I love the notion of terrestrial radio. It is dying, of course, as more and more radio stations are bought by media conglomerates. Like almost everything else in our daily lives, consolidation eliminates options.
On Sunday, February 19, 2017 at around noon, the Maine classical music station known as WBACH changed to a “classic rock” format. Prior to this, WBACH broadcast classical music at two frequencies on the FM band, one serving Portland and the other the Midcoast area.
I listened to WBACH on the latter station, usually in the morning and late afternoon. It brought a focus to my thoughts that only composed and orderly music can. I loved the calm voice of Scott Hooper, the WBACH program director. It helped me to go serenely up the stairs to my office and face the challenges of my professional day.
I first began listening to the station when I lived in Portland in 1991. The strength of its signal and its weekly jazz program, hosted by Arnold Olean, expanded my musical horizons and taught me things about music I had not considered.
Moving back to Maine, I was delighted to find it again. I even enjoyed the commercials, which were tastefully produced and often for eclectic businesses along that interesting corridor of Maine north of Bath. More than one trip to the Farnsworth Art Museum was instigated by something I heard following a Handel concerto.
I know I can stream hundreds of classical music stations from around the world. London’s BBC Radio 3, with their erudite and clever announcers , is quite nice. I could invest in a new piece of equipment to do this in stereophonic high fidelity. On one of my WBACH-inspired trips to Rockland, I almost bought such an item at Black Parrot. A Tivoli Audio Model One BT.
There are men and women in our world who associate classical (ancient) music with dead white men in powdered wigs, promoting patriarchy. I do not. I hear the balance of geometry, the rhythm of nature, mathematical accuracy, scientific curiosity, and the history of humanity.
I hear the beauty of creation.
That’s my mourning wreath. It’s hideous and ugly. I made it with things I found here at my house after death arrived in our family. I never hung it on the door; the solitary creative act soothed me regardless of the aesthetically inferior product.
WBACH was another soothing component of household peace and tranquility in a world flipped upside down.
Today, I mourn for the loss of beauty among the many other things I am mourning.