If you commiserate with Bruce Springsteen when he sings “There’s fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on,” KRML 102.1 may alleviate your frustration, while bringing peace to families with diverse musical tastes.
KRML is classified as an adult album alternative station, which means the music selection appeals more to adults and musically sophisticated teenagers and stays away from “bubble-gum pop.”
It is not necessarily a “new” station as KRML previously broadcast jazz and blues music. Scot McKay, the owner of Carmel Valley Athletic Club, officially purchased the station out of bankruptcy in November 2011 with the goal to bring local radio back to Carmel.
“People are listening to radio less,” McKay says on an online podcast, “because it is not local and less relevant to their lives.”
Mike Hale, general manager of KRML and former writer and editor for The Monterey County Herald, points out that the station does not use genres to describe their music.
“We recognize there is good music being produced all the time,” Hale says, “not just the ’60s. We look for artists that transcend genres.”
KRML plays iconic bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan along with more contemporary artists like Modest Mouse, Lana Del Rey, Coldplay and Passion Pit. On the weekends, KRML broadcasts local events like golf tournaments and car races.
The advertising strategy of KRML is unique. The stations only plays five advertisements an hour, and the advertisements support local businesses.
“We rarely play ads back to back,” Hale notes. “It emphasizes each advertisement.”
In order to draw attention to the new format, on the weekend of Oct. 15 the station adopted the name “Radio Yummy” and had a 10-song playlist that included popular songs by artists such as Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and PSY. Instead of just cycling the songs, deejays would literally play each song twice in a row before moving on to the next. The announcer appropriately uttered in between every song, “Radio Yummy: Playing your favorite songs over and over and over again.”
This was actually a prank meant to shed light on everything wrong with commercial radio. The disc-jockey purposely mispronounced Carmel to represent the idea that many radio stations that pretend to be local are actually broadcast from buildings far away. The KRML office and broadcasting center, located in a small cabin tucked behind CVAC, consists of a few rooms, but a recording studio is being built.
“We do everything here,” Hale says. “We create the on-air product, music, commercials, imaging, and on the weekends we are here swinging a hammer to build the recording studio.”
KRML currently has a 12,000-song library, but it is growing as more record companies send new music. While they only have a few DJs, they also have volunteers.
The website for the station features access to other online radio channels like the old jazz and blues format, a classical station and country and classic rock stations.
The station’s call letters were made famous when featured in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 directorial debut Play Misty for Me, where Eastwood plays a disc-jockey for KRML in a Carmel-by-the-Sea office.