Although I generally feel that L.A. is a loathesome, soulless place, it does have excellent radio. Coming from New York, where the middle of the dial is dominated by tacky lowest common denominator shit, turning on the radio in L.A. can be an exhilarating experience.
In L.A., KCRW and KXLU are great options for alternative or just downright weird music, and when I was growing up KDAY (1580 AM) was one of the first stations in the world with an all rap format. And let me tell you, in 1988, it was off the chain.
This last time I was in L.A. I discovered Indie 103. At first I was like, oh God, another corporate entitity appropriating the term "indie" to push populist corporate dreck. But the DJs quickly put me in my place with The Juan Maclean, The Duke Spirit, obscure 80s stuff, and the better part of an hour dedicated to verbatim Motown covers - in German.
Sure they had to play some lesser Death Cab for Cutie tunes and TV on the Radio and Does it Offend You, Yeah? etc. But they counterbalanced that with free-spirited programming unheard of outside of college radio, practically rising to the gold standard set by BBC 6Music.
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