pro Products R&D with a 32-track digital recording studio; Concert Grand Piano R&D, with an acoustically engineered concert grand piano studio; Wind and Band Instruments R&D, examining the use of wind instruments; the Electronic Keyboard Center, exploring the uses of FM synthesis as applied to electronic keyboards; and the Music Gallery for special events, all with Yamaha’s Assisted Acoustic system that allows control of the room’s acoustic condition, making it possible to sound as though you’re playing in a small jazz club or a stadium.

“The main concept in the Pro Products division is to combine three disciplines: MIDI, audio and video,” explains Gusman. “We’re marrying new technology to create new and better tools for artists around the world. It’s not a commercial recording studio. We’re strictly research and development. But we’re not strictly Yamaha either, we have non-Yamaha equipment too. Since the artist may have brought music in various formats, it helps them feel more comfortable when they recognize familiar equipment.”

The YCC has already had a handful of artists visit the studio, with more expected in the upcoming months. Invitations are being sent out to artists ranging from classical to pop, the goal being that artists will come to visit and hopefully will propose a new use for the equipment — at no charge to the artist. So far the cross-section of artists include background singers and recording artists for Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie and Madonna. Gusman stresses that the center isn’t a training ground, but rather a think tank for artists already knowledgeable in electronic equipment, who simply want to exchange ideas and further develop their expertise. Yamaha’s show room on the first floor is better suited for a more basic education on the equipment. “It’s an even exchange,” Gusman reiterates. “We hope to inspire creativity. It’s ultimately a professional place. Relaxed, but purposeful.”

When asked whether or not he feels this sort of electronic haven is encouraging the replacement of “live” musicians, Gusman replies with an emphatic no. “Personally, I’m creating a palette for the artist, not replacing the musician. In reality, sure, a one-man band is more relative today,” Gusman admits.” But I’d rather work with live musicians playing acoustics and synthesizers.

“What I’d really like to do here is ‘demystify’ some of the uses of these devices. I want to find out how the artist is using the equipment and what their needs are,” Gusman adds.

The newly opened YCC hopes to gain momentum in April and May as it gains a foothold in the music industry in Manhattan. A similar R&D Center has been operating in Yamaha’s offices in Tokyo and London, although the New York office is supposedly the most advanced. If interested in the YCC, contact Gusman at (212) 265-1111.

Mark Morris Dance Group

But authenticity in dancing is not only a historical issue. Watching Turocy’s Terpsicore explain the emotion of jealousy to Apollo by gesturing far outward–a terrible power running through her back, along her arm to her clenched fist, away from her source of strength and stability–I thought of the young modern-dance choreographer Mark Morris, who has managed to achieve a vivid communication with Baroque music in a language apparently foreign to the period. In his setting of a Handel aria on jealousy, for instance, Morris has the dancer double over, pitching his body off-center, then melt to the floor in a sideways roll, like a slow, broken barrel dislocated by the wind. As he revolves, his eyes gape at his raggedly stirring extremities. It’s the same message: jealousy decenters you.

Last fall, for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Morris presented his dancers in an all-Baroque program: Marble Halls (Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor), Pieces en Concert (Couperin airs) and Stabat Mater Pergolesi). It was a gamble. The program was painstakingly varied in tone and scale, but kept within a narrow philosophy of dance-making: music, and specifically musical rhythm, drove on the visual elements. Still, it would have been easy to miss the mosaic of conceits on manners and gesture in dancing in the Couperin piece, as winsome as a portrait by Watteau, because the brilliant jokes were sometimes embodied in a clownish guise and because the saddest moments popped out from the most bumptious steps. The Stabat Mater, muted and flattened like a grisaille copy of a cenotaph frieze, was so unassertive and patient in the development of lyric tension that even a Morris admirer like me couldn’t get the drift of it after one performance; only the second time around did I see the implicit equation between massed, architectural elements in the choreography and the metaphor of suffering masses so reminiscent of Doris Humphrey, one of the modern dance pioneers whose work Morris admires.

If, however, you can hear Bach and Couperin–or, as Morris has used them elsewhere, Yoko Ono and the Violent Femmes–without preconception, his dances make wonderful sense. He seems to respond to the heft of a melody as if it could be held. His imagination is curiously submissive, and the emotions that he excavates from music, sometimes deeply confessional, can be disturbing. In Baroque music, he finds a personal, wounding power.

The New York Baroque Dance Company will perform on June 8 and 9 at the Boston Early Music Festival and on July 19 and 23 in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall. The Mark Morris Dance Group will perform a program of works on Roland Barthes themes (Mythologies) from May 6 to 10 in New York City at the Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom. They will also appear May 14 through 16 at the Kennedy Center in Washington and May 19 and 20 at the Virginia Museum in Richmond.

