Friday, January 16, 2009

L.A.'s "Indie 103" Leaves FM

Photo by Indie 103 DJ Tedd Roman (via TwitPic)

I got the word on Idolator that Los Angeles commercial radio station "Indie 103" just announced yesterday that they will be leaving the FM airwaves for the web. Based on information gleaned from their Wikipedia page, "Indie 103" first went on the air in December 2003 and featured an eclectic mix of shows that included metal, Americana, punk, and electronic music. A number of DJs and hosts were famous musicians, including Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Joe Escalante of the Vandals, Dave Navarro and Henry Rollins.

In the station's official announcement they critique corporate radio and argue that commercial restraints had forced the station to compromise its original mission. And, apparently, in the last few months a number of the station's specialty shows had been cancelled or moved. The statement in part reads:

"Indie 103.1 will cease broadcasting over this frequency effective immediately. Because of changes in the radio industry and the way radio audiences are measured, stations in this market are being forced to play too much Britney, Puffy and alternative music that is neither new nor cutting edge. Due to these challenges, Indie 103.1 was recently faced with only one option --- to play the corporate radio game.

We have decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course.

This could only be done on the Internet, a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives; be it grunge, punk, or alternative - simply put, only the best music.

For those of you with a computer at home or at work, log on to and listen to the new Indie 103.1 - which is really the old Indie 103.1, not the version of Indie 103.1 we are removing from the broadcast airwaves.

We thank our listeners and advertisers for their support of the greatest radio station ever conceived, and look forward to continuing to deliver the famed Indie 103.1 music and spirit over the Internet to passionate music listeners around the world."

Despite this optimistic announcement, apparently the new station won't even really be the "old" Indie 103. According to the Rolling Stone blog Rock & Roll Daily, the new web-only station will not feature any of the old "Indie 103" DJs. The piece states:

"Essentially, the DJ-less Internet radio station is just a really stacked iPod on shuffle."

Wow. That doesn't sound compelling, especially since "Indie 103" seemed to have some knowledgeable DJs. The same article also includes a link to one DJ's personal account via Twitter in the aftermath of the station closure:

" sure to check out former Indie 103 DJ Tedd Roman’s Twitter page, which has an almost minute-by-minute account of the chain of events following the station’s surprise announcement."

I agree that Tedd Roman's tweets are worth checking out, as well as some of his photos of the final hours of the station (including the one atop this post).

I'm not sure what the "old" Indie 103 playlist was like, or what it devolved into more recently. If you're a listener, I'd be curious to hear how the station compared to college radio, corporate radio, "modern rock" stations like KROQ, and LA radio in general.

Some of the listener comments that I've read online indicate that college radio station KXLU features more adventurous programming and may have even provided inspiration for Indie 103. Not surprising.

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