|The untimely and tragic termination of art radio
in southern California took place in 1995 after a brave struggle for survival.
The death certificate was signed by Mark Schubb, newly appointed General
Manager at KPFK-FM, Pacifica radio, Los Angeles. The cause of death as
stated by Schubb was the failure of artists and their audiences to make
substantial enough payments to the station to merit their continued life
on the air.
This is one more instance when the cultural health
of both individuals and the community are subject to the values of the
marketplace, furthering the ever-increasing crisis which puts those
of lower incomes at greater risk. Unlike in more enlightened countries
where artists are actually paid to air their work, in America they are
now being asked to pay. This suggests that the sudden death of art radio
in southern California was due to a new mutant virus introduced into
the public broadcasting system that resembles a perverse form of "payola."
The withdrawal of government funding necessary to maintain non-commercial
endeavors will only increase the spread of this corrupting epidemic.
Under such circumstances it is apparent that the
death at KPFK was not of "natural causes," nor was it induced by damaging
verbal habits, poor content nutrition, or lack of creative innovation.
Thus Schubb's termination of life support without the consent of the
parent/producer raises questions of foul play.
In the case of Soundings, the 14 year old
acclaimed weekly program featuring audio art, radio art, sound art,
performance art, and experimental music from around the world, a Grievance
Committee hearing was called by producer/host Jacki Apple prior to Schubb's
official pulling of the plug, and no cause for termination could be
cited. It now appears both due process and rights under the station
by-laws have been superceded by executive decree.
Soundings' long list of guest interviews
and live performances featured an impressive array of talent including
Rachel Rosenthal, Lee Breuer and Bob Telson, Spalding Gray, David Moss,
Terry Allen, Rinde Eckert, John Fleck, Anna Homler, David Antin, Keith
Antar Mason, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Larry Miller and William de Ridder,
Harold Budd, and many many more. Also featured were works from the New
American Radio series.
The death of Soundings, along with Jay
Kugelman's Poetic License leave a barren broadcast landscape
behind in southern California. They are survived by no relatives or
No services were held. In lieu of flowers or donations
letters of protest and calls for an investigation may be sent to the
Pacifica National Board in Washington, D.C. Petitions by artists and
arts organizations are also welcome.