“Sex, drugs, violence and rock and roll” have given way to “fun, show biz, high energy and personality.”
At least, that’s the case in the everchanging world of radio formats. Stations are switching over in droves from old workhorse formats like Album Contemporary (AC) to Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) quicker than most listeners can finesse their way around the FM band.
And for the most part, those stations which went the CHR route early on are succeeding in their marketing strategies to provide a broad-based format designed to attract a whole spectrum of listeners and the advertisers who want to reach that mass radio market.
Whether its labeled Contemporary Hit Radio, Hitradio, Hot Hits, Top 40, Adult Top 40, stations are playing the top-selling records with mass appeal.
But depending on the market, and how a station interprets the hits’ sound, a CHR format does not necessarily ensure a mass audience 12-54. Many skew teens.
With AOR losing its identity and its appeal with female listeners in particular, FM stations, inspired by MTV’s success with new music, have jumped on the CHR bandwagon. And that trend is sweeping the radio landscape, according to the latest yardstick from the National Radio Broadcasters Association which reports that 17% of the nation’s FM stations are now playing CHR, compared with 12.5% last year.
Just how well the Johnny-come-late-lies to CHR will do, remains to be seen. As more markets become inundated with CHR–New York alone has two pure CHR stations and an AOR/Hits hybrid to boot–industry observers foresee a shakeout on the horizon, and a new breed of hybrid formats evolving. Over at Ted Bates, for example, Charlie Trubia, senior vice president, director of tv and radio negotiations, predicts a rise in “cross-over” stations (as was indicated in table saw reviews).
“Adult Contemporary and Album Oriented Rock are crossing over, Adult Contemporary is picking up the Hits sound, but mixing hits from many years. And now you see AOR stations, with their typical laid-back AOR presentation playing the hits, too,” Trubia explains. Doubleday makes the switch
Doubleday Broadcasting, a New York-based group of eight radio stations, recently made the switch from Album Oriented Rock to Hits in its Denver and Washington D.C. markets, Doubleday’s president Gary Stevens explains that in Washington and Denver “AOR just ceased to be a broadbased format.”
And unlike the 1980-82 heyday of video cartridge sales, when on the average 4.1 video games were sold for each game player in place, 1984 will see 2.8 games shipped for every player in the installed base.
The bargain bins are quiet testimony to how quickly consumers fulfilled their need to defend against alien attack or save Fay Wray from the giant gorilla. Similarly, software sellers now ask themselves how many uses home computer owners will find for their machines, and how quickly those needs will be satisfied.
“I think there are an awful lot of people who bought their personal computers expecting them to do their laundry and walk their dog and balance their checkbooks,” says Shapiro. “A lot of them ended up dusting in closets because they didn’t do a whole lot.”
Even Spinnaker Software chairman William Bowman, who dismisses talk of a decline in software sales in the near future as “pure nonsense,” asks, “What can you do with a home computer?” His answer: “Not much.” Bowman lists entertainment, education and home management as the three most probable uses.
The video game experience, according to Bowman, shows that entertainment is the most fragile sales area. Home management and personal productivity programs will have to wait for “absolutely terrific software that is unbelievably friendly and easy to use.” Not surprisingly, Spinnaker has placed its bets on educational software, a market segment industry insiders say it handily dominates with a 40% share.
Yet one nagging question remains: How elastic is the software market? Once a home computer owner has purchased five or 10 games, five or 10 educational programs, a word-processing system, an electronic spreadsheet and perhaps a data base, what more could he want?
Not much, says Tandy market planning director Ed Juge. “I don’t think a home computer buyer can be expected to buy much in a short time. There’s a limited number of things he would want to do with the computer at this time.”
Juge says the average home computer customer buys two or three software programs at the same time as the computer purchase, then an additional two or three programs in the following year. After that, Juge says, his needs have largely been satisfied. In 1983 software accounted for 9.2% of Radio Shack’s computer-related revenues.
