Article

THE PLANET PREDICTS THE FUTURE

By DAN VALENTI

As of this post, The Planet shall be going dark, show biz for closed, until at least early June. When we return, and only we know the date, we shall be featuring a different editorial focus that shall prevail at least through Labor Day.

In the Beginning…

At the end of September, 2010, we breathed life into this website. The brand name, Planet Valenti, had for many years been featured in the column we wrote Pittsfield Gazette. We had also written for years a columnist with the Berkshire Eagle and for a decade and a half hosted a daily morning talk show on WBRK. In short, we had a household name. That helped get the site going and off the ground. We had seven viewers the first day. The Planet would soon add to that in multiples of thousands.

We relied on word of mouth to “advertise” the site as a consequence of two philosophical assumptions underlying our Grand Experiment into daily cyberjournalism. We knew, and know, that cyberspace — for better or worse — has now kicked out print as the home of journalism. Even having a story in a “paper” seems to make it old and dated, the second it hits print. The Planet knew it could use this principle to put on a one-man show that would run circles around the local Establishment media.

Our two assumptions: First, we would do no traditional marketing, namely advertising. Second, we would not sell ad space. We wanted to keep the site commercial free, totally “unbought and unbossed.” Thus:

Checklist: All the Boxes Marked

— The Planet wanted to see if we could produce substantial content on a daily basis. Check (x). We did that, and 209 posts with more than a quarter million words of content.

— We wanted to prove to the people of Berkshire County that the Stories are there. By Stories, we don’t mean the fluff that clogs the content of local media. We mean the tales of What’s Really Going On Behind the Scenes. Check (x). This area is not unique. Corruption happens wherever there is power and lack of accountability. Our corruption, though, is unique and unusually systemic. The Stories are there, all right.

— We proved that these Stories can only see the light of day if you have journalists willing to take on the dogged work of investigation, fearlessly asking questions and cultivating sources in search for the truth. (x) Check. The Planet broke numerous stories, not only getting word out first but also providing the best and most comprehensive coverage. We pissed off the right people and thrilled the right people. In our experiment to “show them how it’s done,” The Planet wasn’t looking to show anybody up. Rather, we established that any media outlet in town or county — the Berkshire Eagle, the radio stations, any of the weekly papers, any other website — could do the same if they had the right personnel, asking the right questions, with support of the right management. The Stories are there. They won’t go away. They are ripe for the picking. There are Pulitzer Prizes just waiting to be won. It won’t be us, because, frankly, we have no interest in playing savior, a messianic role which has, to our discomfort, become incumbent upon the success of this website. We could right volumes of this point alone, but we won’t.

— We wanted to see if, on the sheer basis of word of mouth and can’t-resist coverage, we could build and grow a website that could rival any media in the county. Check (x). That was done. Our numbers grew substantially, and for a while exponentially, to the point where growth came sooner and faster than planned — It was a pleasant problem to have but a problem nonetheless. We have turned down numerous requests from advertisers, both local and regional. The Planet didn’t exist to make money. We could have gone that way. Our cost centers derive from other work in broadcasting, writing, publishing, consulting, and what we might call entrepreneurship. Honestly, we don’t need or want the money.

The ‘New Way’: Editorial Futures

Based on all this, based on having proven the point that successful, hard-hitting online journalism could have an impact on the area, we want to take a different direction. After our hiatus, which shall run until AT LEAST early June, The Planet will indulge our own interests. That’s the choice when you run the show. You do what you want, YOUR way.

What will be the new way? Generally, we shall be writing about fun stuff, what we enjoy. Specifically, what shall that be? Keeping in mind this will be a work in progress, The Planet expects it to include:

* The Arts — Plays, art exhibits, music, movies, and the like. We will cover not only the Arts but the Artists, a long-ignored segment of the American landscape that needs to be taken seriously, because Artists alone are the best guide to feeling the pulse of what’s happing now and what will unfold in the future.

