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Howard Stern talked about his separation from his 21-year wife Allison on his morning show. At one point Howard was introspective: "Can you find enjoyment in going places and doing things together? Im incapable of it. Im praying to God that one day I will be more present. But right now it became so difficult that we decided that separation would be best and that would ease some of the tension. I cant explain it any better than that. I am so sad about it. Sitting down with your kids and discussing this stuff is just horrible. Ive been with Alison since I was 19." The bet is that Howard will be out banging women like crazy. "You know Im not going to get any women, because everyone expects me to be out banging a lot of women. Who would want to be with me if Im banging so many women? As odd as this is to say, I guess only people who have gone through it will understand. You dont think about banging anybody right now."
The soul oldies simulcast of KACE (103.9 FM) and KRTO (98.3 FM) is going away soon, as the stations have been bought by Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation for $75 million. Cash.
Hispanic Broadcasting is the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States; the purchase of KACE/KRTO from Cox Broadcasting leaves Los Angeles without a Cox-owned station for the first time in what must be decades. It also leaves KJLH (102.3 FM) as the only radio station in Los Angeles catering to a primarily
Too bad, too, as KACE was a station with a fantastic, yet totally underappreciated lineup of personalities that played "dusties" that you won't hear on any other station in Southern California. I'm going to miss it. And them.
Shadoe Stevens, former radio programmer/personality and Federated Stereo commercial star Fred Rated, is convinced that you can stick a fork in traditional radio broadcasting -- it's done. He's predicting the death of terrestrial radio as we know it within five years.
"Terrestrial radio has become a dinosaur -- too big, too corporate, too overspecialized, too expensive, too uncreative, unable to break the rigid formats it has created and unable to deliver programming people want," says Stevens, who was scheduled to address a public meeting of the nonprofit group, Internet Professionals earlier this week.
"The current erosion in terrestrial radio's audience and the boom in internet radio are the beginning of the end," Stevens claims.
In its place will be internet radio stations, nimble, super-competitive, relatively inexpensive and global in nature. As one example of such a web station, Stevens points to his own Rhythm Radio, located at www.rhythmradio.com, that offers "a blend of different kinds of music and production that would make most terrestrial radios explode.
An interesting theory, even if its wrong. Here's the problem: most radio listening occurs in the car. And most cars don't (and most likely won't in five years either) have internet connections. Additionally, the technology for reliably giving more than a handful of listeners at a time a chance to hear a particular web station is still years off.
Plus, the web can not come close yet to the fidelity of traditional broadcasting, let alone the new digital standard that will be in place within five years.
As much as I'd like to stick it to the big companies that are screwing up our local airwaves through their total monopolies and control of OUR airwaves, I just don't see it happening soon. And it most likely won't be through the internet.
Mark & Brian are preparing for the KLOS Halloween Parade on Friday. Listeners have been calling with float entries. "Its stupid and fun and thats why we do it," commented Brian Phelps. New entries: Fastest street legal Corvette; Middle school playing the Adams Family theme; Monsters carrying live heads on deli platters complete with garnish; Pumpkin Head Poppers; Hearse from 1965; You can win art float; and, Dead Little League team.
"Power 106" coordinated a potential million dollar giveaway with big-time exposure yesterday morning on the KTLA/Channel 5 Morning News. For two hours, Mark Kriski broadcast with "Power" morning host Big Boy from a KPWR armored truck filled with money bags. Inside one of the bags was $1,000,000. The station had 60 finalists and during the two-hour show, they eliminated 59 listeners with each being awarded $1,000. The final contestant went into the armored truck, picked a money bag and Big Boy opened it. Inside there was a check for $50,000! Pretty doggoned cool. Lots of "Power 106" signage.
Mega 100 (KCMG, 100.3 FM) has been trying to win the Los Angeles oldies ever since they stole the KRLA (1110 AM) format a couple years ago. Since that time they have evolved into a completely new format ... each week ... and they have come close, but not quite caught up with, perennial leader KRTH (101.1 FM). That reality is in spite of KRTH's generally declining ratings over the past three years.
