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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

I Was a Shill for Public Radio

A fellow member of the Sacramento Recorder Society talked about eight of us into staffing the phones for the most recent of Capitol Public Radio’s (CPR’s)far too often on-air fundraisings. We covered all the phones for about two hours on Saturday afternoon. I came with Recorder Society promotional talking points in hand. The on-air personalities took the notes and read them on their shows.

That’s step one in my secret plan for world domination, control the media and the American public will slavishly cater to my every whim. I wish I had thought of this diabolical scheme before General Electricput it into action.

We arrived early and were given a tour of the facilities. The furnishings looked spacious and pricey, and the electronic equipment looked costly. No wonder why they need to beg for money so often. Answering the phones was easy, and everyone we met at the station was nice, and there was good food from Jealousy Catering in the room where we worked, plus a freezer stocked with ice cream bars in the attached kitchen.

We took just over 70 or 80 calls in total. Capital Public Radio operates two radio stations in the Sacramento area. I learned something from the programming that ran while we answered phones.


KXJZ, The NPR talk and Jazz station featured Mick Martin’s Blues party. Mick is a well loved character in the Sacramento community, as well as among musicians, and the Blues Party kicks ass. His selections lean more toward rocking and rolling R&B type arrangements than the more down-home Southern style of Bob Johnson and other early Delta Bluesmen. Several callers (none with southern accents) called us to whine that Mick was not playing enough “real blues”. We also had a call from a guy in jail who wanted to hear the Allman Brothers. Mick said he isn’t even sure if he wants to call the Allmans blues or rock. He didn’t seem too concerned. He didn’t have any Allman brothers in his collections, so I hope the prisoner was happy with whatever Mick played. Just goes to show you can’t please everyone. This show brought us our share of drunk callers. Was it Aesop, or was it Donald Trump, who wrote, “A drunk with a valid credit card is a friend indeed”.

KXPR,the Classical Station, featured two hour-long shows, Sound and Spirit,and Harmonia. Sound and spirit is a new age music show with an announcer who, like so many other flakes, never shuts up. Harmonia is an early music show produced by the University of Indiana in Bloomington, which is an international early music powerhouse. It really is, no kidding. We targeted our volunteering hours to coincide with Harmonia, so any suspects for new members would hear our plug read over the air.

At the end of our hours, the tally showed that 100% of our callers were listening to the Blues party. The other shows did not produce a single call! I am still pondering the meaning of this.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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