Tuesday, March 28, 2023

My Oma died.

Oma is the Dutch word for grandmother.

I will add more later, but for now... I feel very very far away from my family in Canada.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Roboseyo leaving Weekly Review on TBS EFM, Squeezed Out by Budget Cuts

Hello Roboseyo fans!

I hope you've been well, and happy, and all that great stuff.

It's been an action-packed little while for me (as always?) but there's been one change that I want to talk about.

Starting in Fall of 2019, I began hosting Weekly Review, the one-hour weekly program that TBS Efm, one of Korea's English radio stations, runs in order to fulfill some legal requirement about media outlet accountability.

All fair and fine. It was... a fantastic experience, frankly. I started just a few months before the pandemic hit, and it was a little thing that kept me having things to look forward to, people to meet, things to get excited about, during all the very worst days of the pandemic, when my default would probably have been to become a Howard Hughes-grade shut-in. Instead of letting the days blur together and turning into a toad... I made new friends, deepened old friendships, acquired a new skill, found a lot of joy in hosting a radio show and making the show a place where a big variety of people felt comfortable sharing their views, and did a bunch of other stuff that made me happy, along with scads of laughs and jokes and smiles.

Well, you may have heard about the politics around TBS's budget problems -- as an outlet funded in large part by the government, TBS got in hot water when one of their Korean DJs said a bunch of stuff that the mayor of Seoul and the new President of Korea disliked, and they used their political pull to withdraw TBS's funding. The review show -- required by regulation -- survived even when a lot of other shows were either wholly or partly cancelled, but in the end, they ran out of money to pay a host (me), and I had to say goodbye to a gig that helped me enjoy my life.

On air, for my final signoff, I asked the producer if I could say a few things about the value that an English language radio station like TBS Efm brings to the culture of a global city like Seoul, and they graciously said I could, so just below, is a capture of that farewell address, for posterity, and in the hope that maybe it'll reach some of the ears that need to be reminded what an independent, non-education, non-news radio station can contribute to a local culture, as well as global views of that culture.

I have more opinions about it than that, connected to the idea of reprisals for free speech, the importance of a free press, and where exactly media outlets can turn for funding in 2023, when everybody wants content, but nobody wants to pay (except advertisers, which introduces a whole other set of problems), but I might save those comments for a future post.

For now, I want to say again, to everyone who listened, who appeared on air with me as a panelist, or who was on the other side of the soundproof barrier, in production, engineering, or whatever they were doing... thanks to all of you, for an experience I've enjoyed immensely, and hope to do again.

You can hear my full comments here!

And here's the text of what I said, in case anyone wants to read along.

That is all for our reviews this week! 

I’ve appreciated your insights I look forward to hearing more from you next time!

With that, we’ve reached the end of another episode of tbs eFM’s Weekly Review. Thanks to all of you for listening.

 Listeners, we’d love to hear your feedback, too. Our email address is: weeklyreviewefm@gmail.com tell us your thoughts or say hello!

The team will be back again next week, Saturday, at 9am with more feedback and constructive criticism on all your favorite TBS Efm programs, but I have sad news for any of our listeners who have enjoyed my hosting during my time here.

Loyal listeners have surely noticed the way TBS budget cuts have squeezed out many of the programs listeners love, and that squeeze has reached Weekly Review at last. I’m sad to say that this is my last week as the host of Weekly Review.

For me personally, that's a loss, and for all the team members who've enjoyed working with me, and also for listeners who've enjoyed my hosting, hopefully, or my cheesy jokes by some strange bit of luck, but the greater loss is one that I’ve seen up close as a reviewer here at TBS Efm: strangling TBS Efm's funding has robbed Seoul, Korea, and people from every country who are streaming TBS Efm or listening online of an amazing resource.

As a reviewer, I’ve a huge variety of programs presented by TBS efm, and it's my job  and here’s the bigger picture: TBS Efm delivered a huge variety of perspectives on Korean life and culture, to a global audience, in real time, for hours every day, in a global language. 

A news or education or Korea promotion only station just can’t show the richness of Korean life the way TBS EFM could at its best. We had family stuff, comedy, chat, live music, deep analysis, conversation with listeners from across the globe, not to mention personal interviews with culture and thought leaders both big and small.

All together, tbs efm was much more than the sum of its parts. It was a window into all Korea is, could be, and might become. 

So… I’m not here to talk about the politics connected to the TBS EFM budget. 

I AM here to say Seoul, as a global city, is culturally poorer for cutting TBS Efm adrift.

So if you care that global audiences get to see Seoul and Korea as it really is, through the eyes of creative and interesting people who live here and love it… I encourage you to contact your local representatives, and let them know you’d like them to support TBS EFM.

It’s been an honor to work with the teams I’ve had here, and it’s been an honor to serve you, listeners, these three and a half years. THank you, all of you in the studio and everywhere.

And that’s it from me and from our team today. This has been Rob Ouwehand for Weekly Review. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, be safe, and support Korea’s culture by supporting TBS Efm.