The Summer Arbitron was no different, as KRTH declined 0.3 to 2.6 and Mega dropped 0.1 to 2.4. Close, but no cigar. The talk wars similarly remained essentially the same too, with KFI (640 AM) leading the pack by increasing to 3.5 from 3.3, KABC (790 AM) up to 2.4 from 2.3, KLSX (97.1 FM) flat at 2.2, and KRLA up 0.1 to 0.9. Note that almost one year after dropping oldies for talk, KRLA isn't doing any better than it was before. And its doing worse than it was before manager Bob Moore let everyone leave for KRTH.
So who is the overall leader in Los Angeles radio? No change there either, as KSCA (101.9 FM) takes first again with a 6.0 (down from 6.2) andKLVE (107.5 FM) takes second with a flat 5.9. Rounding out the overall top-five is KIIS (102.7 FM), KROQ (106.7 FM), and Power 106 (KPWR, 105.9 FM)... same as it ever was.
Were there any surprises in the Summer Book? Well, KDIS (710 AM) earned its highest rating ever as a children's music station: 0.3 compared with no showing last Spring. Considering that Arbitron only rates listeners aged 12 and over, it would appear that some teens and adults are catching on to Disney's little secret: KDIS actually plays decent music.
The simulcast of KACD/KBCD (103.1) -- aka "Channel 103.1" -- was up to 0.7 from 0.6 ... almost matching it's highest rating ever but still not enough to shut up the people still clamoring for a return of the (ugh) Groove format. It probably doesn't matter anyway, since Clear Channel will probably sell it to a Spanish broadcaster anyway as part of their AMFM acquisition.
Due to a drop in the ratings fortunes of KOST (103.5 FM), Star 98.7 FM (KYSR) is "this close" to taking the "adult Contemporary" prize. For the quarter, KOST earned a 3.0 share; Star was right behind at 2.9. And just in time for a sale to Hispanic Broadcasting and an almost sure format change to Spanish, KACE/KRTO inched up to 0.9 from 0.7.
The Summer Arbitrons: Ratings are an estimate of the percentage of listeners aged 12 and over tuned to a station between the hours of 6 am and 12 midnight.
1. KSCA (6.0) 2. KLVE (5.9) 3. KIIS-FM (4.8) 4. KROQ (4.0) 5. KPWR (3.9) 6. KFI (3.5) 7. (tie) KKBT, KBUE, KTWV (3.3) 10. KOST (3.0)
11. KYSR (2.9) 12. KLAX (2.8) 13. KRTH (2.6) 14. KCBS-FM (2.5) 15. (tie) KABC, KCMG, KNX, KSSE (2.4) 19. KBIG (2.3) 20. KLSX (2.2)
21. (tie) KLOS, KZLA (2.1) 23. KFWB (1.7) 24. (tie) KJLH, KKHJ, KLAC (1.6) 27. KKGO (1.4) 28. KTNQ (1.3) 29. (tie) KACE/KRTO, KRLA (0.9)
31. (tie) KACD/KBCD, KLYY, KWVE (0.7) 34. (tie) KBLA, KGIL, KGXL, KIEV (0.6) 37. (tie) KIKF-FM, KXTA, KWIZ, KWKW, XTRA (0.5) 42. KKLA-AM/FM (0.4) 43. KDIS (0.3)
Ratings are Copyright 1999, Arbitron. May not be quoted or reproduced without prior written permission from Arbitron.
Funeral services will be held Thursday for longtime Phoenix and Los Angeles radio personality Frank Pollack, who died at age 80 of Alzheimer's disease. Frank worked in Phoenix in the early '50s, having started his radio career in Ohio, and he worked for KXIV until leaving for KDAY in 1959. He went on to be one of the original "11-10 Men" at KRLA when the station went rock and roll. Frank returned to Phoenix in 1960 to work for KUPD and stayed there for three years. He then returned to KXIV where he stayed until 1984 when owner Ira Lavin sold the station. He was quickly hired, though, by KLFF, a Big Band station.
A one-time member of Woody Herman's band, Frank was an avid golfer and a collector of big band records. He owned "hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands" of 78s, according to longtime friend and former boss Lavin. "He had a marvelous voice. He loved big band music. He had a very strong, loyal audience [for years]," Lavin said. He "always had a persona of being a tough guy but he was a softy at heart. Also an extremely talented writer. He had a sensitive side to him." Lavin added that Frank was "a good golfer. Used to lie about his handicap - a lovable old scoundrel."
