I was very dismayed upon reading your article on page two of Section 2 in this week's Chicago Reader [The Business, April 14], wherein Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5) general manager Torey Malatia has decided to can all music programs from WBEZ and turn the station into all talk. This includes the loss of the wonderful syndicated Afropop Worldwide, Encanto Latino, Passport, Blues Before Sunrise, and the historic Jazz With Dick Buckley.
This is a tremendous music loss for Chicago, a city that loves and supports world, jazz, and blues music. Like many Chicago music fans, I learned about up-and-coming musical artists, world artistic developments, as well as cultural history and ethnomusicology through these great WBEZ programs. This leaves the great worldly city of Chicago with no world-music radio or TV shows. Fans of world music are left with the completely uninformative (and lame) satellite world-music radio shows that in no way support the genre.
The excuse given by general manager Torey Malatia is that CPR is going for a younger audience, however one look at Mr. Malatia's picture that accompanies the Reader article tells you that he is about as in tune with young people as the hipster suit he is wearing. I am not sure what market research he is relying on, but those of us who work in the music business know that a station's affiliation with the community of music, including WBEZ's sponsorship and promotional contribution to festivals such as the Old Town Folk & Roots festival and the World Music Festival and SummerDance connected the station with young fans and the Chicago community.
As much as I also rely on BEZ's All Things Considered for my daily news and fantastic programs like This American Life, a balanced NPR/CPR is very important to the community. Highly successful NPR Stations such as KCRW in Los Angeles should be the model for an improved WBEZ, not news radio 78 and AM talk radio 1000!
I am not sure what we can do at this juncture, but I for one will be canceling my WBEZ subscription and will not be contributing again until they renew music programming.
The Entertainment Law Office, P.C.