Saturday, October 3, 2015

Goodbye, KPRI

Good radio stations are hard to come by. 

Good local, independent radio stations are a rare thing, indeed.

And that's what San Diego's 102.1 FM KPRI was: a San Diego-based radio station that was instrumental in the discovery of amazing artists such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, and John Mayer through their Private Listener Concerts.

KPRI played an incredible range of music from the 1960's to brand new bands before they became popular. They extensively played three of my favorite bands: U2, Florence + the Machine, and Mumford & Sons.

KPRI started in San Diego in the mid-1950's, went subversive in the late 1960's by playing Joplin, Hendrix, and Dylan, and then disappeared in the mid-80's before being resurrected by the current owners (or current until Monday, September 28) on 1 April 1996. Playing Adult Album Alternative  (AAA) format, KPRI quickly grew from a modest operation to one of San Diego's most popular stations with New Music Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, the Homegrown Hour on Sunday nights with local San Diego bands followed by Unsigned Sundays for new music discovery for independent artists, Acoustic Sunday Mornings, etc. Their "No Repeat Workday" assured us that we wouldn't hear the same song twice between nine in the morning and five in the evening.

From The San Diego Union, dated Monday when KPRI went off the air at 3:20 PM after playing their final song, "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan, Karla Peterson writes:

With its guitar-pick logo, live events like the Green Flash Concert Series at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and a musical mix not found anywhere else on the local commercial dial, KPRI/102.1 FM was a singular presence on San Diego’s radio landscape. As news of the sale began spreading across social media, the mourners began weighing in.

“Goodbye KPRI. You will be missed,” a supporter named Georgi said on Twitter. “Thanks (for) teaching me what music can do.”

The station’s last-day playlist included such bittersweet titles as the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine,” Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life.”    
KPRI was always my go-to radio station when driving up and down the mountain. I also had the app on my phone and my clock radio alarm set to KPRI as well. Their eclectic mix of music was simply outstanding; a typical mix might be "Hey Jude" by the Beatles, followed by "Shut up and Dance" by Walk the Moon, "Beautiful Day" by U2, "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, and then "Ship to Wreck" by Florence + the Machine. KPRI knew how to mix music from all decades and genres to make one sing along in the car or while chopping onions for dinner.

102.1 has been purchased by Educational Media Foundation, a conglomerate of Christian Contemporary radio stations across the country known as K-LOVE. Although I'm a Christian and have enjoyed listening to K-LOVE in the past, it's just not the same.

KPRI, you will indeed be missed.


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