2.19.2009

Dude, That’s Not Music


When the giant Indie 103.1 fell, public radio station KCRW was all over it. Taking out a full page ad in the LA WEEKLY, they announced their rivals' collapse, and were careful not to outwardly celebrate the anticipated surge in their listenership. Instead, they reinforced this promotional message: We all have a right to independent music. But KCRW isn’t the only station to adopt the influx of confused, Indie kids without a radio wave to ride home. Out of a little building on the Loyola Marymount campus blasts a radio signal for KXLU.

Years ago, I would listen to teens in still-developing voices take shifts between classes, popping in records from Rilo Kiley and The Magnetic Fields. One grad student with a booming baritone was so passionate about 40’s jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, that we all fell in love with him. They would always play my song requests for those harrowing morning commutes. When I needed to avoid looping news on NPR or shameless jock rock on KROQ, I’d flip my dial to the artful, homespun station.

Then something changed. There seemed to be a silent contest between the students to see who could find the most obscure, avant garde band. It was the ever-so-familiar “Who’s More Punk?” contest that moved from an isolated social sphere to a public arena. And the music went downhill from there. Elliot Smith and Fugazi were replaced by bands with names like, Giraffe Chainsaw Melody and Winged Pistol School Bus. Poor listeners sat on congested freeways listening to spoons scraping guitar strings and crashing dishes in the background. The student DJs sat pleased with themselves, thinking, “Ha. Top that one.” Of course the DJ on the next shift would play a ballad featuring a screeching cat, a banjo and an alphabetical reading of Vietnamese last names. Worse, the sincere enthusiasm was replaced by apathetic droning. Girls in pixie voices mumble, "Sooo, like, um..." and mussed hair depressives who believe dead air is okay make make awkward sounds every one in a while.

KXLU, we get it. You’re different. You're light years ahead of the rest of this big, dumb population. Now can you please go back to playing real music?

Thank you.

6 comments:

the dirty mop said...

Dear listener, if you call in and request a song, I'm pretty sure we'll play it. I take pride in finding good music that isn't just "random spoon noises." I would say that a lot of people would agree that we have a HUGE variety of music played on our station. Everyone is into different things. Some people are into really obscure music. Others, not so much. That's why it's so important for you to find shows that you like and listen to them. I promise you will find something that you like. As for the other shows, respect them. Respect the people that enjoy that kind of music. Respect the DJs during those shows. Most importantly, please respect the station. We are here to serve the community of Los Angeles with interesting, unique and independent music. We aren't trying to be elitists or trying to compete with anyone because frankly, who would we be compared to? KCRW? I don't think so. We aren't there to bash anyone, we are just here because some people like us. Those people support us and that's why we are alive. I appreciate your feedback but next time really try to think about what you're saying. I hope for your continued listener ship. Call in and request your song. -Mapi, KXLU 88.9 FM Los Angeles

fayeruz said...

I appreciate your feedback Mapi. I'll try & keep the faith. May the Indie 103.1 stragglers find their way to KXLU.

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