* Sports — The heart of this will be coverage of the Pittsfield Colonials by The Planet’s recently hired writer, Josh Cutler. Josh will be covering games and writing features. We will provide stories that will press the Eagle to do a better job. Sports shall also include occasional pieces by Your Truly. It won’t only be baseball. The Planet has long gotten over Major League Baseball, turned off by the greed and money. We love the minors. For 10 years, we covered MLB, writing a string of successful books that got us into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, which acknowledged DV with an award for our contributions to the literature of the game. The prize included a lifetime pass. For now, Josh Cutler, a bright, sharp, law student from UMass, will handle the Colonials beat.

* Science, Religion, Spirituality, Philosophy — This odd grouping is not that strange, since each of these fields overlap the other. We have written much about these areas, though to this audience you may not have read much.

The Planet shall continue broadcasting, mainly doing guest sports on area TV and radio. We have had and turned down offers to get back into the grind of daily radio. Been there, done that, and not interested any more. That being said, we do anticipate at some point podcasting from the Internet.

We shall not be covering local politics for a while. Maybe we come back after Labor Day, and maybe not. For now, we are content to step back from the maelstrom and watch as the various squalls, storms, and tornados sweep through — much noise, signifying little. The Planet does anticipate getting involved in Campaign 2011 in some fashion that we shall reveal much later. You’ll have to wait for that announcement.

Into the Hiatus and with It the Future, which is Fun

The Planet will continue teaching. We shall be building up Planet Media Books with two new offerings this year: HOW MEN SEE THE WORLD by Paul Milenski and VERTICALLY COASTAL by Jerri Chaplin, two extremely talented writers for whom we are honored to be Publisher. We shall build up Europolis Management and Europolis Records, which will get us into the music business. Our first release, BEATLESQUE by Mick Valenti, is doing well in downloads at digstation.com and cdbaby.com. Information on all this can be found on this website.

To sum up, it would be accurate to say The Planet is going to have fun this summer, doing what we want, how we want, and when we want. We have eased the workload in other areas, for example, suspending our column in the Pittsfield Gazette, knowing that Jonathan Levine will keep the space warm for such time as we wish to resume. The Planet publicly thanks Levine for his support, his advice, and his efforts on behalf of Pittsfield. He’s the hardest working journalist in the county, covers more meetings than anyone else, and puts out a product that has lost none of its edge. Please continue to support Community Journalism by buying the Gazette.

We know The Planet’s move will produce lots of speculation. So be it. As a public figure, one of the “The Love Me-They Hate Me-But No One is Indifferent About Me” types, we can’t control that. We won’t try. The Planet lets people think, say, and write what they will … unless it crosses The Line. I can’t define The Line, but we know it when we see it.

We will only offer this advice: Unless you hear it from The Planet, don’t believe half of what you’re going to hear. No, “THEY” didn’t “get to” us. We weren’t threatened. We  weren’t bought off. We haven’t joined the “Other” side, whatever that is. No, The Planet isn’t on Gov. Patrick’s Secret Payroll. No, we aren’t Messing Around behind the scenes in various seats of power. These and other feverish speculations, while we hope they don’t follow, only point back to the ignorance and insecurity of our good friends who perpetrate them. And they are our good friends. We hereby make peace with all, knowing that people do what they do for reasons we can never know.

That being said, it’s no secret that when anyone asks for advice, our first instinct is to say yes. If if The President of the United States asks, we say yes. If it’s the guy who’s running for Dog Catcher in Lame Deer, we say yes. We say yes to everyone in between. We will build up rather than tear down.

The Planet is in the business of saying Yes. It’s a beautiful word. We look forward to fun. Now we’re off to lunch at Blantyre.

(MUCH) LATER.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

54 Responses to “THE PLANET PREDICTS THE FUTURE”

  1. just saying
    May 18, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Well, its been a good ride. Many great stories that otherwise would have been swept under the carpet were brought to the forefront by Planet.
    Although the new format may be interesting, I feel that the political discussions made this site. It will be missed.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 10:49 am #

      JS
      I understand about the politics. But I want more fun assignments this summer. Politics in Pittsfield can get along without The Planet for a few months.

