Pix Are Coming
Comings and Goings
KSON lovers will wake up to a new set of voices.
The county's top-rated station selected Tony Randall and Chris
Rochester as the new morning team. Mike Novak and Kathy White
moved to afternoon and evening shifts for the country music station.
The 25-year-old Randall and the 23-year-old Rochester hail from
WHMA in Anniston, Ala.
"They're ready to come to San Diego and
do big things," KSON program director Mike Shepard said.
"They have good chemistry between them. They'll bring more
creativity to the morning show." Because of their relative
inexperience, KSON hired Randall and Rochester for less than
some of the veteran jock interviewees demanded, according to
Shepard. "We would rather do that than pay $500,000 and
deal with some prima donna and laziness," Shepard said.
"Randall and Rochester are going to have to grow with the
station." Popular night-time DJ Ralphie the Judge, who hosted
"Q106 on Trial," left Q106 in mid-August for 92Q (WERQ-FM)
in Baltimore where he'll work an afternoon-drive slot.."His
big goal was to do mornings or an afternoon show," Q106
program director Tracy Johnson said.
Former late-night guy, Dave Smiley, who at
over Ralphie's 7 p.m. to midnight slot. "He's just a kid,"
Johnson said of Smiley. "But he's just terrific. It won't
take him long. He could end up being one of the best in the business."
Karen Kay, a native San Diegan and a part-timer with Q106 for
five years, assumed the overnight post vacated by Smiley. KMZQ
in Las Vegas snatched Judy Puente, who worked as a part-time
DJ at Q106 and Sunny 103.7, to fill its morning position. In
mid-July, KBest hired a new program director, Al Connors, to
replace Rich "Brother" Robbin who left for KCBQ in
June. Connors came from KRTH, a big oldies station in L.A., which
reportedly sold for a record $110 million.
Hoping to improve its lackluster ratings, classic
rock station KCLX inducted Jack Silver as its new program director.
KCLX originally brought in Silver as a consultant. Silver has
loads of experience, including programming tenures in some of
the country's largest markets. He was most recently at WLUP,
a talk station in his native Chicago. Prior to his hometown gig,
Silver was the producer of the Rick Dees show at KIIS in Los
Angeles. "I know the [classic rock] format very well,"
Silver said. "I've come full circle. It's funny. When I
was younger and working at AOR stations, this stuff was current."
Silver said no radical changes are in store right off the bat,
but he does think the station needs to improve its promotions.
"I'm still in reconnaissance," he
said. "We need to stretch our marketing muscle. KCLX needs
to hit the streets." KCLX also promoted music director Keith
Miller, once the favorite to become the new program director.
Miller is now executive producer and director of marketing. Jammin'
Z90 afternoon disc jockey El Gato split town for Q102 in Philadelphia.
Program director Steve Wall is filling Gato's shoes until the
new cat arrives.
The "Oldies Revolution"
Talk about oxymorons. How about a format billed
as "new oldies"? Leave it to the innovative Rich "Brother"
Robbin, program director of KCBQ 105.3, to give it a whirl. On
July 31, KCBQ said goodbye to its all-'60s oldies format and
introduced the "Oldies Revolution." Robbin designed
the new format, an up-tempo sound that includes hits from the
'70s and '80s. According to a statement from the station, Compass
Communications, the owners of KCBQ, carried out "extensive
research that validated the concept and proved it would appeal
strongly to the heart of the San Diego audience.""This
was a deliberate attempt to break out of the prevailing mind-set
in radio," Robbin said. "We wanted to give our listeners
some real variety." Variety, indeed. Now listeners can hear
anything from Simple Minds to Journey to '70s disco and funk.
"We had no idea what to call it,"
Robbin said. "So we exposed listeners to a sample hour of
music. Overwhelmingly, they told us it was oldies. And once again,
we learned that listeners just don't categorize songs like radio
operators do." To go along with the new format, KCBQ hired
new on-air talent to bolster its character, which was already
strong with Shotgun Tom Kelly. The new morning-drive team consists
of Royce Blake and The World Famous Goat Boy. Jeff Stewart took
over the midday slot, and Nixon Low is the new late-night guy.
