Dawn of a New Age

Today we’re tak­ing you back to the late 1980s with a pro­gramme of music gen­er­al­ly described as “New Age” – of the kind you might have heard on a cou­ple of FM radio sta­tions in Cal­i­for­nia at the time.

New Age music came to the fore in the mid-1980s, par­al­lel­ing the rise of labels like Wind­ham Hill, with radio sta­tions like Metro­me­di­a’s KTWV in Los Ange­les and KLRS in San­ta Cruz. Ulti­mate­ly the field (or at least the radio sta­tions) mor­phed into “Smooth Jazz” – which per­haps had a rather broad­er appeal but at the same time rather lost the unique­ness and spir­it that had orig­i­nal­ly typ­i­fied the sta­tions’ music.

Wikipedia says of KTWV, “The sta­tion changed [from rock sta­tion KMET after 14 Feb­ru­ary 1987] to a New Age Music/Soft Rock/Contemporary Jazz for­mat with the nick­name ‘The Wave’. The ini­tial focus of this new for­mat was pri­mar­i­ly non-vocal new age music but over the years, the sta­tion moved to more of a smooth jazz sound. …The Wave had the title of being the first NAC sta­tion in the coun­try but oth­er media writ­ers dis­agree with actu­al­ly giv­ing that title to KLRS (Col­ors) in San­ta Cruz, CA which went on the air one month after The Wave – but KLRS played a true New Age music for­mat thus becom­ing the first sta­tion in North Amer­i­ca to debut a true New Age for­mat until its demise in 1990.”

Today’s pro­gramme includes pri­mar­i­ly (but not exclu­sive­ly) the kind of music and artists that you might have heard on KTWV dur­ing a day in the sec­ond half of the 1980s when, in the view of many lis­ten­ers from that time, it was at its best. It includes some of the sta­tion’s Wave Aid AIDS char­i­ty fundrais­ing albums and a wide range of artists from the peri­od.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin. If you are in the Unit­ed States or Cana­da, please click here to launch the Stream Licens­ing play­er. To lis­ten from out­side North Amer­i­ca, click here to start your play­er if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so.

This pro­gramme is also avail­able in enhanced-qual­i­ty AAC. Tune in here:

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