Only days after celebrating its fourth anniversary, Sound Theory Live has been canceled by public radio station WDNA.
Hosted by Carlos Garcia, owner of The Stage and Miami New Times' Best FM Personality of 2010, this weekly show "geared towards promoting the great local musicians by showcasing their talents live on the radio" will be missed by many Miami music scene veterans, neophytes, and fans.
Just ask Dr. Ed Calle, Palo!, or Locos Por Juana.
"I am saddened to hear that Sound Theory Live will be looking for a new home," Miami jazz man and three-time Latin Grammy nominee Dr. Ed Calle laments.
"With Sound Theory Live," he says, "Carlos provides listeners unique artistic and personal insights into the musicians who shape, define, and transform the dynamic Miami sound."
Palo!'s Steve Roitstein is just as bummed by the show's cancelation.
"The Sound Theory Live radio show met an important need in the South Florida music scene," he points out. "It gave bands like Palo! a chance to perform live on the radio and to answer pertinent questions from knowledgeable interviewers.
"This kind of platform is very rare for independent artists, even when traveling to major U.S. cities. The unfortunate cancellation of Sound Theory Live leaves a huge void in our musical landscape. I hope to hear the show on the air again very soon."
Luckily, for Calle, Roitstein, and lots of other locals, it seems the show will indeed get back to broadcasting in the next few weeks, thanks to Wynwood Radio.
But even if Sound Theory Live satisfied an essential Miami music community mission, it still had its recent problems. Like uneven performances and poor ratings.
"For months, the program was not meeting the standards of a well-produced, professional program," says WDNA General Manager Maggie Pelleyá, explaining the reasons for the show's cancellation. "It had difficulties in maintaining a host, was using unqualified substitutes, artists were not showing up in time for the live broadcast. [And it] was the lowest-rated locally produced program in its time slot.
"Carlos is a good man, and we consider him a friend," she adds, "but the decision is a professional one made in the best interest of WDNA."
For his part, though, Carlos Garcia, the founder, host, and producer of Sound Theory Live, feels the cancellation was abrupt and premature.
Garcia admits "there were some recent challenges. But," he adds, "the communication was nonexistent from the station's management and board, and their decision was made in a vacuum without any discussion or action plan from them to our team.
"We are proud of the programming that had been provided throughout the four years. We saw bands from almost every single genre, from various locations, including South Florida, New Orleans, Tampa, Orlando, California, New York City, and Latin America.
"The show will be missed, and we look forward to what the future holds for us and live music in Miami."
Similarly, Eric Garcia (AKA Uncle Scotchy), a local musician, booking agent, and Sound Theory Live cohost, was shocked when the show was suddenly scrapped.
"I feel that WDNA may have had some issues and concerns about 'content' and
Carlos having to get subs to host as of late," he says. "But Carlos informed them that he was going through some personal issues the last few months.
"He has done much to develop what is easily argued as WDNA's most interesting and relevant show," the cohost insists. "He may have missed some meetings to discuss these things. But to terminate the show immediately with a cold and abrupt email, just days after Sound Theory Live's fourth anniversary show, demonstrates a lack of respect and professionalism that makes this somehow seem personal."
Whatever the particulars of Sound Theory Live's ratings and cancellation, though, the show's absence from WDNA's broadcast schedule is ultimately a loss to local musicians and their fans.
As Locos Por Juana's Mark Kondrat remembers, Miami "was once void of venues and diverse bands. But it's grown into the thriving music scene we know today.
"I had the honor, along with my brothers of Locos por Juana, to be on the very first edition of Sound Theory Live. And we were so excited that Miami now had the support of a radio program, thanks to the vision of Carlos Garcia.
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"To lose this program is to digress," Kondrat says. "It takes us further away from cultivating this amazing local talent and from continuing to spread the musical culture in Miami and beyond our beautiful city.
"It was very sad for us to hear this news," the Locos member remarks. "Thank you, Carlos and the entire STL familia, for everything you are fighting for. I know we will be on the show again soon."