KUSF | THE FINAL FIVE MINUTES. by Howard Ryan, KUSF DJ Schmeejay

photo by: bobby castro

vangelis papathanissiou : creation du monde
andy kim : rock me gently
(45 single played at 33 rpm)
weasel walter : the pseudocard
mouth and macneal : liefste
we love : no train no plane
the good ones : amargorwa y'abagabo
michael yonkers : someone like you
audionom : boorup rock
bobby goldsboro : danny is a mirror to me
(born 1.18.41)
vangelis papathanissiou : l'apocalypse des animaux

Bobby Goldsboro's birthday that day, and as I have a couple of old 45's of his, I decided to bring one down to the station and celebrate his 70th on the air with a song. When going through my records at home that morning, I also grabbed Vangelis Papathanissiou's "Lapocalypse des Animaux" to play underneath us at the breaks of my sets. It was already looking out to be another emotionally charged Radiodrome.

At about 9:50, after playing Goldsboro's weepy "Danny is a Mirror to Me", I announced the song and the rest of the set over the top of Vangelis' ambient greek genius. The piece continued as I turned around to see Trista Bernasconi, KUSF Program Director, standing in the doorway of the studio. She asked me to step outside, and looked upset. I went over and she told me, "this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. The station has been sold, and I have to turn the transmitter off."

I was stunned. Immediately, other people from the university who were there in the wings were telling me, "everything else will stay the same, don't worry - we will be online within hours, but only online". I looked behind me into Studio A and the signal was already gone as my record continued to play silently on Turntable One.

My fellow Music Director, Irwin Swirnoff happened to be there that morning in our workroom and after he found out we kinda just stood in there and stared blankly, in disbelief, occasionally pacing the room. Like you would in a hospital after a finding out about a loved one's hit and run accident. We were finally being coaxed by security to leave the premises while they changed the locks, and headed to Lone Mountain to see the president of the university, Father Privett. A cop was waiting for us outside his elevator. We waited and waited and an assistant eventually came out and told us he was there but was busy. She assured us that would tell him that we were requesting his presence at their "informational meeting" that was planned for the following night in Fromm Hall. We wanted some answers, and not just from their PR tank. Now joining up with Deia de Brito from KALW, we then went to the Vice's office, Charlie Cross. You can see the YouTube video everywhere now. Witness first hand the dehumanizing and antagonistic response we received from his office. Sad and pathetic. At a prestigious institute of higher learning. Despicable.

It's been a few days now, and I'm amazed at how unreal it all seems. In San Francisco, we're often kept from the all-to-common reality of anti-community greed. If it can happen here, this country is really, just completely and irrevocably, gonna be in the hands of the few. While they silence the many. Chinese Star Radio. Radiotochka, Radio Goethe. Franco Fun. The Pastor Tom Show. The Love Letters Squad. Diva Radio. The Classical Cowboy.

I've still got two hours of Radiodrome that I'd like to air, records still sitting in the corner of my living room awaiting their chance. We will not be silent.


ruzxs said...

heartbreaking, yet a beautiful if unintended way to go out. animal apocalypse indeed.

thank you dj schmeejay and everyone at kusf, i'll miss you.

randy said...

So who won the tickets to the jazz concert? :)
Wow, no notice, no nothing.Just pull the f'ing plug. What a bunch a chicken shit cowards you have running your university there.

Diane said...

What a great few last moments...and a testament to the beautiful diversity and integrity of KUSF. Yes, thank you for educating us about what great radio can be !

∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ said...

what a horrible noise. i can only imagine the dj's stomach dropping right when he heard it. great set and great way to go out. stay gold.

wylder111 said...
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wylder111 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking and surreal... Radiodrome was the reason I fell in love with KUSF. Tomorrow will be the first Tuesday without Schmeejay on the air; still can't believe it...

P.S.: I got my own copy of "L'Apocalypse des Animaux" at one of the Rock-n-Swaps!

azroger said...

As a former KUSF volunteer, I can only say this is an ugly way to treat a great institution. I was just telling my wife 2 weeks ago how incredibly good some of the programming is on KUSF these days. I listen over the internet here in Arizona. As a fellow junkee for real music, I find my life is depleted without it. Right now I have the music, but no person, no culture, no information on what's being played. Don't give in easily, but if you are left with only webcasting -- keep the tradition going! Let me know if I can help.

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