I really like the idea that someday soon there will be a radio revolution and the FM dial will once again be returned to passionate music-loving DJs playing an eclectic mix of sounds at locally-owned radio stations. In the meantime, I will continue to troll the left side of the dial to hear my fellow weirdos in college, community and high school radio because that’s where the really exciting radio action is.
But just in the past few weeks I began to get the sense that something might be brewing on AM radio. As Paul wrote last week, a newish station near Chicago called the Avenue is playing an uncharacteristically diverse list of artists, from Tom Waits to Eartha Kitt. A few college stations, like Portland’ s KPSU are located on AM (tune in to catch a show that only plays 7″ vinyl or another devoted to psychedelia and garage rock); but I didn’t realize until a few days ago that in my own backyard there’s an AM station playing South Asian music (including Bollywood sounds) or that lucky listeners near Chicago get their very own metal station WPJX (“Rebel Radio”) at 1500 AM in Northbrook, Illinois.
Since June 2009, San Jose commercial radio station KLOK 1170 AM has been devoted to South Asian programming. Initially they launched with a 24 hour a day format of non-stop South Asian music, but as of today their schedule is mostly made up of brokered programming produced (and funded) by members of the community.
Music is woven throughout the schedule and Bollywood sounds are guaranteed if you tune in on Friday nights for the Desi Nights Radio dance music show or during the wee hours of 2am to 5am on Mondays through Wednesdays. Other shows on KLOK include a call-in show with a dentist, an astrology & meditation show, and an inter-generational show that discusses the differences between American culture and traditional Indian culture. Although it’s a commercial station with an out of town owner, it’s refreshing to hear that they are doing something a little different from the norm and that it is deeply tied to the local community.
Have you discovered something extraordinary on AM radio lately?
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