April 2007

By - Apr 1st, 2007 02:52 pm

Thoughts on “Low Numbers”
Your “Strength In Low Numbers” [Covered, March 2007] piece was a good read, one of the more comprehensive looks at WYMS that has appeared in the local press. I started working there in late 1981, and saw my 21-year career end rather unceremoniously in April, 2004. In between I hosted talk shows and jazz programs, provided commentary for Spelling Bee broadcasts, built an absolutely one-of-a-kind jazz library from scratch, suffered through agonizing fundraisers (or Begathons, as the staff referred to them privately), watched on-air technology change from turntables to CDs, endured countless summer weekends when the heat and humidity in the studios was so bad the equipment would sweat (they turned the AC off on Friday afternoons…), and took out the trash when necessary.

I also had the privilege of serving a unique audience that was fanatically devoted to jazz, and that made it all worth while. But the 88.9 radio torch has been passed, and time will tell if RFM’s grand experiment succeeds or fails. Thanks to your article, I now know more about what that experiment entails than I ever did before. Thank you for writing it.

Bill Bruckner
Former WYMS Music Director

In your latest issue, your “Left of the Dial in Milwaukee” states MPS could no longer afford to support the station. What is little known is that when WYMS went to pre-programmed JAZZ, all donations dried up, and MPS ended having to budget almost twice as much to run the station! (I know as I saw the budget). Spence Kortze or whatever his name can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Dan in Milwaukee

Ed. Note: I actually stated that “MPS announced that it could no longer afford…,” which is different from me stating it as fact. In a shorter piece it’s hard to go into depth on every point, but I saw the same budget and – Wow! What a mystifying choice the Board made… Jon Anne

… More “thoughts” from our online readers:
Even after reading the above story of the evolution of your new format on WYMS, I still say, “Bring back our jazz, man.”
—Marilyn Holbus

You need to consider not throwing out the baby (JAZZ) as you continue to format and develop your programming. I hope there is still someone out there protecting this vital part of distinctly American, music culture.—Paul Carlson

The new music is a big mish mash of too many types of music. Milwaukee is a very provincial town with peoples’ tastes pretty well set. The jazz format worked. It is the only music that is truly indigenous to America. Bring it back and dump the musical smorgasbord that can not appeal to anyone. Thanks—Chuck Sable

I was skeptical at first, and for the first few weeks it was clear the station was searching for its “special something,” but I think it’s got it now. It works, surprisingly well. This is a station for people who just love music plain and simple: rock, Americana, hip-hop, Motown . . . I love hearing the Roots one minute and then the Shins or Jackson Five the next. I think a certain radio re-education experience is necessary to appreciate the station. Don’t let the bitterness over the loss of the Jazz station detour you.—Chris Ganski

Hijabs in France
I just wanted to alert you to the fact that in the article about the Women Without Borders Film Festival [Culture Feature, March 2007] when talking about the film “They Call Me Muslim” it states, “In France, where it is illegal to wear a headscarf…” This is, however, not true. Girls and women are not allowed to wear the hijab in public schools and in government positions, but the statement in your article suggests that it is illegal to go outside in France wearing a hijab.


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