The wingnuts do talk radio and television pretty well, but honestly, when was the last time anyone found themselves in the shower humming a few bars of the latest rant from a Fox windbag?
Woody Guthrie. Pete Seeger. Odetta. Joan Baez. Anyone who ever linked arms and sang We Shall Not Be Moved or We Shall Overcome.
Progressives own music with a message. We own the kind of music that can sink down deep into people’s souls and connect them to something bigger than any one person’s fear or hate.
Anyone who thinks that kind of music isn’t being made any more, or isn’t relevant, needs to listen to Steve Earle’s The Revolution Starts Now, or see what Billy Bragg has done with Waiting for the Great Leap Forward.
Commercial radio has pretty much locked out music that matters, no doubt in part because they make money from the wingnuts, so that leaves noncommercial radio. In most major radio markets, that wheezing noise you hear at the far end of the dial is noncommercial radio barely hanging on in a bed in the critical ward.
Houston has 90.1 FM KPFT – the Mighty Ninety – part of the Pacifica Network. Some of the progressive talk programs are phenomenally thoughtful, artfully provocative, and intellectually stimulating. But I don’t know if those shows are changing minds or preaching to the choir. Preaching to the choir has its place, but then again, how many of us are Easter & Christmas Christians, or get tickets for the High Holy Days and skip the rest of the year at temple?
The movement needs music. It needs visionary poets and artists to drive the soundtrack of the revolution. We need all the good ol’ boys who turn in to Lone Star Jukebox on Saturday mornings on KPFT to find themselves humming Steve Earle while they’re driving to work at the oil company on Monday morning.
Thanks to all the people working to keep music at the heart of the mission at KPFT.