As long as we’re in dire need of some distractions (or at least alternatives), here’s a trip back to Los Angeles on January 9, 1959, via KFWB and disc jockey Elliot Field.
Not quite Top-40, KFWB’s slogan was “full color radio”. But what it was, was a wild stew of music; from R&B to Peggy Lee, all within the space of an hour. And apparently teenagers in 1959 smoked and drank quite a bit, because the advertising was geared toward living the Rock n’ Roll dream to the fullest. The Youth Market wasn’t quite considered at the time, so much of the programming was geared towards an older crowd, but kids could join in too. It was a period of transition, and this hour of Rock Radio from 1959 gives a clear indication things were in transition.
Maybe you’re one of those kids in the photo, sitting outside of Uni High in West Los Angeles – this is what you looked like and what you were up to on a day like this one in 1959. Aside from the fact that the kids in that photo are no doubt your parents or your grand parents, they were smack in the middle of a world that was changing – maybe not with lightning speed as it is today, but it was a world that was on the cusp of new and amazing things – with a foot still in a world clinging on to a past that was quickly outgrowing itself and a world about to embark on a new adventure. It was a world looking to the moon yet still dealing with separate drinking fountains in some places. Then as now, we were a society filled with contrasts – but also then as now, we had no idea what the future held in store for us. Maybe reminders of your past are awkward but ignorance of your future is bliss.
As a side note – there are plugs for upcoming concerts, including one featuring Ritchie Valens which was scheduled to take place later on in the month. By all accounts, this was most-likely the last-ever appearance by Valens, as he was to die on February 3rd in the plane crash which also took the life of Buddy Holly. A bit of history, which nobody could have guessed at the time.
Another slice of history; the day-to-day and the mundane. But looked at closely, showed signs change was just around the corner.
Here is that hour of Elliot Field from January 9, 1959.