Flu season, just like clockwork – fever, chills, aching, sweats. You’ve just thrown up everything you’ve ever had in your stomach since you were five. Your hair hurts. The best you can do is just lay there, encased in blankets and stare dimly at the ceiling. You are convinced this is how you will die – you think, maybe that’s a good thing. At least the constant throb will stop.
And there’s this cheery music in the background. Your mom turned the radio on. She didn’t dial it to your favorite station, she dialed it to hers. Your mom listens to KPOL all day, every day. It’s on in the kitchen, it’s on in the living room and now it’s on in your room. Your mom feeds you tea, chicken broth and aspirin – you love her for it – she is saving your life. You just wish she’d play KFWB instead. But you can’t lift a finger and you can’t crawl over to the desk to change the dial.
So you lie there and hallucinate – the shapes on the ceiling start to look like Doris Day – and there’s this strange bubbling in your stomach.
It’s not even nine in the morning.
Growing up in a household that believed in the “healing powers” of KPOL, I thought I was the only one on the planet who went through this whenever I was home sick from school. Truths to tell; no. KPOL was popular with a LOT of people in L.A. in the 1950s and 1960s. After running a post some time back, likening KPOL to a visit at the Dentists office, I was chided by readers who took umbrage to my likening KPOL to a dose of “elevator music“. KPOL, unlike the automated stations which dotted the AM and FM dials in the 1960s, was inhabited by honest-to-god disc-jockeys, carefully planned playlists, poetic interludes and even soothing newscasts. It was a format by design, carefully crafted to calm nerves, promote serenity and advocate peace (at least domestic peace – as was evidenced by the Vietnam war news. Peace was a state of mind, not fact).
So to give you an idea what most kids in L.A. found themselves listening to during flu season, here is an hour of KPOL, from 8:00-9:00 am from Friday August 7, 1964 – not actual flu season, but representative of it in the coming months.
Do not play while operating heavy machinery.