“You’re treating me wrong, you’re breaking my heart,” sang country singer Claude King.
The song was likely about his Louisiana love but it could also apply to various radio stations I’ve known.
Over the years, I have formed some serious attachments to stations and their programming. But I learned at an early age, that they can break your heart and not say goodbye.
It first happened with progressive rock station KZAM in Seattle. From 1975 to 1983, the FM station introduced me to new artists, diverse selections, and female DJs. For a while KZAM had an AM sister station that was more cutting edge and which I could listen to in my car.
But then one day in 1981 without warning, the AM station abruptly switched to a smooth jazz format and, yes, I was heartbroken. Two years later, the FM station suddenly folded as well. Again without notice. I felt used.
Fortunately, there was KJET, another AM station. KJET introduced to me The Clash, R.E.M, The Police, Soft Cell, Devo, The Go Gos and so much more. And apparently I wasn’t the only fan. Allegedly members of Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Pearl Jam were listeners.
But one day, I got in my car, turned on the radio and heard classic oldies. Arggh! It happened again. Not even a farewell.
More recently, I listened to the “Mountain” (KMTT) decline from a KZAM-like progressive station to a shell of its past till it eventually folded. I remember thinking there must be something wrong with my radio until I realized that once again, I’d been dumped without even a “Dear Tim” letter.
What’s my point? Your ears (and heart) matter. And while change is inevitable, how that change happens matters. It should be done right.
At KAOS, your community radio station in the South Puget Sound for over 40 years, we let you know before programming changes. We have show hosts who have been offering a diverse range of music and information for years and they have built a relationship with listeners. When they eventually take their leave, they say “goodbye” on the air. And if you really like the programming, you can let us know so we can find a replacement. Or YOU could be that replacement, because the show hosts are people who live in the community and volunteer on the air.
It’s pledge drive time. This type of loyalty doesn’t happen without your support. Show your love to KAOS, I promise we won’t break your heart.
POSTSCRIPT: So yes, I retired my show (for now) and I did say goodbye. Here’s the blog post and show recording to prove it.