Twenty-four-hour classical-music radio stations are a dwindling breed, hit hard by competition from online music-streaming services like Pandora and by the stark realities of a graying audience. All the more reason to cheer a healthy and good-humored survivor.
“Sanity Now!” KDFC outdoor ad, San Francisco. Love the script typeface.
Perhaps your first association, like mine, was the Seinfeldian rallying cry, “Serenity now!”
But KDFC has an independent claim on the slogan. The station, which was founded in 1946 and has stuck to classical programming ever since, has had five owners during the last 20 years. Before the station went nonprofit in 2011, it was owned by the Mormon-controlled Bonneville International Corporation, which promoted middle-of-the-road programming, refused to sell ads for a gay dating service, and pulled an ad for a book critical of the Christian Right. During the Bonneville era, KDFC produced a series of CDs called “Islands of Sanity,” with Classics Top 40 tracks like “Clair de Lune” and “Moonlight Sonata.”
Today, in addition to regular San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera broadcasts, the station broadcasts a daily “Island of Sanity” program hosted by Rik Malone. If you need a more immediate sanity fix, try the on-demand “instant island of sanity”: click the button, turn up your speakers, and bathe your ears in soothing strains.