“Heartbeat” is honored at 16th Mobius Awards

“Heartbeat of America,’ Chevrolet’s advertising anthem for 1986, showed no signs of cardiac arrest as it dominated at the 16th annual U.S. Television & Radio Commercials Mobius Awards Presentation held January 23 at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Over 200 guests, representing the international and domestic commercial industry, attended the black tie awards banquet that honored the world’s best awards banquet that honored the world’s best and most creative television and radio commercials. A screening of the international award winning television spots kicked off the festivities that included a speech by Lou Centlivre, executive vp and managing creative director at Foote, Cone & Belding/Chicago.

Advertising giant Campbell-Ewald, based in Warren, Mich., received “Best of Festival’ honored and nine Mobius awards for “Heartbeat of America.’ Amidst the cacophony of a strong heartbeat, the commercial epitomizes the ambience of middle-class America and its incessant love affair with the automobile.

“We hit a responsive chord in the American public and we have done it in a very responsible way,’ insists Sean Fitzpatrick, executive creative director at Campbell-Ewald. “”The Heartbeat of America’ captures the resurgence and renewal of Chevrolet and this makes people feel good. The commercials are a very special vision of the people of America.’

The series was directed by Bruce Dowad of Jennie & Company, New York, for Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. Fitzpatrick and Dennis H. Plansker, broadcast creative director at Campbell-Ewald, worked with agency producers Ken Domanski and Chris Firestone on the project. Joey Levine of Crushing Music provided the musical score. Bill Riss of Image Express was editor; Fred Schuller, dp.

“”Heartbeat of America’ embodies all of the good aspects of commercials in the last year,’ explains J.W. Anderson, chairman of the awards festival. “The music is what has made it such a big hit as well as the excellent editing.’

By night’s end, Campbell-Ewald garnered the most accolades–a total of eleven first place Mobius statuettes have been carted back to Michigan. Two of the awards were for “Auto Teller,’ a humorous Sedelmeier spot for General Motors Acceptance Corp. The agency was also honored with a special plaque recognizing its outstanding creativity, innovative and execution of the award-winning commercials.

Winning “Best of Festival’ is not a unique experience for Campbell-Ewald. The agency has made the Mobius acceptance speech before when its 1984 Chevrolet Corvette series “Never Before’ capture top festival honors. And in 1985, “Lean On Me,’ a Chevrolet truck commercial created by the Michigan agency, won a Mobius award.

The Mobius award celebration honored 15 nominees for best of festival represented by products or services advertised for Chevrolet, McDonald’s, Kodak, NBC, Hawaiian Punch, Budweiser, Lee Jeans, Bounce, Citizen Watches and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. International nominees included Tourism Canada; Land Rover, England; Volvo, Sweden; Hamlet Cigars, England; and Radio Rentals also from England.

Among the other top winners were England’s Collett Dickenson Pearce & Partners Ltd. The London-based ad agency received nine first place awards, all for television commercials for various clients. J. Walter Thompson, who last year set a Mobius record with 18 first place awards, captured a total of eight statuettes for ads from its offices in Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Toronto and London.

Chicago agency winners included J. Walter Thompson’s “Peas,’ the Gerber/Baby Food spot, winning for best candy, food and beverage in the children’s products category. The spot was produced by Ampersand Productions, New York. A Mobius was also given to JWT for its “Spike & Speck’ Quaker/Kibbles ‘N Bits spot–it was best of pet products: food.

California-based EUE Screen Gems produced. Leo Burnett Company picked up three Mobius awards for its McDonald’s campaign “Silent Persuasion,’ “Golden Time’ and “Recital.’ All won in the category of food: eating out industry. New York-based Steve Horn, Inc. produced “Silent Persuasion’ and “Recital.’ Pytka Productions, located in California, shot “Golden Time.’ Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago won with its entry “Demonstration With a Twist,’ for Skil Twist Cordless Screwdriver. The commercial received highest honors in the utility category. It was produced by Wilson-Griak, a Minneapolis-based production company.


A commercial award show just wouldn’t be the same if at least one mention of Joe Sedelmaier didn’t slip in. Although no special honors were bestowed upon the man this year–last year’s Mobius Award Presentation spotlighted the Chicago-based director and awarded him 10 first place accolades–Sdelmaier still managed to collected three prizes. “Auto Teller,’ a spot created by Campbell-Ewald/Michigan, placed first in two categories–services: banking and financial and production technique: humor. “Texi,’ “Washroom,’ and “Airplane,’ a Check-Up Gum series directed by Sedelmaier in conjunction with ad agency Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt/Minneapolis, also won for production technique: humor.