Bud Wilkinson, former TV-Radio Columnist of The Arizona Republic and host of the syndicated radio program "Sunday Showtunes," remembered Frank as a man filled with enthusiasm - for radio, for golf and for just talking. "He loved the music, he loved radio, and he loved sharing his knowledge of the music with his listeners on the radio. He really connected with listeners on a one-to-one basis, talking to them and not at them," said Bud.
Unofficial Los Angeles radio historian Don Barrett, author of Los Angeles Radio People as well as a companion web site that has become extremely popular during the past two years, suffered a stroke last week that resulted in retinal artery occlusion and a slight loss of site in one eye.
Since the stroke occurred, Barrett has undergone a battery of tests and may face surgery, but he says that he is in no pain and apparently has no other side effects than the site loss. "Now I understand why they call this a silent killer," Barrett told his web page subscribers, "It just happens. There was no warning."
Howard Stern talked about his separation from his 21-year wife Allison on his morning show. At one point Howard was introspective:
"Can you find enjoyment in going places and doing things together? Im incapable of it. Im praying to God that one day I will be more present. But right now it became so difficult that we decided that separation would be best and that would ease some of the tension. I cant explain it any better than that. I am so sad about it. Sitting down with your kids and discussing this stuff is just horrible. Ive been with Alison since I was 19."
The bet is that Howard will be out banging women like crazy.
"You know Im not going to get any women, because everyone expects me to be out banging a lot of women. Who would want to be with me if Im banging so many women? As odd as this is to say, I guess only people who have gone through it will understand. You dont think about banging anybody right now."
The Beat's morning team of eight years, John London & the House Party, took their partying over to sister station Mega 100 (KCMG 100.3). Management wants to surprise listeners with the new personalities' debut Aug 30. The Baka Boyz, who left Power 106 in a huff in July, are rumored to slide into the afternoon slot at 92.3 The Beat.
In another upheaval at the hip-hop station, Craig Wilbraham is leaving is post as general manager to develop a new website for the AMFM Radio, the corporation that owns The Beat. John Madison, VP of senior regional operations, will act as interim GM.
Brothers Nick and Eric Vidal -- known as the Baka Boys in reference to their growing up in the city of Bakersfield -- have left Power 106 (KPWR, 105.9 FM) after five years at the station.
They started in 1993 with a two-hour Friday night "hip hop" show, switched to late nights, and by early 1994 were moved into the all-important morning drive slot, helping propel Power 106 back into the top of the ratings. In 1987 they were replaced by Big Boy in the morning and moved to afternoon drive where they stayed until resigning last week. Sources report that a lack of respect from the station may have something to do with their resignation. Apparently the Boys were upset that others on the station received more publicity, even though they themselves were the top-rated show on the station.
The good bets have the Baka Boys moving down the dial to The Beat (KKBT, 92.3 FM), perhaps for afternoons, perhaps mornings. Movies and television may also be in the works. In the meantime, The Goodfellas are filling in for the Baka Boys on Power 106.
[FrontPage Include Component]
By Sandy Wells
John & Ken
KABC Newswoman Carol Ramos
Karel & Andrew
Linda Nunez & Tom Haule
Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Ellen K, Rick Dees
Modern Music Experts
|John & Ken Debut on KABC
Some radio industry observers would say that fixing the morning show as the last move is an unconventional way to rebuild a radio station. On the first anniversary of his arrival as program director of talk radio station KABC 790 AM, Drew Hayes gave a thumbs-up at the House of Blues following the John and Ken inaugural morning broadcast July 1. The key 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. slot had been up for grabs since Ken Minyard and Peter Tilden's departure at the end of 1998.
During Hayes' first year, he fired Michael Jackson, hired Al Rantel, fired Ken and Peter, switched Dennis Prager to mid-mornings and moved up Art Bell to 10 p.m. The last phase of his plan had been realized. Following interim performances by Mr. KABC with Brian Whitman and, later, Joe Crummey, KABC landed the KFI 640 AM afternoon talk team as a local show after negotiations between KFI and the duo ran aground earlier this year.
KABC personalities made guest appearances at their new radio brothers' premiere. "Pet Show" host Warren Eckstein got laughs when he presented a dog muzzle and a pooper scooper as aids for dealing with management criticism. Mid-morning host Dennis Prager played an accordion rendition of "Hava Nagila" and "Restaurant Show" co-host Mario Martinoli gave them a cake.
