Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sound off.

As friends of mine keep approaching me and asking what’s going on with KRCL (i.e. that little radio station I’ve devoted the past 52 Thursday nights to, give or take a couple), I felt it only fair to get on the blog-horn and share some facts and thoughts, as jumbled as they appear to be.

For the still uninformed, you can read all the gritty City Weekly details by clicking HERE. The short version, however, is that there are lots of changes underway. Most significant, perhaps, is that the primetime volunteer DJs (those in the 6 AM to 6 PM slots) are being replaced with paid DJs. This will remove block programming from the station altogether, meaning staples like Breakfast Jam and Drive Time will become a thing of the past. There are reasons for the changes, largely resting in the facts that a) they’d like to increase their dwindling listeners significantly which could b) give the station much-needed funds to stay alive. When will it happen? Nothing has been quite set in stone yet, but I’d bank on late April or early May.

Many DJs have already jumped ship, I suppose as some way of expressing how they feel about being given the heave-ho. The Old Man and his bluegrass Sundays are gone, The Iceman and his grumbly voice on Monday mornings are a thing of the past and Alison of Wednesday’s Breakfast Jam? She’s said goodbye, too. I won’t lie … though I wasn’t an every show kind of listener, it’s been sad to see these people go. KRCL is, after all, the only local radio station I listen to (and not just because I’m a DJ on it, either).

I’m not a huge fan of change, but, then again, I’m not wholly opposed to it. If rocking the boat a little allows the station to flex its muscle some, I’m all for it. I’m excited to see what can become of the lil’ community radio station that could/can. If KRCL can become the thriving force that KEXP has become, for instance, it’ll be an amazing thing to witness and hopefully be a part of. That’s the volunteer DJ side of me.

On the other hand, then, the listener in me is experiencing all of the emotional turmoil that accompanies many of those I’ve already heard from. I don’t want to say goodbye to Dave M. on Thursdays—he is, for many reasons, the guy who made me want to start doing this, what, four years ago? Kristina on Tuesday mornings has kept me in bed long after my alarm’s gone off, simply because her shows are aural landscapes. I like to try and trick my subconscious into using the songs she comes up with as the soundtrack of my dreams. As for Wednesday Drive Time, Rene and Dawn regularly read my mind, playing my requests before I have to dial them on the phone. They play Ghostland Observatory—what’s not to love about that?

Whether or not I’ll get to keep my show is one of those uncertainties attached to this change. When it all shifts, I may or may not be attached to that. That’ll be sad, too, if that’s the way it all goes down. I love being the Rock Pilot. I love steering the Red Eye to new places each week. Finding new tunes, sharing the ones I reallyreally enjoy, cranking the music up and, should the situation call for it, dancing like a crazy person … that’s all part of it. I even get to get e-mails like this one sometimes: “Dude, let me first say that both my girlfriend and I LOVE listening to your tunes on Thursday nights. Each week we're always finding ourselves saying 'Yes, it's Thursday night—KRCL with Dainon!’” He told me he's started to have people over to his place on Thursdays just to listen to the radio. When people connect to what it is I’m doing—this mix tape for the masses—it just makes me try harder. Eh, I digress (and quite happily so … I could go on about for a long, long while).

If there’s anything I know—and for far too many reasons lately—it’s that we can count on the unexpected. We end up just having to pretend we’re comfortable with the uncomfortable until we actually become comfortable … then it happens again and again, and that cycle just keeps spinning and continuing. The only thing that doesn’t change is the fact things are always changing. I got one of those ridiculous forwarded e-mails the other day that had a moral to the story it told, something that has stuck with me for some reason or another. It read something to the effect of: “Life isn’t about weathering the storm, but learning to dance in the rain.” Man, that sounds hokey, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t ring true.

(For two of my favorite playlists I’ve ever done on the radio, just click HERE or HERE to see what happened the last two weeks. Because I like to share, that’s why.)

There goes the last DJ
Who plays what he wants to play
And says what he wants to say, hey hey hey ...

And there goes your freedom of choice
There goes the last human voice
There goes the last DJ

-Tom Petty, "The Last DJ"


upto12 said...

You're kinda breakin' my heart, D.

sorensenpower said...

Dainon, this is Dan.

I blog stalked you through Angie's blog, but tell me, do you know a lady named Tristin that works at KRCL? She's one of my professors at the U.

Dainon. said...

Aha. Yeah. She does the Afternoon Delight show on Saturdays. Ever heard it? Tune in ... sometime early afternoon. Maybe it'll win you some brownie points in class, yeah?

aisy said...

all i can express is...

thanks for this.

SJ said...

Both you and KCPW seem to be experiencing some upheaval. We do have quite an unusual bit of good public radio here, but it makes me wonder why both stations seem to be undergoing some change.

plainoldsarah said...

well written little essay -informative and inspiring. here's to the rain dance!

pr0le said...

Great playlists. And to think I've never tuned in to your show... I'm always in bed by then.

I'm still very ambivalent about the whole KRCL change. I'm waiting until the change to make my decision.

cachedout said...

But from the ashes of KRCL is rising a very interesting project: