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Square music has some seeing red
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MONROE - "Musick (sic) has Charms to soothe a savage Breast," wrote William Congreve, the British playwright, in 1697. But he had no idea what electronics would do to music broadcast from the Green County Courthouse clock tower. Tourists like the peaceful, happy music that flows over the downtown Square during business hours, according to Mike Doyle, county clerk. But getting the sound right on the Square has, at times, left Doyle agitated.

"If I get three more complaints about the music, I'm going to turn it off," Doyle said Tuesday.

Doyle had recently switched the satellite radio broadcast from an easy-listening channel, which he said had too much talking and problems with skipping, to a classical music channel.

But as Congreve said, "Tis not in Harmony to calm his Griefs."

So Doyle said he lowered the volume on the music Tuesday, after numerous people complained that it had suddenly become too loud.

"Some channels run louder than others," he said.

Doyle believes speaker location may also have an affect on volume. Speakers in the south and west sides of the clock tower send music over the tops of business buildings. But sounds from speakers placed in north and east courthouse windows, about 10 to 15 feet lower, may directly hit buildings.

Working inside the courthouse, Doyle said he doesn't hear the music like people do in the street, which may be why he wonders "Why am not I at Peace?"

Complaints about the music aren't new for Doyle, who is tasked with trying to please the masses.

Before the county built its justice center, some people complained playing the music was not appropriate when court was in session, Doyle said.

When music was limited to holiday music during the Christmas season, Doyle got a call from police one Christmas Day, because the radio channel suddenly switched to rap music using four-letter words.

Music from the Courthouse was begun by the Monroe Business Improvement District with the use of a compact disc player. But when the player malfunctioned and was sending out strange electronic noises one winter day, Doyle was called to fix the problem on a day off. The CD player was then replaced with satellite radio.

The Main Street Monroe is now the organization supplying the music and pays a city permit fee of $75 per year to play the music, with approval by the county board. Main Street is currently discussing whether to continue the music on the Square.