January 09, 2004
More LA music

My good friend Len wrote a good post about Indie 103.1. I go back with KROQ much farther.

In Los Angeles in the 70s and 80s, young people tended to choose a radio station to identify with. Sure, people had specific bands they liked, but it was important that you had a cool radio station sticker on your notebook.

Back in 1981 I was in Junior High School and my station was KIQQ 100.3, a general Top 40 station. I decided that I wanted a new station. I wasn't much liking the Top 40 stuff anymore and now that I was 14, I needed a new image. At the time, the cool stations in my thoughts were KMET (rock with a metal edge), KLOS (mainstream rock), KNAC (heavy metal), and KROQ (new wave).

I listened to them all and the new wave synth pop of Duran Duran, Devo & Blondie and the punk of X & the Sex Pistols drew me into KROQ. I became an avid listener of KROQ and got the requisite stickers from my notebook and locker. Since then, KROQ has been my primary music radio station. (Wow. 23 years of listening to the station...)

The lineup I would hear back then can be seen here. You could call up, talk to the DJ and they would actually play your song. Or sometimes they would yell at you if they thought the song sucked. We felt quite connected to the station and they were always playing new music and asking for comments.

The next 5-6 years, IMHO, was the golden age of KROQ, the 'ROQ of the Eighties' era much fabled. The DJs were all on drugs, the music was fresh, and the station was something you could play at parties and not hear the same thing twice in a night.

Like most good things, this didn't last. Grunge rock arrived in the early 90s with Nirvana and New Wave died a painful death. KROQ has continued to change with the times in the direction of maximum ratings. 'Modern Rock' is the new genre of KROQ and they absolutley dominate this on the national level.

If you told KROQ DJs or listeners in 1985 that KROQ would ever play Metallica they would have pissed their pants laughing. Yet today, Metallica and slew of basically metal rock bands are passed off as 'alternative'. Gone are DJs deciding what to play or new artists stoping by the studio to chat and play a new record. It's all carefully managed with iron-clad rotations and firm rules on band appearances. To get heavy airplay on KROQ these days, you pretty much HAVE TO appear at the summer Weenie Roast and the winter Acoustic Christmas concerts. Just like Clearchannel, the behemoth of America radio.

The music that Indie 103.1 is playing is in the 'style' of what KROQ played and would be playing today if things had not changed. Soon the wacky DJs, commercials and promos will appear on-air and we'll get the full version of what this new station will or won't be.

For now, I'm in heaven. I've got 100% pure good music.

The eternal optimist, I'm hoping for the best.

Posted by michael at January 09, 2004 06:06 PM