Laguna Beach radio station KX FM was created with the intention to play music people actually wanted to hear – something that had been lacking in local corporate radio. They also wanted to do something else that had become rare in radio: live on-air talent with the freedom to play what they saw fit.
One of their shows, TNN RADIO, has just announced a major change to their on-air broadcast team after the departure of a long time beloved dj, Randi Lavik.
On the air at KX FM since 2014, TNN RADIO has become a staple for many in the alternative world. It gives artists a chance to have their music heard, and for listeners, the chance to hear new music. The program has gone on to win multiple awards for their music programming, including several designations as “Best Alternative Music Podcast To Get to Know” by Feedspot Magazine. Locally, they won a couple of the much coveted Skacademy awards for broadcasting excellence.
TNN RADIO was established in 2006 and initially it was part music and part talk-radio program. The acronym TNN stands for alternative music “Then ‘n’ Now.” The program grew in popularity with the locals as it featured many local artists and embraced the OC ska community. They soon became regulars at shows and festivals reporting on events through their social media pages. TNN made a name for itself through their reporting and photography at events such as the Vans Warped Tour, and covering just about every major event and alternative music band that came to Southern California.
The show was anchored by radio-industry vet, Jimmy Alvarez. He’s been doing radio since the late ‘80s where he started off as a segment producer at the World Famous KROQ in Los Angeles, then through the mid ‘90s, where he was also a weekend overnight dj. He’s a seasoned writer and has been an on air at other stations before anchoring at TNN RADIO.
As for the on-air staffing changes, TNN RADIO is adding radio veteran Leeza London (aka Liza Kumjian-Smith) to the program. London has spent many years in SoCal radio at places like 91X in San Diego and currently at Independent FM. Her most notable tenure was at KROQ where she worked with radio legend Rodney Bingenheimer as part of the “Original Rodney on the ‘Roq” show in their “American in London” series when London lived in England. While there she worked with Bingenheimer to break some of the biggest bands to come out of the UK. Now, London will join Alvarez as permanent co-host to anchor the TNN RADIO broadcast team.
Also joining the broadcast team will be SoCal music scene publishing veteran Rachael Contreras. She will provide additional color on show segments, and serve as the show’s additional on-air talent. Contreras is an OC native and got started in music when she was in high school. She was a photographer and columnist at Skratch Magazine. She’s covered some of the most iconic bands to come out of Orange County and currently serves as an editor and columnist at OC Music News.
We recently caught up with Alvarez and asked him the secret to his longevity, and the main reason TNN RADIO has been so successful. He laughed then said, “Well, the first part is simple. I’ve been very lucky to have surrounded myself with really good people who make me look a heck of a lot better than I really am, and luckily for me the station has kept me around.” He then paused and said…
“As for the other part, KX FM is the reason why. Management created this station with a vision, to play the music people wanted to hear, not to do what corporate radio says everyone should do. Bottom line, it’s easy to have vision, it’s something else all together to stick to your convictions. Especially in the world of radio. For that, I tip my hat off to Tyler Russell and the rest of the staff at KX FM. They continue to make a positive difference in the way we hear radio.”
TNN RADIO dubs themselves as the ultimate sonic experience and plays music from the origin of the new-wave era to modern-rock era, and its migration to alt-rock covering alt sub-genres (punk reggae and ska). This new staff set up has extensive experience covering just about every band in the genre since the mid ‘80s to today’s new artists.
The program has had a string of interviews over the years that have endeared them to music fans worldwide. They’ve chatted with legends like Buddy Guy, and bands such as 311, Aquabats, Blink-182, B-52’s, Descendents, The Offspring, Reel Big Fish, Pennywise, P.I.L., Social Distortion, Greta Van Fleet, The Selecter, K.Flay, L7, Specials, English Beat, NOFX, Voodoo Glow Skulls, The Vandals, and X. They were the first terrestrial radio show to play a band out of L.A. called The Interrupters.
Check out KX FM’s variety of shows via their terrestrial station, podcast, or stream site. They can be heard anywhere, at any time, by the click of a button.
Luckily there are some stations that have stepped up and doing what this Laguna-based station is doing, and we’re all the better for it. The future is very bright for KX FM as they offer a variety of shows that will appeal to your musical and talk-radio palate. With a strong morning show, the station provides solid programing Monday through Sunday. Their specialty shows just might be the envy of dj’s worldwide.
As for TNN RADIO, the sky is the limit for them. Whatever Founder and General Manager Tyler Russell is doing at KX FM, let’s hope he keeps it up. Their vision is alive and well and you can catch something special at KX FM any day of the week. Their programs will entertain and engage you, and make you fall in love with radio all over again.