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things that just are

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Add DJ to her duties: Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants it to be hip to hold when someone calls the state

San Francisco Chronicle: Last summer, Granholm called the state Department of Management and Budget to ask if something could be done about the boring acoustic music that people heard when they called the state and were placed on hold. 'She thought we should have cool music,' said DMB director Mitch Irwin.

It seems that the hold music had been set on piano and guitar instrumental since 1996 during Gov. John Engler's administration. Irwin set up a committee to try to juice up the state's 60,000 phone lines. First, officials tried to rock the phones, but after a few caller complaints, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix got dumped because 'it was a little too hot,' Irwin said. Then, they tried all-Michigan artists, but abandoned the idea because 'it was too limiting.'

Finally, they settled on 1950s and '60s oldies. Now callers hear the hits of Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Chuck Berry, the Beatles, the Temptations or Fats Domino. Provided by Muzak, as was the former music, the service costs the same as in the past -- $800 a year -- but it seems to be getting good reviews from callers.

'I've had people say, `Hey, put me back on hold, I wanna hear the end of that song,'' said Jeanette Doll, a secretary at the DMB.


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