Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Another alternative radio demise?

By now everyone who reads this site at least semi-regularly should know that I am rather adamant about music, radio in particular. Now I have had something eating away at me all day long that I finally have time to get off my chest.

If you read music-type magazines (i.e. 'Rolling Stone') you may very well be familiar with a scrappy little FM simulcast in the L.A. area. Its name is Indie 103.1. It made a silent splash as it launched the day after Christmas in 2003. Its buzz grew due to the internet and the fact that it was doing something on radio that hadn't been done for over two decades. The jockless (at first) station spun a wide variety of music ranging from new tracks by Green Day and Franz Ferdinand to classics by The Pixies and X with off-the-wall stuff like Frank Sinatra thrown in to keep listeners on their toes. Many welcomed the variety but in the spirit of an alternative radio station that plays off criticism, they aired the disgruntled calls as bumpers between songs and took it all in good stride as many speculated about its demise from day one.

Over time it morphed from being commercial-free to becoming similar in that aspect to other radio stations. This was due because, for one, commercials pay the bills and because the station owned by Entravision has signed on to a Joint Sales Agreement with radio behemoth Clear Channel. It made sense to both companies as Clear Channel would simply package the ad sales with other station it owned in L.A. and Entravision would receive a portion of the sales as well.

That agreement is what is now making the future of the station unclear. The FCC (I loathe those bastards for so many reasons) has determined that this agreement put Clear Channel over its ownership limit even though they are only selling ad time for 103.1. Entravision slammed the lid on speculation saying that nothing will change but anyone who listens to radio knows that nobody's word is worth anything. The FCC also stated that Clear Channel must exit from this agreement before April 1st.

All this news comes on the heels of the loss of three alternative radio juggernauts in the past year. Just last Summer 97X WOXY from the Cincinatti, Ohio area split from the airwaves but continues to live on as a webcast. The little known of 105.3 KSYY 'The Spy' from Oklahoma City had a rather unceremonious funeral in the summer months of 2004 and just weeks ago, WHFS of D.C fame left the air after nearly two decades in favor of Spanish Pop. One can only wonder about the future of Indie 103.1.

Knowing full well that this may very well be the final few weeks of Indie 103.1, feel free to load up and check the playlist I linked to above for excellent songs to run out and buy and if you like mashups (think the commercial one of Jay-Z's Encore mashed with Linkin Park's Numb), click on over to Indie's mashup download page and grab 'em while you can.

All that can be done now is to barrage the station's 800 number and state your love for Indie. You have 23 days to do your work.


Save it.

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