    • pittsfield 4 life
      May 19, 2011 at 7:43 am #

      I suppose one could hear “much ado about Pittsfield” from a pre-arranged box-seat @ Wahconah Park. Let me find out your the campaign manager for Buddy Lewis’ run for mayor????Your “hiatus” is unusually timed,hmmmmm.(corruption to the hilt)

  2. John
    May 18, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    Yes, thanks Dan, it was a pleasure..GODSPEED BROTHER!

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 10:48 am #

      JOHN
      Many thanks. It has been a pleasure for me, too. And it will continue to be!

  3. GMHeller
    May 18, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Planet Valenti Craps Out.
    What a disappointment.
    Dan Valenti raises people’s expectations telling the public that his publication Planet Valenti is going to be fearless, relentlessly covering the political underbelly of Pittsfield and Berkshire County.
    Mr. Valenti goes about claiming the mantle of vigorous interrogator asking the tough questions, demanding specific answers.
    Then suddenly in the midst of multiple stories in which his publication is centrally involved in exposing wrongdoing, in the midst of the latest mayoral campaign (to whose candidates he promised to pose the hard questions), Mr. Valenti suddenly takes a powder, craps out, and walks away.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 10:46 am #

      GLENN
      Yeah, Isn’t it great. It’s all up to you now, tough guy. Go get ‘em!
      The Planet will be enjoying the life, in the meanwhile.

  4. NFM
    May 18, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    I don’t get the “crap out” comments.

    Valenti said he’s coming back. What’s wrong with taking some time off?

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 10:47 am #

      NFM
      Thanks. We will be back. Just in a different way. Appreciate it, my good friend.

    • GMHeller
      May 18, 2011 at 10:55 am #

      @NFM,
      In the middle of ‘Steroidsgate’?
      In the middle of pivotal Mayoral and City Council campaigns in which Dan Valenti PROMISED to be the one to ask candidates the tough questions — about the city’s unfunded liabilities, about PCBs, about Silver Lake, about mandatory drug testing of public employees?
      A two-week vacation is one thing, but saying specifically, “We shall not be covering local politics for a while. Maybe we come back after Labor Day, and maybe not” is something entirely different.
      This is a real cop-out.

      • Josh
        May 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

        So if your so interested, why don’t you do it?

        • danvalenti
          May 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

          JOSH
          Nah. Let GMH look for conspiracies where there are none. That’s more his taste.

  5. GMHeller
    May 18, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Berkshire Eagle headline:
    The End of an Era

  6. Kris Knutson
    May 18, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Mr. Valenti
    Does this mean that the citizens can’t get their radio show?

  7. Kris Knutson
    May 18, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    Mr. Valenti
    Just because you are not keeping your site up does not mean that you can’t use your connections to get me on the radio. I truly believe that the citizens deserve to hear what I have to say.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

      KRIS
      I’m still interested in such a radio show, yes.

      • danvalenti
        May 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

        KRIS
        Besides, the site is being kept up. It’s going in a different direction until Labor Day, at least.

        • Kris Knutson
          May 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

          Mr. Valenti
          I am truly sorry that I have caused so many problems on this forum. I am sorry for the way that I spoke to you at times. It was never, ever, my intention to have all this go down like this. At times, I do let my emotions get the best of me. I can imagine that dealing with the people that you deal with on a day to day basis can be very difficult and I did not make it any easier for you. Any reasonable person would need to take a break from this kind of madness.
          I would like to do a radio show though. I certainly don’t expect it. And I think the citizens would really appreciate it. They would appreciate you.
          These GOBs are not gonna be around much longer. Good citizens will step in and take the reigns of power from them. It’s not a matter of if but when. Where will you be when it’s all said and done? I suppose that depends on where you want to be. I know where I want to be. At home with my family, with all this behind me having fought the good fight and won. But that will never happen if I walk away, so I can’t walk away. I’ve been bound to this, for better or worse.

          Let me know if you can make the show happen. I will do it.

