From the column "Offbeat"
one love RADIO
The latest programming paroxysm at kpfk has some radioheads wondering if the progressive but sometimes befuddled station has a new theme song: "Mama Donít Allow No Hip-Hop Music íRound Here." Two prime-time music shows on the listener-sponsored station bit the dust last week, and the unpaid volunteer programmers who left say itís because of managementís aversion to rap and youth culture. DJ Dusk, whose Tuesday 8 to 10 p.m. show, The Bridge, featured reggae, rare í70s soul, salsa and hip-hop, was fired and replaced by a rap-free format, he said.
Carlos Niño, whose All at One Point aired Wednesday nights from 8 to 10 p.m., said he quit after receiving an order to stop playing hip-hop. Managers also asked him to limit his patter to a minute and to drop his use of such phrases as "peace and love" and "one love," which they said were alienating an older audience. (Hey, OffBeat could have sworn we heard that "peace" thing once or twice back in the í60s, but we could be wrong.) The love talk ban was later lifted, but Niño ó at 22, one of the younger programmers on KPFK (and a Weekly contributor) ó elected not to continue his edgy mix of noncommercial hip-hop and world music. "Itís not like I was playing sell-that-dope-and-go-shoot-your-neighbor crap," Niño said. "I do not want to bring KPFK down. It is the most progressive station around with a real potential to be a community voice . . . But I do not support what the station management is doing. They basically didnít like what I consider my youthfulness, colorfulness and life affirmation."
The axings are part of the chronically underfunded stationís move toward slicker, "eclectic" programming to entice a more upscale KCRW-type audience; both Dusk and Niño acknowledge they were not top fund-raisers. But is killing hip-hop, arguably the biggest money-maker in commercial radio, the answer? General manager Mark Schubb said hip-hop will continue on late-night programs, but it was not drawing an audience in the earlier slots.
"The majority of our listeners, and of our donors, are not 18 years old," Schubb said."Itís wonderful to bring youth into the mix, but itís never going to be the focus of what we do." [please see "KPFK'd" : these programmers were removed for not appealing to a YOUNG audience]
"Rap is the music I and a lot of other people grew up with," said Dusk, a La Habra native. "Now itís the one style of music missing from the equation."