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

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