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Airwaves: August 13, 2010

Readers Sound-Off

A lot of interest was generated by my request last week on what you thought of local radio in general and The Sound (100.3 FM) in particular. I don’t know why I was surprised, but many people wrote in stating pretty much what I think regarding The Sound: it is a darn good station. Sound programmer Dave Beasing should be pleased. There were some suggestions, though, often again mirroring what I believe ... that it would be nice to hear some current music, if for no other reason than to set itself apart from legendary classic rocker KLOS (95.5 FM).

Here are some samples:

Ron Trimble of Lakewood: I think 100.3's 'The Sound' is a pretty good crossover music station. Compared to 93.1 'Jack FM' or whatever they call it these days, The Sound's song selection is vastly superior. In addition, 100.3 feels like a human being or two is actually working at the station.

“As for song selection, I can't believe (KRTH 101.1 FM) continues to rank high in the ratings. Their small range of 'oldies' titles is a monotonous dirge of same old same old. The Inland Empire's KOLA 99.9's oldies song catalogue is far larger and more diverse that KRTH's. It's too bad KOLA's signal does not reach the LA area more clearly.”

Neil Proffitt of Redondo Beach: “The Sound’s triple play Thursdays and album side Wednesdays are pretty good. I agree with you that their selections could be more current (they sound like KLOS and Jack) and I also enjoy the background on the music.

“To expand on that last thought  I have offered this idea awhile back by email to The Sound:  Play an original version of a song and then a cover of the same song. The classic example would be Bob Dylan's, ‘All Along the Watchtower’ followed by the Jimi Hendrix rendition. Give a little history of the songs, maybe an unknown tidbit about the recording ... anything that might be of interest for the listener.  This could be an hour long show once a week or a special every now and then.  Give it some catchy name ... not only does this idea have educational and entertainment value, no one else is doing it.”

(Actually, someone does a version of this idea ... Chuck Cecil does it on his Swingin’ Years program, heard on K-Jazz, 88.1 FM 6-9 AM weekends)

John Black of Long Beach: “Just read your article on The Sound and any suggestions. This is my favorite station and I rarely change during a commercial break.

“This the only station in a long time that can keep my attention (I'm known for having a relatively short attention span) so I keep listening. Funny thing about your suggestion about Dr Demento, that is something I miss on Sunday evenings, and for some reason while listening to The Sound I just expected it would be on. Other than keep doing the same thing, adding Dr D would greatly round out an otherwise great radio station.”

Of course not everyone is as happy. Tom Atkins of Sherman Oaks: “Thanks for letting me "sound off" on The Sound.

“When The Sound first took to the airwaves, I, like many LA rock fans, was excited: finally, here was a station that promised to provide an alternative to the generic rock pabulum dished out by the likes of stations such as KLOS. And, true to its word, the first year of The Sound was an audio delight. I can't tell you how many great songs I either got turned on to - or reacquainted with - in KSWD's first year. It was truly a treat for the ears.

“Then, somebody upstairs decided that, "hey, we can make a lot more money by streamlining our sound, keeping the mix as familiar as possible". Almost overnight, The Sound quickly morphed into "KLOS Junior". These days, it's almost impossible to tell the difference between the two stations: both now spew identical, generic mixes of so-called "classic rock", with none of the "deep tracks" or variety that The Sound had initially committed to providing. KLOS was never interesting to me - and this new retooled version of The Sound is no better. As a result, I haven't listened regularly in over a year: I check in once a month to ensure that I'm not missing anything (to date, I'm not) - and quickly move on.

“Bottom line: once the Internet - and Internet streaming audio devices - becomes standard in automobiles, terrestrial radio will be officially relegated to the history books. And this will happen soon: the technology is here. The radio listening world will be finally treated to potentially millions of Internet-based radio choices - and variety, the component so lacking in today's broadcast media - will once again emerge triumphant.”

Wow ... that’s harsh! More on The Sound and the state of local radio as described by you in the coming weeks.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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