Daily Archives: April 2, 2018

Ben Folds, Cake Team for Co-Headlining Summer Tour

Ben Folds and Cake will team this summer for a co-headlining tour that will travel the Eastern half of the U.S. this August.

Tall Heights will serve as special guest on the 10-date trek, which kicks off August 13th in Boston and concludes two weeks later in Indianapolis on August 25th.

“Cake – my rough contemporaries, comrades and heroes – to me, they make universal, poetic, identifiable music with a groove. I’ve learned a lot from these guys and I’m proud as punch to be on tour with them this summer,” Folds said of the tour in a statement. “I’m telling my friends to get there early enough for Tall Heights – a great addition to this bill.”

Cake singer John McCrea added, “We are very much looking forward to touring with Ben Folds. In a culture often conflicted about its relationship to melody, and songwriting generally, Ben continues unapologetically to provide melodic clarity and musicality. I am also looking forward to hearing Tall Heights. This co-headline line up seems like a good combination of musical styles-disparate but not antithetical to each other-and it should be a solid evening of music.”

Check out Folds and Cake’s websites for presale and ticket information.

Ben Folds and Cake Tour

August 13 – Boston, MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
August 15 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony Summer Stage
August 16 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Mann Center
August 17 – Forest Hills, NY @ Forest Hills Stadium
August 18 – Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
August 19 – Richmond, VA @ Classic Amphitheatre
August 21 – Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater
August 22 – Highland Park, IL @ Ravinia Festival
August 23 – Milwaukee, WI @ BMO Harris Bank Center
August 25 – Indianapolis, IN @ Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn

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Frankly Enters Into Raycom Amendments; Joe Fiveash Resigns from Board

LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y., April 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Frankly Inc. (TSX VENTURE: TLK) (Frankly), a leader in transforming local TV broadcast and media companies by enabling them to publish and monetize their digital content across multiple platforms, announces that it has entered amendment…

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Frankly Reports Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017

LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y., April 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Frankly Inc. (TSX VENTURE: TLK) (Frankly), a leader in transforming local TV broadcasters and media companies by enabling them to publish and monetize their digital content across multiple platforms, reported financial results for…

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Nanette B. Oscherwitz, M.D., is recognized by Continental Who's Who

CARMEL, Ind., April 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Nanette B. Oscherwitz, M.D., is recognized by Continental Who’s Who as a Pinnacle Lifetime Member in the field of Healthcare in recognition of her role as Cardiologist at Community Health Network. Having served as a cardiologist since 1997, Dr….

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HRG Group, Inc. Sets Date for 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders

HRG Group, Inc. logo (PRNewsFoto/Harbinger Group Inc.)NEW YORK, April 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — HRG Group, Inc. (“HRG” or the “Company”; NYSE: HRG) announced today that its 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders will be held on June 12, 2018 at a location to be announced in New York, NY. The record date for the meeting is April 20, 2018.
To…

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HokuApps iPhone Apps Development Services Promise Fastest App Development

HokuAppsSINGAPORE, April 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — It is a well-known fact that the smart-phone has revolutionized the consumer sector. The consumer, in this digitally-laden ecosystem, wants the end-user interaction to be as quality-driven as consumer-sector mobile apps are. Businesses are then…

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Rowan Announces Contract with Shell for the Rowan Viking

HOUSTON, April 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Rowan Companies plc (“Rowan” or the “Company”) (NYSE: RDC) announced today that the Rowan Viking, an N-Class ultra-harsh environment jack-up rig, has been awarded a five-well program by Shell UK Limited for plugging and abandonment work on the…

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Meek Mill: Judge Denies Request to Reconsider Prison Sentence

Justice Genece E. Brinkley, the Philadelphia judge who sentenced Meek Mill to prison over a parole violation, rejected requests from the rapper’s legal team to reconsider her decision and to recuse herself from the case over alleged personal biases. On Monday, Judge Brinkley said that Mill’s two-to-four-year sentence was “absolutely necessary.”

“[The] defendant received proper notice of all alleged probation violations in advance of his hearing,” Brinkley wrote in court documents. “The sentence imposed was not manifestly excessive and this Court stated sufficient reasons on the record to support a state sentence of 2 to 4 years.”

Meek first stood before Judge Brinkley about a decade ago after he was given five years’ probation due to drug and gun-related charges. Over the next several years, Brinkley adjudicated more cases involving the rapper. In 2012, one of her rulings revoked the rapper’s travel permit. She ordered him to take etiquette classes in May 2013, among other rulings. In August 2017, she charged Meek with a felony count of reckless endangerment – which was later dropped to a misdemeanor and dismissed – after he rode with a group of kids on dirt bikes in New York. 

Meek’s probation officer and an assistant district attorney objected to the rapper’s most recent two-to-four-year sentence. The ruling also drew outrage from prominent figures within the entertainment industry. “The sentence handed down by the Judge – against the recommendation of the Assistant District Attorney and Probation Officer – is unjust and heavy handed,” Jay-Z wrote Facebook. “We will always stand by and support Meek Mill, both as he attempts to right this wrongful sentence and then in returning to his musical career.”

