Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thanks for Playing

Indie 103.1 FM

A few days ago, as I sat at a sidewalk cafe in Larchmont Village, I read in the LA Times that my favorite radio station was dead.

The news explained why the comforting voice of Steve Jones was nowhere to be found on the dial at 12 bells, replaced inexplicably by the same Mexican music blaring from 80% of the other stations on the dial.

The news hit me like a ton of bricks.

I listened to Indie pretty much every day. Aside from Jonesy's Jukebox in the afternoon, I greatly enjoyed The Last of the Famous International Morning Shows, hosted by small-time-punk Joe Escalante, featuring a cryptic weather report phoned in by David Lynch and an always-entertaining frantic sports report from Timothy Olyphant.

It was the perfect way to enjoy a morning drive to work, just as Jonesy was the perfect way to while away an hour stuck in traffic in the afternoon.

So why did the good times have to end?

Well, here is one explanation, courtesy of the LA Times:
"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)."
I know radio is 'a dying medium' and there is 'no market for good music anymore' but I thought Indie had found its niche in one of the few cities that could actually support such a station. LA is the home of numerous shitty bands, and numerous losers, but also the home of a multitude of hipsters and artists with pretty good taste in music.

I figured they all listened.

Maybe they did--I mean, how does anybody know if I am listening to the radio in my car? 0.6%? Do they get those statistics based only on call-ins or random telephone polls or something? How can that be accurate?

And yet, when I brought this news of cancellation up to my friends, I discovered none of them were listening. So maybe I was, indeed, one of the few, proud, and now sad.

I no longer use my radio. Hardly anybody I know does. Why would they? An era has ended.

Thanks, corporate America! And goodnight, sweet prince.


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