BY SHIREEN ALAFI

Editor's Reflections
Listening to the radio is like taking a walk on the beach.
Seashells get washed ashore, sometimes swept away, sometimes left on the sand. You could come back the next day and find that special shell replaced by another.

The tides of '96 were harsher than those of '95. Many radio fossils disappeared without a trace in the sand. National or syndicated personalities replaced locals. Stations' MVPs became personae non gratae.

But sometimes faithful listeners refused to let their favorite specimen get lost at sea. They called the replacements persistently, defiantly, asking for the outcasts. Fans tried to save their idols from disappearing into radio's Bermuda Triangle. One station finally gave in to the tidal wave of callers, allowing them to mention the fired host by name and to vent their anger on the air. A few beloved casualties actually returned to the airwaves, and the listeners welcomed them home.

What will happen to those lost personalities this year? We'll be looking for them "on the beach."