Radio: May 26, 2017
Years ago when AM radio reigned supreme -- with a few exceptions -- the competition among top-40 stations was intense. KHJ (930 AM), KTNQ - “Ten-Q” (1020 AM) and KFI (640 AM) were battling it out in the mid to late 1970s locally, all of them essentially playing the hits in their own way.
Ten-Q was the adventurous one with an expanded playlist, it and KFI both presenting a high-energy on air approach, while KHJ tried a softer style to try to attract and keep listeners who had already ventured over to the FM dial.
Ten-Q was the first to sell out ... literally. A station sale meant that Ten-Q was the first to abandon music in the Summer of 1979; for a time the high-energy format was moved to FM on KHTZ (now KAMP, 97.1). On the last day of top-40 Ten-Q, the format was broadcast on both KTNQ and KHTZ to help launch the format on FM.
And if you happened to miss that last day, ReelRadio.Com has come to the rescue ... “hour zero” of the last day of Ten-Q was just added to the exhibits -- named “zero” because it was just recently found and is a recording of the hour preceding the previously available “hour one.” It is the 5-6 a.m. hour of Charlie Tuna’s show; Reelradio has a total of four hours of that last day ending with the switch to Spanish on AM and the Ten-Q jocks relegated to FM.
It’s a fun listen and just slightly ahead of its time, as KHJ and KFI controlled hit music radio just a little longer, (KHJ realizing the mistake it made and going high-energy again) while KHTZ moved in a more mellow direction and proved temporarily that FM was not quite ready to dominate as it would just a short time later.
While you are at ReelRadio.Com, check out the many different exhibits ... it’s a great way to pass the time.
“Lately, KSURF (1260 AM, 105.1 digital HD2) has begun mixing in ‘70s songs from artists like T Rex, Steely Dan, Carole King, etc. Personally I wish KSURF’s format was “Cruisin’ Oldies from the 1950’s and 60’s” and keep their playlist limited to songs released in 1969 and earlier to keep the format more pure and focused.
“I was perfectly content with KSURF before it recently started playing 70’s songs which dilutes its uniqueness. I can hear T Rex and Steely Dan on KLOS and The Sound (100.3 FM) and Carole King on Mimi Chen’s “Peace, Love, and Sunday Morning”. KSURF is more unique if it sticks with artists you would typically never hear on those other stations (well apart from Mimi Chen’s show anyway). When I turn on KSURF I don’t want to have to look at the dial twice to make sure I am on the right channel and not a Classic Rock station instead which happens when I hear some of the recent songs they added.
“How about if you take a survey on your radio column of what year KSURF listeners would prefer as a cut-off for song releases. I would like to know if I am in the minority or if other KSURF listeners agree with me.” -- Rick Koenig, Torrance.
I’m game, though I have to admit I haven’t heard many songs outside of the ‘50s and ‘60s on KSURF. What do you think ... if you programmed the station, what would you do? Drop a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think.
KCRW’s (89.9 FM) 2017 edition of Summer Nights starts next week ... 7 p.m. June 1 to be exact, with station DJ Mathieu Schreyer playing music at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara. Yes, Santa Barbara ... a quick getaway if you want a short vacation.
Closer to home, on Saturday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m., you can head out to Pasadena’s One Colorado to see Chico Mann & Captain Planet live with KCRW DJ Marion Hodges.
As always, Summer Nights offers dozens of fun, free, all-ages outdoor music shows over the course of the summer throughout the greater Los Angeles area, Santa Barbara, and Northern Orange County. For a full schedule, head over to www.tinyurl.com/SummerNights17.