Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?
Our buddy Joshua remembers it, because up until a couple days ago, he was a DJ on beloved local terrestrial radio station KUSF. Presumably he will someday be a DJ on beloved internet radio station KUSF.org, but c’mon, that’s nowhere near as romantic. Below, Joshua shares his thoughts on this week’s troubling events:
I woke up the day KUSF was pulled off the air to a frantic phone call
from a fellow KUSF DJ named Michelle. First thing I hear her say is
they knocked off Howard (DJ Schmeejay) while he was on the air & then
changed the locks on the doors to the station. I ask Michelle where
she was, to take a breath & go a little slower. She says that
transmitter is gone, sold by the school & none of the DJ’s are being
let back inside the building.
Looking back now it seems like a parody of itself, the last bastion of
rock n roll radio being turned into some nightmare dentist’s wet
dream, the fruition of our labors given way to a classical music
station. The phone call launched me out of bed into a mad rush in
search of answers. My e-mail had overflowed, emotions bursting through
each sentence, letters of anguish, disgust, confusion, condolence.
Sifting through the electronic ashes I discover that the deal had been
made behind closed doors, non-disclosure acts were signed to prevent a
public backlash, yet press releases were sent out ahead of time.
Before anyone I worked with even knew our radio station was being shut
down, the media was finalizing stories about it.
So what then? What could I do, there was still more e-mail to read
through, more calls to make & return. Already two of my fellow DJ’s
were on the case, stampeding through the campus, demanding
explanations and some sort of justification for abandoning the
community. Their questions were rebuffed and I can only speculate as
to what the true cause of any of this is. Money gets talked about a
lot and I don’t know where the truth ends and opinions begin. I do
know that the people who were the heart of the station will remain
active throughout the city’s social scene & that there will always be
room in this town for the dedicated and passionate.
I listened to DJ Schmeejay’s show on the KUSF archives, the last show
to be broadcast on 90.3 FM. A more than fitting though somber way to
put an end to the beast, taken by surprise at its finest hour. The
very moment when the music turns to static resonates oddly in my mind,
I ask myself if I had seen this coming. I don’t mean to say I question
why this happened, this is the story I’ve seen happen so many times
throughout music’s history, be assured those that must will continue
There is one thing that the other DJ’s keep saying to each other that
I’m intrigued by, that we’re all going to have to stick together.
Knowing how much time and effort goes into keeping strong one of the
pillars of the bay area’s music & cultural scene, I don’t know exactly
what the effects of the loss could be. It could be considered a shame
the way they pulled KUSF off the air but I think it could also maybe
get people’s attention about the current state of music in general.
There’s enough people out there that’d like to see something done —
figuring out how to do it in a way that best suits the needs of the
community will be the next step.
My attention’s got. What’s next?
Join Save KUSF if you like.
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