Yet, for about five months on San Bernardino-based commercial AM radio station KCAA, those artists had a voice. A radio show dubbed “The Verge,” hosted by DJ Angel Orozco, was giving bands a chance to expose their tunes to the Inland Empire—and the show’s listeners consequently discovered music that was vastly different than what most commercial stations were offering.
However, “The Verge” was pulled from the station’s show roster on Oct. 27, meaning local bands have one less outlet in which to gain exposure.
Orozco, who is still employed at the station as an assistant program director, says he received the show in May after he was scheduled into the KCAA night shift. The station, an NBC News Radio affiliate known primarily for its local and syndicated talk programming (its website dubs KCAA as the “Inland Talk Express”), was already airing a nighttime music request show, and an idea was drafted to offer a locally-produced program to further bolster the station’s music lineup.
“They kind of wanted another alternative type of show to go with that show, which was kind of geared towards an older crowd, with oldies music,” says Orozco.
According to Orozco, the concept to produce a local music show via MP3 file submissions from unsigned and independent artists was presented by Fred Lundgren, President and CEO of the station’s parent company, Texas-based Broadcast Management Services. Orozco was tapped to host the show, due to his already established connections with local musical artists.
“Once we got rolling, I would [try to] get sponsors for the show, or I was hoping that it would develop sponsors to pay for some time to support the show, as well as me bringing in new listeners to the show and to the station in general,” says Orozco.
During the show’s run, Orozco—who is also a budding photographer, with his images appearing on the new Static-X DVD, Cannibal Killers—was able to invite in-studio guests (full disclosure: yours truly was featured on “The Verge”) and promote a host of local and regional artists, including the music of Rick Murray, Jessie Deluxe, Suicide Holiday, Evil Beaver, Among The Weeds, X Division, The Bad Dates, plus many others.
But nights on 1050AM in the Inland Empire have been vastly different since the cancellation of “The Verge,” which aired weekdays from 10PM until midnight. Instead of local rock bands, KCAA’s returned to airing talk radio.
The decision to pull “The Verge,” Orozco says, was “a financial decision, especially with the economic times that are starting to hit everywhere, especially a small, privately-owned radio station like this.”
“They [KCAA] would save money and not have a man physically running the station at night,” he adds. “They shifted some people around, and they wanted to retain me, so my shift totally switched from 5PM to 1AM, to now 5AM to 1PM That was an ‘effective immediately’ type of deal.”
However, Orozco says that he was allowed to broadcast a farewell show for “The Verge” (and for his Tuesday night reggae specialty show). After that, he began reporting to the station in the early morning (and admits he’s still adjusting to his new schedule).
“It really is a part of me that I invested so much into, emotionally and physically, and so I was initially angry at the situation, but . . . I had to sit on it and think about it, and realize that with the economic situation in the country and worldwide, if I wasn’t generating money for the station doing that show, and it was costing the station and the owner, then you know what, I had to accept that and look at it positively,” Orozco says. “As much as I loved those shows and the fanbase and the people associated with the shows, it was really difficult, but I know that other doors are going to open, and I’ll explore those doors.”
Although he’s no longer hosting “The Verge,” Orozco is still a regular fixture on the station’s airwaves, working the morning drive-time slot, reporting on news and traffic between popular shows from radio personalities, including Don Imus and Ed Schultz.
“I can’t live my life with a negative feeling or negative vibes,” he says. “So you know what, for right now, I’m going to do my best to give you the best traffic [reports] I can, and the best weather. Hey, it’s sunny and warm today.”