alan chartock

sunday 12 june 2011

Alan is yet another public radio voice/personality who was a very large part of my own now vanished life. I’m going to discuss something childish and, to me, offensive that Alan’s been doing for the last two days, but don’t let that give you a wrong impression. He has many qualities that I both respect and admire. Like Bob Paquette, Alan is a tireless and passionate champion for his radio station (WAMC in Albany). Also like Bob, Alan does a great deal in the community outside the station doors. But another truth about Alan is that he is definitely a type-A personality (like me), and unlike Bob, who seemed to be one of the calmest people on the planet. Bitter irony that Alan and I, the type-A-heart-attack types, are alive today, while Bob, the soul of calm, is dead now two weeks.

I’ve been listening to the WAMC fund drive this week, something I haven’t done since my life was stolen three years ago. And it’s precisely because of Bob’s death that I’m doing it. I deeply miss Bob’s voice on my radio every weekday morning, a voice that was both beautiful in itself, and also a means for me to travel in my heart back to my own life that’s gone. I decided that the Albany fund drive would be another vehicle to carry me back to what I grieve every day.

Alan has always taken occasional pot-shots at Bob’s station (WFCR in Amherst MA). The two stations are more and more in competition for territory, listeners and donations with every year that’s passed since about 2006. And to a degree, I take those pot-shots at WFCR too. In 2006 at least one person was hired to WFCR whom I loathe, and who, I believe, set out to intensify this competition between the two stations. And this person found in the upper-level management of the station a few people who are weak and were only too willing to be dictated to and pushed around by this newcomer. This handful of individuals have made some changes since 2006 that Alan and I both find heinous, things that no public radio station ought to do. So I understand and share some of his vitriol, which he has been spitting out periodically over the last two days.

But Alan tends to forget all of the others who work at WFCR — dedicated, hard-working people just like his own staff. They don’t get to make the big decisions, they just work loyally and hard, year after year, the way Bob did. Because Bob Paquette died only 9 or 10 days before Alan’s fund drive began, I am both offended and disgusted by Alan’s current jibes at WFCR. That entire staff has just lost a friend, their most important on-air voice, and a tireless worker who had other functions at the station besides on-air hosting. I would think Alan would have the compassion and decency to just keep his trap shut about WFCR at this time of their loss. Their own live fund drive begins, I think, tomorrow, and this is the first time they have to do it without Bob.

If I had the ambition to call Alan, I’d say: Look, the people who make the nasty decisions at WFCR are a very few, and I’ll gladly spit at them with you another time. But Bob wasn’t one of them, so far as I know. He was a decent, kind man who worked as hard for his station as your staff works for theirs. He was as loyal to WFCR as you are to WAMC. And he was too young, at 55, to die of a heart attack a mere two weeks ago. Show some respect.

But I don’t have the ambition to call Alan, so I write this instead. This I can do without the anxiety attack that would come from talking to people I don’t know well. And though I called many people at four different radio stations back in my own life, PTSD and anxiety are much worse now, and now I can’t do such things. But back in the day, some of the radio people also called me. And, to whip out the irony again, two of the radio people who telephoned me in the past were Alan Chartock and Bob Paquette.


read…    The death of Bob Paquette…   Being toward death

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