Friday, February 16, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #208

Radio: February 16, 2018

Over two decades ago I asked for a new modem -- remember those? -- for my Macintosh 5200 for one reason only: I wanted to be able to access the files stored at Uncle Ricky’s Radio Repository, also known as www.reelradio.com.

A virtual museum of recordings -- airchecks -- focussing primarily on radio’s top-40 heydays, though there is a smattering of other material, ReelRadio is my guilty pleasure. Via RealRadio, I can transport myself to the 1960s and hear the early years of Boss Radio KHJ (930 AM) and such personalities as Robert W. Morgan, Sam Riddle, Roger Christian, Charlie Tuna, and “The Real” Don Steele. Or Chicago’s WLS and WCFL. And much more.

It is the largest collection of airchecks on the internet. And while much of the material can be found elsewhere, not all of it can be. Nor is any other site as easily searchable.

It hasn’t always been easy. It costs a lot of money to run due to various fees, including licensing, servers and streaming. Site curator Richard Irwin has tried asking for donations and sponsorships through the years, with mixed success. Files are encoded with Real Audio, at one time an advanced system of encoding; unfortunately Real abandoned support for the early versions of Real Audio, and it takes a lot of time to re-encode thousands of files.

Then there was piracy. And legal costs related to music licensing. And a decline in site visits (and a related decline in donations). But Irwin kept it going, albeit with fewer updates. Now it appears that all that combined, along with increasing age and declining health on the part of Irwin may make it’s current year -- 22 -- its last.

The main page of the site stopped accepting new memberships a few weeks ago; now Irwin isn’t even accepting donations.

“I cannot in good conscience accept donations when I cannot update the site,” he wrote in the site’s general comments section. When the money runs out, he says, the site will simply shut down.

That would be a shame. While you can find airchecks elsewhere, there is nothing even close to ReelRadio in scope and depth. If I had the time I would take it over myself. This is just too great of a treasure to let it go.

Catherwood

Thanks to reader Michael Romo, I know where Mike Catherwood ended up after he left Dr. Drew’s show on KABC (790 AM).

“Mike is now part of the ‘Kevin and Bean’ show crew on KROQ (106.7 FM).” Romo wrote. “He's been there for a few weeks; I think his first major stint was when they went to New York City for the Grammys in late January. He was an in-studio guest when they announced he would be joining the show.

“Mike does segments similar to what Ralph Garman did - he does some celebrity impersonations. Also, Kevin and Bean will read a headline about a controversial company or organization that is in the news, they will pretend to call the company/organization to get more details, and Mike will portray a spokesman who makes outlandish comments about the news topic.”

Closer to the Edge

iHeart Radio is one step closer to bankruptcy, according to numerous sources. The owner of eight stations locally including KFI (640 AM), KIIS-FM (102.7) and KOST (103.5 FM) has been negotiating with lenders for a “prepackaged” deal that would give its debt holders almost 90 percent of the equity in a reconfigured iHeart.

At least one observer says that this means iHeart will be selling off stations to help pay down the debt, in my opinion what it should have been doing years ago. According to one source: the era of media consolidation, at least in radio, is over. Let’s hope he’s right.

Cross Ownership

The FCC ruled that -- like the early days of radio -- newspapers are now allowed to own radio stations again. As I recall, the L.A. Times once owned KHJ (930 AM) ... think I could convince management of this newspaper to buy it (or another) so we can really put our programming ideas to the test?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #207



Radio: February 9, 2018

For years we have been told that radio consolidation has been a good thing. Allowing a few companies to own the majority of the stations would lead to cost savings, more creativity, and more formats.

Those not wearing tin foil hats knew the consolidation promises were lies, intended only for early investors to build a portfolio and cash out, leaving investors, employees and even listeners holding the bag as the pyramid scheme could not sustain itself.

Prior to consolidation, radio was worth a lot. Competing creative formats brought in listeners, ad revenues were strong, and radio looked solid. In the consolidation years, listeners got tired of bland repetitive formats and found alternatives, ad revenue dropped, and radio is worth so little that even CBS got out.

Recently Cumulus Radio entered bankruptcy after failing to make an interest payment on the $2 billion in debt it owes. It hopes to restructure into a leaner company more able to compete. Hard to say it it will work, but the odds are long with the news that came out this week.

iHeart Radio, once known as Clear Channel and one of the largest radio company in the world -- including ownership of KFI (640 AM), KEIB (1150 AM), KLAC (570 AM), KBIG (104.3 FM), KOST (103.5 FM), KIIS-FM (102.7) KRRL (92.3), and KYSR (98.7 FM) locally -- seems to be playing the same card as Cumulus by withholding an interest payment of $106 million, a partial amount of the interest owed on a debt that totals roughly $20 billion.

iHeart told industry website AllAccess.Com that it actually has the money but is withholding the payment to "proactively and comprehensively address iHEART's capital structure."

