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CARMEL, CA, November 02, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Clint Eastwood has always felt an affinity for KRML in his hometown of Carmel, Calif. In 1971 the Oscar-winning director and actor featured the jazz station in "Play Misty for Me," his directorial debut in which he starred as a disc jockey stalked by a deranged fan. In 1995, Eastwood gave a nod to KRML in his movie "Bridges of Madison County," in one scene tuning his character's car radio to 1410 AM, the iconic frequency for the station that first went on the air in 1957. A self-taught pianist and composer, Eastwood has had a longtime love affair with jazz. Working with longtime collaborator Lennie Niehaus and, more recently, his son Kyle Eastwood, he has scored and written songs for many of his films, including "Gran Torino" and "Hereafter." Eastwood once said that jazz and westerns were perhaps the only truly American art forms. As a kid he'd listen to jazz records (mostly Fats Waller) and copy them on the piano.
When Carmel's Scot McKay purchased KRML (102.1-FM, 1410-AM) from bankruptcy last year, Eastwood was delighted."I am very excited Scot has bought KRML and will keep it going. Carmel deserves to have this wonderful station that will continue to feature great music," Eastwood said at the time.
But now, 14 months after the purchase, KRML has instituted a major shift in both format and business philosophy. It moved its 14,000-song jazz and blues library front and center on Channel 1 of its online player at www.krml.com, morphing 1410-AM and 102.1-FM signal into an adult-progressive contemporary format along with local lifestyles programming on the weekends.
McKay said he wasn't sure what anyone's reaction would be, especially Eastwood's. But reached last week by phone at his Carmel home, Eastwood told McKay he understood the decision, and was delighted that KRML would be moving jazz to the station's innovative online player.
What made the move more jarring (and what prompted the call to Eastwood) was the radio ruse played out by KRML, which posed as a Top-40 station for four days preceding its eventual re-launch on Oct. 29. Mixing popular, overplayed songs by the likes of Justin Bieber mixed with obnoxious commercials, the station billed itself as Radio Yummy. "We embrace repetition," screamed the fake disc jockey, poking fun at corporate radio.
Eastwood laughed at McKay's comparison of the ruse to "The Producers," Mel Brooks' satirical comedy and cult classic that tells the story of a producer and accountant who hatch a plan to produce a Broadway flop and leave town with the investors' money, only to have audiences respond positively.
"Careful what you wish for," Eastwood told McKay. "Some people may actually like it."
As it turned out, few listeners liked Radio Yummy, and almost everyone saw through the deception.
Moving forward, KRML will introduce a novel, new format that features a diverse and progressive music library without destroying the spirit of the original jazz roots. Expect to hear a wide-ranging mix of music from exciting contemporary artists such as Mumford & Sons, Adelle, The Black Keys, Muse, Jack White, Coldplay, and iconic artists such as the Beatles, U2, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones and everything in between. The new format will also expose talented, but more obscure musicians, many of them local, and turn listeners on to great songs that are mostly ignored by corporate radio stations.
This new format is unique and locally created to serve the Monterey Peninsula. In short, McKay wants KRML to help make radio relevant again in the lives of locals.
"I know I can't be the only one who's heard a DJ talk break where the disc jockey mispronounces some local landmark because the DJ isn't actually in the studio ... they're hundreds of miles away at central command, recording breaks for multiple markets. It makes you wonder what the motivation is of these big corporate radio owners. Is it to serve the local community or is it to just sell commercials? Because there seem to be no shortage of those!"
KRML vows to play no more than five commercials per hour of programming. Weekends will feature specialty music shows and local programs on food, wine, golf, cars and local events.
"When I first approached buying KRML it was more out of nostalgia for what the station meant to me. I love the Clint Eastwood film...I love Carmel... What a neat opportunity!" said McKay."But as work began on this project it became clear that, if this station was run a little differently than the KRML of the past, and a lot differently than today's typical commercial radio station, we would have an opportunity to make KRML a more important part of the community than it has been in decades."
KRML is a community-focused radio station representing the shared ethos and values of its listeners and advertisers. It plays a diverse mix of music and local lifestyles programming while airing no more than five commercials per hour.
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