Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?

WBEZ at 91.5 FM is the public radio channel serving the Chicago area. Since roughly forever, WBEZ has broadcast a mostly-talk format during the daylight hours and jazz music overnight. Just in this past week, however, WBEZ has done away with the overnight jazz to refocus itself as an almost-entirely-talk format 24 hours each day. There has been a minor outcry in the city about this changeover, and the station itself estimates that it is alienating about 40,000 nighttime listeners. I have never once tuned in to that overnight jazz programming, but a Sunday afternoon program that I've listened to regularly for the past couple of years is also being affected.

I've made it a point to be in the car either going to or coming from someplace during the timeframe of noon to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons because that was when a WBEZ music program hosted by Dick Buckley has aired. It featured classics by the likes of Duke Ellington from the dawn of the jazz era, and the show was always peppered with knowing anecdotes and insightful background information by the delightfully gravel-voiced Mr. Buckley. I was grateful to read in newspaper accounts that Mr. Buckley's show would not be cancelled in the wake of the new WBEZ Master Plan, although it would shrink to one hour from three.

This past Sunday afternoon, there I was in the car, and I tuned in to WBEZ at about 1:15 p.m. In place of Dick Buckley's great voice enlightening me about the history of music, there was some whiny-voiced individual talking about the history of radio and how he had come to hate hearing Gilbert O'Sullivan's Alone Again, Naturally on his transistor radio as a youth. Huh? When a station break came I thought there would be a program announcement clarifying whether Dick Buckley's hour was yet to be heard at 2:00 p.m. or whether interested listeners should be sure to tune in at noon the following Sunday to hear the show, but there was no such announcement. At that point I got out of the car to go into some store.

I returned to the car shortly after 2:00 p.m. and was gratified to hear the pleasantly gravelly voice I had been hoping to hear. A little more constrictive, but on future Sundays I will plan to be in the car in the timeframe between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. Curious to hear it yourself? WBEZ does stream live and if you click here I'll take you to their website. Listening in on Mr. Buckley is like getting a tuition-free seminar in the history of music (although, being a public radio station, WBEZ would not turn down any dabs of tuition you might offer up). Mr. Buckley's talks about music are as educational and enjoyable as reading Dave Kehr write about movies, and you can do that if you click here.

Whoa, you say! You though this was your beloved comicblog, right? Well keep right on reading, pardner!

That newfangled radio show I heard in the erstwhile Dick Buckley timeslot did not exclusively feature the whiny guy lamenting his memories of transistor radios. It pulled back and widened its focus to a more general history of radio broadcasting. The show played a recording from the earliest days of radio in which the announcer said it wasn't known how far their signal was travelling, and he requested that listeners receiving the transmission call in to let their location be known. And this is our transfer point back into comicblog territory...

A great blog I've been following since I stumbled across it a couple of months ago is the Simon and Kirby site maintained by Mr. Harry Mendryk. Of course we're all fans of the great Jack Kirby, and Mr. Mendryk's articles are spectacularly informative and well-written. In fact one of his recent revelations is so fascinating that I will be devoting an entire future blog entry to it! You can visit the Simon and Kirby website yourself by clicking here.

It was on Mr. Mendryk's site that I learned that this week has been designated as De-Lurking Week (and please pardon me for taking it upon myself to insert that hyphen). The idea is that bloggers toil away relentlessly without getting much feedback, so how about if for one week all of us blog-readers go out of our way to give a little feedback to whichever blogs we frequent? Nice idea!

Here at the Hayfamzone Blog we have heretofore received exactly one thimbleful of posted comments, and now we've got our catchers mitts on and are ready and waiting to receive more. If you go to the Simon and Kirby blog you can see that Mr. Mendryk recieved about a dozen responses after he put out the call. In the spirit of the internet being a web, let me share with you the links to the blogs where Mr. Mendryk first found out about De-Lurking Week; they are Pharyngula and Afarensis.

Okay, your turn!


At 4:15 PM, Blogger Harry Mendryk said...


Many thanks for your kind remarks about my blog. I must admit that up to now I was unaware of your blog but a quick read of some of your posts indicates that it will be one that I will be returning to. I am particularly interested in what you have to say about one of my posts. Could it have been the one on Sandman, the last S&K cover? Could our paths have crossed before? I see you have in your collection the stat for the Sandman cover. I remember being outbid for this stat on eBay. Could that have been you?
Anyway good luck with your blog.

Harry Mendryk


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