Community Radio Smackdown!


My radio spends the vast majority of its time divided between 90.7 and 94.1 (it's true that a small percentage is also spent playing classic R&B and contemporary country – ya, you heard me - but mostly I'm loyal to the big two) and right now my favorite stations are conspiring to host simultaneous pledge periods. I can think of only one way to get revenge: Community Radio Smackdown! KALX vs. KPFA, or more specifically, KALX pledge breaks vs. KPFA pledge breaks – the winner gets my ass volunteering to answer phones during their next pledge period.

I'll be evaluating the pledge breaks using 3 important criteria: On-Air Banter, Premiums, and Volunteer Pledge Taker service. Everybody ready? Here we go:

On-Air Banter: KALX
KPFA, I love you, but your pledge period on-air banter is dry dry dry. Dry like an all-gin martini. Not dry like funny, but dry like dull. And Dennis Bernstein, although I admire your conviction, you should not be allowed to participate in fundraising. Does your doctor realize the level of stress you undergo during each pledge break? I'm concerned about heart failure. Also Dennis, as much as I care for KPFA, and as much as I care about Palestine – I just can't believe that donating to KPFA will save Palestinian children. But shit, keep trying, maybe you'll convince me eventually.

KALX banter on the other hand is so awesome that I actually look forward to their pledge periods. Their prerecorded celebrity endorsements are amazing – Joan Jett tells me to give money – let me tell you, I'm gonna give it. Their breaks are short, they are funny, and the DJs lack the pledge break desperation found on most public radio stations. Of course, it may be that they have much smaller financial needs – how much does the KALX news cost to produce anyway? Even so, KALX wins this category.

Premiums: KPFA
KPFA beats KALX's ass on premiums. Right now KPFA is giving away some sort of expanded Paul Robeson CD that includes both interviews and performances, Michael Moore's Sicko, and the Good Vibrations Guide to Sex. KALX on the other hand is giving away Modest Mouse CDs and tickets to see the Coup. In December. Shit, I love the Coup from the bottom of my leftist heart, but I see them for free at every other political action. Yay for the Coup, but this is not a good premium.

KALX used to give away actual DJ slots to big donors. Meaning, for the right price you could host your own show. I admit that is an awesome premium, but I haven't heard it offered this time around, so even though KALX also gives out cool t-shirts and temporary tattoos, I'm handing this category over to KPFA for their consistently quality pledge shwag.

Telephone Volunteers: KALX
I am fucking broke people. I mean, overdrawn for a week, praying to the baby Jesus that the landlord doesn't cash my check broke. But my commitment to this scientific comparison is so great that I attempted to pledge to both stations despite my financial problems so that I could accurately report for all of you. Here's what I found:

I received excellent service from the KALX phone-answering volunteer, who also happened to be KALX volunteer DJ Pop Goes the Weasel. In all my years of donating to KPFA, KQED, and KALW, I have never talked to a DJ when I've called in my pledge, and KPFA would really have to have gone above and beyond to have come close to KALX in this category. Unfortunately, by the time I finally got around to calling KPFA, their pledge period had ended! I thought these things lasted forever. Sorry KPFA, but by ending your fundraiser in a reasonable period of time, you've forfeited your spot in this competition. This category goes to our friends at KALX.

The winner in this year's Community Radio Smackdown? KALX. Competition was stiff, but KALX wins my ass, volunteering to answer phones during their next pledge break. Thanks for playing along at home and remember, it's always the right time to donate: 510.642.KALX, or 510.848.KPFA. And don't forget to pay your pledges folks!


anniez-k said...

I realize this isn't exactly historical research, but it was damn funny! Keep up the good work. We pledged, but to the local on air leftists up here in OR!

Bay Radical said...

Aw, thanks Annie. You're my biggest fan. Oddly, KALX hasn't called to collect on their prize.


Amanda said...

I can't believe that KALX is no longer offering DJ spots. This is super sad to me.

Also, I can't believe that you wrote down that you "prayed to the baby Jesus." There are things I don't know about you anymore.

Bay Radical said...

Wow Ama! You're on a Bay Rad roll! Thanks for all of your very thoughtful comments.

And ya, I lied about the Baby Jesus. Poetic license and all that.

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