80s New Wave Radio
Back in the early 80s, KROQ, KNAC and 91X were the only commercial radio stations in southern California that played "New Wave" and Punk music.
These stations were responsible for breaking out many now classic New Wave bands. The Go Gos, Plimsouls, Bangles, Oingo Boingo, The Blasters, Wall Of Voodoo, X, Berlin and many others got their start because KROQ, KNAC and 91X would play them when nobody else would.
For many people, the first time they heard U2, REM, Billy Idol, The B-52s, New Order, Depeche Mode or The Cure, they had their radios tuned to 106.7, 105.5 or 91.1 fm.
The KROQ "Rag" July, 1983
"World Famous" 106.7 KROQ DJs included Richard Blade, Freddie Snakeskin, Jed the Fish and Poor Man. The DJs on "The Roq" were irreverent, sarcastic, funny and not above playing an occasional off color or novelty song just to provoke a reaction (example: "Kinko The Clown"). Or they would often pepper a hit song with zany audio snippets or "drop ins" just for the hell of it. Dead pan clips from Joe Friday (Jack Webb) from Dragnet were a favorite.
If you miss the old KROQ, KROQ Classics- 80's features the original format and can be streamed to your computer by clicking here: KROQ Classics- 80s.
You can also listen live to Roq Of The 80s. This site contains New Wave streaming audio and lists of the top KROQ songs from 1980-1989.
1980s KROQ radio recordings, Click link and a NEW window will open-
Actual audio from the "world famous" KROQ includes nostalgic commercials, drop ins and DJs Poor Man, Dusty Street, Richard Blade and others.
Here is the entire list and recording of KROQ's Top 106 Of 1983 Countdown:
KROQ's Top 106 Of 1983 Audio Link (Click HERE to listen.)
