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Another Light Goes Out In The World (A Rant) October 16, 2007

Posted by Jim Berkin in Art, Music.
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One of the last remaining commercial radio stations devoted to classical music, Los Angeles’ KMZT, is switching over to talk-radio format as of October 29.

The station used to be broadcast in FM stereo at 105.1, but then switched formats with a country music station the same company owned at AM 1260. Since people weren’t listening to classical in AM mono, the ratings declined even further.

Music history and music appreciation are not taught in elementary or high schools, since it takes away too much time from teaching directly to district-required your-budget-will-be-based-on-this standardized testing & politically correct indoctrinating BULLSHIT. Art history, the most important subject for connecting the various parts of the humanities together, isn’t taught either. Neither is any way of getting students to critically think about such things and tie them together, oh, the way people in the REAL WORLD ACTUALLY DO WITH CULTURE ON A DAILY BASIS.

How many standardized multiple choice tests have YOU taken since school? I thought so.

Therefore, non-school cultural institutions like libraries, museums, art galleries, symphonies and radio stations that play stuff other than what is commercially viable for the mass market (as opposed to servable niche markets) are absolutely necessary to make our society WORTH LIVING IN. So when yet another little light of a classical music station – one that provided ME with much of my interest in the subject and sparked me along on discovering my love of varied composers, periods and styles – turns out its light to become another uncecessary middle-of-the-road nondescript talk outlet for the mush-mouthed twaddle of Larry King & Michael Jackson, it ought to be a capital offense.

The only broadcast radio stations playing classical these days are NPR stations, and lately they’ve been squeezing down the time for music and filling it up with more talk ‘n’ chat ‘n’ news shows that stroke the supposed sophistication and preening self-esteem of the latte drinkin’ Nation readin’ Volvo drivin’ set that listen to them.

That’s right, when stuff like this happens, I HATE EVERYBODY!

Well, not YOU, since you’re reading this. You’re my hero! Click on the links I give you, leave a comment, send money, etc. I also like kitties!

I also like the shrinking list of people out there keeping the kinds of institutions I mentioned above alive. In fact, I like them A LOT. So let me acknowledge a few and try to be a little more positive:

So thank you, KUSC, for playing music 24/7! There should be more like you! Hey, look! There are!

Thank you to the people who maintain websites like this one that feature a wealth of information, links, reviews, and all sorts of things to take over your soul and move it forward.

Thank you, Michael Tilson Thomas, for devoting your talented self to this.

I just came across this article, and it gives me hope.

There should be more classical streams online as well! ANYTHING to get more people to listen to stuff worth listening to, ANYTHING for kids to find online instead of listening to the same pre-packaged corporate pablum CRAP that fills the airwaves.

Bah.

In short, I should be King. I will expand on more reasons for this as I continue to write here (there are so many, after all.) In the meantime, I think I will have to listen to some Beethoven or Mozart to be reminded of what sorts of GOOD things human beings are capable of. Isn’t that one of the biggest favors art does for us?

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1. katkmeanders - October 16, 2007

It saddens me to think that there are people growing up unable to appreciate classical (and traditional) music. I just recently recommended Mozart to a mother whose son was diagnosed ADD. I told her playing classical music (especially Mozart) will help him focus while doing homework. But more than that. Being able to appreciate classical and traditional music helps us be able to enjoy modern music more fully as well. Listening to well played, well composed music trains our ears, and helps us enjoy *ALL* music. I mean music traditions from various world cultures, (some more easy to love than others) like Joiking, Bagpipes, Irish, Kichwa flutes and wind instruments mingled in with guitar, and too many other ancient traditions to name. I’m doing what I can to broaden horizens, I play different music for family and friends, and I make blog posts about different kinds of music, trying to get people to listen. I’m “omnivorous” in my musical tastes, I like many, many kinds of music.

Do a search for atahualpa-music.com to pull up a site by a band that mixes ancient traditions and modern styles, they are actually Kichwa/Incans. Also, check out Martyn Bennett’s official site, if you are so inclined. He was quite the musician, I’m really fond of his rendition of McCrimmon’s Lament in the video section of his site.

