I opened a letter today from KXJZ, 90.9, Capital Public Radio that is, letting me know that the last vestiges of jazz being played on 90.9 will be disappearing from the station as of January 17. Ok, disappearing might be too strong a word. Jazz programming is moving to 88.9 KXPR, and will be heard from 7-11, Sun-Fri.
Color me pissed. I’ve contributed to KXJZ for years, and never once been asked for feedback on programming. Not once have I been asked for my tastes or preferences or likes or dislikes. Instead, over the last two decades, KXJZ has gone from a 24-hour jazz station (and a damned good one) to a watered down jazz station (so much so that in 1999 it was featured in Downbeat (the only real jazz magazine left) as following the tide of stations more interested in “playing it safe” than playing jazz) to a jazz and news station, to most recently a news and “jazz” station (the “jazz” in question being a mashup of Brazilian bubblegum and adult contemporary detritus salted with a pinch of straight-ahead jazz for the apparently dying breed that actually like instrumental, improvised music), to, now, a 24 news station.
I’m just pissed. That’s it. I’m pissed that no one in that organization actually seems to like jazz. I’m pissed that the jazz stations out of LA, SF, PDX, and other towns are killin’ it 24-hours-a-day, and we can’t even put one on part time. I’m pissed that our radio landscape is now identical to that of Fresno. I’m pissed that 4 hours of jazz a day is considered sufficient. Why bother kids? Just kill it and be done with it. I’d rather listen to to the BBC world service than have to listen to the latinalia coming out of the production booth there at Sac State anyway.
If you feel even 1/10 the same way, I’d encourage you to contact KXJZ and either ask for your most recent contribution back, or let them know they’ll not be receiving any further contributions from you. Or let them know that you’d like your money to just go into the pockets of Nick Brunner and David Watts Barton, because they’re swell fellas and put on really good shows. And maybe the classical people too, because they’re really nice and the music is pretty. And the receptionist there sure does a good job. Awwww shit. I guess I can’t stop contributing, but I’ll do it with reservation, the same way Obama signed that law allowing indefinite detention of anyone for any length of time. Yeah, kinda like that.