Sunday, February 25, 2007

In Which David Listens to Two Radio Stations Alternately

(This is Mixed Meters' 250th post. But who's counting?)

Sunday is the last day I could play a game I've invented to amuse myself while driving around Los Angeles. The RIAA LATTCRS Game. That stands for Riding In An Auto Listening Alternately To Two Classical Radio Stations Game.

The object of the game is to switch randomly between the two Los Angeles Classical FM stations to create a new piece of music out of whatever is currently being broadcast. For you non Angelenos the two stations are KUSC (which they call Kay You Ess See) and KMZT (which they call Kay Mozart but which I still call KFAC the old commercial classical station.)

The game annoys Leslie. In fact she often complains about a lot of the music I listen to (i.e. my non-game listening). But sometimes the music she plays drives me up a wall too. For example, when she put on a Willie Nelson album I made her take it off after 15 minutes. Another time I'll tell you the story of The Mavericks. Although I like lots of different kinds of musics, country is not one of them.

As in any game this one takes a certain knack. I try to find the right rhythm of button poking based on the tempos and harmonic rhythms of the two pieces. And radio tuner lag must be taken into consideration. Since our car radios are now digitally tuned there is an extra lag time when switching. Analog radios were better.

Mostly the game output is not too interesting. Occasionally something really cool results from the switching back and forth, something much more engaging to me than the classic warhorses by themselves.

Quite often two stations broadcast music which blends copaesthetically. It could be in the same or a related key, or for similar instruments and or just in a similar musical style. Once I even caught them both playing the same piece at the same time although offset by about 10 minutes (was it a Beethoven piano concerto?)

But on Monday, KMZT will stop broadcasting classical music on FM and start broadcasting country music. Leslie will be happy, but I will not. This is economics at work, since we in the classical music audience just aren't young enough any more to merit the big buck advertising budgets. Country music has had no FM radio here for a long time, and that demographic is more desirable, ad revenue will clearly be greater for a country station.

For me personally this switch means the end of my radio game. I've found that it doesn't work well with vocal music and besides not much else on the radio is interesting. KMZT will continue as an AM station which we can't get in Pasadena. And even if it did that would mean 2 buttons to switch from one station to another.

The subject of listening to two radio stations at once has come up in these other fine Mixed Meters moments: In which David Plugs a Song About Hearing 2 Radio Stations at Once and In which David reveals what he listens to while listening to NPR

Some of these pictures came from here and here and here.

2 Station Tags: . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . .

1 comment :

Alex Shapiro said...

The demise of L.A.'s commercial classical radio station has presented a new and thrilling opportunity for your radio game:
Schoenberg/Willie Nelson mash-ups.
Or, Bartok/LeAnn Rimes.
Maybe, Brahms/Charlie Pride....?
I think it's time to open your ears to a NEW kind of stereo effect...