November 6, 2007

B-Sides: MUSIC & OTHER EPHEMERA

I know. You’re depressed about Korn’s lead singer embarking on a solo tour. Me too.In times of trouble, I turn to David Dye. The host of WXPN’s “World Café” is out promoting a new book of interviews he’s cherry-picked over the last decade and a half. He stops by WFPK-FM (619 S. Fourth St., 814-6500) at 6:30 p.m. Friday to discuss and sign copies of the book.We rang Dye about the book, the Boss and the biz.LEO: I guess you’ve heard Clear Channel won’t play Springsteen’s new album Magic. What thoughts come to mind when you hear about this nonsense, and do you feel a duty to counteract it?DD: You know, everybody’s kind of getting up in arms about this. It’s just programming as usual on commercial radio. They have to be so protective of their audience, because their audience means sales numbers to them. It hasn’t ever, in recent memory, been about music. Thank god for public radio.LEO: Is there a commercial component you have to contend with? WXPN does need to make money to survive.DD: All I would say is it’s kind of something that’s ingrained in how they program a show. I just try to think of myself as a regular radio listener. I give them things that they don’t know, but I throw in appropriate familiar music. LEO: There’s an opinion that to fix the potential problem of NPR listeners getting older, public radio stations should switch from classical to AAA format. Is this a good idea?DD: I think it depends on where you are. Clearly the numbers for classical music are (lower). Louisville is different because you have three different distinct stations. I think when people make pronouncements like that, it’s to get people to accept AAA as viable.LEO: Many of the interviewees in your book are white males. Do you see this as creating a perception problem?DD: A couple people have mentioned that. People who know the show certainly know what we’ve played, and we’re all over the place.All I can say is I went through the interviews, and I tried to find the ones that were most interesting, with the best anecdotes. That’s it. Sometimes it’s really frustrating. For some reason, we expect musicians to be fabulous communicators. I love Ryan Adams, but I don’t have that many coherent, revealing interviews with him.LEO: You’re in your late 50s. Do you ever think about, not necessarily “the end,” but rather, moving on?DD: My only fear is not being able to relate to newer music. I don’t think I’m at that point yet. When that happens, I’ll have to think about it. But I love doing this.Mat Herron is LEO’s Music Editor. He once had a jacket kind of like the one Michael Jackson wore in “Beat It,” but never perfected the moonwalk. Contact him at mherron@leoweekly.com