Yellow Roomer's Letters to the Editors


(or at least preserve the spirit!)

Submit yours for everyone's perusal to: Larry Singer

Handy Dandy e-mail list to cut and paste into your letter (compiled by Shu-Shu for your ease):


(HELL...if you're really lazy...go ahead and cut and paste one of the excellent letters below into your e-mail message!)

*****Jim's newest offering********

To: Mark Swed

From: Jim Phelan



I read your excellent article in the Sunday Times Calendar section (Classical Gasp, 12/8/96) about the gradual loss of classical music from the radio airwaves with great interest. In the end, however, I was disappointed to realize that you had written nothing about the impending sale of an independent commercial radio station which represents the only outlet for its format in Los Angeles. I am writing, of course, about KSCA (FM 101.9) and the Adult Album Alternative (AAA) format it currently broadcasts.

As I am sure you are aware, KSCA is up for sale, and the expected buyer is a corporation which specializes in Spanish language programming. This station is the only one in the LA area station which specializes in an AAA format. Once the sale is completed, in all likelihood the AAA format will be replaced with some variation of the buyers specialty. The rumored purchase price is in excess 0f $110,000,000.

Although KSCA does not broadcast classical music, the parallels between the circumstances which are driving classical music off the air and the current plight of KSCA are extremely striking. I feel that your article could have remarked on this set of circumstances at least once to demonstrate that the "corporatization" of the airwaves is eliminating variety at many spots on the dial and not just the classical ones.

Music fans of all types are having their choices limited when it comes to broadcast radio, and it is a loss to all of us when any unique and interesting format, be it classical or AAA, is taken off the air so that a corporation can earn more money.

Thank you,
Jim Phelan

Dear members of Southern California media:

With the purchasing of radio station KSCA, 101.9 f.m. by Heftel Broadcasting, Southern California stands to lose its first successful AAA-format radio station (KMPC-FM, later called KEDG, had the same format at 101.9, but never enjoyed widespread attention or even marketing). It is likely that 101.9 will change to Hispanic-oriented broadcasting, in keeping with Heftel's other holdings.

KSCA, though not a perfect station, enjoys a wide and growing audience of people with high disposable income and record-buying budgets. The station has introduced several new artists to local commercial radio, including Alanis Morrisette, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Toad the Wet Sprocket, but more importantly, it is the only commercial station where one can hope to hear such influential and critically praised artists as John Hiatt and Elvis Costello with any frequency. It's predecessor, the first-ever AAA station in Southern California, was the first on the block to play Melissa Ethridge's first record.

KSCA is the station all my friends listen to, and a station I hear quite often broadcast in businesses I visit. With the growing significance of the AAA format, it defies my imagination that Angelenos with a taste for this music will be left in the lurch for the hours they can't tune into KCRW or KPCC, both public stations who play AAA on a limited basis.

I urge you to investigate this issue in your respective publications; perhaps with proper media exposure, Heftel will "see the light" and let KSCA go about doing what it does best -- giving Southern California what it wants.


Albert Polito

Is there nothing that can be done to save KSCA at this point? I find it hard to believe that a station with a unique and appealing format is being junked in favor of yet another spanish speaking station. I can honestly say I will turn the radio off and listen to a cd or tape before I listen to any of the current stations now playing in the LA market.

I currently listen to KCSA over 10 hours a day (in the car and at the office all day) not including weekends. I am sincerely upset about losing this station and know a good 2 dozen more who feel the same way I do (by the way, most of them have the so called 'desired demographics' that advertisers supposedly crave).

I pray that all hope is not gone with regards to the future of KSCA and the music format that turned me back onto radio a couple years back.

Valerie Joseph

Hi All,

I just wanted to let you know my thoughts about your radio station and
the musical format in light of the recent talks about the pending sale
of the station.

I believe it would be a crime to change the format of KSCA from it's
current state. There is no other station one can listen to and hear
such a great mix of current, exciting rock music and great songs from
established artists that are not the same old tired hits and are by
artists that have had a significantly creative and meaningful impact
on music over the past 3 decades or so. I also love the occassional
classic R&B tunes that reflect the roots of today's music; the
connection that so many folks are totally ignorant of.

