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Music Reviews

Randy's Buttons

June 11, 1997
The Bat-Computer  

Let's start with a review of a kids' CD ROM game, courtesy of the ever-lovely Gail:
batman CD-ROM
The Adventures of Batman and Robin Activity Center (Gryphon - Ages 5 & up) -- Are you up for the challenge? Can you contain the chaos that is unleashed on Gotham City? Then this interactive CD ROM will meet and exceed your expectations.

The game begins as the world's most notorious criminals have escaped from Arkham Asylum. To capture these villains, you must find clues by completing activities from three skill levels. Catch all 11 criminals by playing a set of logic and memory games (one for each criminal) in Wayne Manor, the Batcave, Gotham City, and the Batcomputer.

Batman, Robin, and Alfred offer help along the way; plus, Batman's Utility Belt holds the necessary clues until the Batcomputer can discover the criminals' hideouts.

The choice is yours; do you want to be a scientist and mix up the right chemical combination for a laughing venom antidote? The Joker challenges you to a duel of concentration skills; or how about unscrambling the pictures of Batman, Robin and your favorite villains?

Can you see in the dark? Then try to find your way through Gotham City's underground maze. Are you able to tell the difference between real and fake jewelry? Two-Face is up to the challenge. And put the pedal to the metal and drive the Batmobile through Gotham City to catch Mr. Freeze!

These and other engaging activities will keep your interest peaked for hours. The entertainment never ceases with the continual interaction and exchange between the superhereos and villains.

"Don't strain your brain," says Two-Face. Get this entertaining CD for the Batman fans in your family.  

Arbitron Radio Ratings -- According to the Spring 1997 Arbitron survey, the top ten radio stations in Fresno for January 2 through March 26, 1997 are as follows:
1. KMJ (AM 580) 11.6%
2. KBOS (FM 94.9) 8.2%
3. KJWL (FM 99.3) 6.1%
4. KVSR (FM 101.1) 5.6%
5. KRZR (FM 103.7) 5.2% (tie)
5. KLBN (FM 105.1) 5.2% (tie)
7. KSKS (FM 93.7) 4.9%
8. KTHT (FM 102.7) 4.5%
9. KFSO (FM 92.9) 3.9% (tie)
9. KJOI (FM 98.9) 3.9% (tie)
While the Big Three remain unchanged, the Spring book (released just last week) shows hope for pop and rock.

Not surprisingly, KMJ (talk & news) holds at number one (while its market share tumbles from 13.3), KBOS (CHR -- "contemporary hit radio") remains at number two (with a decrease from its winter 8.9 share), and KJWL (easy listening stars of the 40s and 50s) stands at number three (as its market share rises slightly from 5.7).

The next spots bring encouragement for fans of new music, as fresh face KVSR ("Star 101" -- modern adult contemporary) edges out KLBN (Spanish) and KRZR (AOR -- "album oriented rock").

KVSR (the old "Outlaw Country") has only been around from two quarters, yet it shows broad pop appeal. And rocker KRZR has finally ended last year's ratings decline, which found them falling from fourth to ninth position. Meanwhile, KFRR (modern rock) still can't get its act together, with an anemic 2.9 share.

KSKS ("the new KISS country") holds at number seven (although its share is up nicely from the winter book 4.0), and number eight KTHT (adult contemporary) continues its yo-yo performance; it was number five last summer, yet fell completely out of the top ten in the fall quarter.

Rounding out the top ten are KFSO (oldies) (another uneven performer, dropping big from number five last quarter) and KJOI (adult contemporary), down one place from the fall book.

Two stations were displaced from the hot list: KOQO (Spanish) and KNAX ("Kickin' Country"), which were tied for tenth last quarter.

Required Legend -- These ratings are copyrighted by Arbitron, and are based on the percentage of listening audience ages 12 and over tuned in during any 15-minute period from 6 A.M. to midnight on Monday through Sunday.  

Jimmy LaFave, Road Novel (Bohemia Beat/Rounder 1997) - The list of Texas singer songwriters never seems to end. Add Jimmy LaFave to the roster with Road Novel. The 15 songs on the album cover the vagaries and majesty of life on the road, from "Vast Stretches of Broken Heart" to "Long Ago With Miles Between" to "The Open Space."

Also included is "Home Sweet Oklahoma" by Leon Russell and Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain." LaFave's vocal technique is reminiscent of Steve Forbert, another folk-based tunesmith. However, Forbert's material is generally stronger and more introspective, as LaFave too often deals with cliched sentiments. Nonetheless, fans of the great wide open will enjoy Road Novel.

-- Randy Krbechek
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