2. Jim Berkin - October 17, 2007

You’re right when you point out how too many people pigeon-hole their musical tastes (and their ear) and put themselves into the convenient boxes that corporate radio & the music biz can more easily market to. I’d like to believe that the internet & its continued growth will make it easier for anyone, anywhere to explore more variety, but a lot of the ability to make those explorations depends on having some sort of educational basis to begin with, and fewer and fewer people are getting that.

I like your blog too! πŸ™‚

3. waltzingaustralia - October 17, 2007

Chicago is down to one remaining classical station — but at least we have one (not NPR). Sorry to hear that LA is without. I’d like to think it’s because more people are buying the CDs, but I realize that’s unlikely. Still, there is a good classical station on the iTunes site.

Thanks for the great links to MTT and classics.net — I’ve bookmarked them.

I do agree that it’s tragic that so little music is taught in schools. Of course, since I write history books, I’m also pretty frightened about that diminishing in importance in schools. Sigh. I guess all we can do is teach what we can to those we encounter and feel sorry for the rest.

4. Jim Berkin - October 17, 2007

Well, the KUSC signal is pretty strong, and another college based NPR outlet, KCSN, also plays classical during the day. But the format is certainly (and sadly) a vanishing breed. I liked KMZT since they played a lot of baroque-era material which KUSC tends away from. Maybe classical radio is still alive in Chicago since you have such a great symphony there.

As an aside, I was reading through your blog, by the way, since I’m always interested in who is reading mine, and WOW! I had NO idea they grew tea in Australia!!! I thought it all came from China, India & Sri Lanka, at least the stuff I find to fill the teapot with.

5. waltzingaustralia - October 18, 2007

Yep — tea — and rice is another surprise — Australia is a major rice exporter. And Africa grows some very fine tea, too.

It does help having the Chicago Symphony, plus the Lyric Opera — and Ravinia, the outdoor summer venue for the symphony and others.

However, for areas without local radio stations, do you have iTunes? There are a couple dozen classical radio stations available via the iTunes radio link. So we may be diminishing in numbers — or at least in numbers that are willing to send in our $50 to support our local classical stations — but there is still clearly a demand for classical music — and a place we can get it. (Of course, listening on one’s computer is not ideal, but there are pretty decent speakers one can attach.)

6. Jim Berkin - October 18, 2007

Yep, as a Mac person I have iTunes and enjoy the numerous & varied music radio streams therein. I think that might be the future for all sorts of alternative formats, like jazz and non-commercial-and-wonderful rock music. Maybe I’ll put together a big post on that or combine it with a post I’m working on dealing with some smaller record labels.

So much to do, so little time…. πŸ˜‰

7. katkmeanders - October 18, 2007

I’m doubly saddened to hear NPR is slowly folding in on itself, I grew up with that playing in the house. Fiona Richie’s The Thistle and the Shamrock every Sunday, Karl (cannot recall his last name but he had a deep, rich, resonant voice) and his classical music selections, and the Space Music. I wasn’t so fond of the Organ Music program though. NPR does other services as well, for example their coverage of World news topics like Chernobyl.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5355810

It isn’t only the music, they provided another vital service to the public. We still very much need both NPR and PBS, and I wish more people recognized this fact.

8. katkmeanders - October 18, 2007

Ack, I think the spam filter caught my comment! I put a link in it to an NPR story on Chernobyl, and it isn’t showing up to me. Usually they will show up to the person who made the comment, but no one else until the blog owner approves the comment. I hope you retrive the comment in time. *sheepish*

9. Jim Berkin - October 18, 2007

I like the Saturday afternoon cooking shows on PBS more than most of the fare on Food Network these days, and they also run wonderful history documentaries, Live From Lincoln Center, etc.

I guess links set off the spam filter, but now I learned how to edit comments a little better on this thing.

I still get links to my posts from other websites turning up as spam comments, however, and I have NO idea how to fix this.

10. katkmeanders - October 18, 2007

I dunno. There is a problem currently with the spam filter, and it not acting as it should. Maybe your question would be answered in the forums? (On your dashboard, scroll down and you will see a link to the forums. Only saying how to find it because I wasn’t sure at first myself.)


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