[../../../_private/magazine_tmp.htm]

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 tiny
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.

Radio Deadhead
   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.
Satellite Feedings
   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.

News Flash
   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 Off
   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 in-depth news."
   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.

Format Foibles
   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

BACK TO MAG