Radio Waves: 1/18/19

The mellow sound of KNX-FM returns!

There are some rare radio stations that strike such a chord with listeners that they help change the sound of radio and set a standard for stations of the future. Such stations as KFWB, the original KRLA, KHJ, KMET and KROQ to name a few.

One that often gets forgotten in the discussion of such stations is KNX-FM (now KCBS-FM 93.1, aka “Jack-FM”). The Mellow Sound of KNX-FM was a trend-setter and was in many ways ahead of its time, breaking songs from such up and coming superstars as varied as Steely Dan, Janice Ian, and Men at Work, and playing album cuts from Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Jackson Brown, Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel and many more.

The idea was to be uplifting through the use of talented singer/songwriters, and intelligent through solid newscasts and my favorite feature, The Odyssey File, where interesting stories of the unusual were told. Musically, KNX-FM was every bit as adventurous as were KMET and later KROQ, though the music was decidedly and purposely mellower. The perfect companion to the easy-living lifestyle that many enjoyed in the mid 1970s.

The format ran from 1973 to 1983, then again for a few years after top-40 “HitRadio KKHR” switched back in 1986. Now it’s back again, via the internet. Hear it yourself at or search for KNX-FM on the Tune-In app so you can play it on the go or in your car.

I spoke recently to Brad Goldman, who was not connected to the original station other than as a listener and fan. But the former radio sales account executive who now runs his own advertising agency is part of a group of radio veterans producing the new internet edition of KNX-FM. The station is owned and programmed by  Dale Berg, former personality at KOCM (now KDLE, 103.1 FM in Newport Beach) and a few others.

“I was a huge fan of the original KNX-FM. Working there would have been my dream,” Goldman explained. “There is no one out there to my knowledge playing this unique mix, and I am excited to be part of the group bringing it back.”

I’d have to compare old airchecks to know for sure, but listening to the new online version sure sounds to me very much like the original. Goldman was proud to hear that. All they need are personalities; the jingles are there.

“The list of original featured artists includes the likes of Joan Armatrading, Jimmy Buffett, George Benson, Simon and Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carol King, Neil Diamond, Toto, Loggins and Messina, Steely Dan, Fleetwood  Mac, Billy Joel, The Little River Band, America and many others,” he said. Even “The Odyssey File” is back, says Goldman, “which we have also authentically replicated.”

Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

Tribute Update

Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters President “Shotgun” Tom Kelly called to update me on dais for the upcoming luncheon honoring legendary DJ Art Laboe. “We’ve got Rick Dees, Paul Hernandez, Danny Trejo, Mary Beth Garber, and KDAY (93.5 FM) morning man Romeo!”

So far tickets are still available only to members of the PPB, though Laboe fans can attend if they go as a guest of a member. I believe this is just temporary, though … I expect ticket sales to open up to the public once members have had a chance to buy theirs. Stay tuned …

Tuned In

I happened to be listening to new K-Surf morning man Larry Van Nuys — who sounds amazing, by the way — when an email came in:

“You keep mentioning that you can hear K-Surf on 105.1 HD-2. How do I get that?”

Easy … IF you have an HD radio, a special radio that receives and decodes special digital signals sent out by many FM and a few AM stations in town. K-Surf simulcasts its 1260 AM signal — also in HD if you are near the station’s San Fernando Valley transmitter — on Go Country’s second (of four) HD streams. If you don’t own an HD radio, you can’t tune in this way, though many new cars come with HD radios. I installed aftermarket HD radios in both my truck and my wife’s car, and there are some home HD radios available as well.

Don’t own one and don’t want to own one? You can also hear K-Surf on line or via the Tune-In, StreamsHiFi, iHeart Radio and other apps, though you have to search for LA Oldies rather than K-Surf. The sound is spectacular.

App Action

I wonder if the time will ever come that streaming will replace broadcasting, due not to any failure of traditional stations but because of certain cost savings. Land and electricity have to be a huge cost with large transmitters. If the internet and apps ever become as rock solid as traditional broadcasts, radio may move to an entirely new “band.” One that puts all stations on equal footing. Makes you wonder.