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|City of license||KDLD: Santa Monica
KDLE: Newport Beach
|Broadcast area||KDLD: Los Angeles
KDLE: Orange County
|Branding||El Gato 103.1|
|Frequency||103.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||KDLD: 1960 (as KSRF)
KDLE: 1962 (as KOCM)
|ERP||KDLD: 3,700 watts
KDLE: 300 watts
|HAAT||KDLD: 82 meters
KDLE: 294 meters
|Facility ID||KDLD: 33902
KDLD is a commercial radio station in Santa Monica, California, broadcasting to the Los Angeles area on 103.1 FM. KDLE is a commercial radio station in Newport Beach, California, broadcasting to the Orange County area on 103.1 FM.
The 103.1 frequencies in LA/OC operated as two separate stations prior to the 1990s, KSRF in Santa Monica and KOCM in Newport Beach. Both signals carried a B/EZ (beautiful music/easy listening) format in the 1960s/1970s and AC (adult contemporary) in the 1980s but targeted for each specific beach community. 103.1 Santa Monica was known as K-Surf (which was brought back for a time on 1260 AM as KSUR, an oldies-formatted station and simulcast on 540 AM as XESURF before the two frequencies flipped to adult standards, then to country—which has since moved to 105.1 FM as KKGO "Go Country 105"—then the 1260/540 simulcast flipped to news/talk and at the same time, 1260 reverted to its original KGIL call letters, later flipping to "Retro 1260", a mix of oldies and adult standards, while the 540 frequency is now the San Diego-market affiliate of Radio Zion, still using the XESURF call letters) and 103.1 Newport Beach was known as K-Ocean. The carriers of the two transmitters were synchronized to try to create a continuous coverage area between the two locations.
The first format on the synchronized signal was Rave inspired MARS-FM, using the call letters KSRF/KOCM, from late 1991 through late 1992. Club D.J. Swedish Egil accepted a rare opportunity to develop his music director skills and visionary style when he left KROQ-FM in 1991 to join L.A.'s new MARS-FM, along with fellow KROQ-FM alum Freddy Snakeskin who became MARS-FM's program director. The station became well known for its role in introducing America to the techno/rave music phenomenon where Egil was responsible for "picking the hits" and breaking new artists. Egil and his leased time format were dumped by owners seeking a more mainstream station. 103.1 became a jazz format station as Jazz FM 103.1 using the call letters KAJZ/KBJZ, followed by another format change to CD 103.1, an adult contemporary format using the call letters KACD/KBCD.
In 1996, Swedish Egil returned and launched "Groove Radio 103.1 FM", fulfilling Egil's dream of expanding his syndicated weekly 3-hour "GROOVE RADIO" program, previously heard in Los Angeles as part of the nighttime "Renegade Radio" show on KWIZ, into the first full-time 24/7 format in America devoted to new dance music and to the art of the DJ. Groove Radio 103.1 gained an unprecedented notoriety for its innovative programming and groundbreaking music format that became the catalyst for dance music's exposure across the entire United States. Groove Radio had a morning drive time show hosted by Jim "The Poorman" Trenton, a L.A. radio icon and one of the two original co-hosts of the radio show "Loveline" from KROQ-FM, currently hosted by the other co-host, Dr. Drew Pinsky.
In 1998, Egil was forced out of the station after the owners once again decided that they wanted the station to go in a mainstream direction. The owners switched it to a Rhythmic Contemporary format as Groove 103.1 (since Egil owned rights to the "Groove Radio" name), but after the flooding of negative feedback crashed their voicemail system, they brought the Dance format back a week later, relaunching with the song "Children" by Robert Miles and continued with an electronica-intensive Dance Hits format for a year. The station signed off on October 12, 1998 with the song "Children" by Robert Miles, the same song they launched the new dance format with.