In late March, the rapper’s lawyer Joe Tacopina requested Brinkley’s removal from the case due to “unusual personal interest.” He alleged that the judge crossed numerous professional boundaries, including requesting Meek re-record the Boyz II Men song “On Bended Knee” as a “tribute to her” and asking the rapper to switch management companies.

“When she requests he leaves his current management Roc Nation – which is one of the most important management companies in the world – and goes back to a local Philadelphia guy who has a spotted past because she had a personal relationship with him as manager, again, she’s doing something that a judge would never be doing, having a personal interest,” Tacopina told Billboard last November.

Responding to the song request claims in her ruling, Brinkley wrote, “This bald allegation has no basis in reality. There is zero evidence to support this claim. The court has repeatedly told Defendant that he cannot demand special treatment just because he has chosen to be an entertainer.” She also accused Meek and his lawyers of “fabricating” claims that the FBI was investigating his case.

Brinkley’s decision arrives over two weeks after the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office said it was “unopposed” to releasing the rapper on bail. The following week, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf said in a statement that he supported releasing the rapper, who has been jailed since November for violating probation on a 2008 drug and gun conviction.

“I support D.A. Larry Krasner’s position in the case of Robert Williams (Meek Mill),” Wolf tweeted. “Our criminal justice system is in need of repair. That’s why my admin has made efforts to invest in programs that divert individuals from the system, improve public safety, and promote fairness.”

Tacopina criticized Brinkley’s ruling on Monday, continuing to accuse the judge of harboring a “personal vendetta” against his client. “In spite of the recommendations from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, which was supported by Governor Tom Wolf, the judge continues to stand alone in supporting Officer Reginald Graham’s perjured testimony as well as his criminal behavior that has been documented,” the attorney said in statement to the New York Daily News. “Fortunately, we have already filed petitions with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to secure his release, and we remain hopeful that the Court will right this injustice very soon.”

The rapper spoke against Judge Brinkley in a Rolling Stone profile last month. “There’s brothers locked down that did nothing to be here but piss off people like Brinkley,” the rapper said. One lawyer described her as a “sadist,” while another added, “Brinkley’s the judge you’d least want to be supervised by. Any failure to live by her rules will be punished.”

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Bad Bunny: The Four-Billion-Stream Man Leading the Latin Trap Explosion

The chants started early, ricocheting through the ornate United Palace Theater in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood: “Conejo! Malo! Conejo! Malo! Conejo! Malo!

It means “Bad Bunny,” and it was the very first headlining tour of the United States for the Puerto Rican singer-rapper born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio. Though it was his first top-billed outing, it had all the drama of a victory lap – in 2017 alone, he amassed more than four billion views on YouTube and appeared on over a dozen hits. You can find him next to Nicki Minaj holding down the siren-wail hook of Farruko’s “Krippy Kush,” posting videos with Drake on Instagram, or recording a soon-to-be-released single with Future. 

“He’s the hottest Latin artist right now,” says Luis Rivera, Program Director for Latino Music at Music Choice, which controls audio and video content for cable TV subscribers. “I’ve never seen a performer develop so fast in the Latino market,” adds Henri Cardenas, CEO of the Cardenas Marketing Network, which has exclusive booking rights for Bad Bunny shows in several Latin American markets. “When he comes out, nobody sits.” 

And Bad Bunny has also become the de facto leader of a musical groundswell called “Latin trap,” which has, for part of the younger, Spanish-speaking audience, eclipsed long-reigning reggaeton in popularity. This point was underlined at the United Palace by the opening act, DJ Kazzanova of New York station Mega 97.9. After cuing up the N.O.R.E. classic “Oye Mi Canto,” which includes the assertion, “They want reggaeton,” Kazzanova annotated the lyrics in real time. “Now everybody wants trap,” he told the crowd in Spanish, almost apologetic. “But the problem” – for an opening DJ who doesn’t want to replicate the headliner’s set – “is that every good trap song contains Bad Bunny.”

Long before he joined the billion-views club, Bad Bunny started singing at school and in church in Puerto Rico. Speaking through a translator, he emphasizes his distance from the music establishment. “I’m from Vega Baja, a small area that’s not a metropolis like San Juan where the majority of the genre’s artists have come from,” Bad Bunny says. “That’s what’s most surprising and incredible about this – I simply came from nothing [makes explosion sound], and that’s that.” “When I was at school,” he adds, “I used to stay on a balcony singing and people would stand around listening.”

Though attracting a balcony crowd conjures old-fashioned images of romantic crooners, Bad Bunny is a thoroughly modern singer, employing a low, slurry tone, viscous melodies and a rapper’s cadence. “I really liked his voice – the deep voice was very different,” says the Dominican singer Natti Natasha, another member of the billion-views club (see “Criminal”) who collaborated with Bad Bunny recently on “Amantes de Una Noche.” “And obviously the way he raps caught my attention: He doesn’t stop [in contrast to the staccato approach common in reggaeton], and you can move to it; even without music, I would still move to it.”

