KUCI: A Radio Manifesto for Great (Audio) Justice

Radio listeners concerned with justice and democracy may be interested in a comparison of statistics measuring inequality. The U.S. is one of the world's most unequal countries in terms of income distribution, as given by the GINI coefficient, giving rise in the past year to “99%” movements drawing attention to the 1% (or the 1/10 of a percent) who hold a highly disproportionate preponderance of wealth. Similarly skewed by means just as pernicious, less than 1% of the growing amount of music being made ever gets heard. From Charles Blow's 2009 NY Times column: “...of the 13 million songs for sale online last year, 10 million never got a single buyer and 80 percent of all revenue came from about 52,000 songs. That’s less than one percent of the songs.”

The festering downward spiral that is commercial radio has long been homogenizing its content to play only this 1%, crowding out stations which don't conform to a very few narrow formats like oldies, classic rock, and the dreaded Top40 plastic morass. In an endless thirst for money and dominance of the local fm dial, they care only to capture the market for casual music listeners who only want to hear the same 100 songs looped until their bodies catch up with the death of their souls. But we have an alternative.

Consider the food pyramid. Overproduced pop is the equivalent of the lonely peak, the processed sugar, single or zero-serving sweets our bodies would do better without. Even among the healthiest of us, consumption of such unsavory sounds still account for far more than the proper 1% of the recommended caloric intake from saturated audiowaves. Trusted KUCI research studies warn that if commercial radio trends continue, most of America may have acute auricular diabetes by 2020. So go beyond the usual entreaty to eat your musical vegetables for a balanced diet. KUCI offers actual sustenance you can enjoy, wholesome aural meals in 2-hour show portions from audio food groups the FDA couldn't even conceive of. Every DJ is a new flavor. (And if a little hypocritical self-promotion may be excused, try some of these for starters!)

KUCI is in no way beholden to big-label lobbyists or the oligarchy of overproducers in the 1%. Our meritocratic vetting process, staffed by dedicated volunteers at UCI and the surrounding OC community, levels the playing field for unique, talented artists who may simply not be self-promoting megalomaniacs or photogenic enough to be on their own album covers, but simply sound exciting over the air, where it counts. 88.9fm provides more than bread and circuses, the stale crumbs and cymbal crashes of ostentatious grammy-bait, to focus on music that's both entertaining and artful--as good or better than commercial pop in every regard but sales to the teenybopper demographic.

Furthermore, KUCI believes in the “long-tail” of commercial viability in this digital age of converging media accessibility. Maybe your local high school didn't have a Mongolian death metal band, a Latvian reggae group, or an anarchistic, improvised free jazz collective playing the prom. The wonders of the internet could make all these specialties viable—could allow your favorite artists to quit their day jobs and make your favorite music full time—but only if we seek them out. Horizons don't broaden themselves, and the 1% isn't going to skimp on the high-fructose corn syrup until we listeners migrate away en masse. By tuning in to KUCI, you're embracing the dangers and the excitement of unadulterated music for music's sake, an act of protest which will more than likely also make you dance.

No one said the revolution would be easy, and since one person's music is another's noise, your journey of musical discovery will involve some bumps in the road. If you're trying, our hats go off to you. If you're one of the majority who only has a few favorite songs, hasn't bought an album or found a new artist they like since high school, KUCI welcomes you with open arms to find out what you've been missing. If nothing else, tune in and feel good for sticking it to the 1% of manufactured pop mercenaries keeping the rest of us down.

The great theorist John Stuart Mill, not known for particularly hip taste in music but of redoubtable quotability anyway, once said that democracy without redistribution of resources from the rich to the poor was impossible. If you believe in audio democracy and the redistributive listening justice this entails, your righteous ears are welcome to KUCI...taking the revolution to the airwaves 24/7, 366 for leap year.

--In solidarity, someone set us up the bomb. DJ Poseur (Julian Lee), 3/13/2012, from the deep underground internet bunker of www.omnifoo.info

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