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Posts Tagged ‘Takeovers’

Today a local radio station will sign off for the last time, playing the same song for its adieu as it played for its début. (Bob Dylan with a local twist, if you’re curious). The station was purchased by a satellite radio company, and it will go off the air at midnight and begin broadcasting as a Christian radio station.

As I Christian, I am supposed to be happy with this, even though it had everything to do with money.

As a local, I am grieving, even though I wasn’t a regular listener.

First thing in the morning, several people will be out of jobs. A hometown broadcasting lineup and routine will be absent from our local culture. Purchased in 1959, this station and the people associated it will now be dispersed and disassociated from each other, from the population they worked so hard to please for over 50 years, and all of us will be disconnected with what has been a comfortable part of our reality.

There will be no more requests, no birthday cake giveaways, no support of local charities and annual events, no live hurricane coverage like we had during Katrina and other storms, no inside jokes about our area, no commercials and PSAs for things that really hit home. No one to answer the phone downtown, no one to give you a freebie at the county fair, no one to feel motivated for to slap a bumper sticker on the back of your F-150 in case you’re spotted and might win a prize. The familiar voices will fade into the static of the unsettling unknown.

Tonight it dies, as quietly and mysteriously as a chopper went down in murky waters last night and lives were lost.

And somewhere on the globe, a stranger will push buttons and dictate what we, here, listen to.

And life will go on, just not as we know it. It’ll be a little more impersonal, and we’re supposed to be okay with that.

Adjust, damn it, or be Left Behind.

It was heartwarming today to see and hear the rest of the local media outlets, both television and radio, devoting significant time to pay tribute to this casualty and its employees and listeners. This tells me that perhaps no one feels secure anymore, and moreover, that no one likes to see a half a century of quality broadcasting lost to someone with more money, more power. Or did they just get tired and give up the ghost? Or, like the elderly ladies at church who shun nursery duty, have the attitude that “I put in my time, I’m tired. It’s my time to coast. Let the young ‘uns take over.”

Aren’t we all vulnerable?

Ironically on the same lines, between this Friday and next Monday, our bank will be swallowed up by a non-local entity, a financial giant, a sheer Yankee impostor who knows us not, nor our local financial needs (and thanks, Yanks, for choosing around the 1st of the month when most bills are due, to pull this off). Many of us are scrambling to change routing numbers affecting automatic electronic transactions and other “conveniences” so as not to have any disruptions. Thank the Lord I read the fine print on the checks which said to stop using old ones on that date and start using new ones on this date. Like we write a lot of checks anymore, anyway.

This is our third time seeing a change, and there are very few bigger fish up the food chain to swallow us up.

Where will it end?

The last time I drove cross-country, I noticed with dismay that most towns had the same hotels, McRestaurants and stereotypical visitor sites. We really had to work hard to find the places, joints and dives that define a local culture. It was no fun anymore, not a mind-expanding, culturally educational experience. Someone posted the other day a sped-up video of the very interstate I live near, except 4 states away…I could tell no difference between the spot his camera perched on his office desk, and the same roadway near my office desk, 750 miles away.

We’ve been whitewashed and bleached, and shame on us for all the blonde jokes which now apply to us for allowing the melting pot to actually melt.

Tire not in the pursuit of tradition.

Rest in peace, local, small businesses. And God help us all.

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