A total of 106 first place Mobius statuettes were presented to commercials submitted into various subject and production technique categories. Of this total, 84 went to television commercials and 22 to radio. Over 3,000 commercials competed in the competition from over 22 nations. Although the number of commercial entries was down from last year’s high of 3,400, a larger variety of countries participated in the 1986 competition. Anderson attributes the number shifts to marketing and industry changes.

“There is a lot of turmoil in the advertising industry right now,’ Anderson says. “At the same time, shifts in expenditures in advertising dollars are moving away from broadcast productions and this was reflected in the number of entries for this year.’

The quota of commercials may have shrunk for the 1986 competition but because of better marketing techniques, more nations got involved in the event than ever before, Anderson adds.

Over 75 percent of the commercials entered in the festival were from the United States, a fact reflected by the amount of awards taken home by Americans. A total of 61 Mobius statuettes went to U.S. agencies, producers and sponsors. The United Kingdom acquired 27, Canada eight, Sweden three, New Zealand and Australia both garnered two and Holland, Singapore and South Africa each received one award.

The honored commercials uniquely displayed a flair for the creative and innovative approach to advertising but, however different they were, the similarities between the entries were just as apparent.

Towards :15s

“I saw a lot of quick scene changes and condensed information,’ observes Anderson. “I think this is a result of the move towards the use of 15-second commercials. The idea is to convey as much information in as rapid time as possible. I am finding that there is a shifting away from the “Americana’ theme commercial of last year. There are still some commercials that use that theme but I am seeing less and less.’

Cost concerns and budget restraints have not affected this year’s batch of winners, according to Anderson. In fact, the opposite seems to be occurring. “Many of the commercials are using very strong computer-generated effects to create a futuristic look,’ Anderson says.

Sweet sounds of success greet ad music festival

After hundreds of man hours and several near nervous breakdowns, the inaugural event of the “New’ Chicago Coalition finally turned out to be an indisputable success. An estimated 700-plus supporters turned out for “The Sounds of Chicago‘ last week to pay tribute to the Windy’s City’s ever-popular music producers.

Happily, the majority of the crowd (about 80 percent by one estimation) were from the event’s intended audience of agencies, and included leaders such as Norm Muse, chairman of the board and chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Co. Inc.

By 11 am the morning after, executive director Chuck Standen and assistant director Scott Lynch had already received about 30 congratulatory phone calls. Meanwhile, chief organizers Ted Kay, president of TMK-Elias Productions, and Murray Allen, president of Universal Recording, were breathing audible signs of relief and getting back to their own business affairs after dedicating countless hours of their own and their staff’s services to this mammoth undertaking.

“Class Act’

Highlights of the evening included a medley of jingles from the “50s and “60s composed by Shelly Elias of TMK-Elias Productions at the eleventh hour and performed by 20 jingle singers. Plans to bing in some of the jingle singers from those eras were thwarted, and Elias worked until dawn two days prior to the event, lifting and weaving together advertising tunes from a collector’s album. Rehearsals continued until minutes before the doors opened Feb. 5.

The main event was an hour-long presentation featuring work by 18 Chicago commercial music producers and the commercials in which the jingles were used. The big difference was that attendees heard the music as it was originally mixed on a top-notch stereo system.

Coalition founder Sterling “Red’ Quinlan, who has been keeping a keen eye on what his successors have been doing with his baby, had nothing but praise for the big event.

“It was a class act all the way,’ he said.

Music houses of all sizes and stature submitted a three-minute sampling of their best work–and agencies waived their usual bans on public screening of their commercials, many of which were designated for other markets and quite current. Represented were: Advertunes, Colnut-Fryer, Comtrack, Joe Godfrey, Herschell Commercial, Klaff-Weinstein, Libman Music, Marier Music, Dick Marx, Nuance Productions, O-Donnell-Salvatori, Opus III, Renaissance, Steve Samler, Steve Sperry, Tatgenhorst Music, TMK-Elias Productions and Bobbv Whiteside.

?? was a group effort–a lot of people deserve a pat on ?? back,’ said Ted Kay. “It was fun, but I’m glad it’s over.’

“It was a monster project,’ added Murray Allen. “We had to remix and digitize, add time code and compile an enormous edit decision list. It took a lot to time.’

While numerous people donated their time and energy, special recognition should go to Kathy Bond, who worked closely with Kay on publicity and organization; to Editel, which donated the services of Mike “Opie’ Opager for three full nights; to Universal Recording for Jamie Chappel’s week of overtime while working on the mix and sync; and to ABC anchorman Floyd Kalber, who served as master of ceremonies.