The live concerts (Troubadour, Diedrich's, etc.) are also great
showcases of new and upcoming talent. I am one of those who feel that
there isn't much better than live music and to be able to hear it on
the radio allows a larger audience to also experience what that is

No where else can one hear "Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street?"
(Springsteen), "No Action" (Costello), "Catapault" (REM) among other
great songs by well-known artists that are never played on other
commercial stations. KSCA has provided a creative and artistic
alternative to the same-old, same-old playlists typical of other
commercial radio stations. They should be applauded for thier efforts
for sticking with their idea and improving on it over the past 2+

L.A. radio without KSCA would be equivalent to the San Francisco
Giants without Barry Bonds; just a bunch of average radio stations
without that real special player.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at
XXX@XXX.XXX, or call me at 714-XXX-XXX.


It has come to my attention that there are plans being made to destroy
the Radio Station and it's content, that I hold so dear to my heart.
This is devistating, to say the least. This is the only station that is
programmed into all my radio's and stereo's. Please be considerate of my
feelings..... After all, this has been done to me several times
before... the most memorable.... 94.7 KMET.... I still loose sleep....

Thank you for your invitation to join the "Yellow Submarine". Please send me
something on this organization to give me more of a background and an
understanding of what it's all about.

I'm forwarding an "e-mail" to you that I sent to Jim Ladd concerning the
decline of LA radio and my frustration in the probable future of KSCA.

Once again thank you for bringing the "Yellow Submarine" to my attention and
info on your write in campaign.
Forwarded message:
Subj: Finding the Lonesome L.A. Cowboy
Date: 96-11-26 05:23:22 EST
From: Cchuntbch

Unbelievable ..thought you had checked out or just headed down the road. It's
good to find an old friend even if was only through the airwaves. Really do
miss the hell out of listening to you, beating the "tribal drum" and
occasionally getting up on that ideallistic soap box of yours that put you
somewhere to the left of reallity and somewhere to the right of my radio
dial. You tabbed me"a gold card carrying Republican from Orange County" and
even though politically I may not have agreed with many of your views I sure
enjoyed and respected the hell out of hearing you and the passion you
delivered your nightly "sermon" in. I learned a lot. Enough of the

The reason for this note is my constant amazement on how screwed up L.A.
radio has become. I liked to get your read on the potential of somewhere
,some way that a radio station in LA may appear that actually gives a damn
about the music. That understands what really matters is not what
arbitron(?) says but what the people say, that the true art of the "media"
is not the "points" but is "the point" that the music does matter! The shit
that they push into our ears today because some computer and a suit with an
MBA (Musically Basically Annoying) knows better than a human with a passion
for the art is unbelievable! Will free-form radio ever be a reality again?
Who will be the next Donahue with the balls enough to make it happen? (
Sorry,Jim I guess I've aquirred a bit of a soap box myself.) But I feel I
have a right to ,I'm mad as hell over what used to bring me so much enjoyment
and today brings so much disappointment.

I recently heard that KSCA was bought or being bought by a Spanish radio
group. Even though they were not a KMET reincarnation , they at least brought
new music, new artists and live unedited rock through the radio. KSCA
actually offered free concerts, supported and created involvment in local
charities, they would get out into the public and do live broadcasts and
actually mix with the listeners. KSCA was about as "real" a station that was
out there. But not for long. The LA radio obits are lined with some
increadible radio that must be built upon. The legacy of KMET, KNAC,KLSX (the
"real"" KLSX) and now KSCA needs to be continued and I don't think Spanish
radio is the answer. Rumor has it that KLSX has found religion and is dumping
the Shlock Jock format for possibly music(novel idea) . Is there any
potential there? Or is there a station out there that I'm not aware of that
is worthy of my patronage?

Jim,my old friend, give me some guidance through these murky LA radio waters
so I may again find pleasure in something that I had once loved so much(must
be getting late, but I kind of like it).

Casey C.

