Before I get to all of those to give them a proper highlight, I need to give some well-deserved kudos to a station already on the original version of the list. While driving around the greater Portland, Oregon area, no station of any format has been such a pleasure to listen to than KMHD out of Gresham. I am normally not one that listens to a lot of jazz especially while driving as I normally prefer something with a lot more pep. However, the quality of the music played on KMHD is so well thought out that it seems to absolutely fit the conditions of the day whether cool and cloudy or hot and sunny. There are several great jazz stations in my list right now but I highly recommend taking some time to check out KMHD. As I said, they have already been in my list, but here is their link for easy reference:
The first new addition I will bring up is an extremely unique station in at least three ways. First, it is one of the very few non-commercial stations remaining on the AM portion of the radio dial in the United States of America. Second, it is one of the few remaining daytime-only stations as it must sign off the air at sunset to avoid interfering with 50,000 watt KNBR in San Francisco (although they do stream 24/7 even though they are not going over the air). Third, it is one of the extremely few stations that play what is best called a “nostalgia” format.
This great little find is KBRD-AM (K-Bird) in Lacey, Washington next to the state capital of Olympia. The stream plays right through the website so no outside player will be needed. As for describing this station…well, if it’s old — really old — they play it. Other than that, I just highly suggest visiting KBRD-AM’s site at least for a little while if only to feel good that somebody out there is still playing and preserving this kind of material…plus to learn why it is called K-Bird.
The next addition is another station of historic importance but, this time, is much more modern. If you were fond of the “grunge rock” scene that came out of Seattle, KGRG-FM had a lot to do with that. It was this station that helped to break all of the bands that led up to bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and all of the rest. They are still attempting to break new ground today although I might quibble with how much new “alternative rock” is truly all that alternative since so much of it sounds very similar. That being said, this is still a great station especially when you need to annoy somebody in the car next to you. >:-)
The next station is KSER which is the Seattle area’s version of the typical left-wing style community/variety station. Their music selection seems quite good so I feel it definitely warrants inclusion even though they also run some of that repetitive Pacifica Radio programming that I mentioned in my entry about KFAI.
KBCS out of Bellevue north of Seattle is similar to KSER but with their own take on great musical programming. Of special note to many of this site’s readers would be the Sunday evening program Grateful Dead & Backtracks. Their tag line of being “a world of music and ideas” is very fitting.
The final addition for now is a standard classic rock station, KZOK out of Seattle. It’s not all that bad especially for a station owned by CBS and it certainly has some of the coolest call letters in the area. Many of you might not immediately recognize the name of the morning man, Bob Rivers, but you would every Christmas when radio stations begin playing his many parodies of holiday songs that have been popular for the past 15 years or so.
Speaking of morning men, I now get to the first recent deletion from my list. Gone is KGON out of Portland, Oregon. The reason? Running the syndicated and never-has-been-funny Mark & Brian Show out of Los Angeles. That combined with the fact that KGON’s playlist was nothing spectacular compared to the other “classic rock” stations on my list just screamed to me that this station was not fit for sharing.
The two other deletions are due to a discovery that I made by accident although something a few weeks ago should have tipped me off earlier. I was out very early one Sunday morning while I was still wallowing in the swill of the putrid Los Angeles radio market. I tuned to my favorite radio station there, KSWD. Instead of hearing the usual programming, they were broadcasting the church service from the big Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. This was sort of unusual and sort of not. It is not uncommon for music stations in the USA — even rock ones — to broadcast a church service at an obscure time of day to help them meet the weak public service requirements still required by the Federal Communications Commission. However, it is unusual to have that program come from far away instead of from a local church or synagogue.
Well, while doing a little research on Seattle television stations a few days ago, I stumbled onto the fact that all of the stations owned by Bonneville International are actually owned by an entity called Deseret Management Corporation that is, in turn, owned directly by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints…a.k.a. the Mormons who I am greatly pissed at for interfering in California state politics over the recent battle over gay marriage.
I am all for freedom of religion and expression. However, when a church already totally runs one state they should stop being greedy and trying to tell other states how to run their business.
Therefore, because I do not wish to be seen as supporting an organization that doesn’t truly believe in many of the things Jesus actually said in the Bible, say goodbye to KSWD, Los Angeles and WDRV, Chicago. There are still plenty of other good “classic rock” stations for everybody to listen to without letting people be fooled into supporting a borderline cultist church.