In an era of unprecedented musical plenty and shorter listener attention spans, an instantly recognizable tone is more valuable than ever. “Once you hear [Bad Bunny’s] first syllable, you know it’s him,” Rivera says. Through SoundCloud, Bad Bunny’s idiosyncratic timbre reached the ears of DJ Luian, an experienced operator in the Puerto Rican music scene and former DJ for Arcangel – a versatile, open-eared artist who has always been comfortable venturing across genre lines. “Luian knows the industry, and he has the connections,” Rivera says.

Bad Bunny is now signed to Luian’s label Hear This Music, which forged a distribution deal with Sony Music Latin. Luian also connected Bad Bunny with the production duo Mambo Kingz, veterans with over a decade of experience, including work on RKM & Ken-Y’s album The Royalty: La Realize and Arcangel’s Sentimiento, Elegancia & Maldad, both of which went Number One on the Latin Albums chart. You can hear Bad Bunny shout out the Mambo Kingz on hit after hit.

And there are a lot of hits. “He’s the opposite of how most artists are promoting themselves,” explains DJ Eddie One, a DJ on Los Angeles’ Mega 96.3. “He just puts out records on the daily on YouTube. Radio promoters don’t work them the regular way records are worked.”

Promotion would mostly be a waste of Bad Bunny’s time, because terrestrial radio outlets can’t play many of his songs for fear of incurring the wrath of the FCC. “It’s a mission to be able to play those tracks on the air,” says Eddie One, noting that he had to do heavy editing work on “Diles,” which is full of lusty boasts about sexual prowess, and “Soy Peor,” a nasty post-breakup kiss-off. “The dirtiness on his tracks is next level.”

So when Bad Bunny was in New York at the end of February, he visited some of the media outlets that can play his music uncut, including SiriusXM and Music Choice. “No censorship,” SiriusXM’s Bryant Pino told Bad Bunny as he settled into the studio. “You can do death threats, whatever you want,” he added jokingly.

Bad Bunny, tall and impassive, peered over red-tinted glasses pushed halfway down his nose and slurped coffee. He was gradually won over by Pino’s relentless enthusiasm and started to sprinkle his answers with onomatopoeic ad-libs – “brrrr!” – or his drawled catchphrase: “Bad Bunny, baby.” He was more reticent on camera for Music Choice. During a set change at one point, a lighting flag toppled nearby; Bad Bunny wandered away unfazed, with his hands in his pockets.

The rapper remains blithe about his inability to permeate terrestrial radio. “It’s a little frustrating – fuck! – but it’s also not an obstacle,” he says. “The music is far-reaching; maybe it doesn’t reach far enough. But we’re still making big things. It bothers me, but it doesn’t take away my desire to continue doing it.”

To the extent that Bad Bunny has penetrated the airwaves, he has done so through savvy collaborations. He recently reached Number One at Latin airplay on Becky G’s “Mayores,” an uptempo number about romantic entanglements with older men. “Getting a trap rapper to feature on a pop rhythmic song was a big deal,” Becky G emphasizes. “I was able to regain my street cred, but it also helped bring Bad Bunny to more people so they don’t look down on trap music as much.” “His lyrics were very intelligent,” she adds. “He was like, ‘OK, you guys want to talk shit about my lyrics? I’m still gonna say whatever the hell I want – and I’m gonna say it in the way that will still get played on radio.'”

Bad Bunny’s other primary mainstream booster has been J Balvin, beloved by radio programmers, as seven Number One hits can attest. Last year the two men collaborated on both “Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola” and “Sensualidad,” the latter cracking the Top 20 at radio. Balvin was Bad Bunny’s surprise guest during the second night at the United Palace Theater, and the pair sashayed through both records with evident delight, cheerfully mimicking the dance steps from the opening of the “Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola” video. Then Bad Bunny headed offstage to change outfits and left Balvin to entertain the crowd with his own global hits “Mi Gente” and “Machika.” Few artists could fold a Balvin interlude into their show and recover their momentum, but when Bad Bunny returned in fresh attire, fan fervor was undiminished.

However, Bad Bunny is not yet ready to declare Latin trap the heir to reggaeton’s throne. “Reggaeton is something else – it is part of pop culture,” he says. “It is something very big that I don’t believe will ever die.”

But he acknowledges that trap is increasingly indomitable. “Right now if you look at the U.S., trap is pop,” Bad Bunny continues. “We’re making the music that the people are asking us for. So it’s just a matter of acceptance.”

And that appears to be shifting quickly. “He didn’t change for the radio,” says Eddie One. “Mainstream media just can’t deny him.”

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WGU's New B.S. in Computer Science Includes Key IT Certifications

Western Governors University Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Western Governors University)SALT LAKE CITY, April 2, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Western Governors University’s (WGU) College of Information Technology announced today the addition of a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science (BSCS) degree program. This program, which is online and competency-based, includes…

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