Better Than “Break Even’

The week prior to the big day, event organizers were concerned–panicked might be an appropriate term– about low advance ticket sales. Tickets were sold for $25 each, and the Park West Ballroom has a capacity of 1,000. Although final counts weren’t in at press time, both Standen and former Coalition Executive Director Doyle Kaniff reported ticket sales at the door were stronger than expected, with total attendance estimated at 700-800.

“We did more than break even,’ Standen noted. “We were concerned about breaking even, but we ended up making a couple thousand, I think.’

Credit for coming up with the idea goes to Doyle Kaniff, who had intended to pull off the event prior to stepping down from his post and turning over the reins to Standen. However, Kaniff’s appointment as director of corporate development for Video Services Corp. in Los Angeles abbreviated his involvement, leaving other Coalition proponents to pick up the slack and bringing Standen on board ahead of schedule.

“The idea was based on organizing something that the whole community could rally around, something very positive,’ Kaniff said. “We needed a rallying point to get people together and stop the “them and us’ stuff–I think we’ve been successful in that.

“If they decided to do something like this next year, regardless of what it is, as long as it’s a positive thing, they’ll have an even better attendance,’ Kaniff predicts.

Chuck Standen certainly won’t be content to rest on the laurels of “The Sounds Of Chicago”s success. After only a few months, his “part-time,’ 50-hour-a-week position has involved a lot of hard work–but he’s quick to note he’s having a great time doing it. He noted plans are already in the works for “some biggies.’ But his–and Kaniff’s–first goal has already been accomplished. “The Coalition has been revived.’

Compact discs sing a hi-tech success story

Just two years after the introduction of the $900 CD-101 compact disc player in Japan by Sony, worldwide sales of players have reached 1.2 million units, with sales of the 4-3/4-inch discs topping 22 million units. This translates to roughly $800 million and euphoria in the audio industry.

It took prerecorded cassette tapes six years to achieve this degree of market penetration, and they now make up 37% of recorded music sales.

Despite a five-month lag between the debut of the compact disc (CD) player in Japan and the U.S., a scarcity of players six months after entry, and a disc catalogue that numbered only 2,000 titles by the end of last year vs. 80,000 long-playing record titles, the U.S.’s share of the market is a hefty 22%-23%.

Player sales of around 250,000 for 1984 were up 671% over 1983, though shipments didn’t really get under way until mid-summer of that year. Disc sales of 4.9 million units in 1984 were up 512% over 1983’s tally of 800,000, and industry observers project sales of 9.9 million discs in 1985. Essentially, the last half of 1983 was spent educating dealers and consumers and jockeying for market position by hardware manufacturers.

Sony’s initial thrust was directed at audiophiles. To reach this select group, the company supplied 55 top audio specialty dealers and 300 radio stations with disc players and point-of-purchase material.

Says Marc Finer, product communications manager for Sony Consumer Products, Park Ridge, NJ, “We deliberately started slowly because Sony’s approach is to lead technologically and to provide marketing–training, education, advertising, promotions–to create awareness.”

The company’s efforts were supported by ads in the audio magazines Stereo Review, High Fidelity, and Billboard, and the plugs the company received each time a radio station played a disc on the players supplied by Sony, which also involved itself in joint promotions with disc manufacturers. A play for the masses

A typical promotion was the company’s tie-in with CBS Records, PolyGram, and Warner/Elektra/Atlantic to sponsor a “Date with Digital” audio display, at the 1983 and 1984 music festivals held during spring break in Daytona, FL. Sony supplied players for the demonstration booth as well as a player and stereo receiver as prizes for a sweepstakes drawing.

At the beginning of 1984, the company set its sights on the mass market for which it had developed the CD-200 with a suggested list of $700. Retail outlets grew from 200 at the end of 1983 to 8,000 by the end of last year. Though company spokespersons won’t discuss market share, some industry observers credit the manufacturer with at least 48% of the CD player market.

Technics, JVC, Denon, and Yamaha used pretty much the same strategy as Sony while Magnavox, Fisher, Sanyo, and Sharp zeroed in on the mass consumer arena as soon as they entered the market.

Magnavox installed demonstration models for a two-week period in outlets of 26 department-store chains around the country. Fisher, Sanyo, and Sharp also targeted the mass market, delivering their products to audio chains and department stores.

The parent company of Magnavox is Philips N.V., Eindhoven, Netherlands, the original developer of CD technology. Sony was brought into the picture by Philips to perfect the technology for error-free performance.

The sound on compact discs is picked up by a tiny laser beam that reads pits with numeric values that are molded into plastic that is coated with a thin layer of aluminum. Because no stylus touches the discs, their life is indefinite. They don’t break or easily scratch.

Says Leslie Rosen, executive director of the Compact Disc Group, a nonprofit trade association, “I guess you could destroy them if you wanted to, but it’s something you would have to deliberately want to do.”

