Ok, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s the tongue-in-cheek claim of one of their on-air pre-recorded DJ messages, and it always makes me smile. Yes, this institution is based in Berkeley. But their airwaves stream across Oakland and the greater Bay Area, and it’s one of the things I love most about living here.
The station was started nearly 50 years ago in 1962, broadcasting through a cigar-box mixing board (literally made out of a cigar box) hard-wired to the UC Berkeley dormitories. They played classical music for 4 hours a day . Just classical music.
They’ve come a long way since then, broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with an incredibly diverse set of programming, not to mention their amazing roster of DJ’s. You can read The Full and Unabridged History of KALX if you want all the gorey details, including how President Ronald Reagan inspired the station’s complete embrace of punk rock in the 80’s. F&*k yeah!
There’s a great quote from 1986 by then General Manager Bill Davis: “What KALX stands for, more than anything else, is freedom. KALX doesn’t have a true format. KALX has no predetermined playlists. In general, KALX’s policies are designed to give programmers, reporters, producers, and sports announcers maximum flexibility, responsibility, and freedom. And that gives the listener the opportunity to hear things on the radio at 90.7 that he or she would never hear anywhere else on the dial. If that freedom is important, call 642-5259 to keep KALX independent.”
It’s still true today. They play everything. Ambient, disco, funk, hip-hop, punk rock, indie pop, country, bluegrass, classical, the list goes on… I can’t tell you how much amazing music I’ve discovered listening to KALX over the years. I always keep pen & paper handy so I can jot down who I’ve heard when the DJ comes on air and announces their playlist. Or even better, now you can go straight to the website and see the entire playlist for the last 24 hours. Thank you KALX!
So please, support your local independent radio station. You love freedom, don’t you? KALX is holding it’s annual Fall Fundraiser right now! It’s one week only and we’re already mid-way there… drive ends this Sunday, October 31st.
They’ve got all kinds of schwag for your hard-earned cash: bumper stickers, t-shirts, sticky notes, etc. But they’ve got great packages too where they’re giving away limited edition cd packages, concert tickets, and more. And one of my favorite donation options is to buy an hour of guest DJ time. I did this two years ago… for 100 bucks (I was feeling flush then!) I purchased the right to join Alisa, Queen of the Cowbell, in KALX’s underground lair for an hour of spinning tracks of my own choosing, and even speaking on air. It was awesome!
So please… take the next few days to tune into KALX… 90.7 on your FM dial. Or you can find them on the internet (info here), and through iTunes (go to Radio->College/University->KALX). And call them up with your donations…
Support Freedom on the airwaves!
note: image above found on Facebook, no info on artist. sorry.