Imagine my surprise driving home this afternoon when I switched the car radio from KNX1070 (I listen for the traffic reports) to Indie103.1 and heard this announcement:
This is an important message for the Indie 103.1 Radio Audience -
Indie 103.1 will cease broadcasting over this frequency effective immediately. Because of changes in the radio industry and the way radio audiences are measured, stations in this market are being forced to play too much Britney, Puffy and alternative music that is neither new nor cutting edge. Due to these challenges, Indie 103.1 was recently faced with only one option --- to play the corporate radio game.
We have decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course.
This could only be done on the Internet, a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives; be it grunge, punk, or alternative - simply put, only the best music.
For those of you with a computer at home or at work, log on to www.indie1031.com and listen to the new Indie 103.1 - which is really the old Indie 103.1, not the version of Indie 103.1 we are removing from the broadcast airwaves.
We thank our listeners and advertisers for their support of the greatest radio station ever conceived, and look forward to continuing to deliver the famed Indie 103.1 music and spirit over the Internet to passionate music listeners around the world.
WTF?!?! The best damn station in the country just went digital! How can that be? They just celebrated five years on the air just a few weeks ago! Remember how we were all pinching ourselves back then? Hearing cool music on the radio for the first time in 20 years was sure great. They strayed a little in the last few years, but overall I had no complaints.
This totally screws me since I pretty much only listen to it when I'm driving--at home I tend to listen to CDs, but I guess that can change. Actually, I'm doubly screwed since I don't have a CD player or MP3 player in the car, I'll have no choice BUT the radio for tunes. KROQ pretty much blows now so make that no choices for tunes in the car. Because I only have a iPod shuffle I can't hook it to an iTrip. So it is just the car radio for me--if KNX changes to a talk format like it is rumored it will, just shoot me, OK?
Enough about my sad story and back to the REAL ISSUE of corporate effing bean counters screwing up yet another good thing. The corporate doosh in this case is Arbitron and its new Portable People Meter (wasn't that a Sheb Wooley song?) method of measuring listeners. Instead of keeping handwritten diaries, the statistically selected listeners are now monitored electronically in their homes, cars and workplaces. Wow, talk about Big Brother! This means that the data is now more detailed and the stations are using that data to retain and gain audience share.
For instance at KROQ, The Kevin and Bean Show used to be on from 5:30am until 10am. By using the PPM data they found that many people tuned out at 9am, so now the morning show ends at 9 and that last hour is moved to the 5pm slot. We listen to the Kevin and Bean Show at work and when it ends at 10 we turn off the radio and everyone listens to their own choices--iPod, streaming or sometimes nothing. So this change at KROQ just lost four listeners for one hour.
So, I guess Indie had a similar data reckoning and realized they were no longer able to remain viable in a broadcast format and still maintain the musical integrity that they started with. What is next for them--I don't know. Apparently this is day one of the new format. I've been streaming it for the last few hours and haven't heard anything but music--no commercials, DJ's or anything. They better not get rid of Steve Jones that's all I can say.