Monday, February 26, 2007
GIVE KEXP ALL YOUR MONEY!
So for those of you who enjoy indie music and live in the Seattle area (or listen online) the last few days have been pretty dismal. KEXP 90.3, literally the only radio station that plays at least 40% quality music, is doing its yearly (or is it monthly? Geez) pledge drive, in which for every 1 song they play, we get to listen to 20 or 40 minutes of smarmy DJs asking, teasing, cajoling, begging, and guilt-tripping you into donating money.
KEXP is a "commercial free" radio station, their slogan is "Where the Music Matters", etc, so it's a little jarring to listen to them switch gears from the above-it-all DIY anti-corporate crusaders of radio to this sniveling talk-show of relentless, unabashed money-grasping. It just goes on and on. It's exactly like that homeless guy who overhears you and your friends talking about a bar or restaurant you're trying to get to and then inserts himself, gives you dubious directions on how to get there, and then just follows you around, giving you tourist facts you don't need and demanding money for the service. I can't listen to the station when they're doing this drive. It starts to make me physically ill.
Having said all that, I do understand that a non-commercial station needs donations to survive. If I had money to burn and if I cared enough about radio stations and if KEXP would stop playing their useless specialty shows of rockabilly and world music during my prime radio-listening hours, I would probably donate.
But wait--no I wouldn't. Because John Richards, the lead DJ and the one with probably the most annoying on-air chatter and worst taste in music, gets paid $90,000 a year.
Yes, that's correct. Paid entirely off public generosity, money from the pockets of thrift-store clerks, baristas, and broke musicians, this DJ is probably driving to work at his little independant radio station every day in a shiny new Mercedes.
I don't know what any of the rest of the staff there makes, and I hate to bite the station that just had my band live in-studio, but this seems way out of whack to me, and as I listen to the shameless pleading that's been going on for the last 4 days, I begin to get very irritated.
Why would you expect the poor to donate money to the rich? If KEXP doesn't meet their "Pledge Goal", what happens? Does the station shut down because John Richards can only be paid a paltry 80,000 this year? Maybe a public station that claims to be "where the music matters" should reduce their expenses to a reasonable level and stop guilt-tripping me for not donating towards John Richards' new home theater.