Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cornerstones: Suggestions And Solutions (Let's Make This Right)

We've talked at great length these past few weeks about the disappointment fans felt when they received their WTTW / Cornerstones Of Rock DVD's ... 

Jimy Sohn's performance of "Gloria" was cut from the program (apparently due to licensing issues) ...

The ensemble finale of "Louie Louie" was cut from the program (due to poor recording quality) ...

But ALSO missing were all the "extras" promised during the original telecast ...

Additional performances and interviews not shown due to time restraints the first time around.

Forgotten Hits Readers have been very vocal with their feelings about this unexpected surprise, especially after shelling out $100 - $200 in donations to the station ... even more so in that WTTW has yet to respond to our on-going series about any type of resolution ... or even so much as an apology.

This week we asked we asked our readers to set aside the negative and concentrate on the positive ...

WHAT would make you feel better about this whole process?

What can WTTW do to appease the fans who made these purchases in good faith only to be short-changed by a product that was considerably less than advertised.

Here ... in completely random and anonymous order ... are some of their suggestions and solutions ...

Hopefully WTTW will take note of these comments and try to make things right. 


The problem with these "premiums" is that unless you do the whole program, as shown, you'll never please anyone. I have no idea why it wasn't done like that, start to finish. After you delete the pauses between set up time, and Wendy Snyder's fill ins, the whole show could have fit on one DVD. A second DVD could have been included with rehearsals, some goofing around like Dennis & Jim did. There had to be more. Maybe some brief interviews with each of the bands. WTTW could have done a far better job. Releasing a second DVD with all the extras advertised would be the preferred solution - although I can't speak to how practical that would be.  Make amends with the people who already sent in their money - and then stop badgering those people asking them to send more.

I think a second DVD housing all the bonus footage promised would have been preferred over an audio CD simply rehashing the same tracks already found on the DVD without audio.  Perhaps a special show where your proof of purchase of the dvd acts as your ticket to get in (as has been suggested previously) isn't such a bad idea.  An even BETTER idea would be to then have the opportunity to purchase the missing additional footage at the venue, thus raising money for both the guy putting on the show AND the station (in an attempt to recoup their expenses of producing the second DVD).  Maybe it's as simple as putting together a bonus disk and sending a copy to everyone who has already subscribed ...  and then offering ALL of the available merchandise through the website and the rebroadcasts of the program ... sell them in the lobbies at the live shows ... just SOME showing of good faith to offer a "corrective action" that will please the fans and generate more money for the station in future sales.  Include the performances missing from the telecast due to time constraints ... pop in more vintage video of these artists and intercut them with current interviews remembering what it was like back in the day ... who knows, by then they may even be able to get the clearance rights needed to include "Gloria" and "Louie Louie", along with some of the great pledge drive breaks banter that went on between you and the artists ... that was as entertaining as the show itself!!! 

How about putting together a 2-DVD set and then offering that to new subscribers making donations (and sending out free, replacement copies to those who have already given money the first time around)?  That doesn't seem beyond the realm of good customer service.  Yes, it's going to cost the station some money ... but they misrepresented the contents of the dvd during the telecast.  Everyone who contributed did so in good faith ... and they did not receive what they were promised.  WTTW should make good on their original promise and one way to do so would be to continue to take new donations, even at a higher level, for the 2-DVD set showing ALL of the extras ... and then sending that bonus disk to the folks who sent in their donations the first time around.  Like most I would gladly trade in my audio cd of the concert in favor of the complete DVD of all the proceedings.  

Some sort of disclaimer should be placed on the WTTW website warning fans interested in purchasing this set that it contains an "edited version" of the PBS concert special ... otherwise Forgotten Hits is just going to continue to receive letters from disappointed fans who were expecting the whole show ... and then some. 

I'm truly sorry that some people got short-changed on their donations. We had no say in that, but anyone involved still feels badly when well-intentioned people get burned.  My suggestion is based on the stunning work load at WTTW.   They can make good by doing better in the future and learning from their mistakes.  As compensation goes, they might offer free tickets to other WTTW live performances, over time, to those who purchased the package for the fund-raising effort associated with the Cornerstones. If they spread the opportunity for such tickets out, they could still make ends meet on these shows ... but it's just a suggestion.

I think WTTW would find sending or making more DVDs out of the question, financially.  Having a free event of those stars is also hard to do, as it is just too much to ask of our faves to get together JUST BECAUSE we want DVDs.  The best is for WTTW to make a new rerun of the original show showing the entire event "as it was recorded", bad sound or not and then add ALL of the interview footage.  Put it in the next pledge drive and explain their sorrow for the mistake and ask for more donations, but let us record the show on our home machines and get the chance to see the entire event.  That is the best "no cost" answer for WTTW.   

   WTTW damaged the donors of the "Cornerstones" program. They need to do something to make it right. It can be as simple as a letter sent out from the station officials apologizing for the situation. (Something they should have done along with the DVD when it shipped out, in my opinion.) They could potentially hold a live "Cornerstones" event and give out tickets to the show to anybody who donated and purchased a DVD. They could also finally obtain the rights to "Gloria" and re-issue the DVD with all songs on it, including the sloppy "Louie Louie." That third option, as much as I know you want it, is the least likely due to the extreme costs involved.  The whole situation sucks, but I'm not thinking there is going to be a way to make everybody happy. It is just an unfortunate series of events.  

