Mar 6, 2008

Tales from the Office: The Appreciation Board

In the break room / kitchen at work, there is an 'appreciation board.' It's where anybody can post a note saying who they appreciate at work. Some people may appreciate the IT guys for making sure all the computers run smoothly. Others may appreciate the traffic desk for making sure Bay Area traffic is up to date in real time. One person in the building posted a note regarding one of the many Clear Channel owned radio stations in the building, to the dismay of another co-worker.

pic courtesy of L. Alger 2008 (c)

For those of you who do not live in the Bay Area, KMEL is one of the two "urban" radio stations, with Wild 94.9 being the other. Back in its heydey, they were self-described as "The People's Station" and pretty much catered to the people of the Bay Area. In elementary school, I remember everyone listened to Rick Chase (r.i.p.) right after school and tried to call in to his show to partake in his infamous 'screaming contests" or to just get clowned on by the man. He played weird audio from movies and funny novelty songs alongside the regular playlist. Even Bay Area rapper Motion Man did promo raps for Rick Chase.

After Rick's time slot, was another pivotal KMEL DJ by the name of Evan Luck. Evan's prime-time time slot boasted "Battle of the Rappers" where two callers would drop acapella verses at each other over the phone, with the winner (decided by the callers) being able to battle it out the next day. After the top 10 requested songs of the day, Evan ended his show with his "Love Lines" segment. With Moments in Love by Art of Noise as the theme music (later he used En Vogue's Love Lines), this part of the show was a hit amongst the high school and over crowd. Love stricken teens would call in for love advice or to dedicate the latest slow jam to their boo.

Other DJs from the Bay that had a chance to get down on KMEL were DJ Shadow (before Solesides), FM20 (the original Invisibl Skratch Piklz), Cameron Paul and King Tech. At the time, King Tech had won some DJ battles in the Bay, and was offered a weekly hour time-slot on tuesday nights. Having free reign to play whatever he wanted, Tech would play Malcolm X speeches, rare breaks, and underground hip hop into his mixes. He even had his emcees E-Vocalist (before he was with the B.U.Ms), Motion Man, Mysterme, Koo Kaz, and Sway get on the mic to rip shit. Tech's weekly mix show was the precursor to The Wake Up Show.

Nowadays, you're lucky if you hear any local talent on KMEL or Wild 94.9. Erik K. Arnold of SF Weekly wrote an engaging article on how radio politics have brought the demise of the "Hyphy Movement." Check out the article over here.


Rangudon Argeru said...

I think eriku knows about Battle of the Rappers. :)

Rangudon Argeru said...

and KMEL in its heyday was the reason why I wanted to get into broadcasting. unfortunately by the time I started working for them, it was at the tale end of the "era" and I had to deal with alot of the political BS.

but thankfully now since we're considered to be part of the news department, we don't really get faucked with...but thats because we're at the bottom of the totem pole.

wonton said...

It's no longer "The People's Station"?

Tsuji Eriku said...

ah yes the infamous battle of the rappers incident of 92.

Q-Ball & the rest of those wiggers had been on the air for weeks getting their moms & dads & aunts & uncles to call in & clog the phone lines with votes. I had beef with those cats after DJing for them at their wack shows & falling out with Q-Ball & his crew. They started dissing the Flip Side Crew & called me out on the air back then I went by Omega. I called in to battle the sucker but missed the cut so I stayed on the phone & got on the air to vote. I told Evan I didn't want to vote for either MC cause they was both wack then the whole crew drove to Q-Ball's house & we battled in his driveway. After we battled everybody that was there said I killed it except for the only other whiteboy there, that faggot punk pussy ass Shane said I didn't freestyle the whole battle so I lost.
MC means move the crowd I killed it with writtens & freestyles, regardless I killed it.

The better mc wins, nuff forwards

Years later I joined the Zulu Nation & Q-Ball was also down with Zulu so we became cool. I produced a couple tracks for that dude on my SP1200. He got a lot better after practicing for a few years haha.

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