Despite these obvious advantages and the fact that sales of components and music had been stagnant for several years before CDs came on the market, most audio dealers and record retailers were reluctant to take on the digital product. Many had been burned by other audio “revolutions” such as 8-track cartridges, which have all but faded into the night, and quadraphonic sound, which never gained a firm foothold.

The audio dealers took a show-me stance, waiting for assurance that record companies were really committed to the format. Both component dealers and record retailers were also waiting for the hardware to come down to a level that middle-class consumers could afford: players in the $500-$700 price range.

Sony’s initial entry into the U.S. market, the CD-101, carried a suggested list of $900. By the end of 1983, there were 16 manufacturers in the field with players ranging in price from $800 to $1,200, retail.

At the January 1984 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a downward price trend became evident. Sony and Sansui each showed models with suggested lists of $700, while Yamaha, Sanyo, and Sherwood introduced players for even less. Yamaha offered its Model CD-XI at a suggested list price of $649; the suggested list for Sanyo’s CP-200 was $549.95, while Sherwood tagged its CDP-100 at $499.95. Shortly after the winter show, Yamaha dropped the suggested list on its CD-XI model to $550 to better compete with the less expensive Sanyo and Sherwood players.

Six months later at the summer CES, prices slid even more. Some 7 of the 30 models exhibited were priced under $500, with Sharp leading the price break on two models, the DX-100, with a suggested list of $399, and the DX-600 at $449.

By the end of 1984, the price range on some 60 models being manufactured by 32 companies ran to a low of $299.95 for Sony’s D-5 portable, introduced in November, to a top price of $1,600 for Kyocera Corp.’s DA-910.

In addition to players being put on the market with initially lower price tags, prices on first- and second-generation models were being cut drastically. Magnavox slashed $300 off one of its models and $400 off another. “The consumer was saying ‘get the price down,’” says Stan Veltkamp, vice president, audio sales, for Magnavox. “It makes sense to us to try and get our CD line in place at the right distributors at the right price.”

Disc prices experienced a similar downturn, dropping to $15.99 retail, from an initial price range of $17-$20.

Warner/Elektra/Atlantic, the recording arm of Warner Communications, Burbank, CA, precipitated the drop in retail prices last July when it cut its wholesale price to dealers to $9.81 from $11.64. The other labels quickly followed suit.

Cal Roberts, senior vice president, operations/marketing, for CBS Records, says he does not expect wholesale disc prices to drop much further. “I don’t think the economics will permit this” he says. “The cost of putting out a CD is $2.50 per unit, twice the cost of producing an analog record.”

The first CD production facility, Digital Audio Disc, a joint venture of Sony and CBS Records, opened in Terre Haute, IN, in August. Roberts says that by mid-year the production unit will be issuing 300,000 discs a month.

Not all record retailers waited for disc prices to come down before carrying them. Art and Jon Shulman, who own four Laury’s stores, headquartered in Niles, IL, and Russ Solomon, president of the 36-unit Tower Records chain, Sacramento, CA, started promoting discs some 19 months ago when the total catalogue numbered 500 titles. Disc pioneers

“We jumped into CDs immediately,” says Art Shulman, who reports that discs represent 30% of his sales. “We did everything and anything we could to associate ourselves with them and establish ourselves as the medium for CDs in this area. We had 100 titles when none were available. A month after we got into CDs, we put lists together of likely buyers and started mailing out a monthly catalogue. Now we’re shipping discs all over the world.”

Solomon of Tower Records conducted basically the same kind of promotions, advertising heavily on local rock and classical stations in the areas where he has stores, as well as running full-page advertisements in metropolitan dailies.

four months ago, CDs accounted for 4.5% of Tower’s $150 million annual revenues. By year-end, the annual average was 8% and during the holidays it floated between 20% and 40%.

Rudy Simpson, buyer for Tower’s classical store on Sunset Blvd. in West Los Angeles, says that sales of 2,000 to 4,000 discs on a weekend are not unusual.

As discs become more important to the unit’s mix, Simpson keeps upgrading the CD section, which two years ago was a wall bookshelf and now has grown to a separate room equipped with two players and headphones. Tower’s disc prices average $14.95. Sale prices are $1-$2 lower.

Though there are still some skeptics, Bill Silverman, director of communications for the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), says, “The compact disc is here to stay. The CD has already passed the point beyond which there’s a question of whether it will survive or not.”

John Briesch, vice president, consumer audio sales and marketing, Sony Consumer Products, says “there is no doubt that the digital audio compact disc system represents the future.”

Shulman of Laury’s agrees. “We’re all vets in this business and we’ve been through a lot of phoney baloney,” he says, “but this is a real advance, not something done with mirrors and as important as it’s being for real, it’s very easily demonstrable to a customer. All you have to do is put some earphones on them and after two or three seconds of listening, they’re yours.”

