Tuesday, June 20, 2017
FM Rock: December 1967
December '67 and more and more listeners are tuning into the underground radio stations where there are less commercials, sometimes none at all and the DJ's are speaking in a hip language that the younger generation can understand. Tom Donahue has now fully assembled a new DJ force at KPPC and has even tried to get those call letters changed to KHIP, but the station owners drew the line and said no. Regardless, it's still not stopping the spread of this new album rock format as by this time KVIL in Dallas and KIFM in Bakersfield have shifted programming and also most notably WFMU in New Jersey which is perhaps the only station that, to this day, remains true to the original underground freeform spirit. KSHE-FM in St. Louis had also moved to 24 hour freeform rock by this time as well as WABX in Detroit. At least a dozen other stations in cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, Houston, Cleveland, Boston and Miami Beach have become part-time underground with programs usually airing in the overnight hours. These programs would have names like "Underground Sunshine", "Rock Garden", "Summer's Subway" and "Midnight Special" and they each had their own unique hosts with idiosyncratic personalities such as Gordon Anderson at WLS-FM in Chicago, who used the name "Spoke" and called his show "Spoke" explaining that it meant "the flesh that holds the wheel of life together". Can you dig it? ;)
This month also saw a lot of new albums for these new DJ's to spin; Beatles, Stones, Cream and Love at their psychedelic peaks, a brand new and very trippy Jefferson Airplane LP that was segued together much like the underground shows would be. Very often these stations would play these new albums in their entirety without interruption. There was a new Jimi Hendrix album too, but it had only been released in the UK so far and Reprise Records in the US had, in effect, put a ban on it as they thought it would slow sales of the currently popular debut album that they were still promoting. US fans had to wait until January to get their hands on the newest Jimi album.