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).
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.
Alas, South Dakota Public Broadcasting is ending its decade-long practice of shooting YouTube videos of all willing Legislative candidates. SDPB is switching its “Meet the Candidates” series to audio only, gathered by telephone interviews with us candidates.
Cool! The LRC is running just like my blog office: drop the paper and do everything online!
The bad news is that the merciless advance of innovation imperils our access to live audio from the Legislature. South Dakota Public Broadcasting, bless their hearts, is still using software based on Windows XP to stream audio from the Legislature and the Public Utilities Commission:
The root problem is the present system relies on the Windows XP operating system that isn’t being supported any longer. [SDPB exec Julie] Overgaard said SDPB’s system “probably” could last through the 2016 legislative session, but she couldn’t guarantee it.
“Should we run into a hiccup, there’s not necessarily anybody to call for a spare part or to fix it,” she said.
Overgaard said the new system would come from Haivision, an international firm based in Montreal and Chicago.
A hiccup in audio from Pierre during Session? Noooooo!
Heck, I say we just use eminent domain to acquire the rights to Windows XP and the existing software and pay some techies to keep it running forever. (I’ll bet there are some geeks out there who would revel in that challenge.)
Or instead of spending $10,950 a month on new software, perhaps we should just recruit a few more pages and interns, hand them juiced up smartphones, and stream audio and video via Periscope or Google Hangouts.
But whatever it takes, the Legislature should take immediate action to ensure that South Dakotans across the state can still listen live to their Legislature at work and review the audio archive online at any time.
I regret to inform my listeners that I resigned as host of “Jazz Nightly” on South Dakota Public Broadcasting Radio on Aug. 6. I would have liked to have said goodbye on the air but the circumstances of my abrupt resignation on that day made it impossible.
I had contemplated resigning for a long time. While I could publicly disclose at length the reasons for my resignation and the issues and conflicts involved, I have concluded that it would serve no useful purpose at this time.
To all my loyal listeners and supporters over the past 14 1/2 years, I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget you [Jim Clark, letter to the editor, Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2015.08.20].
Something had to be wrong for a radio professional to leave the air with no notice. But Clark himself is telling us “the reasons… issues and conflicts” are none of our beeswax for now.
On Thursday, August 8th Jim Clark (“Uncle Jimmo”) submitted his resignation as host of Jazz Nightly, effective immediately. We were surprised by this decision, but we respect his choice and wish him the best in the future.
SDPB’s decades-long commitment to Jazz music will continue. We know you are steady listeners of Jazz Nightly. We thank you for your support and hope you’ll stick around for the next chapter [South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Jazz Nightly Facebook post, 2015.08.10].
Clark had spun disks for South Dakota since 2001, with a nine-month Daugaard-induced hiatus in 2011 and 2012. Following that 2011 budget/culture cut, SDPB managed to raise Clark’s pay from $15.93 an hour to the closing wage listed on Open.SD.gov, $18.12 an hour… which, if we assume full time running the boards and other tasks at the Vermillion office, sums to four thousand dollars less than the average teacher salary in South Dakota. (But you know, hosting Jazz Nightly could be the perfect moonlighting job for a Lower Missouri Valley music teacher trying to pay the mortgage!)
I expressed my appreciation for the value Clark added to public broadcasting in South Dakota when Governor Daugaard’s miserliness forced him out in 2011. Jim Clark epitomized South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s highest purpose: to bring South Dakotans programming unlike anything found in the vast desert of commercial radio. Market-groomed country twangers are our audio cactus; preachers and praise bands, our scaly lizards; oldies rock and whiny teen pop, our mirages. Jazz Nightly, World Café, American Routes—those programs make South Dakota Public Radio our oasis.