This might as well go down as the day the music died. Again.
L.A.-based radio station 103.1, that bastion of aural pleasure that played like an eclectic iPod with the spirit of someone who still had a pair of steel-toe Doc Martens in her closet is going off the air. “Effective immeditately.”
As I drive around town, no more Jonsey’s Jukebox. No more Joe Escalante in the morning–as it was, he was excused from the building already. And no more Watusi Radio–which, of course, was pulled off a few weeks ago. Ok, so the writing was already on the wall.
At about 10 today, sandwiched in between X’s “The New World” and Sid Vicious’ “My Way,” a voice announced that Indie Radio would be going off the airways:
This is an important message for the Indie 103.1 Radio Audience.
Indie 103.1 will cease broadcasting over this frequency effective immediately. Because of changes in the radio industry and the way radio audiences are measured, stations in this market are being forced to play too much Britney, Puffy and alternative music that is neither new nor cutting edge. Due to these challenges, Indie 103.1 was recently faced with only one option — to play the corporate radio game.
We have decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great, Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course.
This could only be done on the Internet, a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives; be it grunge, punk, or alternative — simply put, only the best music.
I just happened to be in my car, basking in one of those sunny, smog-free L.A. days when the mountains are visible and even the vibrantly colored graffiti looks good. The radio was loudly dialed to 103.1 and I was singing, er, screaming along to X. I figured the song was one last flip off to the Bush administration. But it was really about the ongoing homogenizing of big business silencing one of the only places on the radio where just about anything goes. Well, anything but the schlock played on most of the other stations.
Sure, Indie didn’t always play tracks I could bear. But that was OK. I don’t want to be lulled into a numbing state by stuff that some nervous Nellies think the kids want to hear (or see or wear, for that matter).
Whether it was Indie, or a pre-Metal KNAC or even the early days of KROQ (when Rodney dominated Sunday evenings with his generous offerings of artists who weren’t–yet or ever–mainstream) radio stations bravely exposing listeners to new music is a vital public service. My curmudgeon, old self and my optimistic self both tell me another station will inevitably come in its wake, just like Indie had years after KROQ had started to become unlistenable. But this is 2009, and it's an entirely new game on the commercial, terrestrial airwaves.
Ok, and we still have Indie—on the Internet. Great. But until there’s a way to stream that into a car, while cruising around the city, windows down and the knob turned up to 11, the quality of life here just got a little less perfect.
The R.I.P. doesn’t just go out to Indie, or independent music. It goes out to the state of that thing that anyone should have access to anywhere and any time, the radio.
Leave a Comment