Airwaves: September 15, 2006
I'm not sure exactly when the music called "standards" became closely tied with Las Vegas, or at least a memory of old Las Vegas. But I first noticed the trend back when the Fabulous 570 (later the Fabulous 690) signed on the air in November 2002. That tie-in -- including images of the Rat Pack and martini lounges -- lasted until the Fabulous format signed off the air for good last year.
Fabulous programmer Brad Chambers has been trying to keep the image and the music alive through the internet, and he's about ready to go. Yet he's not the only one, and it shows the beauty of the internet and why, for home listening, at least, traditional radio may find itself lower on the entertainment totem pole.
Chambers is giving previews of his upcoming internet station with great music and the same imaging voice he used on the Fabulous 570 and 690: Steve Tyrell. Listening to the preview you might forget that you aren't listening to the old AM station. Better fidelity, no personalities (yet) and no commercials bring you back to reality. I can't wait until Chambers goes full bore on this one. The future looks bright indeed; sample for yourself at www.martiniinthemorning.com.
Playing similar music and also taking on that Vegas image is Scott Bodell, who runs www.thefabulousstrip.com. Like Chambers, Bodell programs the station with standards old and new, from Frank Sinatra to Brian Setzer. Even classic comedy bits can be found here, and this net station, too, is a treat.
Are they perfect? Of course not. Like satellite, the formats are somewhat generic. Time is not given, for example, because the formats reach around the world in multiple time zones. In a way, that's what makes internet radio so much fun. Kind of like the old days of trying to pick up an AM station from a distant city at night You never know what you'll find when you search around a bit.
If you have a good internet connection, check both these stations out. And if you know of other good ones in any format, drop me a line.
And of course don't forget that there is still one station playing standards in Los Angeles: KKGO (1260 and 540 AM). The signal isn't always the best, but it is a nice diversion from the ordinary. They shun the Vegas imaging, though ...
Breakfast Still Served
It's harder to find ... make that all but impossible to find ... but KLSX's (97.1 FM) Breakfast with the Beatles continues to be heard Sundays from 10 AM to 1 PM.
The difficulty stems from the fact that you can't pick it up on your typical radio. You need a special radio that can decode the new digital HD-2 channels being broadcast by many FM stations across the U. S., including KLSX.
Problem is, you can't buy the radio anywhere locally, at least that I know of. Catalog retailer Crutchfield (www.crutchfield.com) carries them so you can get one mail order. But beware: early models of HD radios haven't received the best reviews. And the radios are still expensive. If you have a few hundred burning a hole in your wallet, though, you might just give one a try.
Copyright © 2006 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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