Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This is a serious drive, 300 miles of desert and big empty spaces between the gas stations. As you drive south out of Nevada down Route 93 South radio peters out. You get what is essentially a diminishing pool of Vegas stations, (some on repeaters) then it all begins to peter out to nothing. (quite literally) There are a couple big Prescott area stations, but that's it until you get to the outskirts of Phoenix.  Before I left Nevada I stopped ate some Mexican food and hit a thrift store and bought some acetates. Maybe there will be a winner in the stack.

Those aforementioned Prescott stations are most notably 104.3 KAJM a very good rhythmic oldies station which I listened to till it petered out and 102.1 KAHM an easy listening station.  Easy Listening is an exceedingly rare format these days. It's one of 34 in the entire nation that purports to carry the format. The real number is probably half that and half a dozen of those are LP stations or non-coms. I listened for quite a while trying to get a hold on the demographics and was stumped. They ran no ads, and there seemed to be a live DJ early on. But then an automated message took over in the early evening. Maybe Southwest FM Broadcasting does it as a public service? Their website only tells me that "Calm Radio" was born September 9, 1981.  Elsewhere on the dial KNAU was available on multiple frequencies pumping out classical music all day long. KJZZ our of Rio Salado College runs on a string of repeaters into the desert bringing NPR to me, the desert hermits and the Saguaro cactus.
Then I got to the town of Nothing. Nothing seems not to have a zip code, as it's not incorporated. Unsurprising since it has a population of 4 according a sign on an abandoned building. I read there was a pizzeria here once. But clearly it's long gone now.  The wind turbine purported to power the lights now has a rakish tilt while it spins cock-eyed in the wind. (more here) I sat down and did a band scan on my car radio while in Nothing. The two clearest FM stations are 94.7 KFLG and something on 100.1 which by my math should be KNRJ or KRRK but what I heard was country oldies making it KGMN out of Kingman, AZ. Willie Nelson made my id definitive. AM was far more interesting since there is no local source of AM signal or noise so every frequency had at least some RF. Most of it was identifiable, here are the highlights:
550 KFYI-AM News/Talk (Phoenix)
660 KTNN-AM "Voice of the Navajo Nation" (Window Rock, AZ)
770 KKOB-AM News/Talk (Albuquerque, NM!  350+ miles away!
830 KFLT-AM News/Talk (Tucson)
850 XEZF-AM Spanish (Mexicali, Mexico) 180+ miles away!
880 KHAC-AM Religious (Tse Bonito, NM) 240+ miles away!
890 KDXU-AM News/Talk St. George, UT 170+ miles away!
910 KGME-AM Sports Talk (Phoenix)
930 KAFF-AM Country Oldies (Flagstaff)
1010 KXXT-AM Religious (Phoenix)
1040 unknown Spanish Station XEHE?
1050 unknown Spanish Station XED?
1070 unknown Spanish Station XEOB?, XEZO?
1110 unknown Spanish Station XEVS?, XEWR?
1200 unknown Spanish Station XEYF?
1250 KHIL-AM Country Oldies (Willcox, AZ)
1290 KCUB-AM Sports (Tucson)
1330 unknown Sports Talk
1420 unknown Spanish Station XEXX?
1460 unknown Spanish Station XEARF?
1510 KFNN-AM News/Talk (Mesa, AZ)
1520 unknown Spanish Station XEEH?
1580 KMIK-AM Radio Disney (Tempe, AZ)
1700 unknown Spanish Station XEPE?
I can't account for the huge number of apparent Mexican stations. but it's what was there. I am sure it would have been much more interesting with a better radio and a better antenna. It was dark before I made it to Phoenix.  The first thing I heard was KJZZ on 91.5. They were playing a little something by Thelonius Monk.  I'll check more tomorrow and report back.