Indie 103.1 Goes Off The Air

If you have any kind of commute in the Los Angeles area at all, and spend any part of that commute listening to old-school FM radio — and I’m guilty on both counts, especially in the morning, when I want to be plugged into the universe — then you’ve probably noticed Indie 103.1.

In this day and age, Indie 103.1 was a small miracle: a radio station that was dedicated — mostly — to independent rock-oriented music, programmed outside of the normal boundaries. It was always worth a spin to see what they were broadcasting.

But now — according to their website — they’re leaving the airwaves, and will continue as an internet-only radio station.

This seems sad, but inevitable: after all, music radio has been killing itself for decades now, and the much of the audience for a musically adventurous radio station has no doubt many many other sources for music: the internet, their own collections, and satellite.

I’ll admit, I’m one of those people: Indie 103.1 is the type of radio station I’ve always loved, but I never listened to them as much as I should have. Decades of recycled, overprogrammed crap clogging the airwaves got me right out of the habit of listening to radio for music. On the morning commute, I prefer laughing at Kevin & Bean or Adam Carolla, and in the evening, I’ve got an iPod with 15,000 songs.

So it’s a bit hypocritical so bemoan the loss of a radio station that I didn’t listen to as much has I should have, but I did listen to it, and counted myself as a fan. I liked having it out there, and it occasionally turned me on to new things, most recently The Duke Spirit’s “The Step and the Walk,” one of my favorite songs from 2008. Also: I have sympathy for those who do worship it, as I remember 30 years ago when I a radio station I loved — Rock 96FM in Fresno — abruptly changed their format while I was listening to it.

While, as of this posting, Indie 103.1 is still on the air playing music recognizable to its fans, in between songs, instead of the normal rambling by Steve Jones, I heard the same announcement that is posted on their website. According to L.A. Metblogs, they’ll be “El Gato 103.1” tomorrow. The Cat, ooohhhhh.

So goodbye, Indie 103.1. I guess we can find you on the internet, but the Los Angeles airwaves are now going to be a lot more sucktastic.

6 Responses to “Indie 103.1 Goes Off The Air”

  1. Olly McPherson says:

    Drag–I really enjoyed the station when we lived out in L.A.

  2. k says:

    It was my favorite thing about LA! 🙁

  3. So found out about this via Twitter, your post followed soon after. I was an early 103.1 adopter, but, alas, fell away. For me, it was too much of the KROQ/guy thing — while I loved the music, as a slightly older female, I felt a bit weird with the guyness. This is what turned me off to KROQ all those years ago. It’s like teenage/early 20’s guys were the audience, not me.

    But I digress. I loved turning on the radion and hearing “Roadrunner” and then something I’d never heard before. And I loved it tonight when I — just see what was happening — went to 103.1 and heard “Harmony in my Head”. Because that’s how radio should be. You just hear that song. Not that I want all oldies, but I want a radio station to play a song that I’m not going to hear anywhere else.

    We have this newish station called The Sound in LA. It has its moments, but it also plays it a bit too safe for me (I think at least one of the DJs is a refugee of the station that predated 103.1 — maybe it’s fool me once, radio style).

  4. Jim says:

    Yeah, but sadly enough, the “Harmony in My Head” you heard is part of a tiny loop of songs they’re playing as their brain functions run out (kinda like the Doctor Who “Silence in the Library” ep).

    The Sound? What sound?

  5. I think Indie 103.1’s first big mistake was firing Dickie Barrett. It went downhill from there. Also, as Kassia said, it was too oriented towards 20-something guys, as is most popular culture these days. That always struck me as kind of stupid since they played so much old-school punk and alternative and such. I mean, how many 25-year-old guys have seen Black Flag in concert? I always thought the essence of Indie’s awesomeness was that it played such a good mixture of stuff for all ages enamored with the various sub-genres it represented. But that faded pretty quickly after the initial honeymoon and it became too much like KROQ, another faded “alternative” station (that isn’t alternative). That said, bring on the ranchera and mariachi music!


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