Friday, September 15, 2006

San Jose Travel Missive

San Jose radio is pale beside Monterey. Pioneer High School station 89.3 KMTG was running commercial hip-hop as was 90.5 KSJS. KSCU never seemed to come in clearly and KPFA was running talk in the afternoon. I mean Democracy Now is an interesting program but I was looking for tunes. Maybe it was the wrong time of day. I'd heard that 96.1 KSQQ was kind of eclectic Portuguese music but that too was talk while I was in town.

I caught KFOG (simulcasting on KFFG) and I can see why KPIG has been slowly gaining on them since the addition of KPYG to the market. The K-FOG playlist is very safe, mixing only the most popular classic rock tracks with the most centrist Triple A cuts. Of course neither is progressive compared to a station like KCMP.

The infamously eclectic 89.7 KFJC sounded like they were having technical problems, then I realized what I was hearing ten synthesizer keys held down at once and a woman holding a flat note over it. They followed that up with a cassette tape from 1980 of two biology students banging trash can lids together. When I checked back an hour later it was someone beating two sticks together and shouting random nouns. I can say ... as least they are original, and they plug local shows between sets of noisy crap.

I ate at a Chinese restaurant with ducks hanging in the window. I couldn't read the menu and they couldn't under stand me. Food arrived spontaneously at my table anyway. Someone in the kitchen made a safe bet I assume. It was some of the best chicken I've ear had and I don't even know what the dish was called.

I had been wondering why one metro would have three Asian AM outlets: KVVN-AM, KSJX-AM and KYAA-AM. Now I know they have an Asian population that rivals that of Seattle. Entire plazas are lit with signs in mandarin and similar-looking characters. Might be a book store, might be a bakery. I can't tell from the road.

On the drive back I caught a blues show on KKUP that ran a long set of Slim Harpo and Lighting Hopkins. The Route 101 traffic near Route 880 was thick and the friendly music was welcome. 101 thins out to two easy lanes after Watsonville giving me a little time to look at the country. The grass on the hills was yellow, but all the fields were green. I'm out of here tomorrow morning and I think I have one more chance to hit that foggy and chilly Marina beach. I kind of wish I packed a coat.