The local public radio station here – in concert with all the other public radio stations across this blessed land of ours – is having their fall pledge drive this week. And I am defiantly not pledging to support. I am willfully and maliciously denying them my dollars and support, in spite of all their blandishments and incessant, unrelenting guilt trips. This, in spite of the fact that I worked part-time for the classical music side of that enterprise some decades past, before all the part-time announcers were let go. I thought for weeks that it was only me, that my announcing work was unsat. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if that was the reason, as I had gone very rote and mechanical over announcing the name of the piece of music up next, the composer and performing orchestra or soloist, and throwing in a bit of relevant information about the piece. No, it wasn’t me, as I later found out; they left all the other part-time shift announcers go – the girl who worked during the week at an animal shelter, the woman who was a mainstay of the local little theater group, the guy who was a full-time writer for various little local publications. All of us were served notice; a kind of Friday Night employment massacre.
It was a positive relief not to have to drive across San Antonio in a wonky car, in time to make it to the Saturday afternoon shift, although I did miss sometimes … well, no, I don’t miss anything. Except for the paycheck for a shift of work that I could have done in my sleep, a tour of duty in a high-rise building with a magnificent view – that bit was nice. As it eventually turned out, though, I could get along very well without it. The station came into a bomb of money, and wanted to go into covering local news, rather than paying live bodies to play classical recordings at night and over the weekends. They preferred to take the classical feed from Minnesota Public Radio. I guess that it worked out cheaper in the long run.
When did my serious disenchantment begin to flower? Probably sometime after 9-11, and that was with the Morning Edition – All Things Considered side of the NPR house. I just didn’t feel it anymore. Prairie Home Companion, as hosted by Garrison Keillor, just got more and more out of tune with genuine fly-over-country Americans as it went on. Garrison Keillor became more vicious, hateful, and obnoxious, which was really a pity, as he had put on a good act there, for decades – of affection for small-town America. All that went by the board – I bailed from Prairie Home Companion and never went back. I think that I stopped listening to public news radio a couple of months into Barack Obama’s turn in the White House. The slobbering full-frontal worship of the Wonder Black Prince of Chicago was just too much to bear. The final nail in the coffin of my affection for NPR came with the rise and subsequent deliberate media murder of the Tea Party. Our local chapter was formed of as earnest, well-educated, engaged and publicly responsible a group of citizens as could be found anywhere – and yet the national media, to include NPR routinely sneered at and slandered Tea Party organizations as gatherings of stupid, uneducated, bigoted hicks.
My affection for the classical music side of our local public radio has also thinned out considerably over the last year, as those who programmed the daily feed of classical selections went all out for gay pride, women’s history and black history months with effusive commentary and frequent selections of certain composers. It seems now that black history month has lasted for a whole year, and with announcers pounding incessantly on the merits of composers like Florence Price, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, the Chevalier St. George, and William Grant Still. Since Florence Price was black and also a woman, I swear we got a double ration of Dances in the Canebrakes. Look, all the above were perfectly acceptable as composers of listenable classical music, but constantly replaying their compositions at the expense of the whole realm of other classical composers and musicians? Persistent wokery reaches its slimy tentacles into every single refuge that there is over the last few years. Comment as you wish.