It’s May 1959 – You Live In L.A. – You Found The Heart Of Saturday Night – It Swings And It’s On FM

L.A. 1959
When Venice was the hip enclave, and Stan Getz was a way of life.

KNOB-FM – 11:pm-2:00 am – May 1959 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Lest you think the 1950s were all about Rock n’ Roll and Perry Como, you had only to flip to the FM side of your high-end Hi-Fi radio to find a whole other world was sitting out there, waiting for you to drop by.

FM was the land of amazing possibilities – it was high-brow music and it was cool Jazz. It was poetry and it was Folk Music – not the Kingston Trio or Chad Mitchell kind – it was the Esther and Abi Ofarim kind and the Clancy Brothers kind, often in the same place and usually delivered by an announcer who sounded like he had smoked a carton of Chesterfields before he went on the air, or was working on his 7th shot of Johnnie Walker – he was cool and detached and he wasn’t necessarily your BFF like he was on AM Top-40 radio – he was the keeper of the keys to the magic kingdom and he knew where all the cool sounds were.

And FM radio was filled with those sounds – and shows were sponsored by Hi-Fi stores like House Of Sight & Sound in Van Nuys or Village Music in Westwood. Or by Foreign cars like MG or Renault and the announcers told you about upcoming concerts – like the one on this show, from KNOB-FM in Long Beach during May of 1959. Talking about Dave Brubeck coming to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium or The Chico Hamilton Quintet at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach. All places from this other world you were hearing about on your FM radio.

And if you were of a certain age, and weren’t getting into Rock n’ Roll (the Greasy kid’s stuff) or Teresa Brewer and Perry Como just weren’t doing it for you, FM was your saving grace.

And this 45 minute slice of KNOB-FM from Long Beach did the trick.

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    • Further evidence there was a lot happening, and not all of it was rock n’ roll.

  1. Love this bit of the Past!! I was a kid when this happened, but later on my brother and I helped establish one of Portland’s first FM stations. It was alot different than this in style though. It was antiseptic in comparison, as by that time the thing was automation. We helped install the Tape Carousels, and the programmer only had to place the tapes in the order they wanted, hit a switch and it was go until 24 hours, or breakdown occured (often the latter in the early days!!) The Station is still going strong, but the equipment we installed has long ago been replaced(I Hope!!) Nice to hear how FM used to be before it became mainstream like AM.

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