City Paper is not for tourists
Elissa Silverman’s puff profile of WGMS “DJ” Dennis Owens (“The Classical,” 1/26) should not be allowed to stand. The gushy views about Owens that are expressed in the piece are essentially those of Silverman, and she acts as though WGMS viewers who are turned off by Owens’ gabby morning schtick do not exist. A minority report is in order.
What Silverman fails to note is the unfortunate compromises that WGMS has chosen to make in order to sustain a profitable audience rating. Most of these compromises seem be based on a terrifying fear of being stuck with the E-wordelitism. In his statements to his interviewer, Owens himself does not seem to be too wild about the music he is supposed to be promoting. He is more concerned with who is listening and at what time of day. That’s too bad, because Owens’ talky-DJ routine, which I must suffer through every morning in order to get to the good stuff, seems totally out of sync with the profundity and complexity of classical recordings. He seems to fancy the pop title “DJ,” and he has picked up the jazzy, fast-paced, staccato delivery of the DJs at radio stations catering to a populist audience. At WGMS it constitutes a jarring mix.
I, for one, do not remember any “wit, wisdom, or wordsmithery” that Dennis Owens ever uttered over the airwaves. That’s probably because the content of his meanderings tends to get smothered by his pretentious and overinflected vocal mannerisms. All this has prompted postcards to the programmer at WGMS, saying, in effect, “Please. Give us more music and less gab.” But the pleas go unheeded.
Silverman’s profile strikes me as just another example of the prevailing notion that “If it’s performed in Washington, you’re supposed to love it.” It is sad to see Washington City Paper succumbing to this idiocy in its arts reporting.