Radio Waves: June 9, 2023

No Surf?

For a station with little exposure, LA Oldies — also known as K-SURF —  has quite a following. At one time available on the AM band at 1260 kHZ, it moved off the band to make way for K-Mozart, relegating it to the HD4 digital radio stream tied to KKGO (105.1 FM) but still available world-wide on the internet, smart phone apps and smart speakers.

No longer. Station owner Saul Levine confirmed that the station stoped streaming as of May 22nd, a victim of increased streaming and licensing costs.

It’s not necessarily gone forever, and is still available on the HD stream if you own an HD Radio-capable receiver. Many cars have them as standard or available equipment, and aftermarket radios often include HD standard as well.

Keep in mind, Levine is a radio guy at heart and indicated that if he could figure out a way to at least cover the costs — via a new marketing plan, for example — it could very well return. In that vein, if you or someone you know wants to become an LA Oldies sponsor, you might consider contacting him. Just sayin’ …

But that doesn’t help now … where can former LA Oldies listeners find the music they like? Luckily, there are some alternatives that might not be exactly like the old K-Surf, but are quite good in their own approach. Some initial suggestions:

• Big 8 Radio, a tribute to CKLW, which still broadcasts from Windsor/Ontario but basically serves The Motor City Detroit. The broadcast station runs talk now, but was a Boss Radio station in the 1960s, and that is the focus of this tribute. You can tune in on various apps (I recommend StreamS HiFi Audio and MyTunerRadio) or at the website It’s the Detroit version of Boss Radio, and noncommercial as well. 

The station plays primarily hits of the 1960s but dips into the ‘50s and ‘70s as well. As I write this, they are presenting a Million Dollar Weekend, which fans of RKO top-40 and Boss Radio stations (KHJ, KGB, KFRC, CKLW, and more) will remember well. 

• The Eagle, playing non-stop ‘70s music. I wouldn’t call it a station tribute; more like an era-tribute, but remarkably well-produced. The Eagle, like Big 8 Radio, has stunning sound quality (especially using StreamS) and has a format that runs the full decade of 1970-1979 (or is it 1971-1980?) give or take a year or so. Find it on the apps as well as TheEagle.FM

• Top 40 Hit Clock, which plays clusters of songs by year, and covers the 1950s through the ‘70s. It’s a tough find and doesn’t always show on the app searches; the best way to hear it is to use the online stream link, which is Fidelity of this is also remarkably good, and can be configured on the apps … I just can’t remember how. It definitely took some experimentation.

You can also find a ton of streaming internet-only as well as broadcast stations using the apps; just search by genre and decade. The good news for LA Oldies fans? Levine told me that he was “amazed at the national response and national audience.” He has been receiving emails from fans around the country. As we speak, he is reviewing ways to make it work.

Feedback Loop

“The main thing I don’t like about local radio is there are just too many commercials. Once when I was in my car, all the radio stations I had on my presets had commercials … at the same time! The other issue I have is the repetition of the music that is being played, especially on the classic hits and classic rock stations I listen to.

“The main thing I really enjoy about local radio is the DJs I listen to. It is so good to actually hear a live voice talking to you. I like DJs that announce the songs, tell you the time, and the weather. I also enjoy hearing people winning contests on the radio and the voice of the DJs showing how happy they are for the listener who won. You just don’t get that same feeling when you listen to a radio station that is automated, with no one there. The best part is you are truly never really alone, it is like having a dear friend over to your place to visit with you.  — Russ, Glendale

“I usually find your takes spot on, but as a former Woody listener, I am now back on KROQ (106.7 FM) with Kline and Ally. Show is so much more So Cal, and actually find myself laughing a lot more without all the old sounding ‘radio bits.’

“I get an authentic early Stern vibe but with modern humor from Kline. Ally has grown on me a lot. I hear a lot of people talking about that ‘morning show on KROQ’ and talking about what they heard. I always think good radio (and TV) does that. Make people think and tell others. I think they are doing it better than most right now.” — Troy Grasso

You definitely hit the nail … word of mouth and a positive “vibe” are definitely the ways to go. Definitely.