Monday, April 17, 2017

Indie 103.1 is Completely Over, Now That Its Webstream Dies

And just like that, with no fan fare, Indie 103.1 is officially, finally, over.

Of course, the station left the airwaves at the beginning of 2009, so it hasn't really been a part of the conversation in Los Angeles for a long, long time. Yet it lived on as a web stream, remarkably, for another 8 years. The plug was finally pulled on April 1, and now Indie's website only features that message above: "Thank you to all the loyal listeners and DJs who supported INDIE1031.COM on this adventure that is now coming to a close. Keep striving to find and give the best to the world. You deserve it."

Liz Ohanesian wrote a great oral history of the influential radio station here. It's a fun read, and gives me quite a bit of wistful nostalgia for a time when you could hop in the car, turn on 103.1 and hear something new, interesting and different. Thankfully stations like KCRW and KCSN continue to provide that on the public radio side -- but Indie was something unique for commercial radio. I dream that one day, as terrestrial radio looks for ways to survive in a changing world, that we might again see stations go bold and try something different to survive. But for now, at least, corporate radio wins out.

Check out my euology to Indie 103.1 in 2009 here. An excerpt:
Hampered by a weak signal, Indie 103.1 never managed to climb out of the ratings basement or pose any threat to alternative radio rival KROQ. But Indie's adventurous music blend attracted loyal fans, and its specialty shows -- particularly the noontime show hosted by the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones -- became stuff of radio legend. The writing had been on the wall for some time -- it's actually amazing that Indie lasted five years, given its shaky ratings and the fact that Entravision specializes in Spanish language radio. Recently, morning host Joe Escalante was dropped, while most of the station's specialty shows were also scratched. The station also over the past few weeks started playing more mainstream alternative music, as well as much more classic tracks from the 1980s. But alas, not even those tweaks could save it. The writing was on the wall. Indie may have actually been kept alive by that weak signal (along with the attraction of its upscale listenership), as Entravision may have figured they couldn't do better than anything else -- and, so their thinking may have gone, perhaps all that critical acclaim would one day translate to more listeners. Rest in piece, Indie. The station may have taken a lot of criticism through the years, but we were lucky to have a station like that in Southern California... and our radio listening experience will now be a lot poorer for it being gone. I guess it's time to charge up the iPod.
More coverage:

Indie Reveals More Online Plans; "El Gato" Officially Launches

The Message That Forshadowed Indie's Demise

Introducing... "El Gato 103.1"

Retro Friday: The Birth of Indie 103.1

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Damon Lindelof on the End of 'The Leftovers': KCRW's The Business

There's always so much to talk about with Damon Lindelof, particularly as we head into the third and final season of "The Leftovers." We chatted for the latest edition of KCRW's "The Business," and discussed the show's move to Australia, how he finds himself once again ending a critically acclaimed TV series, and why he can't help but care what audiences have to say. (And no, he won't be returning to Twitter!) We also chatted about the potential of a writers' strike, and the legacy now of "Lost." Listen below!

Monday, April 03, 2017

IndieWire's Fan Favorites Showrunners Panel: Top Producers on Getting Away with Salty Language, the Pros and Cons of Social Media, the Potential of a Writers Strike, and More

All of our producers managed to make the trek down -- and all the more amazing, "BoJack Horseman" creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg *literally* got to the convention center a minute before the panel, while "Mystery Science Theater 3000" producer/star Jonah Ray took the train down, was on the panel, then immediately took the train back to LA in time to perform a comedy set at the Shrine Auditorium for KROQ's annual "Kevin & Bean April Foolishness" comedy event.

It was a wide-ranging conversation, and things got raucous early when we talked about what words you can and can't say on TV. We also touched on plenty of hot topics, including the potential writers' strike, and the impact Trump has had on storylines.

IndieWire staffers Steve Greene and Hanh Nguyen joined me down in Anaheim to provide support, including photos and coverage. Hanh has a great writeup of the proceedings here.

The producers who attended -- Marc Guggenheim ("Arrow," "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," "Trollhunters"), Aline Brosh McKenna ("Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"), Jessica Goldberg ("The Path"), Raphael Bob-Waksberg ("BoJack Horseman"), Jonah Ray ("Mystery Science Theater 3000," "The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail," "Hidden America with Jonah Ray") and Sera Gamble ("The Magicians") had great interaction -- some of the best I've ever seen of producers together on one stage -- and were all appreciative at being a part of the event.

This was the sixth annual panel I've helped organize for WonderCon, and the first at IndieWire; hopefully it's the sign of more to come! A few more pics:

International Pillow Fight Day: Feathers Fly in Downtown LA's Pershing Square

Feather Mêlée

You have no idea how disappointed I am in realizing I missed International Pillow Fight Day in downtown Los Angeles. But luckily our old pal the Atwater Village Newbie was there on April 2 and documented it with some great shots, above and below. See 'em all here!

There's always next year. A few more shots from the AVN:

Flying Feathers

Solid Hit

Feather Angels

Clean-up in the Square

Friday, March 31, 2017

KCRW's The Spin-Off: Netflix Domination, Emmys Overload, and Another Writers' Strike?

On the latest edition of KCRW's The Spin-Off, Joe and I were joined by CNN's Sandra Gonzalez, and we discussed the potential writers' strike, among other things:

It's not news anymore that Netflix is a huge player in the scripted drama space. But now they've also got movies, stand-up specials, children's shows, sitcoms and reality TV. In their quest to become the go-to for everything, what happens to the traditional networks left in their wake? The Spin-off crew talks about Netflix's growth, how they're paying for talent, and what other networks can do to keep up.

Plus, if you're noticing a lot of prestige dramas premiering right about now, it's not coincidence. Everyone is trying to get their show on the air in the time frame right before Emmy voting starts. With Game of Thrones out of the running for best drama this year because of timing, the field is wide open for the first time in years.

And finally, there's talk of another writers' strike, but what's the likelihood of actually happening? People who have been in the industry a while are still scarred from the last strike. In the event of a strike, the late night shows would be the first to suffer, and that would be a shame since they've been on such a roll lately.

Listen below!

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