          • Robocop Steroidcop
            May 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

            @kk
            well done. You have spoken like a man unlike a certain “hero” with the initials gmh who should be ashamed of himself. he is a leech who attached to this site because his gets no hits at all. Planet could have easily kept him off the site but didnt because Dan’s the Man and Hellers a wannebe Feller.
            So kk, you have restored youself with this. We love oyu.

  8. Still wondering
    May 18, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Dang, and I was going to tell you what Jimmy will be doing after the election…

  9. Dusty
    May 18, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    This is not the first time Dan has stirred the pot too much and then POOOF..he’s gone. Read between the lines folks

    • GMHeller
      May 18, 2011 at 11:16 am #

      @Dusty,
      It’s the Berkshire way.

  10. GMHeller
    May 18, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    @Kris,
    Valenti’s lost his mojo.

  11. Jim Gleason
    May 18, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Dan, did your “good friend” Souiggy ruberto get to you finally? I liked your writing and your format because people could discuss things without having their sexual orientation called into question or their family being called nmaes, but I guess the people you bitched about most got to you in the end. Good Luck and I hope you come back and do talk politics. We need a straight shooter, not a person who makes excuses like Sturgeon.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

      JIMMY
      Thanks. Ask me about it tomorrow. I’ll be on with Bill S at 11 a.m.
      But no, Jimmy didn’t “get” to me. No one “got” to me. This is my call, my show, my terms, all the way.

  12. dave
    May 18, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Dan enjoy your time off you deserve it and you earned it.
    Respect and best wishes for your summer

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

      DAVE
      Mucho gracias, amigo!

  13. Dee
    May 18, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Wake me when the summer is over and interesting content again returns. While some of what is written in the comments section of this format has gotten incredibly tiresome, the content of the posts themselves were always entertaining. I too was looking forward to some real commentary as we approach a pivotal election in Pittsfield.

    Alas, it is not to be. I shall also be taking a hiatus. While arts, entertainment, and sports may be an interesting topic for you to write about, I would much rather experience these things than read one man’s opinion about them.

    Good luck and I hope the next phase of your experiment works out well for you. In the meantime I will remain hopeful that you truly did get tired of the endless work this site required and that you didn’t bow and fold to the ever present politicos who you annoyed to no end. However, I do fear it is the later, particularly with the timing of your summer change of topic.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      DEE
      Thank you. Fair enough. I can assure you that it got tiresome for me. My decision was based on nothing else. As my post says, I have a lot of other things going on right now. Have no fear.

  14. ambrose bearse
    May 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    They got to you. Just Like they did Tricia, Linda and the rest of the when gang. Good for the GOBS. They always get their man. Hope you get invited to Biddeford but even if you don’t best of everything in the future. It was fun. To paraphrase John Adams, only Pam lives on.

    • danvalenti
      May 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      AMBROSE
      Nice name. He’s one of my favorite writers.
      You can maintain your fantasies about “”got to you.” That obviously serves you in some kind of twisted way. Not true, of course.

  15. John
    May 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Palookaville is like a puzzle, just to many pieces for just one man.

  16. scott
    May 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    It’s obvious someone got to him.

  17. John
    May 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    @ scott.. you could be right,dunno ask yourself,why did he dothis in the first place. Started with a book of poems, then an award out of nowhere for Mike Ward, then the trashing of the phony bastards.

    • scott
      May 18, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      I don’t know why he would raise speculation in the Pittsfield PD over out of control and unnecessary OT spending, scream for answers on “steroidgate” and offer an interview with a witness from the inside willing to go on the record live and then just walk away leaving people wondering I mean like he said so arrogantly “because he can”. Typical, so much for the little guy. What about his inside sources in the PPD?