A fair number of calls from fans of their KFI show suggested that the latest programming decision by Hayes will pull listeners from their former radio home of more than six years. However, one irate listener carped, "Is this what talk radio has come to?"
Karel & Andrew on KFI
John and Ken performed their finale on KFI 640 AM Friday March 19. The talk station replaced the syndicated program with Karel and Andrew from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The gay couple provides KFI with a local afternoon show for the first time since the John and Ken Show was syndicated in 1997. Before joining KFI, Karel Bouley and Andrew Howard had their own Long Beach-based syndicated show heard in Seattle and some other small markets, but not in Los Angeles. Consumer activist Clark Howard now hosts from 3 p.m. 4 p.m. A KFI spokesperson said the station management wanted a local program in afternoon-drive.
KPCC-FM Faces Uncertain Future
Minnesota Public Radio offered to become a partner with high-powered but under-performing Pasadena Community College's KPCC 89.3 FM, connecting it to its vast mid-western radio empire through a Local Marketing Agreement (LMA). The deal would leave Program/News Director Larry Mantle in charge, and the college would remain the licensee. MPR would be free to use the facility to develop new programs.
During his May 19 broadcast of "Air Talk," Mantle took his case in favor of the partnership with MPR to the listeners. The station desperately needs the money, he told his audience. The deal would allow the KPCC to upgrade its woefully out-of-date technical facilities and to hire a 10-person local news department. That night, the Pasadena College trustees voted to hire a consultant to help them determine the future of the station. Mantle said that his 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. broadcast of "Air Talk" was the most difficult one of his career. With no stated deadline, the trustees have issued a request for proposals from organizations that might want to lease KPCC .
KNX Sweeps Press Contest
KNX 1070 AM swept the 41st Annual Greater Los Angeles Press Club Awards this year. In a repeat performance, the news station aced all 17 radio categories in the competition held June 6. Anchor Dave Zorn, producer Ron Bradford and writers Jackye Shaun and Eduardo Pardo received top honors for Overall Excellence in Radio News Broadcasting. Gail Eichenthal walked away laden with laurels in Documentary Production, Business News Reporting and Feature Reporting, in addition to sharing the award for Entertainment Reporting with Diane Thompson and Laura Ornest. In the category of Entertainment Reviews, Jim Svejda was a hit. Steve Grad scored in both Sports Reporting and Sports Action Audio.
More kudos went to Frank Mottek for Spot News Audio, Linda Nunez for Editing, Cindy Dole for General News Audio and Rory Markas for Feature Audio. Reporter Michael Ambrosini earned double honors in Investigative Reporting and General News Writing. Continuous Story and Spot News Coverage awards went to the KNX staff, while General Manager George Nicholaw and Editorial Director David Ysias won for Editorial.
Matt Drudge of Net Fame
Internet pundit and Fox TV host Matt Drudge is taking his successful WABC 770 AM New York talk radio program to the rest of the country via syndication. KABC now airs the program locally on Sundays, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
In other personality shuffling at 790 AM, Joe Crummey returned to his Saturday and Sunday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. schedule, following John and Ken's debut July 1. Former KBIG DJs, Mark Taylor and Guy Davis, who substituted for Crummey, present an issues-oriented show on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Film critic Rod Lurie bid his listeners farewell July 3; he wants to become a full-time movie director.
Marquee Names on 1110
KNBC-TV anchor Kelly Lange has returned to her radio roots with a regular talk show Sundays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on KRLA 1110 AM. The newswoman started as a traffic reporter for KABC 790 AM. Famed O.J. Simpson trial prosecutor Marcia Clark has brought her knack for passion-packed rhetoric to KRLA. The program director, Ron Escarsega, is pleased with her performance as a substitute host for Dr. Toni Grant, and most recently, for Michael Jackson. Escarsega said he will schedule the attorney-turned-author more often.
TV News Shows on Radio
Although KRLA is not the first radio station to simulcast a TV show, it may be the first major station to air one during afternoon drive-time. In July, the talk station started broadcasting the Channel 2 (KCBS-TV) 6 p.m. newscast. The move chops off the last hour of Minyard & Minyard.