Morning After Poor B100. First Jeff & Jer
jump ship; now their replacement is gone. KFMB-FM thought it
had landed a winner for the morning-drive show with Philadelphia
funny man John Lander. He stayed on the air just three weeks
before the station suspended him because of "philosophical
differences" as general manager Paul Palmer termed the problem.
The two never ironed out their differences, which revolved around
Lander's propensity for telling distasteful and ethnic jokes
on the air. Now Lander's back in Philly looking for work, and
B100 is looking for a new morning personality. Lander's fondness
for stereotyping enraged members of the Hispanic community who
flooded the KFMB phone lines, demanding his dismissal. Lander
told The Philadelphia Inquirer that B100 violated the creative
control stipulations in his contract. "It came down to no
jokes about women, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, lesbians, gays or
religious," Lander said. "Yuppie humor is all I would
have had left, except they would have put that off-limits too.
The audience was very conservative.
"You can't hire a spontaneous morning
show and then shackle them. If you don't want to handle the stress
of this, then go into beautiful music." Apparently, Philadelphians
are a bit more appreciative of Lander's humor. When he was with
Eagle 106 in the City of Brotherly Love, his show ranked third
behind Howard Stern and a news/talk station, according to Arbitron
figures. "Lander, even at his worst, pales by comparison
to Howard Stern," said Joe Logan, the Inquirer's radio columnist.But
then that's why Stern isn't heard in these parts. Jools Brandt,
who Lander chose as his partner, remains on B100's morning show
with temps Larry Himmel and Frank Anthony.
If you're a Deadhead, you probably already
know that KCLX airs a new show called "The Grateful Dead
Hour" on Sunday nights from 11 p.m. to midnight. Produced
in San Francisco, the program consists of recordings of Grateful
Dead concerts. Grateful Dead historian David Gans, who's written
several books on the San Francisco band with a cult following,
hosts the show. "It's been very successful,'' KCLX's Keith
Miller said. "It gives people a chance to hear what made
[the Dead] successful, which is their live performances."
The Shadow Knows
Irv Harrigan, formerly half of KCBQ's Charlie & Harrigan
morning team, took a new title: general manager of Shadow Broadcast
Services' San Diego bureau. According to Harrigan, Shadow, which
began as a CB radio club in Philadelphia in the '70s, offers
stations a superior alternative to Metro's news service.
"We're an honest-to-goodness news staff,"
he said. "We feel we're going to have a tremendous product.
Nothing against Metro, but here our focus is on news. Metro's
been quickly thrown together." Shadow, like Metro, is a
free service to stations that need to tighten their budgets.
KYXY and KFSD carry Shadow newscasts. Rock 102 and its sister
station, KGMG, agreed to use the service, starting Sept. 13.
KGMG 1320 AM, the Adult Standards sister station
to Rock 102, is now hooked up to the same ABC satellite feed
previously used by KSPA 1450 AM, which dumped the service at
the end of July. "The music was just awful, and our ratings
went right in the toilet," KSPA program director Dave Dame
said. Despite KSPA's grumblings, KGMG is optimistic the new service
will improve its ratings. KGMG operations manager Rich Allen
said the station showed higher numbers a few years ago when it
used a similar satellite hookup.Allen advised listeners not to
fret about a complete loss of local programming. "People
keep saying, 'You guys don't have any local programming now,'
" he said. "That's not true." KGMG held on to
the "Golden Page of Music," a nostalgia music program
hosted by San Diego radio legend Rod Page.
KGMG licked its chops at "The Good Food
News Hour," a cooking show hosted by Jayne Bonsietti of
Fallbrook, previously heard on KSPA. Now the cook sends her audio
aromas from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. from KGMG on weekdays. She usually
brings some samples to the station, much to the delight of the
studio staff. "Oh yeah, she's always bringing something
in, cookies and pastries; it's great," Allen said. "We're
all getting fat around here."
He raved about her garlic bread stuffed with oysters. Allen's
old show - "The Allen Affair" - ended because of his
extensive management duties. "It's hard to get on the air
now," Allen said. "Being on the air is my first love;
but there's a lot of other things going on here. I'm still here.
I'm just pushing papers."