To Whom It May Concern: I am a 37 year old White Male born and raised
in Los Angeles. I am college educated and earn over $85,000 annually.
I pour all of my after-tax dollars back into my recreation and
recharging. I listen to about Four hours of radio daily, most of them tuned to
101.9 KSCA. I started listening the first day KSCA hit the airwaves
and have been listening ever since. I don't know much about
profits & losses as far as radio stations go, but I do know that we
have a shortage of QUALITY Radio Staions in L.A. I think that there
are plenty of Latin stations to go around and definitely not enough
stations like KSCA. Please contact me if you would like to discuss
this idea further.

Craig D. Barney

Dear Editors, I am quite concerned that the only adult alternative station in Los Angeles will soon be silenced. Media research has proven that the demographic of which I am a part purchases the most music. As a frequent listener of 101.9 my trips to music retailers has increased by a significant amount. It is a shame that I have to lower myself to what is percieved as a bottom line mentality. If one station has proven to me the power of the radio it is this station. They had no overhead yet plugged through from July 1st, 1994 until the percieved date of December 8th this year. Why did the format continue this long? I cannot imagine it being luck. We told our friends and we made even more friends and there is a community surrounding this station as I'm sure you will find out. I am writing in deference of the format hoping the powers that be in radio will see the value behind such a venture and do not desire to berate those who would sell me out. If these people would take time to listen and talk with those involved with KSCA, I am sure they would realize that there is more than passing interest with what happens to the format. I would also hope that as a unique entity in this market someone would want to undertake such a venture. Sincerely Chris Trimm

Hi Larry-this letter appeared in Monday's LA times, I sure liked it!
KSCA-FM Eulogized
Predictably enough, the one glimmer of hope for Angelenos who had grown tired of the stale and commercial state of L.A. radio is soon to be history ("Is KSCA About to Ride Off Into the Sunset?"; In the Know, Nov. 4). The likelihood that KSCA-FM (101.9) will be sold hits hard with those of us who enjoy its signature sound.
For a while, it appeared that artists who lacked that grungy vibe suitable for college radio airplay, yet who were not polished and shiny enough for the corporate-FM circuit, had an outlet to gain some much-deserved exposure. What other large-market station will take a chance with such promising new talent? Nowhere else on the dial will we hear veterans like John Hiatt and Joni Mitchell or new talent like Son Volt and Rusted Root.
The myopic, profit-minded focus of our local radio programmers has contributed greatly to the lack of innovation and cutting-edge broadcasts that used to be a Los Angeles trademark. This development also illustrates the injustice of power-hungry media corporations that seek to dominate the market by squashing a station at its first sign of a ratings struggle.
While the record labels' carbon-copied artists end up with an MTV Buzz Clip their first time out, KSCA's brand of musical repertoire will now end up with an "FM BuzzKill."
Canoga Park

Editors, As this is the time of year when we traditionally give thanks for the wonderful things in our lives, I thought I would share those things for which I am thankful with your readers. Of course, I am thankful for a wonderful husband and friends and family without whom my life would certainly be less rich and full. I am also thankful for the music and community found through the "Adult Album Alternative" radio station, KSCA, 101.9. It may seem odd to be thankful for a radio station, but KSCA has brought me much joy over the past few years. The station is now up for sale and thinking of the possible demise of my favorite station has made me realize how much it means to me. Before KSCA came to the LA-area airwaves, I was getting tired of most of the radio stations on the air. I enjoy new, fresh, innovative music and all I was hearing was formulaic pop and screaming teenage angst. When I read the news that a new format was coming to town, I was intrigued. When I heard the new station, I was impressed. In the few short years that KSCA has been on the air, I have been introduced to several new artists and reintroduced to several old "friends" whose music brings back very good memories. KSCA brought not just a unique music mix, but an entire community to this region. KSCA came on air just as the world wide web was exploding in popularity. The radio station developed a web site complete with a conference room for the listeners (and any others interested in joining us). Through this medium, I have made new friends who share my taste in music and have learned of new local groups and begun to attend local concerts. Most importantly to the folks who really care about radio ratings, KSCA has brought me into the CD aisles and has influenced my shopping habits immensely. Where I used to buy only the occasional classical CD (from public radio publicity) or blues festival disc, I now regularly frequent the local shops and rarely leave without one or two (or more) discs. Yes, KSCA programming was designed to target people of my age, tastes, and buying habits. Guess what? It worked! If KSCA and its format disappear from the local airwaves, I suspect that I will also disappear as a listener of for-profit radio. Already, my radio presets have only two non-public stations programmed: KSCA and KKGO. If adverstisers want to reach me, they will have try much harder if KSCA is gone. I do hope that the lure of sales might be enough to encourage some other station to step into the void should KSCA as we know it disappear. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my feelings as a listener and a fan.