KNX 1070 AM simulcasts the popular investigative CBS TV news magazine "60 Minutes," Sunday nights from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and its spin-off, "60 Minutes II," Tuesday nights from 9 to 10 with Dan Rather, Charlie Rose, Vicki Mabrey and Bob Simon. KFWB 980 AM has broadcast "Larry King Live" weeknights from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. since March. For many years, public station KUSC 91.5 FM aired "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" until dropping the PBS TV show in favor of classical music.
KEZY Turns 'Mix 95.9'
Calling itself "The Best Mix of the '80s, '90s and '70s," KEZY 95.9 FM, Clear Channel's relatively recent acquisition in Orange County, has adopted new call letters and a new sound featuring less '80s music and a more uptempo blend of hits. The communications giant transferred the call letters to its sister AM; KORG 1190 AM is now KEZY-AM, while the FM changes to KXMX-FM. The programming on AM continues as a mix of ethnic and brokered-time shows. After programming Mix 95.7 in San Diego, Ron Price came on as program director of 95.9. The lineup is Ran Man in the mornings, Angel in middays and Ron Price oversees afternoons. The station is seeking to fill more positions.
This year Program Director Dave Cooke has been refurbishing the city's first all-news radio station. Kathleen Sullivan joined News 98 veteran Dan Avey and former local TV anchor Bob Jimenez as part of the new KFWB 980 AM morning news team in the spring. She served as a morning fill-in on KABC 790 in 1997, when Cooke was programming the talk station. The Emmy winner is familiar to TV viewers through her coverage of the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. At its founding in 1979, CNN hired the news vet as its first anchor. Her past host positions include "Good Morning America," "CBS This Morning" and "E News Daily."
"The station will have more personality, more focus on the reporters and on international business," said Pam Baker, KFWB director of marketing and promotions.
The station launched the "KFWB Business Hour" with information from Dow Jones, Bloomberg and CNN, plus a daily report on "the business of show business." (KNX 1070 AM began its own daily "KNX Business Hour," Feb. 9, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. with Charles Laszlo, Bob McCormick and Randy Riddle.)
"The Big Nasty" Joe McDonnell brought his journalism skills and gift for gab to News 98 as the afternoon sports reporter (broadcasts at 15 minutes and 45 minutes past the hour) in February. McDonnell is highly regarded as a sports talk entertainer. However, since the city has yet to produce a bona fide ratings winner in the radio sports talk arena, McDonnell's career has been haphazard at best. After recently losing the afternoon gig at KXTA-AM 1150, KABC picked him up for a general talk program on Saturday evenings, where he performed well. Now his expansive personality is compressed into short form for KFWB's rapid-fire news format.
Cooke has added the audio feed from CNN's "Larry King Live," which airs nightly from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The monthly "Ask the Mayor" program hosted by morning anchor Kathleen Sullivan is another recently added segment. Other new weekday features are "The Motor Trend Minute" with consumer automotive news at 1:57 p.m., 5:57 p.m. and 10:27 p.m. and "Alan Mendelson's Best Buys" at 12:27 p.m. and 6:27 p.m.
Three years ago, the FCC authorized KFWB to raise its power from 5,000 to 50,000 watts. Baker predicted that the boost will come through this year. Recently, KFWB engineers have been tweaking the AM to improve the station's sound.
'60s DJs Back on Top
The guy with a voice that personifies the album-oriented rock sound and who helped Tim Allen break out as a major-league comic returned to KLOS 95.5 FM afternoons (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.) earlier this year. Following his dismissal in 1994, Geno Michellini made a go at talk radio with a weekend show on KFI 640 AM. After his talk gig, the 11-year KLOS talent returned to rock radio on the Inland Empire's KCAL-FM. In the '80s, Michellini created a minor L.A. radio institution: the daily "Five O'Clock Funnies," which spotlights a different comedian every day. Tim Allen was a favorite when Michellini introduced the program, which has consistently attracted a large following.
Bringing back Michellini marks the first major move by newly appointed KLOS-FM Program Director Rita Wilde. (Former afternoon driver Garth Kemp is now a regular TV weatherman on KABC-TV Channel 7.)
Wilde's next big move was reviving free-form rock, by giving Jim Ladd free rein in picking music for his nightly show. She changed his shift from early evenings to the 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. slot , and Gary Moore moved to Ladd's slot.
"This is heaven," Ladd said. "I have sets running through my head all day. Basically, all my sets [of songs] are thematic. That's the way I program the show. Each set has a beginning, middle and end. It's the way radio should be; it shouldn't be background noise."
