Monday, December 16, 2013

Once in a while we play a clunker, a look back at WUMB's 2013 clunkers, or your tax dollars at work at UMass Boston

"Once in a while we play a clunker."

Dick Pleasants, WUMB, 9/4/09

Today we offer a compilation of the most worst "clunkers" WUMB, "Boston's NPR music affiliate", had in "heavy rotation" in 2013.

Instead of offering a freeform format like the other 99% of Boston-area colleges' and universties' radio stations, UMass Boston runs its station as a National Public Radio affiliate with a professional, paid (as in state employee) staff. Its operating policy excludes the participation of UMass Boston students or members of the Columbia Point neighborhood in host/producer or staff rolls. 

WUMB's student-excluding policy is the outlier of radio stations licensed to the three other UMass (Amherst, Lowell,and Dartmouth) and six Massachusetts state universities (Salem, Framingham, Bridgewater, Worcester, Fitchburg, MCLA and Westfield), let alone those licensed to the other five New England states' universities, all of which are run as student organizations and staffed and managed by their respective students. 

Operating policies aside, WUMB's format is AAA pop, a style initiated by former general manager Pat Monteith when WUMB became a NPR affiliate and carried on by her successor, Patty Domeniconi. As is customary for other public radio stations, there is no governing body, such as an elected board of directors. Instead the station management reports to the office of the Vice-Chancellor of Enrollment, Kathleen Teehan, who has a unique take on why a state university should exclude students from on-air, production and management roles:

And unlike freeform independent college and community radio stations, the "on-air personalities" (as WUMB management calls their DJ's) have no control of the pre-programmed music played during their voice tracked shows, it being selected to fit the AAA format by music director Jay Moburg, affectionately known around the stations as "junior.".

The following videos and commentary are a retrospective of the worst "clunkers" from WUMB's AAA heavy rotation playlist, re-posted here courtesy of Towards Independent College / Community Radio WUMB.

Unlike in Vermont, the sap at UMass Boston flows year 'round.

1. "Life's Warm Sheets" by Mark Olson and Gary Louris"You know that really annoying ditty "Life's Warm Sheets" by Mark Olson and Gary Louris that WUMB Radio Network plays incessantly? Listen to Bobby Charles' "Small Town Talk" from 1972. We're not saying so, but you tell us if Olson and Louris ripped off the melody."

2. Elton John and Leon Russell "If It Wasn't For Bad"

"Keep the pop coming, WUMB Radio Network, we're sure the UMass Boston students can relate to the songs of commercial artists their grand parents were listening to when they were college students, like Elton John/Leon Russell's "If It Wasn't for Bad" (aired 9/4, 4:25pm)." 

"In an early 2012 interview with the Los Angeles Times - - Elton John stated “there’s no way I’m going to get on the radio at 60 years of age unless I’m doing a duet with Gaga or I was on “All of the Lights,” which was a Kanye West record that managed to get on the radio. As Elton John, my days on pop radio are over, and I know that and I accept it and I’m not unhappy about it. It’s a different time of my life now, and it gives me the freedom to do whatever kind of music I want to do. And it may end up being pop, but I don’t know. There’s no pressure for me to go out there and say, I’ve got to have a top 40 hit because it’s not going to happen.

Apparently the word did not reach the management team at pop NPR affiliate Wumb Boston, which has been playing the 60's pop icon's "Country Comfort" ad nauseam. 
Music UMass Boston students want to hear?
We think not."

"An ocean's garbled vomit on the shore?"
3. The Decemberists w/LA Phil - Los Angeles, "I'm Yours"
"The studio recording WUMB played at 7:20 was bad, this live version worse. WUMB is sweet on the Decemberists, but this guy cannot sing a note. Take a voice lesson! Use autotune! Hire a voice-over person! Do something! UGH"

Discordant disharmony
4. The Neilds "First Aid Kit"
"With sappy lyrics, heavy production including synthesized strings and glockenspiel and channeling the "harmony" "qualities" of the Nields, today's klunker is First Aid Kit (SE) OFFICIAL's "Blue" 
Published on Jun 19, 2012 by jagadambarecords
Music video by First Aid Kit performing their new single "Blue". This is the third single taken from First Aid Kit's latest release, The Lion's Roar, available on Wichita Recordings."

Music video by First Aid Kit performing their new single "Blue". This is the third single taken from First Aid Kit's latest release, The Lion's Roar, available on Wichita Recordings."

"But enough of words, actions speak louder than. Action now. Observe all." -Alex5. The Lumineers - Ho Hey
"Today's klunker, The Lumineers - Ho Hey. Let's be non-conformists, we'll all dress alike like Clockwork Orange droogs, jump around lipsynking and in general make fools of ourselves."

Another irritating WUMB habit is playing third-rate cover versions of 60's soft rock hits by talentless hipster bands.
6. The Wandering, "Mr. Spaceman"
"More "neo-hippie" pop, "The Wandering" cover the Byrd's "Mr. Spaceman." Played 8/15 at 4pm.
Is there something wrong with the original, Mr. Moburg?"

Don't send out the St. Barnards, it would be merciful if they would perish in the blizzard.
7. The Vespers, "Footprints In The Snow"
Switched on WUMB Radio Network at 11:11am only to be subjected to the amateurish headbanging painful noise The Vespers' call "Footprints In The Snow." We're becoming convinced that the WUMB playlist selection is based on racing to the music bottom to find the worst new music available.

Help us count how many times "She's Mine".
8. Brett Dennen - She's Mine
""Even though it is a bit over-possessive, I like it". Dave Palmater, 1/11 2:30pm. Dave gets paid to play and say flattering things about cute popsters who hold groups such as "Hanson" in reverence. CLUNKER!!!!!!"
"Once in a while we play a clunker?" We pride ourselves in our heavy rotation clunkers would be more apt.

9. Dawes - How Far We've Come
""Some people call that the 'west coast sound', I don't know what that means, so I'll call it "Dawes"." -Dave Palmater. Good for you for not succumbing to the hype! Sorry you are forced to play pop, your talents are seriously wasted."

Hey, hey, we're the Monkees!
10. The Monkees - "What Am I Doin' Hangin' 'Round"
"We've been busy these past few Saturdays, unable to monitor the clunkers. Does Albert O really believe this song is celebrates the counter-culture of the 60's, the foundation and premise of HW61R? Played this morning at 11:00 am."

Since many UMass Boston is unaware that WUMB exists, "Most of the students asked didn't even know what WUMB radio was", "WUMB, A Brief History and Comparison to its Sister Radio Stations", The Mass Media, 9/1/13, who are these clunkers targeted to? Keep the pop coming, WUMB Radio Network, if you are not serving the community, you're serving yourself.

No comments: