By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Erase the board
Your article about Wilmer-Hutchins schools ["Last in the class," October 3] excised the truth many of us suspected was buried there, but didn't get. I remember quite clearly visits to the schools--and with administrators--some years ago when I was a "cub" reporter for the now-dead Dallas Times Herald. You could sense something was wrong.
A rotten dew of adult guile dampened the students' earnest, youthful optimism. High school there meant several wasted years lacking the merest chance of intellectual awakening. But I hope your article, and some followup coverage, quickly helps restore the chance.
It's a pity children in search of an education should have to put up with a school board such as has been visited upon the innocent in Wilmer-Hutchins. The voters are to be pitied as well, but at least they could, if they wished, vote the rascals out of office.
I recently learned that politicians in the city-state of Singapore must pass an IQ test before they can be offered to the public. Perhaps if the state Legislature had any cods at all, it would pass a similar law in Texas.
How would it be if anyone who wanted to be a member of any school board would first have to show a proficiency in education: a passing mark on the G.E.D. or an SAT score of at least 800?
The W-H school district is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the democratic system of government. Perhaps a little education of the elected officials might turn things around.
I appreciate your bringing up the fallacies of the City of Dallas in dealing with its classical music station, WRR-FM 101.1 ["Static quo," September 19.]. I do not, at this point, think that the city has the integrity or the knowledge necessary to manage the station. However, I believe commercial takeover would not help at all.
Even if a private owner decides to keep WRR classical, commercials and announcements necessary to his livelihood would prevent him from playing long classical works (complete symphonies and operas would be out!). However, there is one major alternative you overlooked: conversion to nonprofit radio. (The Friends of WRR can do this!)
I do not understand the statement that "proposals from Stanton and North Texas Public Broadcasting [were rejected because] neither could guarantee that the station would make adequate profits." Isn't the function of public broadcasting to receive funds from the public and use them without profit? Take the example of Texas Public Radio, which manages KPAC-FM 88.3 in San Antonio. This jewel of a station collects $200,000-plus twice a year in pledge drives. When a listener makes a $40 pledge, he acquires a year's membership in Texas Public Radio. Though absolutely no profit is involved, the station has built up a respectable CD library and hires tasteful announcers.
[The station airs] shows like "Performance Today" and "First Hearing" from National Public Radio, and plays complete operas every Tuesday night and Saturday afternoon.
Native music gurus like Gerald Self produce their own shows focusing on particular areas in classical music. In short, KPAC supplies San Antonio and the surrounding area with great classical music--commercial-free, 24 hours a day.
If classical music lovers in San Antonio can pool their resources and create an excellent classical music station, why can't the citizens of the Metroplex do it? Why does great music have to provide powerful people with financial benefit to be feasible?
Via the Internet
Regarding A.C. Hall's Comments [Letters, October 3] on the WRR story: He is obviously an avid classical music fan. His comments about Chris Douridas are therefore biased; Douridas did more to improve KERA-FM's programming than anyone in years, and he is sorely missed. Hall's point, however, is well taken. If WRR would pump some money into itself instead of continuing as a low-budget operation, it would be a standout.
Those of us old enough to remember radio in the '50s and '60s know that playlists of 60 records at a station were not uncommon, and programmers willing to take a chance were rewarded with a greater audience share and a larger piece of the advertising pie.
This is a far cry from radio of today, with its tight playlists and lack of imagination. Apparently, a solution is as near as a pioneer with deep pockets. I know that Gordon McLendon, pioneer in his own right at the old KLIF in Dallas, would agree. Ted Turner, are you listening?
Best lauds, and gripes
As I sit reading the 1996 "Best of Dallas" issue [September 26], I find myself wondering when this paper became a mere tool with which its editorial staff can deliver petty jabs to the community it serves. I realize that it may be a stretch for your staff to fill a 256-page paper with the liberal dose of venom that drips from the pages of a 112-page book, but "Nordstrom with an S"? Please. How, exactly, does that figure into the "Best of" theme? I am pleased to discover that your staff feels superior to the clientele at Grinders. (I suppose that when you visit, you do open your German philosophy books, and that makes all the difference.)