The station’s other local music host, Monessa Guilfoil, anchors “Morning Sunrise” on weekends and either speaks so softly or over-enunciates so emphatically that, between bouts of cloying new age music, we often contemplate suicide. Not likely her intent, but then we have no soft spot for either overenunciation or cloying new age music. Not after six non-stop hours of Bob Parlocha, the host of the syndicated mainstream jazz program heard every morning from midnight to 6 a.m. This combination is too painful to address, lest we find ourselves reaching for the nearest sharp-edged instrument.
The station’s on-air “talent” is not lacking so much in talent—although that, like so much about “free-form” radio and music in general, is subjective—but direction. Even those DJs who commandeered the FM dial in the 1970s weren’t truly free form. They were rabid music fans and collectors who became musical tastemakers under the guidance of a talented program director.
WUTC is a good station, often very good for a city the size of Chattanooga, and it could be a great station—even one that could forge a national reputation. But without the crucial ingredient of direction and guidance, it is bound to flounder—often painfully—and listeners will begin turn off their radios altogether. We have often; but we’re not eager for that to happen again and again. Spotify is fine, but who doesn’t want to be entertained by an actual human—a smart musical tastemaker whose choices both surprise and delight us? Give us that, and we’ll listen morning, day and night.