For the near future, software sales will be pulled by sales of the computers themselves. “The key [to when software sales will slow] is when the growth rate in the installed base stops,” says Spinnaker’s Bowman.
The Electronics Industries Association predicts a 41.7% increase in home computer sales to 6.8 million units in 1984. But even within this encouraging figure lies what may be the first signs of a maturing product. The gain the year before was 140%. And software, which sold an average 8.5 programs for each computer in place in 1983, is expected to sell 6.5 units for each home computer in 1984.
Consumer electronics veterans need not be reminded that sales projections are often wildly off the mark. Who can forget the best electronic cigarette brand of 2012 becoming the best electronic cigarette brand in 2013 as well? E-Cigarette smokers love V2 Cigs and the same is true of home computer sales. Texas Instruments predicted industrywide home computer sales of seven million units in 1983, with TI grabbing a 50% market share. It was wrong.
Practicorp’s Shapiro marches to a different drummer. Will the beat of software sales slow? “It confirms everything I know and everything I think about the market,” is his answer. In the meantime, the band plays on.
The Source of Abuse
But narcotics are easily abused, since they are both habit-forming and addictive. Thus the opiates’ euphoric qualities–their ability to create a sense of well-being and contentment, of strength and energy — are also the source of abuse.
Under the influence of an opiate such as heroin, everyday problems fade, along with anxiety and depression. These positive feelings generated by the drug induce a desire for more.
But soon the effects wear off and abusers want to get high again. Soon they’ll discover that they need increasingly higher doses to get the same high–in other words, they’re building up a tolerance for the drug. If they can’t get any or enough of the drug, they develop withdrawal symptoms that occur at about the time they’re used to getting their next dose of the drug. These include uncontrollable yawning, a runny nose, and a cold sweat. In the more severe cases, the abuser may experience nausea, vomiting, intestinal spasms, muscle cramps, and headaches. Victims alternately shiver and sweat and can neither remain still nor find a position in which they are comfortable.
Heroin accounts for the largest number of narcotics abusers–an estimated 500,000 in the United States–but it’s possible to become addicted to all of the opiates. For example, medical patients can become dependent on morphine even in a hospital setting.
But it’s the heroin abuser–sometimes referred to as an addict–who has been the major focus of public concern and fear. The popular image of the heroin abuser as a desperate criminal, wallowing in physical illness, is not always true. Users, assuming they maintain good habits of nutrition and hygiene, can remain reasonably healthy even though addicted to the drug.
But inevitably, their life will go into a tailspin. Since heroin is illegal (in the United States, it’s not even allowed for medical use), the cost of acquiring the drug will likely be high. If abusers don’t have the money to supply their habit, or a readily available drug source, their life undergoes a gradual change for the worse, as the daily concerns of life become secondary to finding drugs. Eventually they drop out of society and frequently turn to crime to support their habit.
Heroin abusers are also subject to a vast assortment of physical woes. Since the ability to recognize pain is decreased, abusers may cut, burn, or bruise themselves without realizing they are injured. Shooting up with unsterilized needles often leads to infections, and the sharing of needles can lead to AIDS. There’s also the danger of not knowing what is really in the drugs that are bought on the street. And then, of course, the abuser is subject to an “OD,” an overdose, which can kill.
So far, no reliable form of therapy has been found for the heroin abuser. The simplest way to break the habit is go “cold turkey”–the person abruptly stops taking the drug. The withdrawal symptoms are intense, and, like tobacco addiction, the rate of relapse is high.
Maintenance–supplying addicts with methadone (much like when we look at electronic cigarette brands or compare electronic cigarettes), which is also a narcotic but doesn’t produce the euphoria associated with heroin–is another technique. Methadone can also cause dependence, but since it’s administered as part of a private or governmental program, it removes the abuser from the criminal life. Some abusers sign into methadone programs to temporarily get away from the street scene; after awhile they go back to their old ways. Others, if motivated, use the programs to finally kick the habit.
