Pak Leaving For California


The Spokane Symphony is saying goodbye, regretfully, to associate conductor Jung-Ho Pak in May.

This rising star from California has been popular with both musicians and audiences during his two-year stint here. However, he decided this month to concentrate on his commitments in California, especially on the possibility that the San Diego Symphony may rise once again from the ashes.

Pak was the associate conductor in San Diego before he took the Spokane post. The San Diego orchestra folded, but now there is a strong possibility that it will be revived with Jung-Ho Pak as its music director. Nothing is certain yet, but Spokane Symphony executive director Jonathan Martin said that Pak has decided to “ride that bull” to the finish.

“You’re going to be hearing a lot about Jung-Ho Pak,” said Martin. “He’s very articulate. The orchestra likes him, and the audiences really took to him. My only complaint is I didn’t have enough of him.”

Pak is also the director of orchestral conducting at the University of Southern California; he’s on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory; and he conducts Disney’s Young Person’s Orchestra. He commuted to Spokane for his concerts here.

His last Spokane Symphony concert will be May 10 and 12 at The Met. Martin said he’ll try to get him back as a guest conductor.

Chorale director wanted, too

Meanwhile, the Spokane Symphony is also looking for a replacement for Spokane Symphony Chorale director Paul Klemme.

Martin said he definitely would have picked up Klemme’s contract for a second season, except Klemme has decided he has had enough of commuting every week from Salem, Ore.

When hired, Klemme was on the WSU faculty in Pullman. However, shortly after that he took a church position in Salem. He honored his contract in Spokane this year, flying in for rehearsals at his own expense, but he couldn’t keep that up forever.

“We were really sorry to lose him,” said Martin.

However, this opens up the possibility of hiring one person to fill both Pak’s associate conductor position and the chorale director post.

“It’s a long shot,” said Martin. “These are fairly different disciplines. But then that would make a critical mass allowing the person to be a resident here.”

Applicants can apply for both positions or either one. A nationwide search is on, and auditions will be held in late April.

Dumb Radio Stunts

In our continuing coverage of Dumb Radio Stunts, this week’s exhibit is the “Show Us Yours” promotion from KZZU-FM.

This charmingly named stunt was a joint venture between KZZU (The Zoo) and Pepsi. Pepsi is trying to make its globe logo as ubiquitous (look it up) as the Nike swoosh. So this week, the station asked its listeners to make up a sign that incorporated both the Pepsi and Zoo logos, and then display it in a prominent place. Whoever’s sign was seen by the most people would win $3,000.

Great idea, right? Just what we need, more urban clutter and commercialism! Anyway, people put up signs on bridges, on street corners and on flatbed trucks. And thinking logically, a number of listeners decided to put their signs right next to the freeway.

Which happens to be illegal. On Tuesday, a Washington State Department of Transportation official called the station and “completely freaked out,” as KZZU put it.

No, actually he was quite calm about it, said Al Gilson , the department’s public information director. He asked the station to tell its listeners to keep their signs off the freeway. Then, on Wednesday, the department quietly proceeded to rip down about “a half-dozen” signs that were on the freeway right-of-way, meaning inside the fences.

Problem solved.

No word yet on who won this contest, but it certainly won’t be anybody with a freeway sign. One of the contest rules states that if you break the law, you’re disqualified.

Served a suspension

Speaking of Dumb Radio Stunts, here’s something dumb, although apparently not a stunt.

Two KTRW-AM (The Score) talk hosts, Dave Spencer and The Bull (Jeff Bradley), went on the air last week and announced, wrongly, that Spokane’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was canceled.

These two guys were just confused. First of all, it was a St. Patrick’s Day dinner, not the parade. Second, the dinner wasn’t actually canceled, either.

Management suspended them for two days for using bad judgment. Untold thousands of radio listeners were blissfully unaware of both the announcement and the suspension. This show is not exactly a powerhouse in the ratings.

Memo to Mayor Talbott

Speaking of ratings, I wonder if Spokane Mayor John Talbott checked the radio ratings when he decided to host a one-hour talk show on KSBN-AM (1230).

This business news-talk station has such dreadfully low ratings that it doesn’t even make the Arbitron rankings. A station must have what amounts to at least a 0.5 share (one-half of one percent of those listening to the radio at any one time) to be measured at all, because anything below that level is statistically meaningless. KSBN-AM rarely, if ever, reaches that exalted plateau. To recap: KSBN doesn’t even have enough listeners to finish last in the Arbitrons.

About 22 stations normally make the Arbitron rankings.

Maybe the Mayor Talbott Show will be just the boost that KSBN needs. Help a radio station and do your civic duty by tuning in to 1230 AM every Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m.

Children’s Miracle Network switches

The Miracle Network Telethon (aka the Children’s Hospital Telethon) is switching from KHQ-6 to KXLY-4.

This year, KHQ-6 is obligated through NBC to carry a number of NBA playoff games at the time of the telethon (around Memorial Day). So KXLY agreed to become the Miracle Network station for this area.

“We hate to see the telethon leave our air, and applaud KXLY for picking it up,” said KHQ general manager Lon Lee .

Mariners on KSKN-22

The Seattle Mariners will be on a new TV station in Spokane this season, KSKN-22, also known as UPN-22.

This station, which is available both over the air and on cable throughout the greater Spokane market, is the new sister station of KREM-2, and it carries UPN programming most of the time.

A total of 65 games will be televised, beginning with a pre-season game against the San Francisco Giants on March 25 at 4 p.m.. The first televised regular season game will be April 4 at 6 p.m. against Boston.

The telecasts will be produced by KIRO-TV in Seattle, and the excellent broadcast team of Dave Niehaus and Rick Rizzs will be back. Unfortunately, so will Ron Fairly.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: Spotlight is weekly column of news and commentary on the arts and media. To leave a message on Jim Kershner’s voice-mail, call 459-5493. Or send e-mail to jimk@spokesman.com, or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.

Spotlight is weekly column of news and commentary on the arts and media. To leave a message on Jim Kershner’s voice-mail, call 459-5493. Or send e-mail to jimk@spokesman.com, or regular mail to Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210.


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