A Good Replacement
The distinctive whispery voice of Art Good is no longer heard
mornings on KiFM's newscasts. Eric J. Chambers replaced Good
as KiFM's news director in early August. Good was swamped with
his musical duties.
"We're very proud to have Eric."
KiFM program director Bob O'Connor said. "Art has so much
work to do with his music program and Jazz Trax [a nationally
syndicated show.] "We know there are those who like Art's
delivery and miss him. He's one of those you either love or hate."
Chambers, a New Orleans native, started his
journalism career as a 13-year-old sports writer for the Louisiana
Daily Sentry News. Before joining KiFM, Chambers served as news
editor and reporter at KGTV Channel 10 where he stayed for seven
and a half years. He planned to keep the TV gig, but Channel
claimed it was a conflict of interest," Chambers said. "Some
people said I was taking a step backwards. I think a lot of radio
people aspire to be on television. I don't regret it all. I loved
it there. By nomeans is my TV career over."Chambers said
he'll work as a free-lance TV reporter if any offers materialize.
Mike Hansen is temporarily maneuvering the
morning drive for the new Pop Alternative station, 92.5 the Flash.
Hansen, a graduate of the Columbia School of Broadcasting, came
to San Diego at the end of July from KRCH, an album-oriented
rock station in Minneapolis. Although the Flash is gunning for
the same audience as 91X, Hansen, 27, insisted he doesn't feel
pressure to compete against the rival morning show - 91X funny
guys Berger, Prescott and Nailz. "Not at all," Hansen
said. "We're not personality-driven. We just play a lot
of music. I love [the format]. I've never seen anything like
it." Progam director Sherman Cohen plans to hire a more
seasoned morning person. He said listeners don't have to worry
about hearing too much annoying chit-chat. "I was trying
to put together a morning show," Cohen said. "We have
a listener advisory board. All the calls and faxes we get from
listeners say they want more music. We're playing the most music
of any station in San Diego now. We want to keep it uncluttered."
News Service Takes
Nine local stations signed up for the 2-month-old
Metro News Service. Its birth cost veteran news director Ted
Tillotson his job: Sunny 103.7 is the latest to enlist. "That's
the nature of the business," Tillotson said. "It's
the wave of the smaller independent stations. I guess [Sunny]
decided to save some money. They're obviously not concerned with
Tillotson, a radio newsman with 30-plus years
of experience - 20 of those at various stations in the San Diego
market - served Sunny for a year. Prior to his Sunny stint, he
was out of radio for six years. His video production business
- Video Technics - kept him occupied. Tillotson said he'll continue
producing videos and working as a free-lance writer. But he hopes
to join another station or even a news service like Metro. "I
won't starve to death," he said. "It is tough to make
money in the video business. I'm doing a lot of networking right
now." The other stations that opted for the Metro News Service
are: KOWF 92.1, KSPA 1450, KPOP 1360, KKOS 95.9, KPRZ 1210, Jammin'
Z90, XHRM 92.5 "the Flash" and KCEO 1000.
Jammin' Z90's program director Steve Wall said
Radio San Diego Magazine erroneously listed his station's format
as urban contemporary in its first issue. The format, according
to Wall, isn't urban at all. "We all have our own formats,''
he said. "We're Top 40/Dance." Q106 program director
Tracy Johnson begs to differ. "I'd have a hard time describing
[Jammin' Z90] as Top 40,"
Johnson said. "I pulled out the playlists
of both stations and compared the top 30 songs, and I think only
four songs were the same. To me, Z90 is very urban." Not
so, counters Wall. "I can see how the old [Hot 92.5 XHRM]
might have been urban contemporary," Wall said. "We're
all just trying to fill a void. "I'd say Q106 is Top 40
all-over-the-road. Q106 is obviously making refinements to its
programming. We all are." Actually, the term Top 40 is almost
passť. Instead, radio people prefer to call the format
Contemporary Hit Radio - a term that probably confuses listeners
more than anything else.
"That's a '90s term,"
Johnson said of Contemporary Hit Radio. "I guess a lot of
people just decided Top 40 needed to grow up. I know our listeners
still call it Top 40. "I hate putting labels on anything.
I consider us to be a mainstream Top 40 station."
- BEN STURTEVANT