In late 1998, Jacor Communications (now Clear Channel Communications) purchased the station. After Groove Radio signed off, it went into a stunt format for the rest of the day airing a repeat of the Spice Girls' "Wannabe", and afterward became a simulcast of 102.7 KIISFM. Two weeks later, the simulcast ended and the new format began as Channel 103.1 programmed by Nicole Sandler, playing a mixture of a new format called "Adult Alternative", including Dave Matthews, Tracy Chapman, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Tom Petty, Keb Mo, Led Zeppelin (with a standing rule that Stairway to Heaven would get absolutely no airtime), Pink Floyd, Dramarama, Beck, Vertical Horizon, and many others of similar caliber, spanning from the late 1960s and into 2001. The station was alternately titled World Class Rock, which they stuck with for their lifespan. They had a very small staff who ran six hour shifts (a change from the otherwise normal four-hour shift that most jocks took), with program director Nicole Sandler taking the afternoon shift, and Andy Chanley handling the mornings from 5:30 AM until well after noon.
In late 2000, after Clear Channel merged with AMFM, it was determined that 103.1 FM had insufficient coverage for the Los Angeles basin. Sandler realized that her station would be one of the casualties of the merger. It was decided that Channel 103.1 would be the first radio station to go off the air and transition directly to the internet on a full-time web stream at channel1031.com and worldclassrock.com. The broadcast station was sold to Entravision Communications, a company better known for its Spanish language outlets (because Clear Channel found itself over FCC ownership limits due to another merger). Entravision flipped it to Spanish Hits "Super Estrella" under the call letters KSSC/KSSD.
In 2003, Entravision moved the "Super Estrella" format to their newly acquired 107.1 signals from Big City Radio, which today use the call letters KSSE/KSSC/KSSD. 103.1 FM was flipped to Dance Hits format KDL 103.1 using the call letters KDLD/KDLE. The format was modeled after KDL 106.7 KKDL in Dallas, Texas. Groove Radio had been out of the market for several years, and appetites had changed, and message boards accused the programmers of being too mainstream, but the ratings 18-34 were solid given the signal. It certainly caused enough competition to KIIS to gain Clear Channel's attention. Clear Channel stepped in again and paid Entravision to change the format to a more Rock leaning format, eliminating the competition with Clear Channel's KIIS and directing it toward CBS Radio's KROQ-FM.
On December 25, 2003 at 11 PM, Indie 103.1 was first transmitted on the KDLD radio station. The first two songs to play were The Ramones "We Want The Airwaves" and The Clash "This Is Radio Clash" followed by a list of new songs that had never seen commercial airplay before setting the tone for what would become a musically adventurous and rebellious radio station. The first employees were program director Michael Steele, music director Mark Sovel and TK.
For a month the station ran with no commercials or DJs and featured only the voices of listeners from phones messages left on the request line voice mail. Many of the phone messages were angry listeners yelling "You guys suck!" and "What happened to KDL the party station!"
The artwork for the Indie 103.1 logo was created by Obey Giant street artist Shepard Fairey who would achieve greater fame as the designer of the Obama "Progress" and "Hope" posters.
The station began as a collaboration between Entravision and Clear Channel. Clear Channel primarily handled advertising on the station, but because the organization already owned the maximum number of stations in the Los Angeles market allowed by Federal Communications Commission regulations, the arrangement was terminated in March 2005.
On February 10, 2004 at noon the first live DJ appeared on Indie 103.1. The DJ was Steve Jones (Guitarist, song-writer and founding member of The Sex Pistols). Jonesy's Jukebox become famous for its free-form music and Jones' unorthodox delivery style which included long pauses, belches and the frequent whistling of songs.
In 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine declared Indie 103.1 "America's Coolest Commercial Station"
Indie 103.1 quickly grew in popularity among listeners around the Los Angeles area and around the world. Though due to limited signal range it was never a ratings winner, in April 2008 Rolling Stone Magazine voted Indie 103.1 "Best Radio Station" in the country.
In the former Fox TV show, The O.C., the character of Ryan is seen waking up to Indie 103.1 on his alarm clock. An Indie 103.1 bumper sticker is seen in the cubicle in the movie "Grandma's Boy" and in an episode of the MTV show Punk'd, the Indie 103.1 studios are the place Latin reggaeton star Daddy Yankee gets pranked with Native Wayne and TK.
