Today was a dark, dark day in L.A. for indie-rock fans.
It started off like any other morning in Los Angeles - plenty of sunshine and gridlocked traffic - but then my regularly scheduled and much-beloved Indie 103.1 FM programming was horrifyingly interrupted by this:
I swear, I was so distraught I almost lost control of my Scion, drove up onto the pavement, and plowed down a few innocent pedestrians. Whaaaat???
Yes, Indie 103.1, my favorite local radio station - home to Sex Pistol Steve Jones's must-hear program 'Jonesy's Jukebox'; the station that just exclusively world-premiered the latest Prince tracks; the station that only a month ago hosted a truly festive Christmas bash featuring the Pretenders, Black Kids, Bloc Party, and CSS; sponsor of Los Angeles's Club NME night; 'Rolling Stone' magazine's pick for the best radio station in America - was going off the air immediately, leaving a gaping hole in my airwaves, commute, heart, and soul.
Sure, I was upset in the '90s when local metal channel KNAC and alt-rock station Pirate Radio went black...but this setback felt like a truly crushing blow, a genuine loss. And even though Indie 103.1 will continue to exist online (as did KNAC for a time), let's face it: Angelenos spend a lot of time in their cars.
And the time I spent in my car was made much more enjoyable whenever I was within driving distance of Indie's signal. I don't want to listen online... and the station's website is so bombarded today by distressed fans, the server's crashed anyway.
This may not seem like much of a crisis to most of you across the pond, but if you've visited in L.A. during the past five years and had a chance to listen to Indie 103.1 (and/or its laughable local terrestrial radio alternatives), then you know how special this station is. (Um, I mean was. Sniff.)
It was the only L.A. station (and possibly only major U.S. station) to play the likes of Does It Offend You Yeah?, the Wombats, Longwave, or TV On The Radio, alongside classic cuts by the Stooges, Smiths, Joy Division, and Pixies...
...while Indie's most major competitor, KROQ, packed its playlist with crap/pap like Linkin Park and Incubus and the Offspring.
Publically funded KCRW is now L.A. radio's only saving grace, but unfortunately it doesn't play music 24/7.
The fact that this audio announcement played in a constant loop all morning in between songs I'll probably never hear on L.A. radio again - by the Sex Pistols, X, Buzzcocks, et al - only made me sadder. Saddest commute of my life, really.
Indie 103.1, you shall be missed. I'll always remember the two awesome hours I spent as a guest on 'Jonesy's Jukebox Jury' (listen to the podcast here), and the countless hours I spent tuning in. Thanks for the music.
Listen to Indie 103.1 online here