Archive for the ‘other news’ Category

Our A has left us

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Before each performance Bill Bennett sounded the A to which the San Francisco Symphony tuned. He was an incomparable oboist, with a range of dynamics and shading beyond any I, at least, have ever heard; but he was also an incomparable man. He was a treasured guest DJ on classics without walls several times; he was warm, witty, passionate about music and about radio, exceptionally articulate, and possessed of a graceful, easy delivery I envied – not to mention his charismatic good looks. It was a privilege to hear him making music for the last three decades, and even more of one to get to know him even a little; but to know who Bill was, one had only to watch him interacting with his colleagues on the Davies stage, and see the depth of love and esteem they so clearly held for him. As my wife put it, it’s hard to imagine another loss that could so rip the heart out of our orchestra. The San Francisco Symphony truly has been tuning itself to Bill Bennett these many years, and it is heartbreaking to lose him so young.

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent radio station?”

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

As you probably know by now, at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18, as the result of a complex transaction with even more complex backstories, the University of San Francisco abruptly and permanently shut down KUSF-FM, which had been in continuous operation as a community service since 1977.

It is too soon to speak definitively about future broadcasts, whether on the University’s planned web stream or elsewhere; but all other classics without walls projects will of course continue, including (“as soon as it’s ready”) the new version of the Gurre-Lieder Project (bringing to bear upon the translation the original Danish of J. P. Jacobsen for the first time in English), liturgical experiments at Loper Chapel in Berkeley, and, as always, anything our disjointed minds can dream up in the service of pointing toward the substantial reality of music-making.

This site, which has lain unupdated since three weeks before forever (for a long time pending the new official KUSF site that never quite came about), will carry whatever news is essential; if you wish to receive mail updates, just drop me a line at m t h e o   a t   a m u r a l   d o t   c o m .

In the meantime, I heartily recommend stopping by the KUSF Archives site for several reasons:

  • it is the central site for the rapidly developing news about KUSF
  • KUSF DJs are already posting their new programming, even in advance of the university’s planned streaming
  • you can listen to thousands of hours of archived KUSF programs (including, of course, classics without walls)

Fixed at last, fixed at last, thank . . .

Monday, September 21st, 2009

With a huge backlog of playlists accumulated while the posting mechanism was broken (several months now), it may be a while before we’re current. We may go ahead and install a completely new site in the hope of preventing a recurrence (or, as 99% of the populace now apparently believe is the word, “reoccurrence”). Don’t let it throw you! For now, though, we’re in catch-up mode.

Read it and weep

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Eric Felten has a splendid piece on the abhorrent farce of an “all-star quartet” going through the motions at the inauguration last month. I find it pretty dang hard to maintain any respect for these eminent folks, but my distress isn’t going to make a dent in the cash that just keeps rolling in.

Now available at…

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Classics without walls has joined the estimable roster of programs archived at the estimable Whether the show itself is estimable is known only to you. Check out the variety of KUSF New Music programming as well as a sampling of cultural shows, all characterized by a high degree of nift.

Delays, delays . . .

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Sorry about the backed-up playlists and podcasts, folks. We’re working on clearing the backlog and hope to be back up to date soon. They don’t call me the Phineas Gage of Bay Area classical radio for nothing.

Meanwhile, for those keeping score at home, it’s the third Monday of the month, meaning it’s Renée’s solo show tonight. Tune in for what is usually the most coherent broadcast of the month . . . .

subscribe to the Q review

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

the Q review is now available as an RSS feed to which you can subscribe. If you’re already familiar with RSS, you know that a feed subscription — in your browser, your mail program, or a program created specifically for RSS — will keep an eye out for Ken’s reviews and fetch them for you whenever a new one appears. And if you weren’t already familiar with RSS, well, now you are — and Google Reader is one easy way to get started.

subscribe to Q review feed « subscribe!

You also have options to subscribe to our playlists, to the podcasts, or to the whole classics without walls site over there in the “subscribe” section on the right.

Congratulations, Ben Fong-Torres . . .

Monday, February 12th, 2007

. . . for being the first reporter in the entire Chronicle organization actually to report on the Bonneville/Entercom trade. Three and a half weeks late, and in a special-interest section of the entertainment throwaway, but at least it’s actual reportage. Apart, that is, from its merely repeating what the gossip column already “broke” with a couple of added facts and quotes thrown in.

Garchik noted that “Entercom’s top guy plays violin and is said to be classically minded” (emphasis mine), while Fong-Torres quotes Bill Lueth thus: “I hear that the founder of Entercom is an arts lover” (ditto). I guess hearsay is as good as news. I suppose we could wait around for someone at the Chron to pick up the phone and do some actual reporting about this mysterious fiddler, but methinks it will be a long wait.

My, but this is wearisome. Thank God I’m not a reporter; I wouldn’t know what to do with all that spare time.

By the way, I hear that KDFC has begun to acknowledge the station’s sale on the air. Thank God I’m not a reporter, or I’d have to ascertain this by way of some extended listening. <shudder>

Oh, and News Flash: Bill Lueth also sez “This could mean the end [sic] of classical music radio [sic] in San Francisco.” One can only hope.

Great work, Chron!

