Monday, February 26, 2007

And we're back!

KCCK returned to the air this morning (Monday), several hours ahead of when we thought we'd be back up, so things are rapidly returning to normal. Kirkwood, of course, is closed today and tonight, all locations. Listen to KCCK or watch for the early word on Kirkwood classes on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Storm Blog (Sunday)-Dennis

There are many things critical to the success of a radio station... Great music, interesting personalities...

And electricity.

Right now, KCCK has only two out of those three. The winter storm that blew through Eastern Iowa on Saturday first iced over our tower, requiring us to leave the air about 5pm, and remain off till the antenna thawed out. The knockout punch was delivered a couple hours later, when the power lines to a major substation snapped and took out power to the entire Cedar Rapids Kirkwood campus.

Because KCCK's web page is hosted off campus (thank you ABC Solutions!), our web page is still up, although Kirkwood's is not, as of this writing, at least. So you can check and this blog from time to time, to check on our status.

At this time, we're going to regroup tomorrow (Monday) and look into renting a generator to power the transmitter.

We'll also try to post information on Kirkwood's status as well.

Trying to contact us? Office phones and email are down, of course. You can post comments to this blog, or email us at a temporary address...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Merger Mania-Dennis

Unless you're been held incommunicado somewhere for the last week (or perhaps haven't caught any newscasts because you're a satellite radio listener), you know that Sirius and XM, the holders of the U.S. licenses for satellite radio, have decided the market simply won't sustain two sat radio companies, and they need to merge, in effect becoming a legal monopoly.

As someone who is trying to sustain a local public radio service on, oh... 1/500 of what Sirius is paying just Howard Stern, it's hard for me to be sympathetic. Both XM and Sirius have been spending money like the U.S. government, locking up national personalities like Stern and Oprah, not to mention NFL and college sports, NASCAR and even A Prairie Home Companion and Car Talk. At the same time, they've been spending millions on advertising. As a terrestrial radio manager, I've been more than happy to let them beat each other up, and am having trouble understanding why it's the government's job to let them have a monopoly simply because they've spent themselves into oblivion.

Am I worried satellite radio will take listeners away from KCCK? Well, it's not satellite radio itself that bugs me as much as this is just another trend toward big, faceless companies controlling the music we hear, instead of local people. When Clear Channel started buying multiple signals in cities large and small, company executives insisted the economies of scale would enable them to put interesting, niche formats on some stations that wouldn't have to be as profitable, or at least as profitable as soon. Yeah, that's happened.

If XM and Sirius merge, do you think they will put more jazz (for instance) on the combined service? Of course not, they'll stick with the three flavors they have now and spend the money they've saved on some flavor-of-the-month talk host or music format.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still think there is value in a radio station where a local host picks music he or she thinks is worth sharing, working for a company that's accountable to the community where the both the staff and listeners live.

Try finding that on a satellite. Heck, good luck finding it in most towns. Ours excepted, thanks to you!

Clean Up Your Act - George

Topics for Clean Up Your Act for the week of Feb. 26 will include "Banning the Bulb" and "Wood or Plastic Pallets."

The Australian government plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescents. The hope is to reduce Australian greenhouse gas emissions by 4-million tons by 2012.

More than a billion pallets are in service in the U.S. at any given time. Half-a-billion new ones are needed each year to replace broken ones. Most are used only once. Plastic pallets, on the other hand, can be used up to 70 times. This might be one case where plastic is the superior material over a natural material.

George Dorman - News and Operations Director

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Results and Reactions-Bob

The Grammys were doled out on Sunday night...just a few thoughts on the winners. It was good to see the ageless Tony Bennett pick up three more Grammys for his work on the "Duets" CD. His voice just seems to get better with age. Odd that George Benson and Al Jarreu won in the Pop Instrumental category for their VOCAL disc, "Givin' It Up"! (Although they did win one for Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for their work with Jill Scott on that disc, our Featured CD from back in November.) As for the Jazz categories, just one quibble...for the Jazz Vocal Album, they went with the safe bet, Nancy Wilson's "Turned to Blue," which was a fine disc for the veteran vocalist. But my vote would have gone to the much-more ground-breaking and impressive "Footprints" disc for Karrin Allyson, who has certainly paid her dues and deserved an award. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Randy and Michael Brecker, Chick Corea, and Brian Lynch & Eddie Palmieri all were deserving (and were all heard on KCCK over the past year!)