Dear Editor

It is only within the last six months that I stumbled upon radio station fm 101.9 KSCA and its "adult alternative" format. I had pretty much given up on commercial radio in Los Angeles and found myself listening mostly to compact discs. I am not now and I have never been a musician. I am a professional educator. What I discovered and re-discovered was music by artists such as the Beatles; Bob Dylan; Joni Mitchell; the Rolling Stones; Eric Clapton; Crosby, Stills, Nash (& Young); Neil Young; the Band; the Grateful Dead; Bonnie Raitt; James Taylor; Tracy Chapman; Emmylou Harris; Lyle Lovett; Cowboy Junkies; Shawn Colvin; Suzanne Vega; Nanci Griffith; Rosanne Cash; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Chris Isaak; Fiona Apple; Joan Osborne; Dave Alvin; Rickie Lee Jones; Jimmy Dale Gilmore, the Wallflowers; Rosie Flores; Lucinda Williams; Roomful of Blues; Dishwalla; Sting; Elvis Costello; Peter Wolf; Howard Jones; Jackopierce; Craker; Common Sense; Southern Culture on the Skids; Patti Rothberg; Paul Westerberg; Iris Dement; Sam Phillips; Trish Hinojosa; Paul Simon; Leonard Cohen; Billy Bragg; Richard Thompson; Graham Parker; Bill Morrissey; Los Lobos; David Wilcox; Nil Lara; Syd Straw; Greg Brown; Michelle Shocked; Counting Crows; Dar Williams; Alison Krauss; Freedy Johnson; Duncan Shiek; Pete Droge; Jackson Browne; Santana; the Jayhawks; Buffalo Springfield; the Iguanas; Robbie Roberston; the Blasters; Loreena McKennitt; Stevie Wonder; Enya ; John Lee Hooker; the Flying Burrito Brothers; Gram Parsons; Indigo Girls; John Hiatt; Roy Orbison; K. D. Lang; Jimi Hendrix; Marshall Crenshaw; Leon Russell; Ray Charles; T Bone Burnett; Dire Straits; Joan Armatrading; Traveling Wilburys; Joe Cocker; Tom Petty; George Huntley; Jolene ; Hamell on Trial; 3 Day Wheely; Elysian Fields; Daniel Tashian; Catie Curtis; Bill Nelson; Bob Marley & the Wailers; Grant Lee Buffalo; Junior Wells; Better Than Ezra; Janis Joplin; Jimmy Cliff; Wild Colonials; Jamie & the Jury; Paula Cole; Luka Bloom; Sarah McLaughlan; John Lennon; Randy Newman; 10,000 Maniacs; the Replacements; Warren Zevon; Ry Cooder; Bruce Cockburn; Paul McCartney; Fleetwood Mac; the Byrds; George Harrison; Sinead O'Connor; Ashley MacIssac; Steve Earle; Richie Havens; Peter Case; Marc Cohen; Edie Brickell; Richard & Linda Thompson; the Waterboys; Carole King; Rusted Root; Ben Folds Five; the Eagles; Toad the Wet Sprocket; Liz Phair; Heather Nova; Jerry Gracia; Daniel Lanois; James McMurty; Darden Smith; Booker T & the MG's; the Radiators; Jules Shear; X; John Doe; Jill Sobule; Jann Arden; Donovan; Maria Muldar; Dr. John; Bruce Springstein; Phoebe Snow; John Sebastian; the Story; Steve Forbert; the Roaches; Victoria Williams; John Wesley Harding; Karla Bonoff; Bryndle; Gillian Welch; Linda Ronstadt; Arlo Guthrie; the Notting Hillbillies; the Pretenders; Steeleye Span; Fairport Convention; Bo Diddley; B. B. King; Taj Mahal; Joan Baez; Wilco; Aaron Neville; Dave Mathews Band; Little Feat; Kristan Hall; Patty Larkin; Jennifer Warnes; Wendy Waldman; Brian Setzer Orchestra; John Mellancamp. and a host of others. Not a bad mix for a six month period.

