KMET is your radio station – every button on your car radio is locked into 94.7 – you swear by everything they play. You trust the jocks will guide you in the right direction – they’ve never let you down.
However – Last night, when you were laying in bed, falling asleep, you were listening to Eat A Peach. They were playing the whole album. You crashed.
When you woke up the next morning the radio was still on, but it sounded strange. They kept saying it was KFWB and Color Radio and 1959. No Allman Bros. No Hendrix. No Cream. No Creedence. It was Andy Williams and The Marcels and bands you’ve never heard of. And the jocks were talking a lot, sometimes over the records – they wouldn’t shut up.
Maybe you fell into a time-warp. Your radio is in the Twilight Zone.
Maybe if you went back to sleep . . . .
In the early 1970s there was temporary shift in Pop Culture. A nostalgic desire to go back to the 1950s – to celebrate the music that defined Youth Culture then – to go back to what was perceived as a simpler time. Record companies were reissuing albums from the early days of rock n’ roll while thrift shops and swap meets became hunting grounds for old 45’s and vintage blue jeans.
The 1970s didn’t start off too well. The violence on College campuses and protests to the Vietnam war continued to create a division in the country that got worse over time. And the disillusionment from the idealism of the 1960s gave way to a level of cynicism and a need for escape. The 1950s filled that need – at least in a rosy-viewed sort of way. The 1950s had no campus demonstrations, no Women’s Liberation, no Black Panthers – people conveniently forgot The Red Scare, the loyalty oath, the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement and gazed wistfully back at re-runs of Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver.
And so, one day the staff at KMET decided to dive head-first into the 1950s by bringing back most all the disc jockeys who were on the air between 1958 and 1959 at KFWB, then one of the most popular Top-40 radio stations in Los Angeles. For 24 straight hours, KMET became KFWB and it was the 1950s wall-to-wall, except for the commercials – KMET still had to pay the bills, so the only giveaway that it wasn’t really 1959 were the ads for Water Beds and the movie Deep Throat. But all the records and all the station jingles were there and it was, for that day, a journey into the deep-distant past.
Here is an hour’s worth – Hour #12 from that day in 1972. Over time I will run the entire 24 hours. But for now it’s a taste of what L.A. woke up to that day in 1972. The day KMET became KFWB.