One of the most interesting features I have ever heard on the radio can be found on the Mark Thompson Morning Zoo (aka Mark in the Morning) on The Sound (100.3 FM). I’m not sure what the official title of the segments is called, but I call them “song dissections.”
Christian James Hand (sorry if I keep thinking of Mr. Hand in Fast Times) is an accomplished artist with a varied career that revolves around music. He is a drummer, producer and mixer; has been on the radio in Los Angeles and New York; he’s stage-managed and tour-managed for bands including members of the Wu Tang Clan; toured with Peter Gabriel; worked at Island Records; and helped produce music videos including “Hey Ya” by Outkast. When I contacted him he was in the middle of producing a country album.
You might say music is in his blood.
On The Sound, he takes a song and splits it into its elements. Track by track, instrument by instrument, vocal by vocal. Listeners hear the full musical story of songs from legendary artists and bands such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Yes, among others.
The first one I heard myself (I was late to the party) was for “Killer Queen” by Queen ... and I was mesmerized. I am not particularly good at picking out details of songs, thus dissecting this one was totally eye (or ear) opening. When you get the details, you realize the true genius of the artists; in this case I was utterly astounded by the complexity and artistry -- and small details in the instrumentation and vocals that I had missed -- in a song I had heard hundreds of times.
Want to hear one for yourself? If you haven’t caught one on the air -- or you want to hear one again (they are fascinating, I tell you) -- they are available as podcasts on the Sound website, www.thesoundla.com. Browse through the Mark in the Morning podcast pages or do a search of “Christian Hand.”
Fired on the Air ...
Austin Beutner, who until earlier this month served as the publisher of The Los Angeles Times, learned that he had been fired while listening to the radio on the drive to work. According to Politico.Com, Jack Griffin, the CEO of the Times' parent company Tribune Publishing, hadn't told Beutner the news personally by the time the publisher left for work in spite of it being released to news services at about 3:30 a.m. Instead, Beutner found out as he drove to work listening to KNX (1070 AM).
Like the old joke that there are three kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those who can’t, reader and radio historian Steve Thompson of La Crecenta send this email:
“You recently mentioned 93 years of radio ... Yes, KHJ (930 AM) and KFI (640 AM) went on the air in 1922, but KNX began in 1920 as 6ADZ, a five-watt amateur station broadcasting at 1500 kHz. In late 1921, it became KGC and moved to 833 kHz, sharing time with several other stations. It became KNX in 1922.”
Thompson is right, which means KNX has a history extending to 95 years. He also mentioned a neat website with some broadcast radio history: Alex Cosper has a list of radio stations in Los Angeles in 1922: www.playlistresearch.com/history/laradio1920s.htm.