Rock alternative KYSR-FM (98.7) is looking to break a few good local bands this summer.
The radio station has launched a free concert series to spotlight a handful of emerging local artists, it announced Thursday. Dubbed "Close to Home" after the station's local-music show, the concerts are set for each Friday between July 15 and Aug. 12 at the newly minted 5 Towers outdoor concert arena at Universal CityWalk. Pop/psychedelic outfit Incan Abraham launches the series tonight.
"The scene in Southern California is rich, creative, and totally thriving with talent that is breaking through on a complete DIY level. We wanted to support the movement not only through airplay and exposure but through our resources and getting bands the things they need to help get off the ground," KYSR program director Julie Pilat said in a statement.
Pilat said that in addition to paying the bands to perform, the station is offering them grants "to help them succeed."
The grants includes studio time from the School of Audio Engineering, a professional photo shoot, a chance to work with Live Nation to open a show at venues such as the Wiltern or Hollywood Palladium and legal advice from entertainment lawyers.
Check out the full lineup after the jump:
The Times' Greg Braxton filed this story late Friday on KLSX-FM (97.1). It will appear in Saturday's Calendar section.
The displaced talk jocks of KLSX-FM (97.1) did not go quietly into that good night as the station switched over late Friday afternoon to a Top 40 music format designed to entice younger listeners.
Informed midweek that they would be out of a job in only a few days, the station's personalities -- including Adam Carolla, Tom Leykis, Tim Conway Jr. and the team of Frosty, Heidi &Frank -- spent their final on-air hours saying goodbye to fans with emotions ranging from exasperation to sadness to celebration.
Said Carolla in his last minute to listeners Friday morning: "To you who listen, who get me up every morning and every weekend, I appreciate every one of you. . . . It has been a pleasure to serve you. This is not goodbye, just a brief parting."
As he signed off, co-host Teresa Strasser wiped away tears.
Frosty Stilwell, Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer started their last show Friday with Sia's "Breathe Me," the melancholy song that marked the finale of HBO's "Six Feet Under." On Thursday afternoon, Leykis told fans, "On Monday morning, I will wake up for the first time in 15 years with no place to go. I have had a great time doing this job. It's the best job in the world. But I don't get to ride that pony anymore."
Owner CBS Radio had announced Wednesday that at 5 p.m. Friday it would be changing the station to 97.1 Amp Radio, described as an "on-air, online, on-site and mobile audio destination." The music format -- initially with no DJs -- will feature contemporary artists such as Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, T.I., Kanye West and Britney Spears, and it is intended to compete for young adult audiences with top-rated KIIS-FM (102.7).
KLSX morning talk show host Adam Carolla riffed on what he called the sad state of Los Angeles radio on the penultimate show Thursday for the station, which on Friday will replace its all-talk platform with a Top 40 format geared to younger listeners. As previously reported, KLSX-FM (97.1) will cease to exist in its current state at 5 p.m. Friday.
Carolla didn't mince words when discussing the changeover. “All you’re going to hear on L.A. radio now is ranchera music and Top 40,” he said.
He denounced the state of local radio, where “now you’ll hear more Justin Timberlake and Rihanna.”
Carolla also said he understood the decision by the station’s parent company, CBS Radio, to be a business one. “I don’t take this personally. I have nothing bad to say about CBS.”
Carolla also announced Thursday that he would start podcasting "The Adam Carolla Show" beginning Monday at adamcarolla.com.
The Times will file more on the station's format change this week.
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: Associated Press
Good news for local fans of Rihanna, bad news for older talk radio listeners in Los Angeles.
Beginning Friday at 5 p.m., boosters of urban-skewing artists such as Beyoncé, Pink and Britney Spears will have another top 40/"CHR" (contemporary hit radio) station to sing along to in their cars, as L.A.'s only "all-talk" commercial FM station now appears to be all talked out.
KLSX (97.1 Free FM) will switch formats Feb. 20 to CBS Radio's latest concept, titled AMP Radio (not to be confused with the now-defunct Amp'd Mobile, a company that heavily pushed mobile radio to cellphone users in 2006 but filed for bankruptcy protection in 2007).
A CBS Radio news release says the new station (its tagline is "all the hits") will "combine the power of its on-air position with myriad online and digital applications creating a full 360 degree audio and visual experience."
Translation? Listeners of KLSX were probably too old.
