Bay Area's Foothill College Radio Station KFJC Kicks off Its Annual Month of Mayhem

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2015 01:30am | Post a Comment

Nestled in the Los Altos Hills of the South Bay is one of the best radio stations not just in the Bay Area but anywhere. KFJC has been serving a rich and diverse musical presentation at 89.7FM for the better part of six decades, including many legendary live sessions from the Foothill College campus radio station's in-studio live performance space, the Pit.

The Foothill College campus radio station has been broadcasting since 1959. For over half its lifespan, KFJC has been dedicating their airwaves each May to the month of Mayhem. It's an entertainment-packed month (referred to as Mayhem, never May, throughout the 31 days) of special programming every day such as today's (May 1st) kickoff specials: The Mini Detest-A-Thon: A Survey of the Musical Obsession of Loathing Part 2, and A Brief Introduction to John Tejada, Part 1. Next Monday (Mayhem 4) brings May the Fourth Be With You: A Star Wars Mayhem Special, Mayhem 5's early morning International Psychedelia (Part 1) special, Bright Spots featuring Light In The Attic Records on Mayhem 10th, and Ms. Tiza and Cadillac Margarita's Pants Off Dance Off on Mayhem 16th.

On Mayhem 14, John Cage's 4'33" is hosted by Billie Joe Tolliver, featuring John Cage's famous four minutes and 33 seconds piece. "I will talk about Cage's intentions, the philosophy behind the work, the reception of the piece, and play recordings and interpretations by other artists," said Tolliver of his two-hour Mayhem special.

Towards the end of the month, on Mayhem 28th, KFJC's Naysayer hosts Los Angeles Free Music Society: The Lowest Form of Music at 10pm. The four-hour special takes listeners back to Los Angeles in the 1970s when a collective of DIY-driven artists started to create music, sound, performance, and film pieces based on their own "anti-rules." Naysayer will be challenged to narrow it down to his relatively short time slot in an attempt to give a taste of sounds from the enormous catalogue while sharing background and history of the over 40-year-old LAFMS.

KFJC DJ Ms. Tiza has been a participant of the station's month of Mayhem since she joined the station 14 years ago, so I reached out to her for more on the topic. All photos of KFJC are by permission of James Mak (Joysco Photos), who took them on one of my many visits to the great Bay Area station over the years.


Amoeblog: How and when did Mayhem first come about?

Ms. Tiza: May of 1981 was the first month of Mayhem. The details are fuzzy but I think it had to do with the revolution that was taking place at KFJC at the time.

Amoeblog: What would you say is Mayhem's distinctive quality?

Ms. Tiza: Mayhem is a month dedicated to complete creativity. Our DJs are encourage to take advantage of the benefits of radio programming. In other words, DJs put in a lot of work making an idea into a reality. They take an event, artist, label, or whatever and  reaching out for interviews, etc. Then it is worked into a presentation for radio. It's a no holds barred, straight shooting, month of quality specials that can run from a few hours to an entire day.

Amoeblog: What have been some of the best Mayhem specials over the years?

Ms. Tiza: That's a tough one to pick. Several years ago there was a 24 hour Throbbing Gristle Mayhem special that blew me away. As you can imagine, it was simply amazing.

Amoeblog: What are some of the Mayhem specials that you have done?

Ms. Tiza: Last year I did a three hour label highlight for Wordsound Recordings. I got to interview the founder Skiz Fernando. He was great to talk to. We talked about the Bronx back in the '80's, his time doing college radio at Harvard's station following the iconic  team of Jon Shecter and David Mays, founders of the [Main]Source (magazine). I have also hosted DJs, like yourself, on my show. One of my favorite Mayhem memories was when you rolled through with a posse of 10+ DJs, including DJ Quest and DJ Cue, and they cyphered on turntables in the Pit.

Amoeblog: What can listeners expect from Pants Off Dance Off with you and Cadillac Margarita specifically when you promise "An eclectic mix of dirty jams that will make you drop trow and shake your money maker"?

Ms. Tiza: I was inspired because I had been playing EPMD's Strictly Business cassette in my car for a month. And there a few tracks on there about dance moves. I won't give it away, but those in the know will know. Anyhow, Cadillac Margarita and I decided to collaborate after I threw the idea at her. So we are going to be throwing down all kinds of tracks about dance moves. You know, like Joeski Love's "Pee Wee Herman".

Amoeblog: Does Mayhem attract new listeners to KFJC?

Ms. Tiza: It certainly must. Mayhem is when you get to discover what KFJC is all about. DJs are encouraged to take an idea and go all the way. The further it leads, the more engaging it becomes. And KFJC's palette tends to be off center, so you will find challenging sounds and people that are going to be featured.

Amoeblog: Speaking of discovering KFJC, in the years since the Bay Area radio station began to stream online - where (what countries) have new listeners come from - where around the globe is KFJC popular?

Ms. Tiza: KFJC's global audience includes listeners in New Zealand and Australia, the UK, Japan, and so many other small pockets around the world. Listeners leave the Bay Area and take KFJC with them. Our remote broadcasts expose new listeners to us.

Relevant Tags

Dj Cue (18), John Cage (15), Dj Quest (54), Ms. Tiza (1), Joysco Photos (4), James Mak (8), Mayhem (4), Mayhem 2015 (1), Los Altos Hills (1), Kfjc (5)