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Three weeks of non-coverage and counting . . .

thumbnail image of empty search results for 'Bonneville' on 2007-02-08

Extry, extry! Chronicle staggers in at last!

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Well, well. Twelve days after the fact the Chron has finally reported — after a fashion — on the Bonneville/Entercom story, the absence of which from Bay Area reportage has so perplexed us. The splendid Leah Garchik has a small item about KDFC today (01-31, p. E8 in the print edition, on line here, down toward the bottom — God forbid the Chron should have to go to the effort of tagging individual items). Curiously, it lacks any reference to the seller, or to the other two stations being traded away. Still, Ms Garchik gets the Tin Star with Choking-Doberman Cluster for being the first to break the Chron’s silence on this story.

Kinda reminds one (one of a certain age, at least) of the days when the real news would show up as an aside in Caen’s column. Ms Garchik’s column is the closest the Chron can muster to a regular Caen-style “gossip” — a highly inadequate term for what the brilliant but astonishingly nasty Caen actually practiced, by the way — feature; its preoccupation with those most boring of creatures, local politicos and the class of hangers-on who have replaced “socialites,” is no fault of Ms Garchik’s, but of the town she has to cover. And it features the brilliant “Public eavesdropping” item, which resurrects the premise of Stan Mack’s Real Life Funnies (“Guarantee: All Dialogue Is Reported Verbatim”) with the additional virtues of concision and community participation.

At any rate, I prefer to assume that she found the story herself; I’d hate to think the editors (finally tipped off by a certain letter, perhaps?) are using her as cover for their own lousy performance on this one. So congratulations, Leah Garchik — coverage at last!

SF Chronicle in full jackass mode

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Well, at first it seemed like fun just waiting around to see how long it would take for our clue-crippled local rag to lift its slumbering head and groggily mention a major radio deal affecting (a) the #2 station in its “market” and (b) the #9 station, which also happens to be the top-rated “classical” station in the country. But as the days wear on, it becomes drearily apparent that this is simply going to become a tale not told by an idiot — or any idiot in town, it would seem — and it’s less & less fun, and ever more an exercise in open-mouthed astonishment.

Yes indeed, as of this writing, fully six days after it was announced, you may search the on-line presence of not only the Chron, but the Examiner, the Oakland Trib, and the local tabloids as well, for any hint of the swap that sends the unspeakable KDFC from the Mormons into the hands of Entercom — in the very same week that the latter was all over the news as owners of a not-quite-as-inadvertently-homicidal-as-they-might-wish Sacramento station. Is there any satisfaction in what amounts to scooping the entire local “news” apparatus? Hardly, unless one counts vertigo, nausea, and brain freeze as forms of satisfaction.

So for those who haven’t been paying attention because they assume the crack reporting teams at their local papers can be trusted to do it for them, note that Bonneville is trading two San Francisco giants of aural anaesthesia, #2 KOIT and #9 KDFC, and a minor-leaguer, #20-or-thereabouts KMAX, for three big Seattle stations and four in Cincinnati.

I guess it shows that KDFC has been more effective than anyone suspected, since it seems to have succeeded in rendering the entire San Francisco media establishment comatose. Oh well — I guess death by a steady diet of numbingly third-rate sewing-machine music and smarmy condescension is less painful than death by water.

UPDATE Saturday 01-27: Nine days and counting.

Apply [palm] directly to the forehead

Friday, October 20th, 2006

I rarely comment on stuff like this, but if you thought the brazen exploitation in Chevy’s “our country” truck ads was shameless, brace yourself for the polyphonic-Amen “IE7 is here” radio ads from Microsoft. Don’t bother asking “how do these people sleep at night?” — or “look at themselves in the mirror,” or any of the other figures traditionally spoken by those who retain the ability to be astonished at the depths to which human beings can sink. Quite easily they sleep, you can be sure. These are The Hollow Men, the whisper of whose dried voices are indeed as

rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Tower falls; codswallop analysis prevails

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

In 1967 it was worth the hassle of a long Greyhound ride to San Francisco and an interminable Muni ride to Columbus & Bay if you were 14 and stuck in Redwood City. Right from its opening the bins at Tower Records had LPs for $2.99, but more important, they held unparalleled depth — especially if you were a classical nerd discovering R & B. Tower lasted 46 years; not bad.

But please, could we have common sense enough not to swallow the hogwash about how da innernet and da ipods and da big box stores done put Tower in the grave? A chorus of stories peddled the same nonsense about Cody’s a couple of months ago, ignoring the blindingly obvious: Cody’s is surviving on Fourth Street and in SF — the Telegraph store was done in by my hometown’s abject inability to deal with reality. The city’s ideological rigidity won’t let it lift more than a cursory pinky to help see that people might actually be able to get into and out of the Telegraph neighborhood quickly and safely, and in Cody’s itself the same sclerosis — as apparent on the shelves as on the surrounding sidewalks — didn’t help. As contributing factors, ecommerce and Wal-Mart probably rank well below the dollar price of gas and the psychic price of relentless assault.

If Tower had paid just a little more attention to reality, and while doing so paused opening up new stores long enough to revise the existing ones, they might have avoided succumbing — not to the net, but to little Amoeba.