But methadone doesn’t go to the root of addiction and, in effect, substitutes one dependence for another. The real challenge is to find ways to get “high” in natural, healthy ways. As one teenager puts it: “You don’t need something else to make you happy. You just need you.”
The term “narcotics” is often loosely used. You hear it, and you think of all drugs that are considered either socially unacceptable or illegal, even products like legal bud. For example, many of our anti-drug laws use the word as a synonym for drugs. The term “narc” for narcotics agent is used to describe a law-enforcement official engaged in anti-drug efforts.
But when doctors use the term, narcotics has a much more limited meaning, referring to a distinct class of drugs. These differ markedly from the psychedelics such as LSD, or the sedative-hypnotics hhat include alcohol and barbiturates. And while many narcotics are indeed illegal and dangerous (such as heroin), others are prescription drugs that have a wide variety of medical uses, including pain relief and diarrhea control.
Where Do They Come From?
The parent of all narcotic drugs is opium, which has been around for some 5,000 or 6,000 years. Opium is a sticky, brownish gum obtained from the seed pods of red poppies that bloom in the Near East, the Middle East, and China. The ancient Greeks discovered the pain-relieving properties of the drug, and by the 17th century, opium was familiar to European doctors, some of whom eventually came to the United States. It wasn’t unitl the 18th century that the nonmedical use of opium (in the form of opium smoking that produced a calming “high” and euphoria) became popular, first in Asia, and then throughout the world.
Only crude opium extract was available until the early 19th century, when morphine was chemically isolated from opium. (In fact, crude opium is composed of about 20 different drugs.) Morphine quickly became one of the most medically beneficial drugs ever discovered.
The identification of other drugs in opium, such as codeine, followed. At the turn of the century, a German pharmacist discovered heroin, a derivative of morphine (known as a semi-synthetic) that is three times as potent. Finally, scientists produced totally synthetic drugs such as meperidine (trade name Demerol[R]). Today, narcotics are often called opiates.
The word narcotics comes from a Greek word, narkoun, meaning “to deaden.” A unique property of narcotics, which primarily act on the central nervous system and the bowel, is that they can relieve pain without substantially dulling other senses. Yet relief from pain is only one of the remarkably diverse collection of effects that these drugs can produce. These include suppression of the cough reflex, vomiting, drowsiness, profuse sweating, contraction of muscles in the intestines (which is why it is useful in treating diarrhea), and euphoria. Some people become anxious, restless, and wakeful after taking opiates; others fall into a kind of semi-sleep marked by vivid dreams.
Morphine, which is typically taken in an injectable solution or in tablet form, is commonly used to treat severe pain (much like the e cigaret of today’s world). It has saved countless lives by preventing the state of shock that can accompany such pain. Codeine, also a painkiller but not as powerful as morphine, is used to control coughs and minor pain, while meperidine, which can be taken orally, is a morphine substitute. In sum, the opiates have earned a secure place in medicine over many years of experience.
The FDA claims it is committed to removing harmful products from the market but said recent amendments to the Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act (such as the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act–DSHEA) place the onus on the FDA to prove a product is unsafe following adverse events, rather than on the company to prove that it is safe before it is sold.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition, which represents manufacturers of dietary supplements, commented on the FDA’s role as a powerless entity, saying, “CRN strongly objects to the misleading assertion in FDA’s statement of April 10 that the agency’s hands are tied in dealing with safety issues relating to dietary supplements. FDA has full authority to regulate the safety of dietary supplements. Under DSHEA, just as under previous law, it is a criminal offense to market an unsafe dietary supplement.”