The Wall Street Journal is unconvinced, reporting that they expect iHeart to declare bankruptcy by the end of March. According to the Journal, such a move follows “a decade of ballooning debt and faltering growth, drawing the curtain on one of the biggest leveraged buyouts before the 2008 financial crisis.”

The problem of course is that most restructuring in radio leaves the people who created the problem in charge after all is said and done. What really needs to happen is the return of local control so that radio serves local communities better and returns listeners to the bands. If it isn’t too late.

Changes

Mike Kaplan, former programmer of Alt 98.7, did leave the station on his own terms. He’s moved to New York to program a new alternative station owned by Entercom.
Mike Catherwood is gone from the Dr. Drew Midday Live show on KABC. No word on the reason, but replacing him as co-host with Dr. Drew Pinsky is KTTV Channel 11 news anchor Lauren Sivan, who also is a fill-in news anchor at KABC itself. The show is heard in San Francisco on KGO as well as in Los Angeles; that part is likely a cost-cutting move. 

Seriously, Sirius

To the management of SiriusXM Satellite Radio: Please drop the really bad segments that either recreate old movies or songs (etc.) working “‘70s on 7” into the script or lyrics. They are almost cringeworthy when they come on; the DJ or a jingle would be a vastly superior alternative.
Speaking of SiriusXM: The Billy Joel channel has returned and will be heard on Channel 30 through March 3rd. Love Billy Joel? This is where you want to be.

Radio: February 2, 2018

People love Christmas music. Even more this past season than last year.

As expected, KOST (103.5 FM) clobbered everyone with its annual holiday music format it runs for just over a month. For the “Holiday 2017” ratings period that covered most of December, KOST earned an 11.7 share in the Nielsen ratings, a point more than last year and more than double second place KBIG’s (104.3 FM) 5.7.

In case you’re wondering why the “Holiday” ratings period covers much of December while the “December” ratings are mostly in November, blame it on our calendar. Nielsen breaks ratings into 13 four-week periods, so the “monthly” ratings don’t align with the months themselves, except for the first of the year.

Christmas competitor Go Country (105.1 FM) is a way behind KOST but still does well with the holiday music -- almost a full point jump from December’s 2.1 to Holiday’s 2.9.

KROQ (106.7 FM) beat Alt (98.7 FM), mostly by not dropping as much as Alt. While the two were tied in December at 2.6, for the Holiday period KROQ earned a 2.4 while Alt earned 2.2.

KFI (640 AM) was solidly in the middle of the top-10, with a 3.9 share and 6th place. KNX was close behind in 9th place, but a full point behind at 1.9. The next AM station isn’t found until 29th place where KEIB (1150 AM) and KRLA (870 AM) tie at 1.0. Former talk leader KABC (790 AM) has dropped so low (0.4 ... I believe the lowest rating in the history of the station) that it is seriously time to consider alternative formats. I personally favor full service music, news and sports such as heard on the original KMPC (now KSPN 710 AM) years ago. 

How to kill a station in one fell swoop? start playing satellite-fed music that is already done better by others. The Sound (100.3 FM) changed to satellite-delivered (translation: cheap) contemporary Christian music in mid November. Ratings have since plummeted, from 2.8 in November as The Sound, 1.2 with just two weeks of the format in December, and a 0.5 in the Holiday period. The number of listeners dropped as well, from about 1.5 million plus as The Sound to just 372,000 as KKLQ.

Yes, it’s too early to truly judge, as the format is but two months old. But satellite is satellite: no satellite-delivered format, no matter the content, has ever succeeded on a station in Los Angeles. I see no reason to think that K-Love will do any better. The sister format to KKLQ, called Air 1, hasn’t made a showing in spite of being on KYLA (92.7 FM) as well as at least two major Los Angeles HD streams the company leases. Air 1 is satellite as well, with no connection to the local community.
The interesting question is where former Sound listeners went. Looking at the ratings, it appears they left local radio completely, as I predicted. KRTH (101.1 FM) was flat at 4.8, KLOS (95.5 FM) was flat at 2.4, and KCBS-FM (Jack FM, 93.1) dropped a half point to 2.7 from December’s 3.2. That’s lower than The Sound’s last book, in case (former) owner Entercom CEO David Field is paying attention. Remember my column on station growth potential? Field apparently didn’t read it, seeing that he sold the wrong station.

