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Saturday, July 10, 2010


the mug

It was most interesting to me that the the radio station shut down just after I'd had the cd made of Jr's banjo and passed them around. Also having the coffee mug made was done just before the end of the radio. Souvenirs of a time. Collectors items of the recent past. Funny how both became memories of the past right off. I'm glad I did both of them. They were my gifts to my listeners in gratitude for the years of playing music to them at the station. I had the feeling an awful lot of people listened regularly and that many irregularly. The mic that in the beginning was a black object I talked to changed over time. I didn't know if anybody was on the other end paying any attention. Gradually I met a few of the listeners and began to see the black object as an ear that was a pipeline into the homes of people all over the county. As time went by, I learned more and more people were listening. By the end, the show had a large and enthusiastic audience.

Today was the first Saturday morning with nowhere to go. It wasn't bad. I've accepted everything about the sale of the station. I don't believe anything is meant to go on indefinitely. When it's time for something to be over, it's over. I wasn't attached to it like I need it for identity or anything having to do with me. It was for the listeners entirely. They were present with me in the studio. I miss them, but many of them are people I know, people I'll see and talk with in future. My listeners were people who listen to WCOK. What I'm sorry to see go is the personal part of the station that interacted with the listeners with things like birthday club and senior salutes, the heart auction, preaching, requests and mentioning yard sales, VFW barbecued chicken, and other events going on in the county. Sue was doing everything with all her might to make the station's agenda to play what the listeners wanted to hear. She was getting listeners back at a rather alarming rate.

It was heartening to find so many people listening. During the 20 year period that brought the station to its death by slow fade, listeners went elsewhere on the dial, or whatever it's called now that it's digital. It was a joyous experience for me to play that beautiful music to the people who loved it. Now that it's over, all I can say is, That's it, cat shit. I gained so much from the experience there's no saying it wasn't worth my time. Sue's period of time bringing the station back from nothing strikes me similar to how a person dying will have a day full of energy, lucid in the mind, looking like they're getting better, then they die. The station did the same thing, came back with a promise to go on, then went poof. I forget what that phenomenon is called, but it has a name.

By now I'm of an age where I've seen a lot of changes along the way, am well acquainted with impermanence. Like other older people I've known, I'm falling into a place where I can't say the changes I've seen have always been for the better. In this time of the breakdown of traditional cultures, I'm seeing a culture breaking apart, seeing what is doing it. The loss of the radio station to an outsider is the shame of it. It's like with the newspaper. No one from here comes along interested enough to want to be the paper editor. One thing I want for the mountain people is that they operate their own county government, and enough take an interest in the county as a community, which it is among the mountain people whose population in the county is shrinking steadily.

It seems like a small ground swell of interest is taking place in the county's heritage now that the old ways are over. This makes the loss of the station all the more shocking. I've heard that the new station will continue the obituaries. I don't know what the new owner is going to do. One thing about it, he's interested in the station. Maybe it will be a better service to the community. It couldn't be much worse than it has been over the last 20 years. At least that era is over. Now that the shock wave has subsided, I want to be open to what it could become. And I dare not hope for it. I'll wait and see. It doesn't matter to me if it will be good or bad, because I won't be listening. Again, it's my listeners that concern me. I want it really good for them. But it's not mine to be concerned about it any more. Of course, I want the best for my county. If the county take to it, then I'll be glad.

1 comment:

  1. Oh TJ I couldn't have said it better myself. If he caters to the people who were so faithful in the 20 months I worked there, then I am happy for them. If not, what a sad sad loss. For me, it was ALL about the listeners!!!!