   Originally I found out about this show and went immediately to the WTTW website to order tickets when it was first announced. If you review the original posting on WTTW it appears that each band was only going to do one song each, which was their top hit. As I live 90 miles west of Chicago, I hesitated because I did not want to travel that distance to see each band just perform one song each. There really wasn’t any information out there. When I found out, on your web site, that each band was going to do a small set the tickets were, of course, sold out. When I saw the set list I was really upset, as most of these bands are so much more than their top selling record and some of these songs were going to be played at the performance. In addition there is very little video, etc., of these songs performed when they came out. What I would like to receive in order of priority is as follows …
    1) The Cryan Shames performing “Sunshine Psalm” and “Up on the Roof” and the Standells performing “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White”
    2) Any other songs recorded during the performance that were cut from the video
3) Interviews with the original band members
This product should be made available to the original purchasers / donors and could be delivered via DVD, Download, etc., whichever method would create the least amount of expense for WTTW.
Please note that absolutely everything to do with this actual live performance and recording was top shelf. In my opinion it could not have been done better. The problem obviously occurred when it was turned over to WTTW. My guess is that they did not have the personnel on staff who really appreciated this music and who understood the value of this recorded product. 

Based on everything I've read, I believe WTTW could get the rights to include Jimy Sohns' performance of 'Gloria' - it absolutely belongs on this disk.  The rights to 'Louie Louie' didn't seem to be a licensing issue but rather a quality issue.  Read the comments and the fans have spoken - we don't CARE about the quality of 'Louie Louie' - we just want it included.
WTTW has yet to address why the rest of the advertised material is missing from the disk.  I feel a bonus DVD is warranted - we sent money in based on what we were told we would receive and then received something far less.  (Saying that the Chase tribute was the bonus isn't fair as that was originally advertised as part of the original telecast and then cut for time restraints - gaining one song - good as it is - hardly seems like a fair trade-off for losing two others)
I agree that the full performances of all the artists should be included - Forgotten Hits ran a set list of the entire program and there are plenty of songs that didn't make the final edit.  Add to this the fact that they promised that we would also be seeing "behind the scenes" footage, interviews, etc, and the misrepresentation just looms larger.
WTTW should send out a disk of bonus material to everyone who bought the original set in good faith of what was advertised - and then make that disk available to any new subscribers as well.  In my mind, this is the ONLY way to make things right.  

OK, the fans have spoken ... and here's my take on all of this ...

WTTW has a major hit on their hands ... folks LOVE this program and want to see more of it ... so how about a "Cornerstones of Rock, Part Two" DVD?

Edit together the unaired footage of the other songs performed that night ... along with all of the interview footage recorded with the principle leaders of each of the bands performing ... maybe tape new commentary from some of the deejays who were there at the time along with knowledgeable '60's Chicago Rock Historians like Bob Stroud and Bob Sirott ... and, if it exists, some of the rehearsal footage which would allow WTTW to reuse some of the more popular material, shown in a different context of a far more relaxed and informal atmosphere.  ALL of this could be assembled at minimum expense because the bulk of it already exists.  (If they could splice in some more vintage video of these artists from back in the day, that would be the icing on the cake!) 

Air the new footage as another pledge drive on Channel 11 and then make this new bonus dvd available to new subscribers for a new donation ... put together the SUPER DELUXE package which includes BOTH DVD's and the CD's ... and (as a way of saving face and showing a sincere gesture) offer the new DVD for half off to those who have already purchased the set.

My guess ... nearly EVERYONE will buy it ... because they want it.  PBS raises more money (because, after all, this has ALWAYS been the name of the game ... and the necessity of their survival), you'll have a brand new series to air and you'll sell new super deluxe editions to a whole batch of new subscribers (including any that may have hestitated the first time around.

It's a Win / Win all the way around ... and should require only a minimum investment on WTTW's part, which they'll make back several times over in new sales and subscribers.

But this time have the DVD's made and ready to ship ... don't make fans wait nearly four months to receive them.

Absolutely NO mention of any bumps in the road along the way are necessary ... just push this new release as being a result of the first concert being so successful, the fans wanted more ... and then spice up the new dvd with as many extras as possible so as not to give the impression that this is simply a collection of scraps and leftovers.  (That's why the rehearsal footage would be so good to include ... you can literally resell "Vehicle", "Sugar And Spice", "I Will Always Think About You", "Bend Me Shape Me" and several others to the same hungry audience!)

And this time make whatever arrangements you need to make in order to be able to include "Gloria", for God's sake ... and "Louie, Louie", too.  The fans don't care about the quality of the recording ... they want to see ALL of their local heroes up on stage together having fun with this all-time garage band favorite.

Please make this right ... I need to be able to move on to other topics!!!  (lol)
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits 

Reliable sources tell me that live footage exists for the following unaired tunes:

SUPERMAN by The Ides Of March
(And, if it's there, EYE OF THE TIGER, too)
LOVE YOU SO MUCH by The New Colony Six
SUNSHINE PSALM and UP ON THE ROOF by The Cryan' Shames
COME ON, LET'S GO by The McCoys
MERCY, MERCY, MERCY by The Buckinghams (the performance version)