After a year of planning, KXRN-FM 93.5, Laguna Beach's first radio station in decades (one that's legal, anyway) launched Monday morning, something that might seem a bit of a throwback in this age of Internet radio and podcasts.
But Tyler Russell, 23, the Program Director for the station, thinks he can make a go of it.
The low-power, 100-watt station is set up as a non-profit, listener-supported venture that during the day spins an eclectic array of popular and more obscure alt-rock cuts. In the evenings, the tunes will make way for original themed shows, which Russell says range "from a Hollywood revue show to an Age-of-Aquarias alien encounter-type show to gay rights, health, yoga, everything. That's when the community will really make it their own."
Russell went to college at Chapman University and went to work at a commercial station in Palm Springs, which was disillusioning, to say the least.
"I got pretty burnt out quickly doing commercial radio," Russell tells Patch. "It was a little soulless and syndicated and money-driven, and I really wanted to do a local, community-oriented thing."
He found an available space in a building at 1833 S. Coast Highway, at Pearl Street, and, after some construction, much paperwork, and antenna placement (always a big concern with weary Lagunans afraid of having their ocean views blocked), everything came together rather easily, says Russell.
At only 100 watts, the station can be hard to pick up in places like Top of the World and the area near Crown Valley Parkway, but North Laguna and most of the city should be able to pick up the signal, when it's not wrestling with longtime L.A. R&B station KDAY, which shares its frequency. But it's always available for streaming on the station's website, which you can check out by clicking right here.
Russell expects his station to be heavily involved in the community, especially with creative types. He's been talking with the Sawdust Festival people about putting together a music festival, and the station will also host live performances.
"We want to encourage musicians to reach out to us and do something with us," he says. "We want to be an outlet for them, because there really isn't one. I'd like us to be self-sustaining and be a major part of Laguna."