Can’t Live Without My Radio

I’m not old enough to remember South L.A.’s 1580 KDAY (not well at least) but I’m well versed in the history of hip-hop enough to know its significance. KDAY was the first radio station in the country to have an all-rap format at a time when most radio stations weren’t playing any hip-hop at all.

The pride local artists must have felt hearing their monikers shouted out and their joints spun? I have no idea. What it must have felt like to finally hear our music on the airwaves, when it was still that new? I can only imagine. But I do know one thing, if it weren’t for the commercial success of KDAY adding to the overall groundswell of growing fervor over hip-hop music as a whole, there would be no Hot 97’s or V103′s. (Yeah, I said it.) Most importantly there would be no N.W.A.’s, Eazy-E’s, or Snoop Dogg’s without KDAY and that’s real. KDAY got behind a lot of good music and got it to the ears of the largest possible audience it could at a time when artists couldn’t turn to MP3′s and blogs to get a grassroots thing poppin’.

Likewise, all over the country, regional radio stations made a lot of local celebrities and national stars by serving as watchdogs, with their ears to the streets, shining light on artists they deemed worthy of attention.

Unfortunately, KDAY went off air on March 29, 1991. The last song they played was MC Breed’s Cali classic, “Ain’t No Future in Yo’ Frontin,’” which signaled the end of an era.

In more ways than one.

Although the new KDAY would return to the airwaves in 2004, it wasn’t exactly the original same.

Me personally? I love KDAY. I Livestream it out in the Big Apple to their play list whenever I’m homesick. I’m happy to be listening to it, even if it’s not the original KDAY. Considering all the politics and read tape that’s preventing them from going above and beyond, I think the new KDAY do as much as they can to put regional music on but what I wouldn’t give to hear KDAY in its heyday.

Now before this post turns into a history of KDAY, let me get to my point. I took y’all down memory lane to pose a few questions: What do you think about radio programming today? Are stations in your city really not putting on like they should? Is the crisis in radio real or imagined? Do people in your city even listen to radio like that? Do DJ’s and the Internet make the radio seem unimportant nowadays? —Brooklyne Gipson

Side Note: In honor of a little thing we have back home called “West Coast Wednesday” I thought I’d throw up a couple new Cali tracks. I mean, it is Wednesday after all.

Snoop Dogg Feat. The Dream “Gangsta Luv”

Crooked I Feat. Snoop Dogg “Guess Who’s Back”

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  • ri067953

    Yo, when the new KDAY first started, it was almost like the original. I lived through the original KDAY heyday and was excited to see they were back, at first. Then they started watering down the format and adding silly ass on-air personalities. But now, they seem to be getting back to basics and playing good music, not just singles but album cuts and what not.

    I think that programmers need to wake up and realize that people do not want to here the same 12 songs 24 hours a day. For a station to succeed, they need to listen to the public and play good music. I for one, do not listen to the radio that often…it is much easier to make a playlist on my ipod and have the jams that I want to here on steady rotation.

    By the way, DJ Pooh is a fool! That fool makes me laugh everytime I see him.

  • General

    I won’t front, since Sirius came out, I don’t listen to the old radio stations no more. There is too much bullshit bein played over and over and 99% of the time it isn’t anything I would want to listen to anyways…

    I miss the days of exclusive joints on the radios bein broke and new artists gettin shine, but now its just whoever the label CEO’s want you to hear…

    R.I.P. FM Radio

  • Blakout615

    The “hip hop/r&b” station down here is horrible! They play the same shit every 20 mins,I dont even bother with it. But I am pushing for them to support local artists. They should at least do that

  • KQ

    Both of those tracks are wack as hell.

  • Incilin

    “Is the crisis in radio real or imagined?”

    Are you kidding me? Clearly you aren’t familiar with Telecommunications Act of 1996.


    for the most part radio down here is bullshit also. i fux with the old school r&b stations sometimes but, they play the same old shit over & over too. on the hip hop stations i just listen to the Rickey Smiley morning show to wake me up w/ some laughs. i fux w/ the Dirty Boyz too from 6-10, them niggaz is funny. & Gangsta Grillz radio, & thats it. (i dont have satellite) HELL NO they aint putting on like they supposed to. i still feel like we need radio though, still. for the REAL project folk if nothing else.


      lol @ these country music radio advertisements.
      << ^^

  • Tony Grands

    Man, I remember staying up late on Friday nights with my boombox ready, & a fresh TDK cassette, straight out of the plastic wrapper, preparing for KDAY to play all the new shit for my pause-mix tapes.

    Ice T, The Dream Team, Bobby Jimmy, Eazy/NWA, Low Profile, Donald D, Slick Rick, the Fat Boys, Mixmaster Spade; that shit takes me back.

    1580am KDAY will always have a spot in Hip Hop. the new one is cool, more contemporary (whaddup $yk!), but it’ll never be what it’s predecessor was.

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      I need to check it out.

  • capcobra

    only city i know that spin local artists til they get added on nationally is’ll hear the next big song 2 months before everybody else..ny used to be like that..that’s why you hear 1 ATL artist on the radio every few songs…most southern stations will just add whatever atlanta playing and tell thier local artists to get it played in the A…the bad part is if your hometown won’t play it then why should atlanta..the part i love tho’ is…ATL is the dj’s/clubs/fans/artists/promoters all understand that they have influence on what the radio plays..whether you got trap money or no money..if the song hot and you performing and promoting like you pose to then ATL gon support and salute you..god forbid if you from there and your people moving like the new’s is the limit..ain’t nothing like the A…they really show love and support thier own plus outtatowners as well..just don’t go there on no takeover shit..other than that…stay focused cause that’s the hardest part.

  • Brooklyn

    listening to the radio, you’d only think that there were like three rappers out there, and that those three rappers only had one song each, so that after rapper a’s song goes off, rapper b’s comes on, then like twenty minutes worth of commercials, and then rapper c’s song, followed by rapper a’s song once more. and it isn’t like these songs are fire, they’re about as hot as a dead chick’s pussy. thank god for the internet, radio can eat a dick.

  • Jewel

    I’m so happy to be living in a State that has more that ONE radio station for hip-hop and r&b. Kansas City radio stations suck really hard! I’m more prone to getting in my car and turning to MPR, at least It’s informative. And the ONE radio station they do have for the urban population is terrible. They don’t support their local artist, they play the same songs 30 times a day, and to top it off they’ve had the same OLD head DJ’s, since… lets just say I live there for 20 years and I’ve hear no other fresh voices. It’s not exciting, there’s nothing to get your day started, beside Steve Harvey and after that be prepared for the little ones to be singing along to B-day Sex, and grind with me, of course followed by an occasional gospel song. Here in Cali they have it all, and not to mention itunes radio stations are a great alternative too. With all that said, KC needs some fresh new voices(younger dj’s, and new music, real music!

    • Jewel

      I meant to put NPR(Nation Public Radio), sorry. Basically talk radio, that im waaay to young

  • Jewel

    I meant to put Npr (National Public Radio). talk radio, that I’m waaay to young for!lol

  • Devi Gargon

    I am from CT. so I didnt get to hear KDAY, but historically I am familiar with it. In the same vein, I do remember weekend 10 – 2 shows, and having my cassette ready! Im sad some kids will never know what that was like…It was a fucked up timeslot, but It was fire, and exclusive constantly!!! In CT, we lived with college and highschool hip hop radio until the new mellenium!

    I have made this point in several other posts, and Im a bit sick of being ignored!
    “Art can NOT be Corporately sponsored” Once you have dividends to pay and profits to post quarterly, Its business not art.

    Im glad someone brought up the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Also, the sell off of video stations to Viacom and others. The merger of 100′s of labels into 5 Major Labels owened by corporations, and….

    My point is to say, music has been a business for about 100 years from the point the first phonograph records were sold. But, from then to the 1990′s, we had several individually owned outlets for talent to come to us. The 90′s were a time of big mergers. As far as the radio is concerned, a man who used to sell cars, used that model for a 12 song format – vs- advertising structure for radio, and now owns over 2000 stations,(which used to be illegal!).

    …I shudder to say it, but MUSIC is SOLD. And theres no buying it back, unless your independent and successful.

    “and Rap Niggaz need to go on strick, so we can get more cash” – Ghostface OB4CL2

  • Devi Gargon

    “and Rap Niggaz need to go on Strike, so we can get more cash” – Ghosteface OB4CL2


  • ChinCheka

    Hip hop radio in Washington states is some BS. I have long quit listening to the radio here. If you want to hear all of the new, New Boys or who ever is hot pop-hop right now tune in. My city has some live shows come through but the radio stays on some BS.

  • Jhon da Analyst

    I actually remember 1580 KDAY when I was a youngsta in Cali. I had a bumper sticker and everything. At the end of commercials, they would be like 1580 K-Day!!!

  • chillin mayne

    radio is straight garbage…105.7 khcb is the only thing i might listen to…97.9kbxx used to be poppin though, now all i ever hear some weak r&b when i even bother turnin on the radio…its like “wow…who likes this?”

  • oskamadison

    Radio, as a whole, is straight ass. Back in the day, when I would take one of those LOOOOONNNNNGGGGGGGGg-ass road trips down south, different cities played different joints. Now, you hear the same 5 to 10 joints in every city. Even the so-called “mixshows” are mostly wack. And let me state this: Greensboro, NC’s 102 Jamz is the WACKEST. Where Hot 97 in New York will play the same 20 songs to death, 102 will play the same 10 songs ad nauseum. Even the “old school” R&B stations run the same songs in the ground. You have the entire 70′s and 80′s to draw from and the 90′s if you wanted. I shouldn’t have to hear a song again for at least 6 months. That’s why Sattelite radio has taken over