KZAP being freeform radio (back) to Sacramento
Los Angeles has — more accurately “had,” — it’s KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM), the legendary progressive rock radio station that set the standard for counter-culture FM radio locally. In Sacramento, it was KZAP, which broadcast “free-form” radio in one form or another from 1968 to 1992, five years later than did KMET itself.
Proving that life often goes full-circle, KZAP is back. This time as a low-power no-commercial community FM station. The frequency has changed to 93.3 FM from it’s “original” home of 98.5; of course other than the name there is no direct relationship to the original.
Except … the personalities. Many of the DJs heard on the station are original to the original: Tom Cale, Dennis Newhall, Diane Michaels and more, along with the young buck news director and morning show co-host, Ace Young.
Yes, what comes around goes around: the same Ace Young who served as news director and morning co-host at KMET for many years.
The play list, if you can call it that, includes everything from old to new, and sounds just like freeform radio you may not remember. Some of the new music comes from artists such as 7 Horse, The Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams, Mudcrutch (Tom Petty), The Tedeschi Trucks, Ben Harper, and Keith Richards new solo album to name a few.
This is a perfect example of what local low-powered radio can do. And it is a shame we don’t have anything like it here in Los Angeles. Granted, available frequencies are tough to fine, but I often wonder why stations like The Sound (100.3 FM), KLOS (95.5 FM) or even Jack (93.1 FM) don’t take the lead and present such formats on their HD digital streams. There you could even sell ads, and give people a reason to stay with radio.
Full Circle II
I just read a tech paper on how not only are analog LP (vinyl) records coming back, it seems that reel to reel tapes are on their way back again as well. Some feel that analog tape is superior to all other recording media, as you don’t have to do anything to limit file size (as in digital) or stylus movement (as in vinyl records).
Does this mean that analog AM radio is on the verge of a comeback? From a technical standpoint, AM radio can actually have a wider frequency bandwidth than FM; with modern technology, interference and other issues could be solved or reduced. Come on Boss Radio KHJ, Ten-Q, KEZY, HitRadio KFI, KRLA, …
Speaking of Sacramento
AllAccess.Com reports that KCCL/Sacramento is flipped to Christmas music to celebrate Christmas in July. I figured it would happen sooner or later.
You may not know the name Karen Tobin, but anyone connected with LA radio does. She was the marketing and promotions woman behind such powerful stations as KIIS-FM (102.7) during its top-40 dominance days, KRTH (101.1 FM) more recently, and such groups as Westwood One, Metro Networks, and Fox Broadcasting.
She had been fighting cancer for the past few years. On her Facebook page, her husband John posted July 22, “My beautiful wife Karen passed at about 8:45 this morning. We had a good night together and she was surrounded by family to say goodby. Love to you all. John”
Karen was one of the first people I met through this column. Always positive, always competent, always right on top of things, she was a great asset to radio. She will be missed.