Tuesday, April 05, 2016


"Evolution" is what they are calling it. They are not me. I wouldn't call it that. I had been pleased and happy with my little toe, and my appendix, even as I have been told that these are vestiges of a previous being. That wasn't the kind of evolution to which they were referring. They weren't talking about body parts that were no longer explicitly necessary. They were talking about my radio station. The one I have listened to since I moved to the Bay Area. The one that had the news guy from Boulder. The one that sounded like where I came from. The one that sounded like home: KFOG.
The news came to me on the first of April, so I was initially skeptical. I was ready to chalk it up to a somewhat clever prank on behalf of the fools on the radio. The folks back in Boulder, many years ago, had perpetrated a ruse of this sort back in 1987, called "Intervention Day." I happened to tune into that radio event not only while it was underway, but also as I was coming back down from a particularly confounding bout with mind-altering substances. The radio told me it was 2027, and the celebration of Intervention Day had already begun. It took me an hour or more to figure out that I was listening to a very amusing production created by the music director and that news guy. I was relieved and entertained to have been taken in by such a funny manipulation of time and space. And sound.
Here, just eleven years away from the pranked date of that broadcast so long ago, it turns out that KFOG was serious about their "Evolution." They had fired their on-air staff and were gong into DJ-free hibernation of sorts, playing a rough facsimile of the format that had been in place before the April First purge. Only it was free of all that annoying between-song-human interaction that had once made the whole experience feel so much more - human. New Sound Meister Bryan Shock, whose name I would not make up on a dare, has cleaned house, because it seems that radio is a business. Keeping me pleased as a listener turns out to be one of the least of corporate America's concerns. Selling advertising is the reason for all those songs to be played, and those mildly human interactions between them. This wasn't FM, or WKRP. This was business, and KFOG DJs weren't going to stage any sort of insurrection or intervention. They were going to pack their bags and looking for work at other stations where humans and their connection to the music they play is still valued. Wherever or whenever that might be.

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