The late evening/night time slot is where Ladd made a name for himself working at the legendary KMET-FM 94.7 (now "The Wave") for nine years.
"When every phone line is lit at 1:30 in the morning, you know something is happening," Ladd exclaimed. "People are calling me and telling me how excited they are about this."
Ladd chose "Unchained" by Van Halen as his first song on his new free-form radio show.
Ladd appreciates his good fortune compared to DJs at other stations, where the music is out of their control.
"There are a lot of very talented people out there who are not allowed to do radio shows," Ladd said.
KROQ's New Sports Guy
Paul "Action" Jackson scored the title of "The Sports Guy" for KROQ's Kevin and Bean Show. He was hired in July through listener auditions. Jimmy "The Sports Guy" Kimmel exited from the Kevin and Bean Show Jan. 28. The five-year vet of the show departed to host "Win Ben Stein's Money" and the "The Man Show" on "Comedy Central."
KLAC Lineup Complete
KLAC 570 AM named Bill Nesbitt as operations manager and midday air personality for the standards, swing and big band music station earlier this year. Nesbitt handles day-to-day programming duties, in addition to his daily 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift.
"Bill's music talent and passion for swing and big band music make him a natural for this format," KLAC Programming Consultant Bob Hamilton said.
Before joining KLAC, Nesbitt was a part-time air talent at the Westwood One Radio Network's Hot Country format. He served as production director and operations manager at K-Lite for two years. Locally, Nesbitt worked on-air at KYSR-FM, KWIZ-FM and KEZY-FM. As a trumpet player for the new Glenn Miller Band, Nesbitt has traveled the world.
Joe Daniels replaced Gary Thompson in the afternoon spot briefly occupied by Johnny Magnus, a weekender. Unlike his predecessor, Daniels has a background in pop standards, having rubbed elbows with Magnus and other top air personalities of the genre while working part-time at KPRZ-AM 1150 (now XTRA Sports 1150). Daniels also had on-air stints at KIIS-FM 102.7, KRTH-FM 101.1 and Westwood One, as well as producing for Dick Haynes at KLAC in the '70s.
When not preempted by sports, 570 now presents "The Swing Lounge" weeknights from 9 p.m. to midnight with Jimmy D. The program offers classic swing with the best of the new artists such as The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Royal Crown Revue and Indigo Swing. "Jukebox Saturday Night" at 9 p.m. features the stars of big band: Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.
Y-107's Morning Show
Modern rock "Y-107" (KLYY-FM 107.1) acquired a morning show that combines comedy, music and interviews. The show stars San Luis Obispo air personality Mark Wilson, joined by Frank Murphy, former producer of KLOS-FM 95.5's Mark and Brian Show and Ted Schermerhorn, a.k.a. Anthony, the producer of "The Robin & Maynard Show" in Seattle. Weekend KCRW-FM music DJ Anne Litt handles news and traffic duties.
Wilson, a native of Iron River, Mich., has an extensive background both in stand-up comedy and music as a blues/fusion pianist and vocalist.
"There are a lot of really good people in L.A.," Wilson said of his move from the nation's 167th market to the No. 2 radio town. "But a lot of them have been there a long time. I think they get into the L.A. mentality, and they lose the edge. My show itself is a kind of stream of consciousness because of my background in stand-up comedy. It's hard to say exactly what the show is about. It's ad-libbed, off-the-cuff humor, which is what I like to do."
Fired by KIIS; Hired by KBIG
Last spring the big guns at top 40 KIIS-FM 102.7. fired midday player Billy Burke. As a full hour had already been carved out of his shift for "Fabrice's Fabulous Flashbacks at Noon"-- the same guy who was once half of Milli Vanilli -- it seemed an odd move for a station in the midst of a ratings renaissance.
No sooner out the door at KIIS, Burke was quickly snapped up by adult contemporary KBIG-FM 104.3, which had been hunting for a suitable evening show host since dropping the syndicated love phones of "Delilah."
"I was fired on a Tuesday and hired on a Friday," said Burke of that fateful week. "What's strange is that Steve [Streit, program director of KBIG] was trying to reach me at the same time I was trying to call him. I was listening to them, and I liked what I heard."
Burke has no problem with his former employer.
