Re: Sara Catania’s “Remaking Public Radio” [March 24–30]. I’m glad the Weekly has put the spotlight on corporate raiders’ latest dirty work at KPCC. Is tax money supporting this rip-off of a radio station? When did those geniuses in Minnesota decide that I’d rather wind down on a Sunday night to some prattle about annuities instead of my favorite radio show, Gee Dad, It’s a Wurlitzer!? And who decided I want to hear endlessly recycled talk about music instead of the music itself? Some Midwestern marketing ace must have figured that that’s what keeps our SUV set fat and happy. It will be a great day in Southern California when these Great Plains bandits pack their bags, or at least restore some balance to their programming.
I have to commend the management of KPCC for living up to their often-stated promise of greater broadcasting diversity. And, really, what better way to accomplish that goal than to eliminate most of KPCC’s locally generated content and replace it with canned NPR programs? It’s comforting to know that I can now hear the same shows on KPCC that I hear on KCRW and KUSC. This is the sort of diversity that worked so well for Burger King and Starbucks.
Your more than balanced coverage of management and programming changes at KPCC-FM should be required reading for students, administrators and informed minds throughout Southern California. I predict that the first “local” news show Minnesota Public Radio develops with shrinking local subscriber dollars will be a nationally syndicated Hollywood Home Companion — with a for-profit catalog to match, hawking Michael Eisner T-shirts and Madonna coffee mugs.
I have been following recent articles and editorials concerning the management and format change at KPCC, and I, for one, am thrilled with the changes. To hear NPR news in the late afternoon on the way home, interspersed with local reports from Larry Mantle, followed by Fresh Air and Marketplace . . . I can’t wait to see what other new programs are in store for us. Of course, it
is always sad when favorite programs are gone. But we need to give the new management time to create local programs that reflect Los Angeles within the context of the new format. Some of the former programs had been on KPCC for decades, and it was time for a change.
—Deborah B. Lewis
I was fascinated to read your account of the exciting changes in store at KPCC. Though I can appreciate how the handful of eclectic-music fans who have tuned in may feel betrayed, I can assure everyone that if KPCC does in fact do what it says it will, the community will be very well served. The question is, will the community stand up and support the station in its new news efforts, which cost a lot more than playing music?
As the news director from 1979 to 1983 at WHYY-FM, a
National Public Radio affiliate
in Philadelphia, I know firsthand what investment in quality local news programming means for a station and for the listeners. We won many national and regional awards for original local news coverage, and developed a dedicated coterie of faithful listeners. But in the end, the local station was unable to replace the initial Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding grant with enough private funding to maintain and expand its programming. Its eventual demise was the Philadelphia area’s loss.
It is high time for Los Angeles to have serious-minded yet creative and entertaining local news on the radio. The public-radio format is ideal for this, and I applaud the stated intentions of the extremely capable Minnesota Public Radio executives who will be overseeing this transition with KPCC’s management. God knows we need insightful coverage of everything from management of natural resources versus residential development, to transportation issues, to education, to human and ethnic relations in an increasingly multicultural region. It’s a sorely needed voice we all will need to pay attention to and, above all, support by tuning in and contributing when asked.
In an article titled “Gas Attack” [City Limits, March 31–April 6], Mark Haefele twisted the meaning of one of my comments. I did indeed state that “If the Belmont Learning Complex was completed, O’Melveny and
Myers’ liability would be diminished.” However, I absolutely did not link that statement to the reason behind my vote or any other board member’s vote against finishing the school. My vote was predicated on the safety issue and the unknown expense of mitigation. My statement was made to explain why O’Melveny and Meyers and their attorneys have mounted a full-court-press PR campaign to induce the board to reconsider its vote.
Mr. Haefele added 1 and 1, and came up with 22.
Member, Board of Education
SUNSET OF THE GODS
I truly enjoyed Ella Taylor’s provocative feature “Hollywood and Thine” [March 31–April 6]. Her closing remarks in particular brought to mind what I, at the time a new born-again Christian, was told in a UCLA Marxism class: that Karl Marx believed that man made God and not the other way around. Taylor states, “In the end, it may be that God . . . is best revealed to us . . . through the loud guffaw of the irreverent believer.” She mentions that man, in his attempt to resolve God’s “compelling presence,” has invented many a god over the centuries, and that we call such inventions religions. I agree. But I also agree with her bottom-line premise, that it’s all in how we define our terms. “God” and “religion” are not one and the same. If, for the sake of argument, God is that compelling presence, such a presence exists before the religion that man devises to deal with it. God is not necessarily whatever mankind, including moviemakers, thinks He is.
—Laurel J. Davis
FREAKS AND GEEKS
I want to thank you for publishing Robert Lloyd’s article “God, the Devil and NBC” [March 31–April 6), on the demise of my favorite show, Freaks and Geeks. I’m not sure whom to be more angry at right now: NBC, for its odd, near-masochistic handling of the show, or the viewers who didn’t pick up on this gem yet continue to lap up dross such as ABC’s Who Wants To Be a Millionaire in record-setting numbers. However, I do want to remind fellow Freaks fans that not all hope is lost: There are still six unaired episodes left, said to be the best of the bunch. If you want to help out the “Help Freaks and Geeks Find a Home” campaign, just go to the message board, still going strong at www.freaksandgeeks.com, for info.
Boca Raton, Florida
Thanks for acknowledging the pathetic state of TV, where shows like Freaks and Geeks can’t stay on the air, even with glowing reviews from critics across the nation. Like a good song, it required patience and multiple viewings to fully understand and enjoy it.