I woke up this morning to the music from Episode III playing on the clock radio. What’s odd is that I recognized it immediately despite the facts that I had not listened to the soundtrack, and the section I heard was all new music. None of the recurring themes from the other films was present, and yet it was unmistakably not only John Williams, but Star Wars. I let it run just to be sure, waiting for a familiar theme or the announcer’s voice (can you call someone on a classical station a DJ?), and sure enough they identified it as “the title theme from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.”

Every once in a while I listen to Star for a few minutes. And every once in a while I catch their station break. And I cringe whenever I hear them talk about being the whatever station for “L.A. and the O.C.”

I’ve lived in Orange County most of my life, and I have never heard anyone here refer to it as “The O.C.” Sometimes just “O.C.,” but really—when was the last time you heard someone say “I live in the L.A.” or “I’m from the New York?”

Incidentally, it seems that as far as IMDB knows, the show is filmed in L.A. Excuse me, the L.A.

Well, not often, anyway. But occasionally, twice in one night.

Last night, Indie 103.1 (yes, they’re still on the air) played a listener request for “Bohemian Rhapsody” – and then didn’t play the song.

Later on, they played a string of people calling in and saying things like “You guys suck!” and “Why don’t you play a little trance and techno while you’re at it!”

At least they’ve got an attitude.

There was an article in this morning’s LA Times about the latest radio station to broadcast on FM 103.1. Calling themselves Indie 103.1, and billed as “alternative alternative,” they have a lot of the things that were great about the “world class rock” format: a wide-ranging playlist, spanning several decades and including deep album tracks instead of just singles. Mainstream radio is so focused on new-new-new, with the occasional flashback to a small list of songs from the 80s and 90s.

Anyway, we tuned in on our commute this morning: so far, so good. And just in time for KCRW to go into full pledge-drive mode. Who knows how long they’ll last, but between this and Ryan Seacrest finally leaving Star for TV, the state of LA/OC radio is considerably better than it was a year ago.

I had a slightly jarring experience on my way back from lunch today which provides a perfect introduction to something I had already planned on writing. I absent-mindedly tuned my car radio to a station that until this week had been an English-language rock station and was briefly surprised to hear a commercial in Spanish. I then tuned to a Spanish-language rock station, and was surprised to hear a song in English. (It was by Shakira, who usually sings in Spanish – and IMO, her Spanish work has been considerably better than the English songs she’s released so far.)

This week’s passing of Cool 94.3 marks the fourth time in just three years that I’ve lost a station from my radio presets. It’s becoming harder and harder to turn on the radio and hear music I like without sitting through too much that I don’t.

Musically I’m down to Star 98.7, which suffers from the binge-and-purge method of playlist scheduling (play the hell out of a song until the audience is sick of it) and an increasing shift toward personalities over music. I can’t hear any music during my morning commute because they run the extremely annoying Jamie and Danny show, and during my evening commute Ryan Seacrest spends more time talking than playing music. To make matters worse, Continue reading