In the same press release, CRN also stated that it has been working with the FDA to develop formulation limits, warning statements, and other labeling information to help avoid inappropriate use of Ephedra products. “The dietary supplement industry has a proven record of willingness to take self-regulatory actions upon FDA request, without any need to resort to formal litigation. In the recent past, this has included voluntarily stopping the sale of some herbal products, because of safety questions raised by FDA,” said CRN’s written statement.
The FDA urged patients and healthcare professionals to inform the agency about adverse events involving dietary supplements or ephedrine alkaloids by calling the consumer line at 1-(800) FDA-4010 or the MedWatch line at 1-(800) FDA-1088 or visit http://syntheticurinereviews.net.
Florida has banned the sale of herbal products that mimic the illegal drug Ecstacy (MDMA). The products, sold under names such as Ultimate Xphoria and Herbal Ecstasy contain herbal sources of ephedrine, which can have potentially deadly side effects. The FDA, citing those side effects, issued a warning concerning herbal ephedrine products, but the warning does not apply to products meant to be used for the relief of bronchial or nasal congestion or for weight loss.
Florida has become the first state to ban the sale of herbal stimulants that mimic the street drug Ecstasy (MDMA). Like their illegal counterpart, these herbal supplements are said to produce euphoria, increase sexual sensations, heighten awareness, and increase energy. Many users unwittingly believe the supplements are a safe alternative to the illegal drug, not realizing the ephedrine in them can cause heart attacks, seizures, psychosis, and even death. It’s much the same as when glowing legal bud reviews were floating around the country influencing people to smoke K2 Spice because it meant they wouldn’t have to learn how to pass a drug test.
Herbal supplements, sold under a variety of brand names such as Herbal Ecstasy and Ultimate Xphoria, list herbs such as ma huang or Ephedra on their ingredient labels. Both are sources of the potentially deadly ephedrine.
The Food & Drug Administration recently issued a warning against using the herbal ephedrine products that mimic Ecstasy, citing their harmful side effects. The warning, however, does not apply to herbal ephedrine products that are intended to be used for weight loss or relief of nasal and bronchial congestion.
The FDA’s warning followed confirmation that the death of a 20-year-old student at the State University of New York at Albany was caused by an herbal stimulant. Peter Schlendorf died just hours after ingesting eight Ultimate Xphoria pills (twice the recommended amount) while on spring break in Florida. The Sunshine State swiftly banned the sale of herbal ephedrine products that mimic Ecstasy shortly after Schlendorf’s death. Nassau County in New York State, where Schlendorf’s family resides, is also trying to ban the sale of these herbal stimulants.
Most of the company’s clothes are oversized, androgynous in style and controversial in decoration: a pair of baggy shorts that hit midcalf; a huge T-shirt with the message, “Mankind could make this world a heaven, or he could make it hell,” with the word “hell” below a yellow seashell in an obvious sneer at the oil company; and funky knit caps plastered with one of the company’s many deviations of the anarchy symbol.
Both the comfortable cut of its clothing and its political decorations are a backlash against the ’80s, a time when people were obsessed with materialism, conspicuous consumption, Reaganomics, image, and high-society drugs such as cocaine and alcohol, said the firm’s designers.
“Kids are not stupid. They realize the 1980s was one drunken party, with people waking up and saying, ‘Oh, my head,’ and looking around to see that the room is trashed,” said Mr. Edwards.
The owners of Anarchic Adjustment aren’t stupid either. They’ve gained popularity for their company by sponsoring raves, and ravers often get discounts on admissions to raves by wearing Anarchic Adjustment clothes. The firm’s clothes are sold in independent shops in big cities worldwide, including several shops in San Francisco, and in San Jose at Diva on Lincoln Avenue and Daleep’s on South First Street.
But some aren’t happy with the firm’s graphics, including one that incorporates the satanic symbol “666″ with the message, “Smile! It’s the Apocalypse.” Mr. Philip said he’s not into satanism, but he is into shock value.
