10:43am: UPDATES/CORRECTIONS AFTER THE JUMP
In the aftermath of the Dicky Barrett firing and the listener backlash against Indie 103, DJ Whammy of Surge Radio chimes in with a guest post about the past, present, and future of 103.1. From its 1960s inception as an easy listening station through its multiple acclaimed 90s format as dance and techno station, to it’s current status (and arguable decline) as Indie, Whammy has got the goods for you…
If you aren’t familiar with the history of 103.1’s past identities, here u go…..
103.1 KDLD Santa Monica/KDLE Newport Beach before the days if Indie 103.1
In the 1960s 2 radio stations were born, 1 in the community of Santa Monica and 1 in the community of Newport Beach.
103.1 FM KSRF Santa Monica (K-Surf 103.1) playing a EZ format and 103.1 FM KOCM Newport Beach (103.1 The Ocean) playing a contemporary format. In 1990, these 2 radio stations were joined together into 1 station called Mars FM (which plays a Dance/Alternative format, kinda like what Indie plays today except with more Techno). In 1994 it died and became Jazz FM (Jazz format, needless to say).
Changing formats again, it became Channel 103.1 playing Hot AC format (kinda like KBIG 104.3 now). Then Swedish Egil, the program director from Mars FM came back and started his own Dance/Electronica format Groove Radio 103.1 which was later bought out by Clear Channel and turned into a Hot AC format again called CD 103.1 but was sold to Entravision because Clear Channel owned too many radio stations in the Los Angeles market. Entravision turned it into Super Estrella 103.1, which lated moved to 107.1 FM. Entravision turned 103.1 into a Dance music format again, as a surprise for the people that missed Groove Radio, and they called it KDL 103.1 – The Party Station.
In October 2003, Clear Channel stepped in again because KDL was causing too much competition for KIISFM and paid Entravision several million dollars to change formats to a Rock leaning one, to direct the competition away from Clear Channel’s KIISFM and point it to Infinity’s KROQ (like Dicky said, it was to be a short lived pain in the bumbum for Infinity). All of KDL’s airstaff was dismissed, and KDL ended with the song “James Brown is Dead” by Lords of Acid. After several minutes of dead air, the song “Punk Rock Christmas” came on, and for several weeks it was a 10 song playlist over and over and over with really fast IDs that said “Independent Radio”. Entravision added an extra 700 watts to KDLD in Santa Monica (totaling 3700 watts), and moved KDLE’s tower down to the southern outskirts of Newport Beach and lowered the power from 2000 watts to 300 watts (probably because they care more about hitting Los Angeles than Orange County). They started building on their playlist and adding personalities and thus Indie 103.1 was born.
103.1 FM is famous for introducing the USA to full time Dance radio format with Groove Radio and KDL. Now you can find Energy 92.7 in San Francisco, Party 105.3 in Calverton NY, 103.5 KTU in New York City, Energy 92.7/101.1 in Phoenix, and Pulse 1330 AM in Enumclaw all with the dance radio format, there are probably more but I can’t remember off the top of my head.
I know for a fact that Indie will meet its doom shortly in the days to come…if not sooner then later. After they fired Dicky, this is probably going to lead to Indie’s downfall. 103.1 has changed formats so many times, what evidence is there to believe that it won’t do so again?
Whammy is now hoping that the dance format returns to somewhere on the Los Angele dial, and will cry no tears if it means the end of Indie (as does blogger Bank of Kev).
DJ Whammy can be heard on Surge Radio from Monday thru Thursday, 8pm – 10pm
UPDATED (10:43am): Mike from Franklin Ave. commented with some corrections:
Sorry, he doesn’t get it right.
103.1 was MARS-FM around 1990-92, then became “Jazz FM” for a time.
Then, from around 1994-96, the station was “CD 103.1,” a Hot AC playing KBIG/KOST style music.
In summer 1996, Swedish Egil brought his “Groove Radio” to the station. “Groove Radio” evolved into “Groove 103.1” by mid-1997 (with Egil leaving)…
But in 1998, Clear Channel bought the station and flipped it to “Channel 103.1,” under the direction of Nicole Sandler. A “Adult Album Alternative” station (think Dave Matthews Band), the station picked up where the late 101.9 left off.
But Clear Channel owned too many stations in the market, and was forced to sell to Entravision in 2000. Entravision flipped the frequency to Spanish (“Super Estrella”) — but the signal is so weak, the company decided to do something different in 2003 and import its successful Dallas dance format here, and renamed the station “KDL.”
The dance format only lasted a year, however, as Clear Channel re-entered the picture and signed a deal to sell ad time and program 103.1. Hence, “Indie 103.1” was born at the start of 2004.
As we all know by now, Clear Channel eventually had to drop its involvement in Indie, and that’s where we are today.