In February 2007 Program director Michael Steele left and was replace by Max "Mad Max" Tolkoff of 91X repute.
On August 19, 2008, Station Manager Dawn Girocco announced her departure from the station Starting in October 2008, longtime specialty shows were either dropped ("Feel My Heat," Community Service," "Big Sonic Heaven," "Camp Freddy Radio") or moved to weekends ("Harmony in My Head"). Upon the cancellation of his roots music show "Watusi Rodeo," Chris Morris accused the station of "now being styled as KROQ Jr." in an effort to increase the station's ratings.
In November 2008, Escalante stated he was giving up the morning show but would continue to host an expanded two-hour version of his legal-advice show, "Barely Legal Radio."
On Thursday, January 15, 2009 in the morning, Entravision made the decision to stop broadcasting Indie 103.1 on the terrestrial airwaves. On-air staff and station staff were asked to evacuate and clear the station immediately. Before 10 am, the station's personalities bade farewell to the listeners and at 10 am A message was repeated on the air until midnight Saturday, January 17, 2009. The message, written by one of the Entravision sales managers and not an actual statement from the staff of Indie 103.1 read as follows:
"This is an important message for the Indie 103.1 Radio Audience - Indie 103.1 will cease broadcasting over this frequency effective immediately. Because of changes in the radio industry and the way radio audiences are measured, stations in this market are being forced to play too much Britney, Puffy and alternative music that is neither new nor cutting edge. Due to these challenges, Indie 103.1 was recently faced with only one option --- to play the corporate radio game. Indie 103.1 has decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course. This could only be done on the Internet, a place where rules do not apply and where new music thrives; be it grunge, punk, or alternative simply put, only the best music. For those of you with a computer at home or at work, log on to www.indie1031.com. That's www.indie1031.com and listen to the new Indie 103.1 - which is really the old Indie 103.1, not the version of Indie 103.1 we are removing from the broadcast airwaves. We thank our listeners and advertisers for their support of the greatest radio station ever conceived, and look forward to continuing to deliver the famed Indie 103.1 music and spirit over the Internet to passionate music listeners around the world."
When the signals were synchronized, they consisted of a 3000-watt directional signal in Santa Monica and 2000-watt non-directional signal in Newport Beach. However in late 2005, an attempt was made to improve the signal by adding an extra 700 watts to the Santa Monica transmitter and removing the gain antenna to provide a non-directional signal. They also relocated the Newport Beach transmitter a few miles south to a mountain south of Newport Beach, giving it 300 watts of power but tripling the height. The Newport Beach transmitter was made directional, sending the signal northeast and southwest. This fixed the problem of poor signal along the coastal cities and in Orange County, California. Nevertheless, the combined signals still have poor coverage in the San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley where KSRY overlaps KDLD, and in the area around Torrance, California where KVYB bleeds over 103.1 in an unprotected service area between the two transmitters.
- By Erik Pedersen (2004-06-10). "Free-Form Radio Lives | Rolling Stone Music". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- "Indie 103.1 Named 'Best Radio Station' By Rolling Stone". AllAccess.com. 2008-04-28. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- Kate Sullivan (2006-03-29). "Bye-Bye Barrett - Page 1 - Music - Los Angeles". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- [dead link]
- Yasseen, Omar. "News: Shakeups at Indie 103.1 - Listen.com". Blog.listen.com. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- "Classical Geek Theatre: Indie 103.1 makes more changes". Classicalgeektheatre.blogspot.com. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- "Joe Escalante's Web Site". Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- Randall Roberts (2009-01-21). "The Day the Music Died: The End of Indie 103.1 - Page 1 - Columns - Los Angeles". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- "An Exclusive Interview with Indie 103.1's Music Director Mark Sovel". The Daily Swarm. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KDLD
- Radio-Locator information on KDLD
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KDLD
- Query the FCC's FM station database for KDLE
- Radio-Locator information on KDLE
- Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for KDLE