  18. John
    May 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    It’s the Knutson situation, clear and simple.

  19. Sherrie
    May 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    With summer approaching in the Berkshires I do not blame Dan for removing himself from the stress of it all. Everyone that lives here and visit’s here really do have so much right under our noses to enjoy. I hope he shares lot’s of good information along with tips on what to see, do & where to eat. I look forward to the break from the corruption. Couldn’t we all use a break? Let’s face it, it isn’t going anywhere. It has been interesting to say the least to know about some of the things that are happening that are not reported by our local media involving some of our higher ups… let’s put some faith in the fact that all truth rises & crushes to Earth.
    By doing this we are allowing Dan Valenti to lighten it up a bit, not just for him but for us all.
    I wish him & his family a wonderful summer, looking forward to a nice relaxing summer myself.
    Godspeed my friends.

  20. Cynthia
    May 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Dan,

    I don’t know what to say except to say I am very disappointed in you.

  21. John
    May 18, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Thats probably what Maria said to said to Arnold…he did say I’ll be back.

  22. Dusty
    May 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Dan….are you allowed to even discuss the coming election or have you been told to keep your opinions to yourself?

  23. Joe Pinhead
    May 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    Dan,
    First thanks for the insight and the time that you have given to us. I too will miss my daily dose of Dan and the thought provoking articles, essays and musings put forth each and every day. I wish for you to have both happiness and love fill all of your time. No one can question your commitment and devotion to the City of Pittsfield and more importantly the citizens thereof.
    Some of us know and appreciate the amount of time and heart you put into this and by all accounts it was a rousing success. Wherever your keyboard and your wit take you next I await, not just as a fan but more importantly as a friend.

  24. arpaint
    May 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Dan I was very disappointed when you gave up the radio show and know your site. I realize it takes up your time but I for one like to hear your opinion on what is happening in Pittsfield and most of the time I agree with you. I hope this is not the end of you giving your opinion on local government.

  25. danvalenti
    May 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    Thanks to all for your comments.
    Much more is ahead of us.
    Love to all.

  26. John
    May 19, 2011 at 4:08 am #

    All I have to say is thanks to our police and fire departments, the last two weeks were very hectic, great job to all!

  27. Obie
    May 19, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Again, the planet does the right thing! The only guy with balls and integrity among the lot! Love ya planet.

  28. John
    May 19, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    @ Obie… may be half true, if your comparing it to zero competition or bought and payed for media, save Jonathan Levine. But ever since the Planet got the acting bug a little while ago, he has become even more a lover of the ARTS. Most people in here all know that the ARTS are driven by outsiders with non profits leading the way so the New Yawkers can have there little playground. And most people on the Planets site wouldn’t go to a play if Sir Laurence Olivier was the Star. This is all smoke and mirrors to stymie the naysayers, and what a brilliant move to go on MIDDAY LIVE where (cowtow) Bill Sturgeon will play right into his hands and tell us how great the Planet is. My suggestion to the Planet, don’t go into a project half baked and don’t expect your interview to go over well at all with your followers Planet.That if they listen today. And stay away from Bill he has had a nasty cold all week.

  29. John
    May 19, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Sturgeon says there is no enforcement for double parking…laugh… on the other hand is congratulating the PPD for the traffic control on the North Street? There is only but one lane, of course there doing there job! Who are you kidding Bill?

  30. John
    May 19, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    I heard a rumor, and just a rumor, that Jimmy Ruberto might run again for mayor. I’d wouldn’t be surprised.

  31. John
    May 19, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    Bucky Lewis is the man!

  32. John
    May 19, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Dan didn’t sell out. He did a Conor Berry. Only difference he doesn’t need another job, he’s loaded.

  33. John
    May 19, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    This is my last post, not that anyone cares. Just wanted to say that Pittsfield has no leader when it comes to defusing anything that is not for the good of all the people. We will just never have inclusion for all. The pretenders will tell you there for the children and the little guy, don’t believe it. This Country needs jobs, or else. My last word, and tell the media to stop kicking around the first responders, there only human. That means you Valenti and Sturgeon. Enjoyed all your posts.

  34. John
    May 19, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    they’re, lol.. Thats that!

    • Joetaxpayer
      May 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

      From your post to gods ear!

  35. danvalenti
    May 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Of course, nothing of what was alleged by PB has an ounce of truth to it. Lies, lies, and more damned lied. Simple as that. None of it, zero, has truth. Thank you.