Owen DeJong is retiring from SDPB Radio this month. DeJong, who, among other things, used to teach high school English (represent!), has hosted Morning Classics on our public radio stations since 1997. For twenty years, I’ve been able to switch on my radio on weekdays and count on one blissful island of non-commercial, non-talk radio, where the only crap colliding with my ears are the occasional dissonant orchestral works of the 20th century and the inevitable earworming Domingo/Brightman “Time to Say Goodbye” on all-request Wednesdays and Fridays (made up for by Barber, Ravel, and Gershwin, which you can play for me every day).
Alas, as the mellowest man on South Dakota radio departs, so does music from our public radio daytime line-up:
Beginning Monday, January 2, 2017, SDPB will broadcast On Point with Tom Ashbrook, a live, 2-hour interactive news and culture program, weekday mornings from 9am-11am CT (8-10am MT). Also beginning Monday, January 2, SDPB’s Dakota Midday will expand and return as In the Moment with Lori Walsh – a two-hour news, arts, and culture magazine program featuring extended news coverage by a team of beat reporters throughout South Dakota. In the Moment will broadcast weekdays from 11am-1pm CT (10am-noon MT) [Katy Beem, “Morning Classics’ Owen DeJong to Retire from SDPB,” SDPB.org, 2016.11.28].
Lori Walsh is doing fine work, and I look forward to more local news content, especially during Session.
But I can only take so much talk. And thirteen hours, from the time I switch on Morning Edition to the end of Fresh Air, is too long to wait for my daily jazz respite.
I can’t read with news and talk on the radio. I write better to music. It’s more fun to work in the garage to music.
I know, we have the Internet. SDPB will still play the national public radio 24-hour classical music feed online (and, apparently, on something called HD radio, which I honestly don’t even know if I have). Kids may not get this feeling, but I still find some unique pleasure in turning on my radio and hearing music chosen, introduced live, and played by someone I know, someone in my community.
But I guess that, just as I do without TV, I’m reaching the point where I can do without a separate audio receiver. I can switch on my browser or an array of apps on my phone, catch the news at breakfast, lunch, or supper, and then, when I’m ready to get to work, switch to the classical feed or The Current out of the Twin Cities (which isn’t much farther away than the SDPB Vermillion studio) or blessed CKUA up in Edmonton.
Thank you, Owen DeJong, for two decades of good morning study music.