The Nine Faces of Dave
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2004-08-31 21:47:34 (UTC)

life on the airwaves

So I'm nice and moved in to my dorm room. The suite is very
nice so far; we have a balcony, the lofts give a whole load
of extra space, and I have more storage than I know what to
do with. I'm definitely movin' on up.

As is usually the case with this school, preparation for my
courses is kind of hit-or-miss. There's some confusion over
at the bookstore as to who's actually teaching compilers; as
a result, they have no textbook order filed. Also, networks
is all jacked up with which edition of the textbook is right
to use; the bookstore is selling both 2nd and 3rd editions.
I'm hoping second is acceptable; I can get it a lot cheaper.

But on a brighter note, I found out that the music theory
course I'm in will be taught by the same guy who taught the
intro course I took. And if he teaches this course anything
like he taught the other, I should be in for a fun semester.

And now, we move on to a darker note.

The radio station, my one bastion of extracurricular faith,
has been shut down for the semester. Apparently the current
Dean of the College has decided that our variety format is
not acceptable as a full-time pursuit, since it "gives
listeners the wrong message about the University." My guess
is that's doublespeak for "I only listen to classic rock and
that's what I want out of you guys," but whether the Dean
does is in fact listen to classic rock is not the issue.

What is the point is that we're going to be turned into a
mainstream, "professional" radio station, with a specified
music format. Our old style of variety will now only be on
weekends. So what are we going to get? We'll be breeding
the next generation of morning drive-time asswipes, as well
as alienating all the DJs who want to make a difference in
the sorry state of American radio.

There's a strike planned, and maybe even a protest. My own
idea is to lay siege to the Dean's Office, though that may
lead to getting arrested. I firmly believe, however, that
this action will mean the death of the station, and the
total erosion of any respect I may have had for the people
in charge around here.

The administration doesn't have the foggiest idea what the
meaning of college radio really is. The whole point is that
we were an independent station, and we could do things other
stations couldn't. We had no advertisers to answer to, and
so we didn't really have to worry about the size of our
audience. We were free, like before the big money took over
radio and made all the DJs spin a set playlist. We could
run wild and experiment, running whatever mixture of tunes
we wanted, or even live music right in the studio. It once
was a glorious thing.

And now they're taking it away. This was the only thing I
really loved doing on this campus, and it was something that
was unique and made me glad to be here. There are some of
us who are going to fight this to the end, and maybe we can
prevail. But if not, I've lost the only thing that really
made me feel like I'd made the right choice that fateful
April two years ago, when I rejected all the other schools
and accepted my admission here. And without that, I likely
will have made the wrong choice. At least New Orleans would
have been warm in the winter.

I guess the lesson here is never to care, because as soon as
you care about something, somebody will try to take it from
you, and they'll often succeed. Radio was something I could
care about. It was a performance, but without the drawbacks
of performing arts. I was limited only by the public rules
and the extent of my audible creativity. And there was the
feedback! When people called to say they loved the show,
that was something I could be proud of. I didn't get that
sort of praise for my CS work, or for my exercise, or for my
scarf. But this, this was something that connected me with
the world. Maybe I even could have gone places with it; I'd
still love to work in radio, whether as a profession or just
on a volunteer basis. Maybe I could have made a difference,
shown the world that there's more to life than the Top 40.
But now it's gone, and it's not likely to come back.

Welcome to the 21st century, where the fascists rule.

This is Dave, signing off.