Briesch is an officer of the Compact Disc Group, formed by the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA) in 1983. Last March, the group spun itself off from the RIAA and set itself up as a not-for-profit trade association to promote CD technology to the consumer. Its members come from the audio and recording industry.

What this means in practical terms is cooperative effort between members of the two industries to increase public awareness of CDs through seminars and joint promotions. Rosen says that two years ago none but the most sophisticated audiophile knew what a compact disc was. Today, says Rosen, “15% of consumers know about them.”

While it was the adoption of the Philips/Sony technology as the single standard for CDs that helped to push them to quick success in the market, there is no such agreement on packaging, with the two-year-old debate of blister wrap vs. cardboard pack still unresolved.

But that is not uppermost in the minds of most of the industry. Everyone is anticipating that portable and car models will do for the CD what the Walkman personal stereo and auto tape decks did for cassette tape sales.

Some, however, think discs have their drawbacks. As one consumer put it, “What good are they if you can’t record on them at home?”–the same argument that sunk the videodisc player.

But, for audiophiles who become spoiled by the quality of compact discs, Sony offers two digital processors ($700 and $2,000) capable of reproducing near-CD quality on cassette tape. Furthermore, compact disc player manufacturers will continue to receive steady promotional help and new titles from record company executives thrilled by the fact that the popular new technology cannot be cheaply reproduced at home.

Tennessee: top meeting facilities, entertainment complexes luring major convention groups

A coonskin-capped pioneer, armed only with his trusty flintlock rifle, exploring the wilds of the Great Smoky Mountains–that’s an image many conjure up when they think of Tennessee. Others, more in tune with the present, might picture a nuclear physicist toiling at an Oak Ridge laboratory, or an engineer working on a dam for the TVA.

In fact, Tennessee’s commercial side is becoming as well-known as its friendly, down-home ambiance. The pride of its residents is reflected in its five official state songs: “Rocky Top,” “Tennessee Waltz,” “My Tennessee,” “When It’s Iris Time in Tennessee,” and “My Homeland, Tennessee”–ample testimony to the fact that the state has produced and nurtured several rich, flavorful varieties of American music.

Nashville, of course, is the home of “country.” Knoxville, and other cities, have heard bluegrass develop from the songs of Irish and Scots who settled there decades ago. Memphis gave birth ot the Delta blues, which had its origins in the sorrowful songs of poor blacks in the river cities of America.

While these three major cities are justifiably proud of their rich historical and musical traditions, they haven’t neglected tomorrow and tomorrow’s business-especially the meetings business. Many ramshackle downtown areas have been rejuvenated and brightened with ultramodern office buildings and charming entertainment complexes. The hotels there and in smaller towns, particularly Chattanooga and Gatlinburg, offer a wide variety of top meeting facilities, many of which were built only within the past five years. Nashville

Nashville’s biggest industries are publishing, insurance and finance, but everyone knows why some streets in town are called such names as Music Square East, Roy Acuff Place and Johnny Cash Boulevard. Some 100 recording studios and record companies can be found here, many of them on celebrated Music Row. Within walking distance of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (last resting place of Elvis’s solid gold (Cadillac), you’ll find the Guinness Hall of World Records; Nusic City Jubilee, which offers live country-music shows on weekends; and the Car Collectors Hall of Fame.

There’s music galore for almost every taste at Opryland U.S.A., a $28-million family-entertainment complex in a 12-acre park 11 miles from donwtown. Opryland prides itself on its bountiful live-music productions: at any given time some 15 shows, ranging from four-piece bluegrass bands to big stage production, are being performed. There are also rides, specialty restaurants, and, of course, the Grand Ole Opry, where on Friday and Saturday nights, the biggest stars in country music perform on the nation’s oldest continuous radio show.

Rick Davis, director of conventions for the Nashville CVB, is jubilant about the steady growth of both the city’s meeting and convention facilities and the business that these places are attracting. “We’ve had a 21 percent increase in meeting attendance this year over 1983,” he said, “and in the next four years, we’ll have hosted all the major meeting groups,” including Meeting Planners International, the National Tour Association and the Convention Liaison Council.

Ground was broken last year on a new convention facility, the Nashville Convention Center, which Davis said will open in mid-1986. It will feature a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall and 30 additional meeting rooms, and will be anchored by a 704-room Stouffer’s hotel.

Nashville’s current facility, the Municipal Auditorium, has 63,000 square feet of exhibit space and a seating capacity of 9,900; it can handle 300 eight- by 10-foot booths.

