Fresh off the folding of Indie 103 less than two weeks ago, another southern California indie music staple, KCRW is gearing up for its winter pledge drive, hoping its listeners will prove that independent music can be a viable (and profitable) radio format.
KCRW will be appealling to listeners starting Friday through February 9, and station administrators say they'll be putting the demise of Indie 103 at the forefront of the discussion. "The demise of Indie 103 is the handwriting on the wall for radio stations trying to be a commercial success with an indie music format," said KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour. "Just as the number one news service on radio in the U.S. is publicly supported, indie music too, if it is to survive, must be sustained by its listeners."
In a press release issued today, the station said the 11 days of the pledge drive will be "a test of whether an audience, which can hear the programming for free, will be willing to step forward and support the station so that it can continue to provide some of the most original programming in the country."
KCRW is National Public Radio's flagship station for southern California, so in that sense it's not like the local commercially owned rock station suddenly had to set up a phone bank for call-in donations. It's public radio, and it is (and has always been) publically funded, particularly by drives like this one. But KCRW definitely makes a good point about the uncertainty of the survival of eclectic radio formats when corporate support seems nowhere to be found.
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