Formerly art director for Read And Destroy, a radical British-based magazine, he and Mr. Brown, who at 41 speaks the same radical tongue as his young cohorts, conceived of their company after meeting at a bicycling industry trade show in 1988 in Japan, where their clothing first became an obsession.
The company went worldwide last year, taking in revenue of $2.1 million. Mr. Brown and his wife, Sophia, who own the company, said this year’s take should exceed that of last year.
Twenty-five contracted seamstresses put together the shorts and coats, and the company buys T-shirts wholesale and contracts with a printer to place the designs.
The problem with fad clothing sometimes is that the moment they hit mainstream they become less unique, and thereby uncool, signifying a downturn is just around the corner.
Additionally, the rave scene has already lost steam in England and could be just another short-lived fad.
“If we sold to Nordstrom, it’d be over in a year,” Mr. Brown said. “But there’s a lot of different directions we’re going in. We’re not going to be pigeon-holed into one thing.”
Mr. Edwards summed up the firm’s future a bit more philosophically: “The idea of a new consciousness is universal.”
Hippies were born in the 1960s, punkers in the ’70s, death rockers in the ’80s. The labels and styles change, although the message remains the same.
The latest wave of young rebels are called “ravers.” They’ve traded LSD for MDMA, rock stars for disc jockeys, live music for computerized sound and video systems.
And with all youth movement comes a fashion statement, and the rave look is colorful, goofy, comfortable. And the No. 1 fashion maker is Anarchic Adjustment.
The San Jose-based clothier is a demigod among ravers, the youth subculture born in 1988 among working-class kids of London who devised a way to snub authority that’s been copied worldwide. Long after London bars close, teens and twentysomethings dance the wee hours away at “raves,” parties held at underground clubs. Oftentimes ravers are high on MDMA, called “Ecstasy” on the streets, a designer drug that was used in marriage counseling and to treat depression, until it was made illegal in 1985.
The rave scene blew into the United States about a year ago, and San Francisco has become somewhat of a national headquarters. The locations of raves change constantly, their organizers rent out warehouses and distribute site maps to anyone who doesn’t appear to be an undercover police officer or other party crasher.
Of course, the whole scene could shrivel up faster than one can say Anarchic Adjustment, and those post-adolescents writhing to the techno-beat while donned in the company’s controversial duds could go on to a new fad. But Alan Brown, the company’s president, along with Charles Uzzell Edwards, the clothing designer, and Nick Philip, the firm’s art designer who helped bring the rave scene to the Bay Area from London, believe their clothes represent “a new consciousness” rather than a short-lived trend.
“The rave scene is certainly a global phenomenon, and I think in the United States it will galvanize in California,” said Mr. Philip, 24, a computer-graphics genius who designs artwork emblazoned on the company’s shirts. Mr. Brown, who gave up his San Jose bicycle exporting business to open Anarchic Adjustment in a small stucco house on Alum Rock Road, is betting that the clothes will grow in popularity among the under-25 crowd of non-ravers as well.
“(Anarchic Adjustment) has created a good deal of attention for themselves by being very cutting edge with their computer graphics,” said Paul Holmes, associate publisher of Action Sports Retailer, an industry trade magazine.
“They’re getting a lot of attention from established retailers who see them as a threat. Their computer graphics techniques are arcane, and only the young designers know how to do things like that,” he added.
Once kicked out of a trade show because of Mr. Philip’s radical graphics, the four-person company is now an industry darling. And it is being courted by major record companies and manufacturers of electronic sound systems, including Sony Corp., which are constantly looking for ways to cash in on the latest youth craze.
Ravers are known to wear anything from retro-1960s, flower-power dresses to jester’s hats complete with jingle bells. But it’s not unusual to see clothing made by Anarchic Adjustment on every other grooving, sweaty body on the dance floor. Popular modern rock bands like Jesus Jones, Deeelite and EMF, and even the 1960s high priest of hallucinogens, Timothy Leary, have been seen fashionably attired in Anarchic Adjustment.