"They decided to go with an all-music format in middays and have listeners announce the songs," Burke said. "They had done some research; and they wanted to emphasize the music, and I'm a radio personality. There are no hard feelings; I mean this is radio. God sometimes pushes you out a window, and you wake up and realize it's time to do something new. I mean, what was I going to be, an old CHR disk-jockey?"
KGIL Morning Man Returns
A streak of bad luck finally ended for Jeff Rollins, morning man on KGIL-AM 1260/1650. In 1996, the adult standards syndicated personality was sidelined when KLAC-AM 570 preempted all but the 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. portion of his Westwood One syndicated show with "Imus in the Morning." KLAC phased out the Westwood One service, replacing it with local DJs. KGIL picked up the Valencia-based network programming, and Rollins was back on in L.A. at last.
In January, the velvet-voiced announcer's doctors discovered a tumor behind his ear. Surgery revealed the growth was benign. After returning to his morning show, Rollins experienced some dizziness. "His equilibrium was off," said Chick Watkins, Westwood One Adult Standards program director and midday personality. "He came back to work a little too early."
In May, a fully rested Rollins was back on the air in his 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. time period.
Newer Songs on KRTH 101
The Beatles were well-represented on Memorial Day weekend in the K-Earth 101 countdown of the top 300 songs with 31 on the list. The oldies station has been adding songs from the '70s and '80s. "Every Breath You Take" by the Police popped up last summer. But now more post-'60s songs such as "Daniel" by Elton John, the Eagles' "Lyin' Eyes," Steely Dan's "Do it Again," Earth, Wind & Fire's "After the Love has Gone" and Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move" apparently have permanent places in the KRTH-FM 101.1 pantheon of superstars.
KNX Sports Announcer Hangs Up Phones
Longtime KNX-AM 1070 sportscaster Fred Gallagher bid farewell to his listeners on Memorial Day. Since 1980, Gallagher has provided 1070 listeners with updates on sports scores and happenings every half-hour. His suave delivery was also heard on all-news KFWB-AM 980 between 1971 and 1980. Gallagher avoided that all-too-common affectation among sportscasters of sounding as if he had just run 10 laps or were giving a half-time pep talk.
Radio-Music TV Awards
Some of the figures in radio who play a key role in finding popular hits will find themselves center screen next fall at the debut of the WB Radio Music Awards Oct. 2. The project is the brainchild of two executives at KIIS 102.7: Paul Joseph, executive producer of Rick Dees' morning show and of "Rick Dees and the Weekly Top 40," and Von Freeman, marketing director for Clear Channel in Los Angeles. Anthony Eaton, a three-time Grammy winner for his work in rock videos, is another heavyweight behind this new TV show that seeks to highlight radio's relationship to the creation of hit records.
"Five years ago, no one would have listened to us," Joseph said. "The attitude of people in TV about radio has really changed in the last few years. They understand radio's power."
The two-hour awards program will recognize musicians and bands in six genres-- pop/rock, country, hip hop/rap, alternative rock, classic pop/rock and soul/R&B -- as well as top-air radio personalities across the country. Nominations for the awards will be based on the amount of radio airplay during the past year,; and 400 top radio program executives will vote for the winners. For two days leading up to the awards ceremony, 50 major stations will broadcast live from the event in Las Vegas. The executive advisory board includes L.A. programmers Rick Cummings (KPWR 105.9 FM "Power 106"), Dan Kieley (KIIS 102.7 FM) and Kevin Weatherly (KROQ 106.7 FM "K-Rock").
KIIS-FM's Music Man
Top 40 is back in vogue.
"It's top 40's time again," said Michael Steele, KIIS-FM's new music director. "You got Madonna winning five Grammys -- Ricky Martin, 'N Sync." Steele replaced the well-respected Tracy Austin, who has moved on to become program director of "Kiss F" in Hartford, Conn. With 15 years under his belt at stations from Charlotte, N.C. to Omaha, Neb., and many stops in between, Steele finished up two and half years in San Diego's KFMB-FM before graduating to the No. 2 radio town.
"There's not a bad competitor in the market," said Steele of his electronic neighbors up and down the dial. "It's great for the radio listener. You have the creme de la creme to choose from."
Arbitron Adjusts Method
Were the Spanish-speaking listeners counted more accurately this fall?
"All Latin stations benefited from the diary placements," said new KLAX Program Director Phil Jones, referring to Arbitron's newly implemented "segmentation" methodology. "Now we'll see if the advertisers are aware."
