The return of beautiful music
September 6, 2016 6:24 PM   Subscribe

KNXR broadcast Beautiful Music from 1965 to December 31, 2015 when the station based out of Rochester Minnesota switched over from its beautiful music format to classic hits. One of the last remaining stations in the format, its passing was missed. Now it's back in streaming form! Chill out to old mellow tunes, bizarre moog beatles covers, and the surreal anecdotes of John Doremus' Patterns in Music.
posted by Ferreous (16 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
now where are my slipcovers
posted by thelonius at 7:05 PM on September 6, 2016

The schmaltz is strong with this one...
posted by jim in austin at 7:23 PM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is a bit odd - largely anonymous with minimal Web and FB presence, and a stream with geotargetted radio ads (I got two state-sponsored Scottish ones, one for lamb and one for child support services, and one car ad)/

Is this actually an exercise in computer generated revenue?
posted by Devonian at 8:25 PM on September 6, 2016

I think the minimal feel of it is due to the fact that the whole station was run by the same people that started it in the 60s. Their tech/social media ability is not that strong. I figure they just signed up with whatever ad service that would provide them revenue to keep the stream going.
posted by Ferreous at 8:32 PM on September 6, 2016

Also, if the programming layout is anything like when it was running on terrestrial radio, the nuttier stuff plays during the daytime, with more relaxing things at night.
posted by Ferreous at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2016

If so, they're not doing themselves any favours. The Internet is full of stuff that's thrown together in a hurry to squeeze a few bucks out of the unwary, often anonymously to throw up some squid ink if anyone tries to look too closely at where those few bucks are going and whether it's entirely legit.

If they really are a radio station with fifty years of history delivering a unique format, they're going to have a ton of stories and a boatload of personality. They don't need to be tech of social media experts to get some of that online, and really - that's exactly the sort of authenticity that's needed to give it a chance. That and, y'know, schedules. The John Doremus stuff sounds intriguing and may be exactly what I'd like to hear, but how?

Think regional radio is a crowded, competitive market? The last time I checked on one of the Internet radio services I sometimes use there were more than 3500 live streams available. An anonymous stream that delivers bongos, vibes and muted horns with a Cuban beat interspersed with adverts for Scottish lamb meat balls hasn't got much of a chance, not all alone by itself.

(Oh, and checking the KNXR Wikipedia page, I note with raised eyebrows that

"On February 29, 2016, Lynn Ketelsen and John Linder’s Blooming Prairie Farm Radio completed its purchase of KNXR, and on March 6th, 97.5 began stunting with a loop of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" by Rolf Harris, promoting a new format to launch the following day at noon."

I'm guessing nobody in Minnesota and the environs knows that you don't hear that song on the radio in the UK any more for the same reasons you can't catch Cosby reruns...)
posted by Devonian at 9:25 PM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Excellent. Thank you.

This elevator ride seems to be taking a bit longer than usual....
posted by freakazoid at 7:39 AM on September 7, 2016

Sirius has (or had -- I never know when they're going to yank a channel I like and pull this type of shit) an Escape channel that plays nothing but beautiful music. It's a perfect (for me, anyway) traffic jam antidote.
posted by blucevalo at 8:07 AM on September 7, 2016

So I clicked the link and thought I must've called my dentist's office and been put on hold...
posted by dnash at 8:45 AM on September 7, 2016

My mom used to play our local Beautiful Music station (FM100) over the intercom system in our house. That would have been in the late 1960s & mid 70s. I can remember going from admiration to loathing of that type of music as I grew up from about age 6 to 16. I'm pretty sure my mom had to give up on the station at some point due to teenage rebellion . . .

For the conspiracy theorists among you, you'll be interested to know that FM100 was owned by Bonneville Broadcasting, which was owned by Bonneville International, which--in turn--is owned by the LDS Church. Bonneville Broadcasting was one of the powerhouses of Beautiful Music syndication and owned stations all across the country--WRFM in NYC, KOIT in San Francisco, KBIG in LA, etc--and provided syndicated programming to perhaps hundreds more. Bonneville International sold the broadcasting group in 1993, including the portion that provided the Beautiful Music syndication, though it has since re-acquired radio stations in Denver, Seattle, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City.

If you take a look at p. 15 of this blast from the broadcast past (1980), you'll see that "Bonneville Broadcasting is Best in Both! Adult Contemporary and Beautiful Music". You'll also notice that Beautiful Music is rather burying Adult Contemporary in audience share (17,500 vs 13,500 per station).

