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When asked about Fey's statements, Howe gently but firmly refutes them. "I do think that Barry is mistaken about the Who concert," he says. "We have never said things like that, and we never will. When we found out the Hawk was bringing in the Who, we looked into the whole situation and found out how much they were paying for it, but we declined to match their offer. And that was all, because we play hard, but we play fair. And although we did have some discussions with Fey Concerts about an exclusive arrangement, we never, ever on our end agreed not to work with any other promoters. Whether it's Chuck Morris or anybody else, we reserve the right to present any shows that make sense for our station. We're dedicated to finding a better dialogue between ourselves and all the promoters in town. There aren't big battles raging behind the scenes."

If that's true, the reason may have more to do with Jacor Concerts' current struggles than anything else. "I knew it wouldn't last," Fey says. "They make tons of money for their radio stations, but they didn't get any shows that were worth a damn. It's not a matter of if they're going to be gone. It's a matter of when."

Soundcheck, the local-music show that's been running on KRRF-AM/1280 (Ralph), isn't gone entirely, but it's undergoing significant alterations. Instead of featuring news, interviews and performances by area rock and punk acts such as the Garden Weasels, the newly renamed Soundcheck's Jazz Cafe will spotlight performances by jazz musicians performing live at an area venue, Shakespeare's. Program host Brian Pavlik is excited about the program, which bows at 10 p.m. Sunday, October 4, but he says he'll miss its predecessor. "We just couldn't get enough sponsorship to keep it going. But if something turns up, I'd like to keep doing the jazz show and also the old one, but at a different time. I'm going to work hard, and hopefully I'll be able to straighten everything out."

The awards ceremony for this year's Westwords Music Awards Showcase, held on September 27 at the Bluebird Theater, went swimmingly. Salutes go to host-with-the-most Bill Amundson, scorching headliner Nina Storey, the contest winners (their names are printed on page 113), and everyone else who participated. As for me, I pledge not to mention the event in print for at least a month. You're welcome.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@westword.com. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com.

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