Jos Claerbout (1974-1999): In Memoriam - KSPC Program Guide, Fall 1999
Jos Claerbout

Johannes "Jos" Claerbout served as KSPC's General Manager, Development Director, News Director and DJ while a student at Pomona College. He was the first student ever to become General Manager during his second semester here at the colleges - a testament to the leadership, maturity and just plain moxie that he possessed.

He had a significant impact on KSPC, during a time when the staff were finding a new identity amidst thecommercialization of "alternative" music. He will be missed but never forgotten.

Find out more about this wonderfully warm and funny young man at:

I would like to say that were it not for KSPC, I would never have known Jos Claerbout. However, that would be plainly untrue. I think it is safe to say that virtually everyone within a five mile area of wherever Jos happened to be at the time knew who he was. I will say, though, that my first experiences of Jos occurred in the context of the station.

As a first-year, I quickly became involved with the radio station during Jos' second semester as General Manager. During my first few hesitant attempts at being a DJ, I often found myself interrupted by a very tall, very effusively friendly young man who plied me with various records. "Your last name's Arango? There's a song by Ruins that sounds just like that! Ah, here it is. Grubdango! Play this!"

Though my early encounters with Jos followed a similar pattern ("You _do_like Foetus, don't you?"), we gradually began to develop a deeper friendship, becoming roommates, writing partners, roadtrip companions, and co-filmmakers. As time went on, I continued to realize what a very impressive person Jos was. He was able to strike up a conversation with virtually everyone he encountered (except for the time we met Satan in a convenience store in New Mexico at four in the morning -- even Jos was speechless) He was incredibly intelligent and gifted in so many things.

KSPC was lucky to have had Jos Claerbout involved in the station. If I were on the air right now, I would have to end this piece with the song Jos, under his alter ego of Manic Stylings, played on his last radio show, shortly before leaving to go fish in Alaska. The Nova Sangre 7" by a band called Sulfer had just arrived. "This is the greatest song ever recorded," said Manic, "but, then again, I'm a sucker for horns."


Jos came to KSPC at a relatively tumultuous time. I had just started advising KSPC that year, (and shakily so), the staff were getting bombarded with record label reps selling the latest "alternative" grunge band of the month (which they weren't buying), and as General Manager, Jos found himself in the middle of several heated discussions about why the station was still calling itself "alternative" when it was clearly a term that had outlived its usefulness to describe what the station played. It was a time when the staff decided to make a stand and support independent artists only during our underground (formerly known as alternative) shows -- which prompted the ire of many a major label record rep.

Jos leapt into the middle of this storm with a smile on his face and conviction in his heart about supporting the little guy. He was an extremely intelligent, compassionate and endearing person. He had a self-confidence and charm that is unusual in 17- to 18- years young college students.

Soon after he was named General Manager, he took it upon himself to tour several radio stations, looking for new ideas and new people. He designed and had made his own business cards -- on my copy of his card he scrawled "Roadie" above his title, an example of the self-effacing humor he often used.

Jos amazed me and made me laugh, often. He would practice his Spanish on unsuspecting business line callers: "Hola, Ka - Ese - Pay - Say [KSPC]". He encouraged me to practice my bass and play music with him. He spoke to everyone about everything, and was respectful to people from all walks of life. He was taken from the world far too soon, but he definitely lived his life to the fullest every day. I miss him a lot.