Main: Dawn of a New Age

Light Music” can be defined as melod­ic, instru­men­tal music and although its tra­di­tion­al form was derived from the music of the sea­side bands of the late 19th cen­tu­ry, there is plen­ty of music that fits that def­i­n­i­tion even if its roots are in jazz (for the most part) and its her­itage quite dif­fer­ent.

The music we are refer­ring to is often termed “New Age”. It 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 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.

Elrik Mer­lin notes: “As a vis­i­tor to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia from the 1970s and a res­i­dent for a decade until eight years ago, it’s curi­ous that the 94.7 spot on the FM dial pro­vid­ed my per­son­al sound­track for South­ern Cal­i­for­nia for many years. In the 70s and ear­ly 80s I lis­tened to rock sta­tion KMET — in pref­er­ence to KLOS and ‘that KROQ across town’ – and I remem­ber the ‘St Valen­tine’s Day mas­sacre’ in 1987 when the sta­tion, hav­ing lost touch with its audi­ence (arguably as a result of bring­ing in East Coast con­sul­tants), became ‘The Wave’ and intro­duced the new for­mat. Times were chang­ing, yet my own tastes were always broad­en­ing too, and I enjoyed the new sta­tion a great deal.”

Then join us at 1pm and 7pm Pacif­ic Time (7pm and 3am in the UK) for the lat­est instal­ments in our won­der­ful radio seri­als from ZBS Foun­da­tion: Trav­el­ing Jack at the top of the hour, fol­lowed by a new set of tales from Sarato­ga Springs.

Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin and pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with our friends at the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme in-world now at, or sim­ply click here to start your play­er, if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to do so. Lis­ten­ers in the Unit­ed States are encour­aged to tune in using this link:

For more infor­ma­tion on the Alexan­dri­an Free Library, cur­rent exhibits and the work of Con­sor­tium mem­bers in gen­er­al, please vis­it the Alexan­dri­an Free Library web­site, or one of their branch­es in-world.

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