The KSCA format introduced me to singer/songwriters featured on "Ten Song Sets"; "Live from the KSCA Music Hall"; "Live from the Autry Museum"; "Live from the Troubadour"; "Live from the House of Blues"; "Live from Starbucks"; "Live in Concert"; "The KSCA Local Spotlight"; and a host of other special events. KSCA released compact discs featuring "Live from the Music Hall" anf the KSCA "New Music Samplers". KSCA currently maintains a world wide web site <> featuring KSCA information, a conference room, and audience interaction. New work by singer/songwriters has received a forum and an audience in Los Angeles. Since 1994. KSCA has also created a growing and diverse "community" in the greater Los Angeles area.

It appears that Heftel, Inc. is in the final stages of closing on a $110,000,000 purchase of fm 101.9 KSCA from Great Western Broadcasting. Heftel has a history of purchasing radio stations and converting them to a spanish language format. December 8, 1996 may be closing date when the lawyers, accountants and CEO's sign on the dotted line. No public statements are being made.

The current and future demographics of the Los Angeles area certainly warrant another spanish language station.

I'll miss the current KSCA format. It gave a breath of fresh air to LA radio. It got me excited about music. It created community. I simply hope that the Los Angeles area is diverse and creative enough to find a way to keep this format alive ... somewhere on the dial.

Alistair Hunter


Radio station KSCA, FM 101.9, is rumored to be for sale. The likely buyer is a large corporation which specializes in Spanish language broadcasting. This station is the last major independently owned FM station in the LA market. It currently plays a unique Adult Album Alternative (AAA) format. It seems likely that, should the sale go through, this format will be changed to some sort of Spanish language programming.
The conversion of the only regional AAA station into a format which already seems to be saturating the airwaves would be a great loss to the diversity of radio in LA. I think this sale should be more thoroughly publicized, and the motives and goals of the buyer should be carefully scrutinized. The public should be appraised of this corporate maneuvering before the results are foisted upon our unsuspecting ears.

Jim Phelan
Graduate Student,
Anatomy and Cell Biology,

Letters to the Editor
The Los Angeles Times

Soon the last independently-owned FM radio station in the Los Angeles area (FM101.9) will change to all-Spanish-language format. The present owner is Gene Autry, but it was recently announced that negotiations are nearly completed for the sale of the station to Heftel Broadcasting Corporation, which has been acquiring radio stations in other major cities and changing them to all-Spanish-language format.

The current management at KSCA provides an eclectic mix of pop music that includes artists who wouldn't be heard on "mainstream" radio, such as Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Eels, Suzanne Vega, Roomful of Blues, Southern Culture On The Skids, Howard Jones, BoDeans, Paul Westerberg, Peter Wolf, and others too numerous to list here. With the demise of KSCA, this music will not be heard in Los Angeles. KFOG in San Francisco is very successful with a similar format, as is KBKD in Flagstaff, KPEK in Albuquerque and stations in Denver and other metropolitan areas "less sophisticated" than Los Angeles.

Another all-Spanish radio station would be all right, if it didn't replace the only station in LA playing popular music other than the top-40 mix of heavy metal and grunge that appeals primarily to teenagers. The excuse often heard is that the market rules the format, and this softer, "thinking-persons rock" only appeals to a niche group. Perhaps, but a recent Scarborough survey of Arbitron diarykeepers indicated that KSCA was actually number one (most listened to) among the 25-54 age group with incomes over $100,000. The Arbitron ratings, which are semi-official, only indicate the number of listeners in each age group, at different times of the day. This is supposed to be a guide to advertisers who wish to reach a certain age group. It's plain to see that it would take a very large number of lower-income listeners to equal that kind of audience to the advertisers.

