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KDFC is a Bay Area based classical music station which aired on the 102.1 frequency beginning in the the 1940s.  Imagine my shock a couple of weeks ago as I drove to the Bay Area.  Usually by the time I reach Cloverdale I can get the station, but I had to check my dial several times as some run-of-the-mill classic rock came through out speakers.  We thought maybe something was wrong with the tuner, but we couldn’t find the classical music we expected anywhere nearby on the dial.  Had they gone under?  A decade ago KJAZ, the last commercial jazz station in the country, went under because there was simply not enough interest.  Maybe classical music faces the same fate.

Or maybe the people who appreciate classical music don’t appreciate commercials – especially not anti-gay commercials or class war campaign ads calling for an end to welfare.  According to Wikipedia, the station has angered progressives on several occasions, and obviously the ownership did not understand the demographics of its listenership.

I hadn’t known about the controversies, or maybe my disappointment at the apparent demise of the station would have been a bit more tempered.  On the other hand, KDFC is sort of the official station for the SF Symphony and Opera, and I’ve enjoyed its unique classical programming since I was a child.

As it turns out, the station was bought out by the University of Southern California, which has converted it into a public station.  They purchased the 90.3 KUSF frequency (the death of KUSF is unfortunate – especially for a high school friend of mine who has been a jockey there for years) and several other frequencies as well.

In fact, they have transmitters in Ukiah (92.5) and Eureka (89.7 – apparently displacing “The Candle” which had Christian programming).  So basically, now Humboldt County can hear classical music at any time on the clock, although I’ll still be listening to the great classical programs on KMUD, KHSU, and Jefferson Radio.  But I’ll also enjoy listening to a little piece of my childhood which has followed me up here.

All of these changes just took place in January.  I hope it all holds together.

And yes, here come the baby boomer equity refugees!

Addendum: Indeed, at least according to this report, KDFC was until January the last commercial classical station in the country.


Another guest piece from Bruce Brady.

Finally, at a few minutes before midnight, we were ready to get on the road.  Idling along the side road by Kevin’s place in Laytonville, the bus – an old Gillig once owned by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Garberville, but now passing to Kevin – had been gutted except for the seat right by the front door; that was where I spent most of my time on the way to New Orleans, Golden Meadow, actually.  Kevin, who’d organized the trip, had staked-out a cot he’d rigged right behind that would always be ready when the driver needed sleep; Coco had a space right across what used to be the aisle, right in front of the load; Ray had made a cozy place on top of the two-by-fours and the boxes of nails and the pier-blocks, alongside the windows in back; Dave was the first driver, who’d get us to LA.

Near midnight as it was, the time seemed somehow ceremonial.  The five of us out there in the dust beside the road spoke our awkward goodbyes to the three or four wives and girlfriends there to see us off.  All of them, I think, were there either with Kevin or with Ray.  One of the women was burning sage, a blessing.  We joined hands and asked that our journey be favored.  We all made eye-contact.  Those of us going to Golden Meadow climbed into the bus and got as comfortable as we could, and the bus finally pulled out onto the road, shifting heavily.  Our contribution to relief following Katrina, we were on our way to build a radio station.

Exactly forty-five years before, conceivably even to the hour, Jim and Bob munched their hamburgers and slurped their shakes and tried to keep the fries off the floor of my dad’s ’57 Plymouth as we drove around more-or-less aimlessly on a hot summer night in the Sacramento suburbs.  Brother Bill was on KXOA and boundful rebellion saturated the air like adolescent musk.  With no forethought whatsoever, so far as I can recall, we soon pulled into KXOA’s gravel lot.  I knew right where it was because it was close by and I passed it whenever I’d drive my mother to work; she was the head telephone operator at the El Dorado Hotel, at the end of the access road past the station.  It seemed sort of mysterious, and it seemed somehow very cool out there beside the freeway.  Its tower loomed impressively high, right behind the low slung, cinder block building.  It was spooky, I remember, the way its red light blinked so slowly and so silently, way, way up there at the top and yet so close, somehow.

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Apparently the Governor has to be in office for a year before he can be recalled, however, there are several Republican State Senators who meet that requirement.  The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America are floating the idea in robocalls.  Here’s an example.

The evidence is mounting.


March 2011
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