Last fall, for the first time, Arbitron divided Los Angeles into five parts or "segments." Although diaries are still distributed randomly, the divisions allow for greater precision in estimating the radio audiences for each station, according to Arbitron.
"The ad agencies will find it easier to correlate station performance according to geographic area," said Tom Mocarsky, Arbitron's communications VP. "The [diary] distribution will be a little more uniform."
KBLA-AM: 'Radio Unica'
Florida-based "Radio Unica" gained market-wide coverage of Los Angeles when it signed on to 50,000-watt KBLA 1580 AM Jan. 1. The Santa Monica-licensed station significantly expands the Spanish Network's beyond the reach of Simi Valley affiliate KVCA 670 AM. The year-old service, which claims to be the largest Hispanic news network in the United States, provides a 24-hour news and information service for Spanish-speaking listeners, coast to coast. Beginning with a three-hour morning news program, the network broadcasts news four times an hour amid a variety of entertainment, news-talk, sports and music features. Personalities include: Pedro Sevcec, Maria Elena Salinas, Cristina, Dr. Isabel Gomez-Bassols and sportscaster Jorge Ramos.
Mega -SoCal Girl
Midday personality Christina Kelly jams information about the artist between the "jammin' " oldies at Mega 100 (KCMG 100.3 FM) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.
"I'm always watching VH-1 or public TV or reading Rolling Stone," Kelley said. "I'm always interested in the stories behind the artists."
She dreamed of working as an investigative journalist for the Los Angeles Times. While majoring in communications at Cal State Fullerton, a journalism professor encouraged her to pursue radio. Unable to find time for an internship at a local newspaper, she transferred to Fullerton Community College to study radio broadcasting at night. KMET's Jim Ladd was her inspiration.
"They were so L.A.," she exclaimed. "They owned the town."
Her career started in Newport Beach, expanded across the country to Louisiana and up to Washington D.C. Her friendly voice kept the "churban" (a combination of urban and contemporary pop hits) station at No. 1 in her time period for six out of her seven years in the nation's capital.
"They fired me when they went to a more hard, hip-hop thing," she recalled. "They replaced me with a local rap star; she lasted about two months. Then they tried another person like that. They ended up hiring a person with more radio experience who sounded a lot like me!"
Driving Show on KRLA
KRLA 1110 AM's "The Driving Show" began as the dream of two traffic school instructors, Kenny Morse, a.k.a., "Mr. Traffic" and Reed Berry "The Traffic Guy" last fall.
"Reed and I were pitching program directors for a year," Morse said. "[KLSX-FM Program Director] Jack Silver said, 'great demo tape and package' but didn't offer us anything. Our package was made to look like a '57 Chevy with a tape in the front seat."
However, a guest shot on KLSX's Conway & Steckler Show (7 p.m. to 10 p.m. weeknights) proved to be a boon. The hosts had spoken to Ron Escarsega, program director for the soon-to-turn talk, KRLA (KLSX's sister station).
"We knew we had to hit a home run," said Morse of their appearance on the FM Talk Station.
Recently, they added three hours of general talk, Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Both keep their day jobs teaching at the Improv Comedy Traffic School. Morse has performed with improv troupes around the county and earned the moniker "Mr. Traffic" on public access Cable TV.
The first hour deals with driver-related news and tackles such issues as tickets, road rage and mechanic rip-offs.
"Most people don't repair cars, but they drive them," Morse said.
Within the first few months on the air, Morse had booked Steve Allen, Jerry Dunphy, Wink Martindale, Steve Allen, and Dennis Franz, among others.
Partner Reed Berry left the show in July, and Morse renamed the evening show "Saturday Nights with Kenny Morse and Friends." "The Traffic Jam" is now "The Driving Show."
All-traffic radio "K-Traffic" (KKTR 1650 AM) signed off last spring. The 24-hour stream of freeway delays, accidents and Sigalerts was not a commercially viable format, according to KKTR-AM and KGIL 1260 AM Operations Director Jim Roope. A major problem facing the traffic station was that Arbitron, the company that measures radio audiences, would not give credit to the station for listening under five minutes. Roope said that although many people were tuning for a quick traffic report, the short-term listening reported by the station's audience in the Arbitron diaries made selling time to advertisers difficult.
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