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Steve Kiviat’s article on WAMA (“What’s WAMA Worth?” 10/2) is an “exposé in search of a scandal.” Much like Ken Starr’s selective “report” to Congress, Mr. Kiviat conveniently decided to omit the fact that the City Paper charges WAMA for the advertisements for its Crosstown Jam, thus contributing to the “losses” incurred. The success of WAMA, as a voluntary organization, is unparalleled, and Michael Schreibman is the best friend the musicians in this town ever had.
While the Wammies are not perfect, neither are the Grammies, the Oscars, or any other entertainment awards program. The only difference is that all of the other award programs are staffed by professionals who are paid. With WAMA, the professionals give their time and effort for free.
I have been working full-time as an entertainment attorney in Washington, D.C. for 14 years. I have never heard of Mr. Kiviat. To my knowledge, he does not perform in any band of note, or any band at all for that matter. I do not believe he is engaged in the “music” business at all. I do not believe that he has written extensively on the music industry or in any way interacts in any meaningful way with those in the music industry in this town or any other town. Therefore, I can only conclude that he is a bitter wannabe who has decided that he can make his mark in the music industry by trying to take down those who have earned respect and gratitude from the real heroes of this industry, the grunt musicians who actually work at their craft and appreciate the help WAMA provides.
But don’t worry, Mr. Kiviat. I will listen to your demo tape any time. And I promise I will not gratuitously criticize your work. I will try to appreciate your effort and respect your art, even if you are not willing to do the same for others.
Jay Rosenthal, Esquire