One other thing: I hope everyone had a chance to take in the "Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life" documentary on IPT Sunday night...just a fascinting look at the complicated life of the composer and his relationship with Duke Ellington, with some neat performances by Bill Charlap, Dianne Reeves, Joe Lovano and others. If you weren't able to see it, I would watch for the dvd in the future...a real nice addtion for the serious jazz fan's collection.

Bob Stewart, Program Director

Friday, February 2, 2007

Giving You The Business-Dennis

KCCK has recently added a business report to our midday news. The report is prepared and hosted by Joe Brisben and Ken Wall of BDF Investments in Coralville. Their names will be familiar to radio listeners in the area for past reports on other stations.

Why business news? Well, we all have an interest in the national and global economic climate. Even those who don't own or trade stocks are in the market through 401(k)s and the like. But we wanted something more than just a recitation of Dow Jones Average and a list of stock prices. You can get that from a stock ticker on your computer. What Joe and Ken bring is some context, the "why I should care" behind the numbers, along with a sense of humor that makes the reports entertaining. They're a great addition to our daily lineup!

Hear the Midday Business Report right at the end of the 11:50 news.

More Live Jazz to Enjoy-Bob

It's going to be a cooooold weekend in Eastern Iowa, but there's some live jazz out there to warm things up, starting with the great Latin jazz reedman Paquito D'Rivera tonight at Hancher Auditorium...or the Cuban Penguin as he referred to himself in a conversation I had with him last week as he was braving the cold in New Jersey. That chat,by the way, can be heard on our website at His originally scheduled concert was snowed out last month. He and his quintet take the stage tonight at 7:30.
Also tonight, guitarist Steve Grismore and his trio will be playing the Tuscan Moon in Kalona, which is becoming quite the jazz venue for Eastern Iowans. They'll be playing from 7-10pm. Morning After plays there Saturday from 8-11pm.

You can also experience what some student jazz musicians are doing these days with a couple of high school concerts. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids will have their Band Carnival on Saturday from 4-9pm in the auditorium there. The jazz bands will be included in the concert with all the other ensembles from that school's program. And at City High in Iowa City, the jazz bands will be featured in concert along with our good friend, pianist Dan Knight, sitting in as special guest. There'll be two shows, at 6 & 8pm, taking place in the school cafeteria.

And, of course, it's the regular gigs from pianists Eddie Piccard and Dick Watson and their ensembles this weekend, too. Eddie plays Konstantino's in Cedar Rapids tonight from 7-10 and Saturday night at the Top of the Five Seasons Hotel in Cedar Rapids. Dick has his regualar gig at the Lighthouse in Cedar Rapids Friday and Saturday.

Bob Stewart, Program Director

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Strayhorn Specials-Bob

If you missed out on the special for Jazz Masters this afternoon, "Lush Life: the Music and Life of Billy Strayhorn," hosted by Rhonda Hamilton, you can catch it again tonight. We'll be replaying that on John Heim's Jazz Masters session at 10pm. This coincides with our Featured CD for the Month of February, "Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life," which by the way we'll have in its entirety tonight for our Midnight CD. This is the companion soundtrack to a brand new 90-minute documentary film about the pioneering African-American composer, arranger,and pianist. There are 15 Strayhorn compositions by several of today's jazz stars: Bill Charlap, Joe Lovano, and Dianne Reeves, as well as piano legend Hank Jones and special guest Elvis Costello provide vibrant new performances, and are also featured throughout the PBS/Independent Lens documentary, which will air on Iowa Public Television at 10:30pm on Sunday February 11.

Bob Stewart, Program Director