Always Starts At Midnight
A Concise History of Creative Music Programming,
from The Birth Of Underground to the 500-Channel InfoHighway
[ part one ] | [ part two ] | [ press ] | [ links ]
.....when a strange dude played the first alternative album on an
insignificant yet powerful 82,000-watt foreign-language station:
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE....
It was Larry Miller who alone gave birth
to the revolutionary Free-Form Radio Format
MIDNIGHT-6AM on KMPX-FM, San Francisco.
It was Top 40 radio pro "Big Daddy" Tom Donahue
who took it to commercial success as a 24-hour Format
that inspired 2,200+ FM Stations to spread the Revolution.
This was GROUND ZERO: launchpad for
the Third Broadcast Music Revolution
and focus of a radical Cultural Paradigm
(the Hip Movement), best symbolized by:
Hearts Club Band
You don't ever need to be Hip.
No matter what your age today,
race, creed, politics, or posse,
you know the feelings stirred up
in your own heart the first time
you heard Sgt. Pepper.
Well, that's how Free-Form
made you feel every day.
Radio was alive again.
While AM hyped "Yummie Yummie
Yummie I Got Love In My Tummy",
Underground brought you rock blues
folk boogie Hendrix Stones Doors.
No plastic bubblegum Hits.
All album cuts -- all the time!
The laid-back DeeJays were not
Pro Announcers. No, they were
zealous romantic Music Lovers,
turning you on to the vast variety of
our Lifestyle Soundtrack.
|As important as the
music itself was
the way it was presented: THE FORMAT.
Call it Underground or Free-Form,
songs flowed (segued) into each other.
Audiences stayed tuned for hours on end
because the music was programmed.
Not just played like a jukebox.
Underground wasn't Top 40.
It was the Top 40,000!
Most significant off all was
the Free-Form relationship
with the SPONSORS.
Underground would play music
for two uninterrupted hours
without a single word or ad.
Then they'd run a long block of
spots that ran 2-4 minutes each!
These FM Outlaws even had
the nerve to pick and choose,
rejecting Big National Advertisers
who just didn't fit into the flow.
|Did It Work?
Yep. FM profits still soared Underground.
Within two years, 2,200 free-form stations
were successfully spawned across America.
These were the days of cool airwaves
and nights of musical magic.
But nobody knows about it today.
What Went Wrong?
Success went wrong.
Buying FM stations became the
birth of the Media Mega-Mergers.
And the more money they spend,
the fewer risks they take.
|Who Did Underground Radio Best?
The honest and true answer is:
Whichever DeeJay at whatever Station you listened to.
But, for the sake of this website's mission, we present these
KMPX was the Original Underground FM Radio Station
The DeeJay who got the highest Rating in KMPX history
is the same person who will program fogBound
M-SPAN even made a documentary film about KMPX
so you can experience Underground Radio for yourself.
THAT'S RIGHT.... A FILM. ABOUT RADIO.
IF YOU KNOW ABOUT TODAY'S PINK FLOYD / WIZARD OF OZ PHENOMENON
YOU WILL WANT TO SEE THIS DOCUMENTARY FIRST BROADCAST 29 YEARS AGO!
|The Sour Note in Music: Greed|
Greed first hit ShowBiz in San Francisco, too,
when Transamerica bought United Artists
and began to break it up piecemeal for sale.
Greed became necessary for Music Artists
when they experienced "creative accounting"
that said the band lost money on a Gold Album!
Greed ran rampant across the radio dial.
Over just 12 years, KMPX was sold and re-sold,
from $80,000 to $8,000,000. Today, an FM Station
in the Top Markets costs $35-$90 million!
The grredy paradigm shift began in the early '80s,
when that ol' demon television brought us MTV.
No matter how artistic or clever,
Video destroys the m-agination in music.
MTV paved a regression back to obnoxious DJs
pushing the same old corporate payola platters
Regard MTV as your showcase for the
Ronald Regan Music Revolution
|Back To The Future|
History really does repeat itself.
If you accept the proposition set forth in these Music History Pages,
you'll agree the pendulum of boredom has swung too far to the right.
You'll agree MTV is that loud Top-40 jukebox monopoly -- like AM Radio.
You'll agree the 500-channel Info-Highway is the grass-roots medium --
like FM Radio.
And you'll agree it is time to launch our next Music Revolution .....
to forever change the way people watch their music!
M-SPAN is prepared to provide the variety people crave --
an Underground Alternative to satisfy the Majority who desire something
different. What we have today is the FAILURE of the Music Industry to cope.
We're ready to start selling Music a brand new way....
.....on the cheap
on Channel 501
For The Woman In Control....
....Of The Remote Control
It's is going to happen. oh yes.
If you're a Music Lover, you might help
make it happen faster, if you can eMail
Execs to come visit these Pages.
|History - Part 1
History - Part 2
|Historic KMPX Links
Brand New Remake!
Copyright © 1964-2006 Marc Arno