The Nashville Airport is undergoing an expansion that, when finished in 1988, will double its size. Already, Davis said, the airport has the capacity to handle 10,500 incoming passengers daily, which is 2,000 more than last year.

They city now has some 14,000 hotel rooms. The newest facility will be the Sheraton Music City Hotel, when it opens next March with 412 rooms, an 11,000-square-foot ballroom, and seven additional meeting rooms, all next door to the airport.

Major meeting sites in town include the Hyatt Regency Nashville (500 rooms, 15 meeting rooms) across from the State Capitol Building; Radisson Plaza (350 rooms, 12 meeting rooms); Maxwell House (292 rooms, 12 meeting rooms); Nashville Marriott (400 rooms, 12 meeting rooms); Sheraton Nashville (280 rooms, nine meeting rooms); Airport Hilton (230 rooms, 12 meeting rooms): Best Western Executive Inn (300 rooms, 11 meeting rooms); Best Western Road Venture Inn, next to the Opryland Complex (214 rooms, three meeting rooms); The Hermitage, also next to the State Capitol Building (112 rooms, three meeting rooms); and the Holiday Inn Briley Parkway near Opryland (400 rooms, six meeting rooms).

Inside the Opryland U.S.A. complex is the Opryland Hotel. Built in 1977, it was renovated and enlarged in 1982, virtually doubling the room count, from 598 to 1,067, and adding a 77,000-square-foot exhibit hall, bringing the facility’s total exhibit space to 107,000 square feet. Also added were a 30,000-square-foot ballroom with a permanent stage, and 37 breakout rooms. All told, the hotel, an M&C four-time Gold Key winner, has a mammoth 230,000 square feet of function space.

While a couple of riverboats already ply the waters near Nashville, they’ll be upstaged when Opryland premieres its General Jackson in mid-1985.

For information: Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, 161 Fourth Avenue N., Nashville, TN 37219; (615) 259-3900. Memphis

Founded in 1819 by General Andrew Jackson, Judge John Overton and General James Winchester, Memphis was named after the Egyptian city on the Nile; tradition says that the name means “place of good abode.” After the Civil War, the city became quite prosperous owning to the cotton industry and the brisk Mississippi river traffic, and today it’s chiefly valued as an important national distribution center.

But everyone knows the city as the birthplace of the blues and of one Elvis Aaron Presley, who was reportedly delivered by the composer W. C. Handy in a saloon on Beale Street. The city recently renovated the area, now known as the Beale Street Historic District, as part of a $250-million program that also created several tourist attractions. You can catch some of the city’s best music at clubs in the Beale Street area–not surprising, since some of the nightspots there are owned by such people as Lou Rawls, Charlie Rich and Al Hirt.

One of the newest and most elaborate attractions is Mud Island, a $63 million recreation complex built on a sandbar in the middle of the Mississippi and connected to downtown by a monorail. Its 50 acres include an aquarium, a river museum and a 4,300-seat amphitheater where you can hear rock, blues, gospel, bluegrass, pop and even classical music in the summer. There’s even a five-block-long scale model of the Lower Mississippi River Valley–complete with real currents.

The Memphis Convention Center Complex, houses the Everett Cook Convention Center and Auditorium, and is one of the largest in the country. The main convention hall has 125,000 square feet of unobstructed function space; it seats 16,500 for meetings and 12,000 for banquets. The Auditorium has two halls, a 12,270-square-foot meeting room and a ballroom. At street level, a vast 21,000-square-foot lobby faces Main Street through a two-story window wall of glass. The Center also has 30 conference rooms, seating from 25 to 500, and over 22,000 square feet of storage space.

The Center is bordered on the west by the river, on the east by the city’s Civic Center, and on the south by the new Mid-America Mall, a ten-block-long ribbon of promenades, sidewalk cafes, displays, playgrounds and decorative canopies.

There are about 9,000 hotel rooms in the area, and the Memphis CVB reports that three hotels will open their doors in the next few months. The 415-room Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, set to open in March, will connect with the convention center complex. Its one ballroom will seat 460 for a banquet and 500 for a meeting. The old Hotel Tennessee is being refurbished and is scheduled to open next fall as the Summit Memphis Hotel, with 270 rooms. The French Quarter Inn, an all-suite facility with 70 suites, opens in the Overton Square area in November 1985.

Major meeting facilities here include: the 26-story Hyatt Regency, a suburban hotel 12 miles from the downtown business district (400 rooms, 15 meeting rooms, 12,000-square-foot ballroom); the 452-room Peabody Hotel, with its famous ducks that march every night from the lobby fountain to their penthouse–in formation; the Holiday Inn Executive Conference Center, 12 miles south of Memphis in Olive Branch, Miss., (177 rooms, 16 meeting rooms and a 350-seat amphitheatre); the Sheraton Memphis (243 rooms, six meeting rooms), and the Ramada Convention Center Hotel (186 rooms, five meeting rooms).

