The good folks at 311 put 10,000 to 12,000 callers on hold daily -- but, for the most part, are blissfully unaware of what they're subjecting us to. And while they are still unsure who is responsible for the hold music at city departments, 311 call center manager Kevin Dyer confirmed that he is the man who selects the service's hold music.
Now, it isn't as though Dyer went out and invested scads of the city's money in Mantovani, Dave Koz, or the anti-Christ himself, Kenny G. He simply signed 311 up for a hold music service with settings such as "classical" or "soft jazz" (and not "suck" or "nauseate," though it may feel that way).
Dyer, ever the good sport, chuckled that SF Weekly was the first caller to ever quiz 311 operators about the music or ask detailed enough questions that the manager had to get involved. When asked what was on his iPod at home, he confessed he doesn't have one -- but the most recent CDs he'd played were by the Eagles, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, and the Rolling Stones.
Fair enough. So, Kevin Dyer, if we ever hear the Muzak version of "Satisfaction," "Get Up, Stand Up," or "I Walk the Line" on 311 -- we're going to call you on it.