106. SLIPPIN' AWAY - Dave Edmunds
105. COMMITTED - A Flock Of Seagulls
104. JUST GOT LUCKY - JoBoxers
103. BELLY OF THE WHALE - Burning Sensations
102. RED SKIES - The Fixx
101. PRESSURE SWAY - Machinations
100. (KEEP FEELING) FASCINATION - The Human League
99. TELEPHONE - Pete Shelley
98. BARBARELLA - Bongos
97. TOO SHY - Kajagoogoo
96. THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG - Public Image Ltd.
95. GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN - Cyndi Lauper
94. COMMUNICATION - Spandau Ballet
93. YOUNG GUNS (GO FOR IT) - Wham!
92. NOTHING BAD EVER HAPPENS - Oingo Boingo
91. SHOCK THE MONKEY - Peter Gabriel
90. NOWHERE GIRL - B-Movie
89. NEW WORLD - X
88. ALL YOU EVER THINK ABOUT IS SEX - Sparks
87. OBLIVIOUS - Aztec Camera
86. BUFFALO GALS - Malcolm McLaren
85. BABY'S IN THE MOUNTAINS - Peter Godwin
84. RAINY SEASON - Howard Devoto
83. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO GRAB FOR - Ric Ocasek
82. WHITE LINES (DON'T DON'T DO IT) - Grandmaster Flash
81. DOOT DOOT - Freur
80. (SHE'S) SEXY AND 17 - Stray Cats
79. WISHING (IF I HAD A PHOTOGRAPH OF YOU) - A Flock Of Seagulls
78. BLACK AND WHITE - INXS
77. NUMBERS WITH WINGS - Bongos
76. LOVE MY WAY - Psychedelic Furs
75. THE POWER AND THE PASSION - Midnight Oil
74. IT'S A MUG'S GAME - Soft Cell
73. THEME FROM DOCTOR DETROIT - Devo
72. LET ME GO - Heaven 17
71. TOO MUCH BLOOD - The Rolling Stones
70. DER KOMMISSAR - Falco
69. RADIO FREE EUROPE - R.E.M.
68. STAND BY - Roman Holliday
67. SEND ME AN ANGEL - Real Life
66. RADIO WAVES - O.M.D.
65. LEGAL TENDER - The B-52's
64. BOP GIRL - Pat Wilson
63. SWEET DREAMS (ARE MADE OF THIS) - Eurythmics
62. CHINA GIRL - David Bowie
61. TANTALIZE - Jimmy The Hoover
60. LIES - Thompson Twins
59. THE POLITICS OF DANCING - Re-Flex
58. SHINY SHINY - Haysi Fantayzee
57. PUSS N' BOOTS - Adam Ant
56. NELLIE THE ELEPHANT - Toy Dolls
55. FIELDS OF FIRE - Big Country
54. BLUE MONDAY - New Order
53. THE REFLEX - Duran Duran
52. LIFELINE - Spandau Ballet
51. DEAR PRUDENCE - Siouxsie and the Banshees
50. LET'S GO TO BED - The Cure
49. RED RED WINE - UB40
48. THE CUTTER - Echo and the Bunnymen
47. REBEL YELL - Billy Idol
46. CHANGE - Tears for Fears
45. SYNCHRONICITY II - The Police
44. SAVED BY ZERO - The Fixx
43. ACCELERATION - Bill Nelson
42. WHAMMY KISS - The B-52s
41. WHISPER TO A SCREAM (BIRDS FLY) - Icicle Works
40. CHINA - Red Rockers
39. COOL PLACES - Sparks
38. LOVE CATS - The Cure
37. THE ONE THING - INXS
36. TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP - The Romantics
35. JUST A GIGOLO - Barbie and the Kens
34. EVERYDAY I WRITE THE BOOK - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
33. MISS ME BLIND - Culture Club
32. LIVING ON THE CEILING - Blancmange
31. SHE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE - Thomas Dolby
30. SAVE IT FOR LATER - The English Beat
29. PALE SHELTER - Tears For Fears
28. STRIP - Adam Ant
27. SWEET DREAMS (ARE MADE OF THIS) - Eurythmics
26. NEVER STOP - Echo and the Bunnymen
25. KARMA CHAMELEON - Culture Club
24. UNDERCOVER OF THE NIGHT - The Rolling Stones
23. INSTITUTIONALIZED - Suicidal Tendencies
22. SWEAR - Tim Scott
21. MAKE A CIRCUIT WITH ME - The Polecats
20. 99 LUFTBALLONS - Nena
19. ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER - The Fixx
18. JEOPARDY - Greg Kihn Band
17. KING OF PAIN - The Police
16. I'LL TUMBLE 4 YA - Culture Club
15. OUR HOUSE - Madness
14. NEW YEAR'S DAY - U2
13. BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE - Talking Heads
12. MODERN LOVE - David Bowie
11. DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME - Culture Club
10. I CONFESS - The English Beat
9. UNION OF THE SNAKE - Duran Duran
8. MAJOR TOM (COMING HOME) (in German) - Peter Schilling
7. MAD WORLD - Tears For Fears
6. LET'S DANCE - David Bowie
5. CHURCH OF THE POISON MIND - Culture Club
4. IN A BIG COUNTRY - Big Country
3. EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE - The Police
2. THE SAFETY DANCE - Men Without Hats
1. IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW - Duran Duran
More Archival KROQ Recordings:
KROQ Archival Recording #1
KROQ Archival Recording #2
KROQ Archival Recording #3
KROQ Archival Recording #4
KROQ Archival Recording #5
KROQ Archival Recording #6
KROQ Archival Recording #7
KROQ Archival Recording #8
Special thanks to Zack for making these available!
Here's early KROQ archival audio from July 26, 1982. KROQ July 26, 1982.
On a good day, if the weather was right and the gods were willing, you could get a decent signal from 105.5 KNAC. The weak transmission from Long Beach didn't always penetrate far but when it did the eclectic, avant garde music mix was captivating.
"Rock And Rhythm KNAC" was in some ways more daring than KROQ and more cutting edge. KNAC had a reputation for introducing alternative music that would later be added to the playlist of the more popular and powerful KROQ.
-KNAC Top 105 + 5 Of 1983-
Listen to actual KNAC archival audio from the 80s. Click link and a NEW window will open- 80s KNAC Aircheck.
In January 1986, the format suddenly changed and the experimental KNAC would be gone forever. DJ Rick Stuart recalls playing the last on-air shift at KNAC before they changed to an all heavy metal format;
"Some guy started coming into the studio taking away the lp's on the wall. I didn't really know what was going on until I looked at the titles he was putting in the rack. It was quickly clear that I was doing the last shift at the legendary KNAC!
Soon it was over. Wild Bill came in and played some AC/DC and that was it. I was told thanks for the work."
On January 12,1983, programmer Rick Carroll walked into 91X with a cardboard box. He dumped on the table in front of the staff and said, "I'm Rick from Los Angeles and this is your new format."
The signal from 91X could be sporadic and the playlist was much like KROQs. But they would sprinkle in artists like Dire Straits and Bob Marley to mix things up a bit.
91X actually had a more diverse mix than KROQ when, in the mid 80s, "The Roq" began to narrow their playlist and play popular songs in tight rotation.
91X still honors the music of the 80s each week on the flashback show, "Resurrection Sunday" from 6 am to 10 am.
- DJ Craig
For more information about Flashback 80s and New Wave/Punk Music, see the links on the left of this page.
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