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'Opposite of groovy’: State thins playlist for telephone Music on Hold project

The band Harm, from left, Molly McDermott, Heather Warren, Rebecca Menzia, and Matt Roberts in South Anchorage on June 4, 2017. (Bill Roth / ADN)​

JUNEAU - An Alaska program that uses music by state artists as background songs for callers on hold has cut down its playlist, a report said.

Some musicians were surprised to see their songs cut from the Alaska Music on Hold project’s playlist, The Juneau Empire reported.

"No one has notified us with anything. We didn't even know that it was an issue," said Heather Warren of the band Harm.

The project to replace sleepy hold music for state office lines was announced in November but paused shortly afterward.

The program was temporarily halted after members of the public raised concerns about some songs, said Matt Shuckerow, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

When the state announced the program's return May 17, a pair of songs were replaced.

"Flicker of Light" by Whiskey Class and "Mother Carries" by Harm were no longer among the songs.

The state Department of Administration did not share the complaints that led to the changes.

Department legislative liaison Kelly Hanke referred to a blog post as an example of public concerns. The post made negative comments about the tone and content of both songs.

Ben Brown, chairman of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, said the council was not informed of the changes.

Patrick Troll of Whiskey Class was also not notified, but "it makes sense," he said.

“Everything that is going on with Alaska politics is the opposite of groovy,” Troll said, “so why would they want groovy songs to be a representation of Alaska?”