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Update: Indie 103.1 is going off the air

Indie 103, the high-profile but low-rated alternative-music radio station, ceased original programming Thursday morning, a little more than five years after it debuted, but said it will continue life on the Internet.

At 10 a.m. the station bowed out by playing “My Way,” both the versions by Frank Sinatra and late Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, a nod to the genre-bending playlist that Indie often aired. After that, listeners heard only a repeating loop of songs, interspersed by a recorded announcement that Indie was moving to the Internet, painting the station as a valiant martyr sticking to its programming principles rather than “play the corporate radio game,” and blaming an industry and a ratings system that it said favors Britney Spears, P-Diddy and “alternative music that is neither new, nor cutting edge.”

From its start in December 2003, Indie -- an FM simulcast at 103.1 of KDLD in Santa Monica and KDLE in Newport Beach – was a curiosity: a commercial station that played modern rock, punk, metal, country and other types of alternative music, sprinkled among various eclectic programs. It also featured an unlikely owner, the Santa Monica-based Spanish-language broadcasting chain Entravision Communications.

In addition to its varied programming, the station featured an airstaff that included actor Danny Masterson, musicians Dave Navarro and Rob Zombie, and former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, who held court middays on “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” Indie’s signature show.

Even among its fans, the station often seemed too good to be true, and too niche to last forever. But it held on longer than its predecessors – the 103.1 frequency was home to four different stations in the five years before Indie launched, the most-recent a dance station named KDL, also owned by Entravision. Part of the challenge for all the stations was the poor reception for the signal throughout many parts of the Los Angeles-Orange County market.

The station cultivated an aura of hipness and iconoclasm – great for making a small and loyal audience feel like part of an exclusive club, but not necessarily a good business model. In the most recent Arbitron ratings, Indie ranked 38th in the market, averaging just 0.6% of the listening audience, compared to the 3.5% for alternative music outlet KROQ-FM (106.7).

Entravision declined to say what the station’s new format would be or when it would go on the air.

—Steve Carney

Comments () | Archives (152)

This is a terrible day for radio, music, Los Angeles, the industry ... uh, life in general. It's sad that the most heralded station in the country, possibly the world, cannot thrive terrestrially. I knew things were dire when they fired Joe Escalante from the morning show. And now this.

Five brilliant years. I'm going to miss Indie terribly.

great. hopefully it's another spanish language station now. i can't get enough of that "ooom-pa-pa" bass!

seriously, it's a soul crushing bit of news this morning. i will now be forced to wince my way through nicole alvarez' terrible, terrible show on my way home from work.

Oh man, this is bad news for LA radio, maybe 98.7 can step up their "indie" ness...

but guess its back to KXLU and KCRW.


Such a sad day for anyone who appreciates great music. Another victim of the economy and corporate politics I guess. Very sad that "The best radio station in the country" (per Rolling Stone) is off the air less than a couple months after receiving that honor.

I'm stunned and thoroughly disappointed but at least you aren't playing by their rules. What a said day for local talent and listeners alike.

I can't believe this. Indie is the only radio station I can listen to for more than 5 minutes. I'll be tuning in over the Internet to make sure I don't miss my favorite shows, Jonsey's Jukebox, and the others.

Too bad this great experiment with fresh, non-homogeneous corporate radio had to come to an end.

It's really a shame that the owners are so short-sighted, because I bet if they look into their ratings, they will find that Indie listeners are in a higher socio-economic demo than the corporate radio stations (KIIS, KROQ, Power).

Stop sucking, America. Great shows like Arrested Development are canceled because they aren't pandering to the lowest common denominator. Now Indie 103.1 is gone....tragic. I'm leaving....goodbye.

this doesn't make sense, I am going into a funk as we speak. how can this happen!? I need to punch some corporate bastards in the face, INDIE is the only station I can tolerate besides 89.9 which is awesome but only half music....I hate HATE the person who owns Indie 103.1, you are evil and if I were a monkey at the zoo I would be throwing my poo at you.

Sithandra, sorry to bring more bad news on a bad enough day, but the online version won't have DJs. I think that means no more Jonesy. Probably just an automated playlist, ad infinitum.

Another death in hip radio culture. It's just another reminder that intelliegent, arstistic minds will always be the minority in this country.


When I hear the announcement on the air this morning, I had to check the calendar- I couldn't believe that I slept until April 1! Unfortunately, I didn't sleep until spring- this is for real.

Indie is the ONLY good radio station in Los Angeles, it has received rave reviews in Rolling Stone, and it is one of the few things keeping me from going nuts in the 101 traffic. This is truly a sad day.

This is horrible. This was the best commercial radio station in Los Angeles. Even back in the day when KROQ didn't exclusively play frat-rock, they didn't do the things Indie did: Showcase local unsigned bands, play tracks of classic albums that weren't released as singles, play a wide range of genres with shows covering punk, shoegaze, metal and more! Even previous incarnations of 103.1 (and I've been a listener of MARS FM and GROOVE) didn't provide for me the all-in-one station for everything I feel like listening to the radio for.

Who is responsible for this?! Internet radio is better than nothing, but how in the hell is that supposed to help when I'm stuck in traffic? Damn whoever it is that shut them down. Damn them, damn them, damn them.

And yet, that inspid dreadful KROQ continues to pollute the LA airwaves....

I am so deeply saddened I can't think of anything to type beyond seconding everyone above that this is a sad sad day for alternative music in Los Angeles. I will miss Check One Tuesdays.... Shuvel, TK....

Bring back the fired DJs to the internet feed! Chris Morris deserves a job.

Very smart Entravision... cut off even MORE radio listeners. Continue to sour an entire generation on the radio platform. REALLY SMART!

wait, i'm pretty sure that all the DJs are still going to be there. they're just going to be online. i haven't found anything that says the DJ's are going away.

This is a very sad day! WHY WHY WHY?? I need my Indie radio fix. Installing speakers on my PC-but it wont be the same. What happened here?
I'll miss you Joe, liz, Surf junkie guy, jonsey(sort of) and all the laughs we shared. Best station I've ever experienced and the only one brave enough to play Morrissey!

To quote bill hicks " if you work in marketing or advertising, kill yourself" because all you are doing right now is destroying all originality and individuality in the world and turning it into one huge, homogoenized lump of worthlessness.
RIP indie 103.1 and every other artist or entity that has fallen to the pursuit of the dollar.

No JONESY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!! I'm dying. Please someone stop this from happening.

Does anyone know what the last over-the-air song that they played was?

New online Indie103.1, please make sure you have a partnership with AOL/CBS radio, or Flycast, so I can stream you from my 3G iPhone ANYWHERE. Gym, car, home. There are a lot of iPhones in LA....

New online Indie103.1, please make sure you have a partnership with AOL/CBS radio, or Flycast, so I can stream you from my 3G iPhone ANYWHERE. Gym, car, home. There are a lot of iPhones in LA....

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