Even sadder is the fact that the two stations Heftel acquired in Dallas have dropped right off the ratings charts, and have become worth about one-tenth the market value at which they were purchased. If the Heftel Corporation is not in business to lose money, one wonders what their business plan is based on.

It may be too late to "save" KSCA, but broadcasters in LA should not abandon this format. Perhaps some other station whose present format is not working will pick up the staff of KSCA and its listeners, which can only grow more as the audience matures, musically. Of course there are many teenagers and 20-somethings who listen to this kind of music. They can't help it if they have good taste. They're probably the ones who will be making $100,000 + when they mature. As a dedicated listener, I hope this music will not disappear forever from the airwaves of Southern California.


Thomas More

Thomas More writes the column "More On Line," in the WWWiz webzine,
which can be read at

('s's a plug)

From Shu-Shu Loh:

This is another voice in the outpouring of support to maintain an "Adult Album Alternative" (AAA) station in Southern California. As rumors or even reality of the demise of KSCA, 101.9, the only commercial AAA station in S. California is slowly impending, radio station owners need to stop and think with their hearts.

Like many I know, the most loyal fans of the station has been listening since its first day of inception. I can recall the phase in my life as the station began: I was a junior in college and the label of Generation X, grunge, and flannel, was not me. But here was a station playing songs by highly respected artists who did not sell millions of records mainly because no station would play their music. S. California finally played their music and Southern Californians heard, and are still listening.

On behalf of Southern Californians, I implore radio station owners to understand the community this station is slowly building. Moving into new technology, KSCA has offered its listeners a chance to be more accessible to them by having a web site, e-mail, and conference room where we can contact them.

In the truest sense of community, some of us, the fans of the station, the fans of the music, have come together in the conference room to share our experiences together. We have met each other and enjoyed each other's company, often bringing together all parts of Southern California: Northern Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley, and Orange County residents. Sometimes we share common thoughts, sometimes we share our diversity, but that we share strongly is a sense of community.

It has not nearly been three years that KSCA has been insurrected into the large Southern Californian community, but its impact has been felt. It takes many more years for a community to grow larger and likewise, it takes many more years for the ratings of this station to increase.

I hope this letter serves to remind you that the power of music can bring people together and that cannot happen without the keeper, a beloved station such as KSCA.

To the editor:
I don't know if you are aware of this, but a travesty is about to occur on Southern California radio. The revolutionary, landmark, and "ahead of the times" radio station KSCA (also known as "101.9") will be changing formats. The station, apparently a minor possession of Gene Autry's huge empire, has been sold to a spanish broadcast company and will change over to their format soon. This raises an interesting concern. Are we angry at the fact that KSCA's unique blend of rock will be replaced by spanish broadcasts? To that racist thought, I give an EMPHATIC "No!" Rather, what we are angry at is the fact that nowhere on the dial will we be able to find a station with such a rich and unique diversity as KSCA. By logical extension, this highlights the fact that radio has lost it's edge...once again. I say "once again" because this has happened before - and it will probably hapopen again. Whenever any station comes along to fill in the void between the mindless banter and predictable is soon squashed. Radio, in Southern California, does not like change. It does not like new ideas. likes the predictable. "What will sell the most advertising spots", instead of "What is the most daring, intellectual, and challenging?" This is not to say that KSCA was not without it's moments of repetition. Even they played it safe at times. This allowed them to hang on for the time they did. But...we were given such wonderful gifts as breaking MANY wonderful artists - ones that were not "grunge" enough for KROQ, not "disco" enough for KIIS, not "rap" enough for KPWR, not "dinosaur" enough for KLOS. KSCA did not look at these labels to decide what they would and would not play. If it was good...they played it! They gave us the gift of the WONDERFUL "Music Hall" performances, having recognized, as well as unknown, artists playing for 4 or 5 songs in the studio. KSCA, at times, was able to resemble what good college radio is - playing stuff you can't hear anywhere else...but will in 5 months. I urge you as a responsible news distributor to do what you can to preserve the spirit of the great KSCA, and help ensure that the torch will be carried on in one way or another. Thank you for your time.

Larry Singer
(note the shameless web page plug)

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