Following yesterday’s surprising revelation that Los Angeles rock station Indie 103.1 was ditching the FM dial for life on the Internet, several employees have spoken out about the channel’s demise. According to music director Mark “Mr. Shovel” Sovell, the station’s fate seemed sealed well before yesterday’s sudden announcement. “We were straddling the line of profitability and in the last few months we dipped below where we weren’t making a profit,” Sovell told the Daily Swarm. “We suffered from the bad economy.”
Sovell also blamed the station’s poor PPM — or Portable People Meter, an Arbitron-made device used to monitor how many people are listening to a station — rating, despite Indie’s fervent fanbase of listeners who attended events. “All stations with eclectic programming don’t register well with PPM,” Sovell said. “PPM is not even certified in Los Angeles but Arbitron pushed it through early because they make more money from it.”
While the station promises to live on, Internet-style, Sovell said that none of the station’s DJs are involved in the Website. In fact, “They are running an ad on the air saying we couldn’t play the corporate radio game anymore and that we didn’t want to change our format to be more mainstream and that we decided to play music on the Web. But the guy making the announcement is the head of sales,” Sovell said. Essentially, the DJ-less Internet radio station is just a really stacked iPod on shuffle.
For an interesting take on all of yesterday’s action, be sure to check out former Indie 103 DJ Tedd Roman’s Twitter page, which has an almost minute-by-minute account of the chain of events following the station’s surprise announcement. “It’s official. All jocks cleaning out offices, lockers, etc. Online will be no DJs as of right now. Spanish flip tomorrow afternoon,” Roman Twittered, with the “Spanish flip” meaning the station’s name and music change to “El Gato 103.”
Finally, the station’s most well-known host, the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones, issued a press release following Indie’s demise. “I want to thank everybody for listening to the show and supporting the station,” Jones said, “It was an experience I truly enjoyed and the support I got from my fans and artists who came on the show was just incredible. I’d like to think we broke some rules and that everyone had a bloody good time. Thanks for listening.”