AMP Radio originally bowed early last year as an online/HD2 station affiliated with KCBS-FM in L.A. Apparently, the test run was successful enough to convince CBS radio executives that young, texting-and-Twittering teens -- the ones who spend money at malls while listening to music via their cellphones -- just can't get enough of artists such as Kanye West and T.I. This is despite the fact that there is plenty of competition in the space -- see KPWR (105.9), KIIS (102.7) and KDAY (93.5) -- all of which mine similar musical territory in the same market.
"Creating a successful radio station not only means focusing on what you hear over the air -- it's that, yet it's so much more and as evidenced by what we're announcing today, the possibilities are endless," said Kevin Weatherly, senior vice president of programming for CBS Radio, in a news release announcing the format change today.
On-air talent at the new AMP Radio is expected to be announced in coming weeks. "They will be added after the station launches," said Karen Mateo, vice president of communications at CBS Radio in New York.
Well, it's started. One of the few other destinations for progressive radio in L.A. has scooped up Henry Rollins, who will air his new show live at KCRW on Saturdays from 6 to 8 p.m., starting March 7. Next question: Who's taking Jonesy?
When Entravision folded Indie 103 last month, Rollins diligently followed other DJs such as Joe Escalante and Jose Galvan to the Web version of the radio station, but it always seemed like a stop-gap measure. The Black Flag rager-singer isn't anti-technology -- he deejayed from his iPod for MOCA's Target Video night last summer -- but, as he writes on his website in an announcement for the new show, "the pre-tape thing was better than nothing but live is best." His show won't have an official name (KCRW only has "Morning Becomes Eclectic" as an officially titled show), but he'll have a DJ page on KCRW.com where his audience can send him e-mails.
Rollins is scheduled to appear as a guest DJ on "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on Thursday, so listeners who worry that the passionate vinylist and raconteur will have his tastes suddenly streamlined by his new home can try this out as a test-run. And Jason Bentley, KCRW's marquee DJ and "MBE" host, had this to say in an e-mailed statement about Rollins joining the team:
“I feel Henry’s tastes and perspectives are a good fit because he has a strong point of view and there are ideas behind all of his music selections. He plays songs he is passionate about, and that makes great radio. It is also something he shares with other KCRW DJs. It’s not so much that he will cater his program to us, but that we will be giving a passionate voice a forum.”
It should also be noted that Rollins isn't new to the station -- he worked with revered DJ Deirdre O'Donoghue on her KCRW program "Snap," which showcased countless cutting-edge acts, and also nurtured Bentley. O'Donoghue, who died in 2001, also originated and hosted "Breakfast With the Beatles."
-- Margaret Wappler
Photo by Lori Shepler/Los Angeles Times
It's come to this -- a Sex Pistol drives a Prius. On a recent crisp afternoon, Steve Jones, the guitar architect of London punk in its primacy, zipped down Hollywood Boulevard in his shiny white hybrid Toyota, which is customized with a rooftop image of her majesty Queen Elizabeth, a safety pin jutting from her lip. And you thought punk rock was dead.
Even with the distraction of nubile young tourists strolling up the Walk of Fame, Jones was in a melancholy mood. You see, like so many people in America these days, the 53-year-old rock star turned radio DJ is looking for a job.
"It's weird not to have somewhere to go," Jones said. "And wherever I do go next won't be the same, I know that."
So, now that Indie 103's gone from the airwaves and all you cool kids have pressed up "1/15/09: Never Forget" car decals depicting Jonesy riding a bald eagle (each crying a single globular tear), it's time to consider where to turn next. Indie had some irreplaceable stuff when it left this mortal coil: Henry Rollins' deadpan trolls through the noise underground, Joe Escalante pitching legalzoom.com as your one-stop hipster divorce shop. But it was most useful as a universally agreed-upon filter for local bands. Even occasional spins validated that a band had earned a certain degree of cache that the freaky echo chamber of the blogosphere couldn't quite match.
We obviously hope that you'll take the occasion of Indie's terrestrial demise to re-up your Pop & Hiss subscription (checks payable to me, we can work out installment plans). But if you're smack in Indie's demographic of frequently car-bound Eastside dilettantes, here's a cheat sheet of worthy, less-obvious places online, on air and (anachronism!) on paper to help you separate the wheat from the chaff in the world of striving L.A. musicians. Servicey! It's chockablock with conflicts of interest and surely missing some must-reads, so add to it in the comments.
