, Salem, MA

May 13, 2013

Letter: Fox should have paid for 'Idol' parade

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I’ve never watched an episode of “American Idol,” but like many people, I got caught up in the excitement of Beverly native Angie Miller making the finals of the talent show, and showed up with thousands of others for the parade and concert last Saturday. It was great to see such an outpouring of enthusiasm for our city.

However, I was upset to read that the city of Beverly had to foot the bill for the parade and concert costs — more than $30,000 for concert setup and overtime for police and firefighters. The Fox television network makes millions in profits from “American Idol”; Fox flew Miller to Boston on a private jet. But when it came to putting on the concert, Fox extorted from Beverly, and apparently from the hometowns of the other finalists, the cost of the spectacle, portions of which were broadcast on Fox this week. Fox owned the event, but Beverly paid.

Fox is in the wrong here, but so is Mayor Scanlon, who said the costs were justified because of all the great publicity. But besides instilling Beverly residents with a great sense of pride, Angie Miller is not going to fundamentally change the economic conditions of the city. And little or no money was made by local businesses the day of the event because local merchants were not allowed on the Beverly High School grounds, prohibited by the Fox crew.

I hope Scanlon tried to at least split the cost with Fox. Now, he should make it a priority to recoup the expenses and return the money to the taxpayers of Beverly. That would be a better form of community service.

Scot Petersen