“Would you move for a radio station?”
It’s one of my favorite questions.
To turn on the dial in traffic and listen to solid tunes, chill DJs, and choice programming? I can dig it.
No one has answered “Yes,” unless they were looking for a radio job or were hired at the station. Many say you can stream almost any radio station using a phone.
I usually counter—in my head—that radio streaming can be data intensive and most cell plans don’t come with unlimited bandwidth.
My favorite station is KCRW, based out of Santa Monica, California, about 40 miles and 40 minutes south of where I am. A bit longer if I drive down the Pacific Coast Highway that, ironically, doesn’t get the strongest radio signal.
The meaning of “local” in “local radio” is much more wide ranging in Southern California. KCRW manages relay stations that cover from Orange County and the Antelope Valley, to the Oxnard plain and Santa Paula, even up to Santa Barbara. The DJs and announcers used to list off more locations—Mojave/Antelope Valley, Oxnard/Ventura, etc.—but now it’s just Mojave, Oxnard, etc. A small tweak, but noticeable after so many hours listening. (I purchased a radio just to listen to KCRW and KCLU—a far more local station out of Thousand Oaks. Also quality.)
My car is where KCRW and I spend most of our time together. The radio set on my dash can toggle between two FM preset arrays, and one AM, and my FM-2 array has the first five buttons dedicated to KCRW and the various frequencies that give the best signal depending on where I’m driving.
- 89.1 (KCRU): This is my home station. It covers any trip in Camarillo, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura, which is where I am most of the time.
- 89.9 (KCRW): This is the frequency announced on air. The LA metro area and a decent portion of Orange County.
- 102.1: Used on those random trips to Ojai. Either for hiking or a stop at Ojai Ice Cream.
- 102.3: Best when in Moorpark or going to Santa Paula and Fillmore.
- 106.9: Driving up the coast toward Santa Barbara and through Goleta.
My 6th FM-2 preset is KCLU. They play good jazz and blues on the weekend and sometimes I prefer the public radio show they have on.
A funny thing happens driving the 101 southbound from Camarillo into Thousand Oaks. Once over the Conejo Grade 89.1 starts fizzing out. So does 89.9. A conservative Christian radio station fades in and out all the way past the 23, up toward Moorpark, and through Calabasas. This is when I hit preset 6, KCLU.
KCRW is one of my main music discovery tools. Whenever I’m listening and their music DJs are on—9a to 12p, 8p to 3a during the week; much more often during the weekend—and I hear a tune that I absolutely dig, I take a screenshot of my phone’s lock screen.
As you can see, it’s got the date and time. Every two or three weeks I go through all the screenshots (just by importing photos and searching for the *.png filetype) and match the time to the KCRW tracklisting. I copy the artist and song title into a spreadsheet and check if the tracks are on Spotify, YouTube, or Soundcloud.
Two weeks ago I decided to make a quick search in Chrome to make getting to a specific date in the tracklisting easier. If you go into Chrome’s search settings page you can add custom search engines. I made the search name “KCRW Tracklist,” the shortcut “kcrw,” and the URL I put in is http://newmedia.kcrw.com/tracklists/search.php?search_type=0&date_from=%s.
This means if you type kcrw into Chrome’s address bar, press tab, and then put in a date in MM DD YYYY format, it will take you to that specific date. The date parameters are rather forgiving, too. If you type in “9 9” it will take you to September 9, 2013. If you type in 9 9 09 you get tracks on September 9, 2009.
The spreadsheet of tracks I like is available on my Google Drive. I’ve got two Spotify playlists, too: KCRW Tracks (on-air and inspired by) and the more recent KCRW Tracks (late 2013).
I’ll write more on how I discover new music in the future. In the meantime, would you move somewhere for a radio station? What do you listen to in your car?