Local rock station Indie 103.1 is going off the air. Upon hearing the news, Pop & Hiss gave a shout-out to journalist/DJ Chris Morris, who, until a few weeks ago, hosted roots/Americana specialty show Watusi Radio on the station. He recently wrote about the cancellation of his show in City Beat, and below is his reaction to this morning's news that Indie 103.1 is going online only.
I tuned in the station just before 10 this morning to find its cast of announcers and regulars -- T.K., Mr. Shovel, Darren Revell, Party Girl Stacey, Surf Junkie Jeff, Full Metal Jackie -- saying farewell.
Then, after airing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” the station began cycling a prerecorded announcement, between rotating attitude-packed tracks by X, the Clash, Buzzcocks, Black Flag, and the Sex Pistols (“Anarchy in the U.K.” and Sid Vicious’ “My Way”). Indie, L.A.’s much-beloved independent rock station, was leaving the terrestrial airwaves, effective immediately, and migrating to the Internet.
Indie’s on-air adieu blamed “the way radio audiences are measured” -- i.e., last fall’s institution by Arbitron of the controversial portable people meters, or PPMs, which replaced diaries as ratings devices in the Los Angeles market and measured an even smaller percentage of the station’s tiny but loyal audience. In what amounted to a bleakly amusing mea culpa on the part of chain owner Entravision, it admitted that the station had been forced “to play the corporate radio game,” and that the retooled station of recent months -- shorn of several specialty shows (including mine) and pumped up with KROQ-style ’90s hits -- was little more than a “version of Indie 103.1 [that] we are now removing from the broadcast airwaves.”
Apparently, some new edition of Indie is set to broadcast on the Web at www.indie1031.com. Its frequency will now likely be filled by the Spanish-language programming I’d anticipated last month.
All very sad, and quite predictable.
For most of its existence, Indie 103.1 advanced a style of radio in its specialty programming that hadn’t been seen in a major radio market for eons. What was heard on the air was a reflection of the individual jocks’ tastes and passions. The amount of liberty I enjoyed was unbelievable. It was a throwback to the free-form style I grew up with, which held sway briefly in pre-“album oriented” radio in the ’70s; the maverick early KROQ flashed the same gunslinging approach.
And, until desperation set in during the late going, the station’s regular rotation sported some provocative tracks and off-the-wall features that Indie’s crosstown rivals wouldn’t touch. (The choice of “My Way” as a farewell track recalled the era of Indie’s “Furious Frank at Five” -- a daily afternoon dose of Sinatra.) But, as station management learned the hard way, cool programming alone can’t trump 30 years of listener loyalty, marketing money and a strong signal.
So now Indie hopes to flourish on the Web -- “a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives,” in the station’s words -- by returning to the style it had sloughed off in pursuit of terrestrial ratings that never arrived. I wish my old colleagues luck in their renewed endeavors. (We’ll be working the same turf: My own post-Indie show “Hillbilly Deluxe” debuts on Scion Radio 17, the Web station operated by Toyota’s Scion car line, in February.)
It remains to be seen what form Indie 2.0 will take, and whether its star jocks like Steve Jones -- who won’t be able to command the same kind of bucks in cyberspace -– will remain on board. But it’s apparent that in the cutthroat world of radio, going to the Internet may be the only way to go for programmers with an edge to them.
-- Chris Morris, Special to Pop & Hiss
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.
Radio station 100.3 FM ("The Sound") will do its part to usher along the resurgence of vinyl with a day of programming on Jan. 21 devoted to music on those circular black discs of yore. The album-oriented rock station will offer "Album Sides Wednesday" starting at midnight. It follows what was described as a successful test run of the concept in November, when albums including U2’s “The Joshua Tree,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and Bob Marley’s “Exodus” were aired in their vinyl formats.
Station officials are allowing listeners to send requests for which albums to play during the 24-hour period, which will not be streamed, on the The Sound’s website. “In keeping with the spirit of radio,” officials said in a statement, “the daylong program will only be heard via the airwaves.” A spokeswoman said the plan is to continue Album Side Wednesday every other month.
-- Randy Lewis
*An earlier version included a typographical error on the date "Album Sides Wednesday" will happen. It will run for 24 hours on Jan. 21.