The Percy Faith web site has a really interesting history of Beautiful Music Radio. TL;DR is that was creating during the 1940s as "thinking man's radio," grew to prominence in the 1960s to 1980s when it was a major force in the adult radio market, and has been dwindling since then, replaced by country, easy listening, smooth jazz, & the like:
The pitch to the 'thinking man', in reality to the area's professional class, business owners, the educated, the cultured, local leaders and movers, was used on classical music stations at the time but was new to a primarily popular music outlet. They were the 'best people' and possessed or earned the most money. Therefore, it was thought, they had the most money to spend. Advertisers at that time termed this "snob appeal". At KIXL it was effective. The very people Segall had wanted to attract became supporters and advertisers and the station, which signed on June 8, 1947, became an immediate success and something of a community cause. It was new, it was different, smart, adult. It made listeners feel good about themselves. "It's not what KIXL plays that makes the difference, it's what we don't play!" ran an early slogan.

[Charles] Payne [pioneer of this format in the 1940s], in later years, always emphasized the importance of mood consistency to that success. "Stations then were full-service -they did everything. An hour of this, a half hour of that, fifteen minutes of something else. They tried to satisfy different tastes in different day-parts. Or they were disc jockeys with tie-ins to record stores and sold records. We were the first single-format, mood-consistent station. This was before Top-40.In the beginning our recordings came mostly from the various transcription services and were not available to the public, so you see we were out to project a certain consistency of mood, a sound that advertisers could count on, not to sell records.

"Mood consistency, strategically constructed fifteen minute music clusters with soft-sell commercial spots gathered at the end, a three-to-one ratio of instrumentals to vocals, musical bridges, a strategic daily tempo flow, smooth and cultured deep-voiced male announcers, 'adult' music orientation, and (for a while at least) 'snob appeal'. All would in time become standard practices and procedures in beautiful music radio.
Payne's memoir Feedback: Echoes from My Life in Radio sounds like an interesting read. You can purchase it used at Amazon or read online as a PDF on
posted by flug at 10:40 AM on September 7, 2016

I am middle-aged. I clicked the link above. And I heard the radio music that my father listened to during my teens. WPAT in Paterson NJ. In the 1970s.

Peter Nero. Various orchestral covers of "Norwegian Wood". How I hated that music, floating from our cheap Sears stereo set. Preventing my Elton John.

But now, at my desk, I haven't stopped the Beautiful Music streaming. My indignation is melting. A Streisand sound-alike croons a meandering love song. It's kind of... relaxing. Maybe they'll play some Andy Williams.
posted by valannc at 12:12 PM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, my grandmother's music. KBEZ was her "easy listening" radio station in the 70s and 80s when she wasn't listening to her Mantovani 8-tracks.

Eventually they went "adult contemporary." Now they're BOB 92.9, yet another of these Stations Branded Like A White Male Guy.

I got stuck in a tourist trap restaurant in Brussels last year. Soundtrack was something out of KBEZ. It made me sad, and happy that I was having the Ultimate Belgian Tourist Experience.
posted by dw at 1:07 PM on September 7, 2016

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the original versions of all of the bossa nova tunes that were a staple of beautiful music stations in the seventies.

My parents had the local "beautiful music" station on as background frequently. I'm nostalgic for seemingly simpler times, but I have no desire to go back and listen.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 1:48 PM on September 7, 2016

Metafilter: An anonymous stream that delivers bongos, vibes and muted horns with a Cuban beat interspersed
posted by Twang at 1:52 PM on September 7, 2016

When I moved to Minnesota a few years back with my wife, we went to this small rural town on the Mississippi river that was like stepping into the past. Really nice people, church bake sales, local bars, random old people chatting to you about the weather and fishing. The whole thing felt like twin peaks without the dark sado-sexual undercurrents. This station was the sound track of this weird time travel year for us.

I was super sad to hear that it shifted to a classic rock station, but it coming back really makes me happy.
posted by Ferreous at 2:21 PM on September 7, 2016

Having grown up in Austin (before it was OMG AUSTIN!@#!@#!), I remember KNCT 91.3 FM from the 1980s, and am more than a little dumbfounded to learn that it's still around, STILL doing the beautiful music thing. In 2016. 20 freakin 16. (There also used to be KPEZ, 102.3, EZ 102. It's since changed format 347 times; I don't know what it is nowadays, but it ceased to be beautiful music some time in the late '80s.)

But KNCT is still there. And yep, they have a live stream, too. Here, have at it, you beautiful freaks.
posted by CommonSense at 9:41 PM on September 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

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