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miércoles, febrero 02, 2011

Storm Central?

There's one thing I haven't heard lately. "Well, when I was a kid, the winter was much worse than this." It's not that nobody's saying that. No. It's that it's impossible to get out, and there's nobody here who would dare to say that aloud. Especially with the Internet. You could look it up and find out that it wasn't really any different. Or you could not look it up and instead spend a few hours testily arguing about it. Arguing is more in line with the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), cabin fever, grumpiness, and that exquisite soreness that comes from shoveling snow. Arguing is an inevitable indoor Winter activity.

Hopefully the storms that have turned Columbia County, New York into a pale model of the Northwest Territories will end tonight.

Meanwhile, there is an element of the surreal to be noted in passing. WAMC, the public radio station, started a fund raiser on Monday. Because it has zillions of transmitters all over this part of the world, and because there's virtually no public money for public radio, they're trying to raise $1 Million. One Million Dollars. Reminds me of Mini Me. This is a lot of money. And they have their tactics for raising it. The result is that the listener doesn't know when they will play the news or the weather. You tune in, thinking you'll hear about what you want to know about, the storm or about Egypt. Instead, you're treated to a feast of passive aggressive obnoxiousness designed to make you pay up or turn the radio off: yodeling yesterday, today the gong from Law and Order is rung after each and every donation is announced. Pardon me. I gave money to the station yesterday. But I cannot listen to this any more.

Ironically, to keep the station on the air so that it could report events for which radio is helpful, like terrible weather, like rapidly unfolding world events in Egypt and the like, I have to listen to incessant yodeling and the gong. It is not avoidable. Nobody is telling what the schedule is, nobody reveals when there will be a program instead of the fund raiser, so I find myself hoping beyond hope that there will be a break from the fund raising sturm and drang to bring that most precious commodity, information. Alas. I cannot listen and wait. Last night, I listened to this nonsense for more than forty minutes, only to have the break be financial news. Not Egypt. Not the storm. Do not ask me why I let it go on for that long. It's winter. I made bad decisions. Shoot me, please.

Back on November 6, 2010, I complained about this. I wasn't charitable:

We do have a public radio station to keep us company. But it seems to have only two programs. Prairie Home Companion, which it seems to play on a loop throughout the weekend, and Fundraising, which plays during the week. The station tries to raise $800,000 per fund drive. That is a huge amount of money. And there’s also commentary. Unfortunately, it seems there is only one commentator. And he’s on all the time, expressing his opinion or raising money or both. My opinion? Let me try to remember the last time any sane person asked for that. It seems the radio station has decided to have millions of transmitters and only 3 programs. This is a recipe for seasonal insanity, if not depression.

All right. I want to amend my remarks. At the time I wrote them, I admit they seemed unnecessarily grumpy. As fate would have it, they weren't. Not at all. The station is now locked in what I think is will turn into a perpetual fund raiser. And it is impossible to listen to the station. This will continue until the Equinox. Or longer. Or forever.

My radio is off. It may stay off. I'm getting information about Egypt from Al Jazeera's live stream and the weather from the weather sites. This could be habit forming, because it is so incredibly easy. I suspect that WAMC, which has been an asset to this community for so long, because of the timing and amount of this particular fund drive, may have consigned itself to history. Like those big snow storms nobody around here is talking about.

Its only hope is that eventually we'll be able to drive again. WAMC, if it's saved at all, will be rescued by car radios.

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Blogger Victor Mendolia said...

The good news is that WGXC will go on the air on 90.7-FM Sat. Feb. 26 in Columbia and Greene Counties. A true Community Radio Station.

12:03 p.m.  

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