80s New Wave Radio
Back in the early 80s, KROQ, KNAC and 91X were the only commercial radio stations in southern California that played "New Wave" and Punk music.
These stations were responsible for breaking out many now classic New Wave bands. The Go Gos, Plimsouls, Bangles, Oingo Boingo, The Blasters, Wall Of Voodoo, X, Berlin and many others got their start because KROQ, KNAC and 91X would play them when nobody else would.
For many people, the first time they heard U2, REM, Billy Idol, The B-52s, New Order, Depeche Mode or The Cure, they had their radios tuned to 106.7, 105.5 or 91.1 fm.
The KROQ "Rag" July, 1983
"World Famous" 106.7 KROQ DJs included Richard Blade, Freddie Snakeskin, Jed the Fish and Poor Man. The DJs on "The Roq" were irreverent, sarcastic, funny and not above playing an occasional off color or novelty song just to provoke a reaction (example: "Kinko The Clown"). Or they would often pepper a hit song with zany audio snippets or "drop ins" just for the hell of it. Dead pan clips from Joe Friday (Jack Webb) from Dragnet were a favorite.
Holdovers from the early days, Jed the Fish and Rodney Bingenheimer, are still KROQ DJs. If you miss the old KROQ, KROQ Classics- 80's features the original format and can be streamed to your computer by clicking here: KROQ Classics- 80s.
You can also listen live to Roq Of The 80s. This site contains New Wave streaming audio and lists of the top KROQ songs from 1980-1989.
1980s KROQ radio recordings, Click link and a NEW window will open-
Actual audio from the "world famous" KROQ includes nostalgic commercials, drop ins and DJs Poor Man, Dusty Street, Richard Blade and others.
KROQ Archival Recording #1
KROQ Archival Recording #2
KROQ Archival Recording #3
KROQ Archival Recording #4
KROQ Archival Recording #5
KROQ Archival Recording #6
KROQ Archival Recording #7
KROQ Archival Recording #8
Special thanks to Zack for making these available!
Here's early KROQ archival audio from July 26, 1982. KROQ July 26, 1982.
On a good day, if the weather was right and the gods were willing, you could get a decent signal from 105.5 KNAC. The weak transmission from Long Beach didn't always penetrate far but when it did the eclectic, avant garde music mix was captivating.
"Rock And Rhythm KNAC" was in some ways more daring than KROQ and more cutting edge. KNAC had a reputation for introducing alternative music that would later be added to the playlist of the more popular and powerful KROQ.
Listen to actual KNAC archival audio from the 80s. Click link and a NEW window will open- 80s KNAC Aircheck.
In January 1986, the format suddenly changed and the experimental KNAC would be gone forever. DJ Rick Stuart recalls playing the last on-air shift at KNAC before they changed to an all heavy metal format;
"Some guy started coming into the studio taking away the lp's on the wall. I didn't really know what was going on until I looked at the titles he was putting in the rack. It was quickly clear that I was doing the last shift at the legendary KNAC!
Soon it was over. Wild Bill came in and played some AC/DC and that was it. I was told thanks for the work."
On January 12,1983, programmer Rick Carroll walked into 91X with a cardboard box. He dumped on the table in front of the staff and said, "I'm Rick from Los Angeles and this is your new format."
The signal from 91X could be sporadic and the playlist was much like KROQs. But they would sprinkle in artists like Dire Straits and Bob Marley to mix things up a bit.
91X actually had a more diverse mix than KROQ when, in the mid 80s, "The Roq" began to narrow their playlist and play popular songs in tight rotation.
91X Archival Recordings:
91X 1 August 1984
91X 6 August 1984
91X still honors the music of the 80s each week on the flashback show, "Resurrection Sunday" from 6 am to 10 am.
- DJ Craig
For more information about Flashback 80s and New Wave/Punk Music, see the links on the left of this page.
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