To the editors:
Re: WXRT feature (Nov. 16) and subsequent letters [December 7 and 21]:
Perhaps it is strange that a rather benign article like the WXRT feature would elicit a handful of letters, but WXRT really is (or was) one of those unique stations which can claim a particularly loyal audience--indeed a pop analogy to WFMT. I agree that the station's story in itself made an excellent feature.
Frankly, however, I can't stand listening to WXRT before 8 pm anymore. Increasing condescension from daytime dj's, obnoxious pre-produced ads replacing live scripts and flooding drive-time, and even hit-and-miss programming "After 8" despite an outstanding nighttime staff have alienated many longtime listeners whose musical preferences do not necessarily revert as we find ourselves getting older. Nor do we fall for thinly disguised lowest-common-denominator programming.
I too encourage disgruntled listeners to check out college radio (turn left at WBEZ). There are at least 15 college and community stations in the Chicago area, with various philosophies and formats, and who do not typically rely on market forces for their survival. Even after a decade of general identity crisis, many college stations still offer challenging programming and the amiable immediacy which has been drained away from stations like the Loop and half of WXRT's schedule. You may need to try them more than once; if you don't like Shockabilly, you might hear Sinatra next hour. Or maybe just next.
Of Ted Romne's various exaggerations (Dec. 7), at the least I wish to point out that while WXRT may be "politically important"--or, rather, economically relevant--to musicians hoping for a windfall in the Chicago market, no radio station and few, if any, bands in this country at this time are of any real political importance. And unfortunately, success or respect (not the same) in music is in itself not likely to help anyone survive the advancing political climate.
W. 29th Place
PS: Yeah, I'll put in a good word for Bill Wyman. It's not often one finds industry people with such balanced tastes.
Bill Wyman replies: