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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”

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

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