Monday, February 2, 2009

KCRW Makes A Move to Attract Former Indie 103.1 Listeners

In a not-so-subtle bid to attract some of the radio listeners abandoned by Entravision's decision to flip Indie 103.1 into "El Gato," public radio station KCRW is starting to frequently use the term "indie" to describe its music programming.

Actually, the station has even altered its top-of-the-hour station I.D. to reflect that. Where KCRW DJs once touted "NPR News and hand-picked music for Southern California," the I.D. now reads, "NPR News and indie music for Southern California."

And in a letter to KCRW subscribers, general manager Ruth Seymour even mentions Indie by name: "LA's commercial indie music station Indie 103 has just gone dark, unable to compete in today's corporate radio marketplace."

I can definitely see why they're doing this. With my 103.1 preset now removed (I had to stick 98.7 in its place -- gaah), it's suddenly much harder to land on a default sound. And KCRW does share some of Indie 103.1's artists -- interestingly, right before its demise, Indie was playing Michael Franti -- an artist championed for years by KCRW -- in heavy rotation.

Nonetheless, the term "indie" in music circles usually refers to "indie rock," and that's not a sound that dominates KCRW's music programming. (The station's music shows have often been criticized for not including enough harder-edged sounds.) It's a tad awkward to suddenly hear KCRW's announcers touting "indie music," when they oughta be calling it "global music," or "eclectic music," or just stick with the "hand-picked" description (a term I always kinda liked).

Speaking of KCRW, the Santa Monica College-based station is currently holding its semi-annual pledge drive. The premiums are still strong, despite the lackluster economy, so bone up on the best way to get the most out of your KCRW donation, then get to it!

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