Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The FM Dial, With or Without Chopsticks

When I became a Radio Frequency club member during KDHX's fall fund raising drive last year, agreeing to be a modest monthly contributor to support independent community radio, I told the volunteer taking my credit card information that I quote, could not live in Farmington, Missouri without KDHX 88.1, unquote. Every single value I hold dear in life is reflected in KDHX programming: diversity, unbridled creativity, innovation, depth and breadth of knowledge, excellent taste, camaraderie, wit, bonhomie, compassion, and a penchant for justice. That they are collected, cultivated and celebrated in one place, a place that demands nothing in return seems like something of a Missouri miracle, akin in proportion to our elephant rocks "formed during a great uplifting of the entire area about 250 million years ago."

If I were granted the power to have but a single wish come true for St. Francois County, it would be to have every household tune into at least one program on KDHX every week; soon they'd be hooked on the delightful tusk of freeing their spirits. My second single wish would be to introduce brown rice as a staple into the diet for very similar reasons. As far as I'm aware there is no eatery this side of St. Louis that serves it, even at extra cost. On the occasions that I've asked for brown rice, I've received white rice stained with soy sauce. Like KDHX, genuine brown rice, the whole and complex grain, is dense in nutrients and is a natural anti-depressant: these two supplements alone could positively change our social landscape.

One of the most powerful attractors for me to KDHX is not as their independence suggests that there are no commercials, though there are none except for the concert calendars, the community event calendars, and shout outs to underwriters—but that there is no news. In a country where the $5,000 annual health care deductible is a routine benefit of full-time employment, what more do we need to know about how much the ruling class values our lives and continued existence? Do we genuinely need to hear any more of their news?

At KDHX no one's propagandizing blinding and restricting ideologies into our central nervous systems, imposing on our car or home speakers to do so, selling us on noise and fear and celebrity worship or mindless, pointless controversies. No one at KDHX is trying to spin what's going on; they are simply (not that it's simple) giving us the wherewithal—spirit, intelligence, energy, a mode of questioning, a mode of discourse—with which to confront power, with which to confront and share what's valuable about our own experience. The djs concentrate on telling the truth about our lives via the music, the vibe, the juxtapositions of songs and artists, the narratives—oral and sonic—spun on the air and recorded for all time in their playlists, which are  shared openly. A magnificent daily transfer of wealth is operational and ongoing at KDHX 88.1.

The station didn't exist when I grew up in University City and it is one of the most welcome “discoveries” I've made since being back. The radio tower is located in Arnold, Missouri, as close to our receivers as those in the more far flung quadrants of St. Louis County proper, or nearly so. My point here being that even geographically it's not meant to be strictly a St. Louis station; it's as much for us in the countryside—at least in its broadcasting reach—as it is for the city dwellers and suburbanites.

So I hope these few words might persuade even one new listener to turn the dial away for a change from the endless commercial croaking mindless blather mind numbingly banal hits over the head of Froggy 95.whatever; and check out KDHX 88.1 for a change, if you haven't already. You might just locate that musical rocket fuel for the psyche, intellect, libido and heart that has eluded you elsewhere. Maybe, too, a template for creating our own local radio station on the low end of the FM dial?

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