There are four properties adjacent to Memphis International Airport: the 400-room Hilton, the 213-room Sheraton, the 329-room Quality Inn, and the 200-room Winchester Plaza.

For information: Convention and Visitors Bureau of Memphis, 12 S. Main St., Suite 107, Memphis, TN 38103, (901) 526-1919. Knoxville

Knoxville, in the eastern part of the state, underwent a considerable facelift in preparation for the World’s Fair of 1982. New hotels sprang up, much of downtown was renovated, and a couple of permanent attractions made their debut–most notably, the 266-foot-high Sunsphere, the city’s answer to Seattle’s Space Needle.

Since then one of the Fair’s largest buildings was completely redone and opened last year as the Knoxville Convention Center, which has 108,000 square feet of exhibit space, 21 meeting rooms and seating capacity for 10,000. Nearby is the Civic Coliseum, with 32,000 square feet of exhibit space.

The 300-room Holiday Inn on Henley Street is directly connected to the Convention Center. A block away is the 325-room Knoxville Hilton, with 11 meeting rooms, the largest of which seats 900. The other big downtown hotel is the Hyatt Regency, with 387 rooms and 13 meeting rooms. Its Regency Ballroom can accommodate 1,200 people for a meeting and 800 for a banquet.

There’s also the Holiday Inn Knoxville West (242 guest rooms, four meeting rooms and 1,175 square feet of exhibit space), the Holiday Inn University Center (217 guest rooms, three meeting rooms), the Knoxville Airport Hilton Inn (250 guest rooms, 17 meeting rooms), the Quality Inn Downtown Hotel (200 guest rooms, eight meeting rooms), the Sheraton Campus Inn (119 guest rooms, three meeting rooms), and Sheraton West (225 guest rooms, eight meeting rooms).

For more information: Knoxville CVB, P.O. Box 15012, Knoxville, TN 37901; (615) 523-7263. Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, some 40 miles southeast of Knoxville, is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, half of which is in neighboring North Carolina. Developed into a year-round resort in the 1940s, Gatlinburg now has about 5,000 hotel rooms, not to mention plenty of attractions, including music festivals and shops.

The River Terrace Resort, which opened in 1983, has 209 rooms and a conference center with 18,000 square feet of meeting space. The W.L. Mills Convention Center has two exhibit halls with 7,900 and 8,400 square feet of meeting space respectively; the latter is known as the Gatlinburg Civic Auditorium.

Other facilities are the Glenstone Lodge (222 guest rooms, nine meeting rooms); Holiday Inn Hotel Resort (411 guest rooms, 12 meeting rooms); Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge (252 guest rooms, one meeting room); Quality Inn Cobbly Nob Resorts (108 guest rooms, two meeting rooms); Quality Inn In Town (70 guest rooms, three meeting rooms); Ramada Inn Four Seasons and Convention Center (145 guest rooms, five meeting rooms); Riverside Motor Lodge (160 guest rooms, five meeting rooms); and the Sheraton Gatlinburg (315 guest rooms, 14 meeting rooms).

For information: Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 527, Gatlinburg, TN 37738; (800) 251-9868, (615) 436-4178. Chattanooga

A city of interesting contrasts–which include excellent shopping of both 18th century English antiques and regional folk crafts–Chattanooga is also determined to expand its convention and hospitality plant. The 225,000-square-foot Chattanooga/Hamilton County Convention and Trade Center will open next April in downtown, within walking distance of some 1,300 hotel rooms. The facility will offer 60,000 square foot of exhibit space and will be anchored by a 352-room Holiday Inn, which will have three 1,500-square-foot banquet rooms and 18 breakout rooms. The center’s kitchen will be able to serve banquets for up to 550 people.

The center will complement the meeting facilities at the nearby University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (including a two-year-old 13,000-seat sports arena) and the downtown Memorial Auditorium & Convention Center. The latter has 45,000 square feet of exhibit space and five meeting rooms.

There are about 5,000 hotel rooms in the area. The Read House (245 guest rooms, 10 meeting rooms) is a Mobil three-star property on the National Registry of Historic Places. There’s also the Choo-Choo Hilton, which recently expanded to 375 rooms; 48 of those are in luxuriously appointed train cars, which may explain why the hotel claims to be the most popular Hilton in the country.

There are two Sheratons: Sheraton City Center (205 guest rooms, nine meeting rooms) and the Sheraton Inn Chattanooga South (140 guest rooms, three meeting rooms).

The Quality Inn South Resort and Convention Centre recently changed its name to the Southern Inn; it has 245 guest rooms and 10 meeting rooms.