Friday, April 08, 2011

Sticking with the old school - RADIO!

Those of you who know me, know I have an affinity for old school radio. One of my film school projects was a short documentary called "College Radio - The Bay Area Bubble" - which documented the unique format of San Francisco Bay area college radio stations (KALX, KZSU, KFJC, KZSC). I also have been known to pack my transistor radio on backpacking trips, hoping to tune-in Coast to Coast AM and pick up a UFO program while star-gazing in the backcountry.

For someone who grew up in the classic rock environment of Portland's KGON - I was weened on a steady diet of Boston, Led Zeppelin, Steve Miller and all the standards which I grew to either love or hate. I owe much of my early musical knowledge to KGON, but once in my twenties, I quickly became dissatisfied with the their repetition and moved beyond radio, embracing alternative music and more.

Fast forward 30 years. Now that I live in Colorado, I've rediscovered FM radio mostly due to a fresh array of options. I get the standard jazz station (89.3) which is quite good, a metal station from Denver (80% of which bores me with nu-metal) a Boulder community radio station called KGNU which is pretty awesome and even an AM college radio station from CU - which, when I can actually pick it up, plays some really obscure stuff, the newest hip stuff and a nice mix of reggae, punk and other programs. And of course, I get classic rock stations. Two in fact. One of the two (103.5 the Fox) plays your standard fare, KGON-like classics. All too familiar - but occasionally I'll catch a song worth staying for. The other station however - is largely the reason for this blog post. KYEN Denver/Severance/Ft. Collins at 103.9 plays the most unique, diverse and interesting mix of classic rock I've ever heard. As their website states: "103.9 FM KYEN is a Rock 'N' Roll radio station like no other. Playing lost tracks, forgotten artists, deep cuts, b-sides, bootlegs and just about anything that we like. Our music library spans thousands and thousands of songs and we’re adding music each day. We love music and we do it for the music. Listen and Enjoy…" Sure - you're going to run into the occasional over-played Stones track, or some other song that borders on bubble-gum pop sweetness. But the majority of their playlist actually doesn't seem like a "playlist" at all. When I'm driving and actually listening to the radio - I'm usually here - taking in (and learning) about so many songs and bands I never knew about. Paul McCartney songs I've never heard, Elvis Costello, Todd Rundgren, obscure Yes and Genesis tracks... the list goes on and on. With KGON I could name the artist or band within split seconds of each new song coming on - here - I'm lucky to name the artist, and rarely can name the song.

Good stuff. Thank you KYEN. Keep it obscure.