• I love opera, bluegrass, burger joints and fictional detectives. Mostly, but not always, in that order. Formerly of Dunedin, formerly of Sydney, now travelling the world with the tenor in my life (Stuart Skelton) and blogging as I go.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2005


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The only reason we still have our classical station here in Seattle is because the woman who owned it stipulated in her will that it remain so. Her daughters created a company called Beethoven Inc. and donated the station to it for the purpose of raising money for the Seattle Opera and Symphony etc. Sounds good on paper right? Well I hardly ever listen anymore (except for Met Broadcasts which might disappear on their own) because when you flip on the dial instead of hearing Mozart or Beethoven you hear commercials. Singing commercials, shouting commercials, screaming commercials ad nauseum. Listeners would be glad to patronize the advertisers if they did low-key commercials (like they used to do) that didn't drop-kick that nice sonata you just heard through the living room wall. They have to squeeze out every last penny and to make things worse the programming is strictly vanilla and rarely do you hear a human voice, either solo or in a choir.
But it's not just a classical problem here in the states. The local Rock or Pop station geared towards it's specific community is basically a thing of the past. (we're lucky here, Paul Allen (Microsoft) bought the local indie college station to keep it afloat) Almost all of them across the nation have been swallowed up by the mega broadcasting conglomerates and computerized and sterilized with playlists etc. They'll even blacklist you if they don't like your politics (see Dixie Chicks). Due to public awareness, outrage and petitioning the FCC was recently thwarted in it's attempt to give the mega-corps even more power so they've dropped it for a while. But they'll be back. Perhaps America has had it's day (all the exiles washing up on NZ's shores seem to think so) the rapacious greed that made us powerful is no longer kept in check by any sense of community or whatever it was responsibilty and we are frantically devouring our own. I wish you hadn't mentioned my favorite singer performed at the Son Of Satan's inauguratation, she'll never sound the same to me again. By the time his cronies finish looting the past present and future we'll all be working for the Chinese who will one day call in the loans that keep us afloat. I've heard some of their opera but it's not quite the same.


Lord, it just gets worse, doesn't it?
I can't imagine what it must be like to have commercials in the midst of classical music, even low-key ones. As for what you're describing, well - my sympathies.
But let's go with forgiveness to Susan - I like to think her appearance had more to do with manners (don't say no to the President) than politics. Or at least I hope so!

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