Protesting Irene too much

It didn’t really affect us here, but there’s been some talk recently about whether the media hyped Hurricane Irene.

To that, I offer some food for thought:

The storm will most likely prove to be one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation’s history, according to the New York Times.

Industry estimates put the cost of the storm at between $7 billion and $10 billion.

Stax Academy is still knocking on wood

The Wall Street Journal gave some love in Wednesday’s paper to the Stax Music Academy with a story that included a reference to a visit earlier in August by Eddie Floyd.

Floyd is a former Stax star who recorded soul hits like “Knock on Wood.”

“For these kids, connecting with people like me changes things,” the 74-year-old Floyd told the WSJ. “I can see that in their eyes and faces.”

The piece goes on to mention recent performances by the academy’s students at Washington’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival and Kennedy Center, as well as New York’s Lincoln Center.

This photo shows a recent visit to the school by former college basketball coach Digger Phelps:









Elvis Presley Enterprises is now suing … Elvis’ old label

In previous articles, I’ve noted that Elvis Presley Enterprises has been aggressive in pursuing the late singer’s interests in court.

How’s this for a new example: Elvis Presley Enterprises is suing Elvis’ old record label, claiming Arista Music, formerly RCA Records, “unjustly exploited” Elvis during his lifetime.

It’s a multimillion-Euro lawsuit filed in Germany and only applicable in Germany thanks to an amendment to German copyright law that extends the term of copyright protection. The suit is limited to amounts earned since March 2002 on through 2023.

The suit demands “proper payment” for sound recordings in Germany featuring Elvis – including in new media outlets like ringtones and entertainment apps.

According to Elvis Presley Enterprises: “The central issue, as it relates to this German suit, is the 1973 buyout agreement, which terminated all previous agreements between Presley and RCA. On February 28, 1973, under the agreement, which was first initiated by RCA and arranged by Presley’s manager, ‘Colonel’ Tom Parker, rights to Presley’s entire back catalogue of more than 1,000 recordings were purchased by RCA for just $5.4 million. That money, inadequate as it was, had to be split equally between Presley and Parker. The suit alleges that the effect of the buyout agreement was that Presley only received an annual payment of about $10 – $15 per song for the German rights.

EPE says the amount of money Elvis thus received from the buyout agreement was “conspicuously disproportionate” to the revenue the record label got. And the suit asks for remedy under German copyright law, which it says provides for “equitable remuneration” in cases like this.

The case is being supported by the Calunius Fund, a $60 million private fund that’s conducted an independent review of the merits of the case. EPE says Calunius has committed an unspecified substantial investment to support the case.

B.B. King’s Nabs Nat’l Late Night Dining Title

The original B.B. King’s Blues Club, along with its four spin-offs, have been named on OpenTable’s 2011 Late Night Find Dining Winners list.

Beale Street’s celebrated hotspot is one of three Tennessee restaurants on the list of 50, and the only one in Memphis.

Memphis’ Mollie Fountaine Lounge was also recently ranked among America’s night favorites. Playboy said Molle Fountaine serves “dynamite mac and cheese” and its two bars allow you to pick your vibe, “which is sure to get weirder as the night moves along.”

Customer satisfaction top priority at the Zoo

In today’s paper, I profiled the Memphis Zoo, which was recently revealed as having the highest overall visitor satisfaction ratings of any prior summer survey period and significantly higher than the “benchmark average” – based on surveys conducted at 11 zoos in 2010.

But even when the zoo receives praise, it’s important to capitalize on those strengths and find ways to make the overall experience even better. One thing specifically that it has put in place is a new ticketing system, said Abbey Dane, director of marketing and communications for the zoo.

“One thing we heard from members and visitors was that their experience at the gate and online ticketing was not as streamlined as they would like,” Dane said. “We have switched to a new system that will make for a quicker and more efficient experience upon arrival and as they are planning their visit.”

The zoo also noticed on the survey that while its keeper chats greatly enhanced the guests’ experience, it showed that not many people actually attended the chats.

“From a marketing point of view, this tells us that we need to better communicate the daily happenings inside the Zoo,” Dance said. “We recently adjusted our keeper chats so that we have the same show schedule happening every day. In the past, there might be a show taking place on a Saturday that our weekday visitors would miss. Now, all visitors get the same offerings no matter what day of the week they visit.”