Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Indie 103.1 Changes: Specialty Shows, From "Watusi Rodeo" to "Feel My Heat," Are Axed

The good news: L.A.'s low-rated but much-acclaimed radio outlet Indie 103.1 (KDLD-FM) continues on broadcast, and is about to celebrate its fifth anniversary. That's a longer lifespan than anything else that has been programmed on the frequency over the past decade and a half (Mars FM, Jazz FM, CD 103.1, Groove Radio, Groove 103.1, Channel 103.1, Super Estrella, KDL 103.1) -- and longer than anyone had predicted.

Now, the bad news: Indie's listenership sucks. Arbitron's new personal people meter measurement makes it even more clear: Despite all of the buzz, national attention and influential sounds coming out of Indie, few people are listening.

The Indie management are trying to do something about that, but their changes threaten to strip the station of, well, its indie cred. The station's specialty shows are disappearing, especially in the evening. Gone are Danny Masterson's "Feel My Heat," the "Camp Freddy Radio" show and Chris Morris' Americana-themed "Watusi Rodeo."

Earlier, morning host Joe Escalante was dropped (although he continues to host the weekly show "Barely Legal Radio," in which he gives free entertainment legal advice).

Morris writes on his MySpace blog:

Indie 103.1 is now being styled as KROQ Jr. Get used to it.

What's happening over at Indie is downright sad, but I'll save further thoughts about that for another time.

The specialty shows are what made Indie special -- that's why I went after "Watusi Rodeo" after Michael "Doc Holiday" Whited, the original host, moved to Tennessee in 2005. Indie's original PD Michael Steele had enough faith in me to let me take a weekly shift after 30 years off the pro airwaves. It was a pleasure to experience the kind of programming freedom I had in free-form FM radio during the '70s, and I had a hell of a lot of fun for 148 broadcasts and almost three years. Many thanks to all my wonderful guests and my devoted listeners.

Having been downsized out of my radio gig earlier this year, I feel Chris' pain. Chris writes that he's been offered a rockabilly/country show on the online Scion Radio.

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