The station of the month? Stevie Wonder’s KJLH (102.3 FM), which earned a solid 2.0 share, 0.5 higher than it has been in at least six months, and the highest share the station has seen in years, if memory serves right. Congratulations on a great job!

The full story: Each rating is an estimate of the percentage of listeners aged 6 and over tuned to a station between 6 a.m. and 12 midnight.
1. KOST 11.9 2. KBIG (5.7) 3. KRTH (4.8) 4. KIIS-FM (4.3) 5. KTWV (4.1) 6. KFI (3.9) 7. KLVE (3.1) 8. KKGO, KNX (2.9) 10. KAMP (2.8)
11. KCBS-FM Jack-FM (2.7) 12. KPWR Power 106 (2.6) 13. KLOS, KPCC, KROQ (2.4) 16. KRCD, KRRL Real 92.3, KSCA (2.3) 19. KXOL, KYSR Alt 98.7 (2.2)
21. KJLH (2.0) 22. KLAX (1.9) 23. KBUE (1.8) 24. KLYY, KUSC (1.7) 26. KXOS (1.4) 27. KCRW (1.3) 28. KDAY (1.1) 29. KEIB, KRLA, KSSE (1.0)
32. KSPN (0.9) 33. KWIZ (0.8) 34. KKJZ (0.7) 35. KSUR K-Surf (0.6) 36. KFSH The Fish, KFWB, KKLQ, KLAC (0.5) 40. KABC (0.4) 41. KTNQ, KWKW, KYLA (0.3) 44. KKLA, KLAA (0.1) 
© 2018 Nielsen. May not be quoted or reproduced without prior written permission from Nielsen.

Radio: January 26, 2018

Another alumnus of The Sound (now KKLQ, 100.3 FM) is joining The New 88.5 FM, at least temporarily.

From January 22nd through February 9th, Andy Chanley fills in for the vacationing Sky Daniels weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. as a Special Guest Host.

Chanley was the first and last voice heard on The Sound. Daniels did weekends on The Sound in the early days, which at the time was an adult album alternative (AAA) station as is 88.5 ...so there is something cosmic here. Former host of the Sound’s Peace, Love and Sunday Mornings, Mimi Chen, was permanently added to 88.5’s staff two weeks ago.

“I’ve been a fan of 88.5 FM for years,” Chanley wrote on the 88.5 website. “It reminds me so much of the great rock stations I’ve been fortunate to be a part of in Southern California. In fact, 88.5 FM sounds a lot like The Sound first set out to be.”

New Alternative PD

Mike Kaplan, who has been an instrumental part of making Alt 98.7 FM the success it is today, has left the alternative rock station as of last week. Replacing him is Lisa Worden, who joined Alt just last November to work with Kaplan as VP of programming for Alt as well as serving as owner iHeart Radio’s alternative format brand manager, a position in which she will continue.

It is unknown if Kaplan left of his own accord; my hunch is yes. No word on where he is going; no major changes are planned for Alt.

Shutdown

As this is being written the Federal Government is undergoing a shutdown. If it continues, the shutdown may affect the Federal Communications Commission, the governing body of radio and television stations, though the agency claims it will be open at least a week regardless of the general shutdown.

Of course, being that the FCC hasn’t actually done anything meaningful or positive in the past three decades, a total shutdown of the Commission would have no effect on the basic operations of broadcast stations ... or even the Do Not Call list that everyone ignores.

I’d put the FCC, its commissioners and staff in the “non-essential” category. Time to gut it, as it serves no purpose.

Real Radio

WKRP in Cincinnati may have been a fictional radio station, but as personalities, programmers, sales staff or anyone else connected with radio will tell you, it was the most realistic radio station ever to appear on television.

It is said that every character on WKRP came, in some way, from a real person known by show creator Hugh Wilson. And that the show, some characters, and many of the antics came from WQXI/Atlanta -- Quixie in Dixie. Wilson was close to WQXI through his work writing ad copy for an advertising agency that provided WQXI with material.

Wilson passed away on January 14th at the age of 74. But like so many in radio who believed he was showcasing their own colleagues in radio, his influence will live on.

Chicago Fun

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Ken Levine’s “Hollywood and Levine” -- available as an iTunes podcast -- you are missing out. Levine’s experience in radio, television, movies and more  -- he wrote for M*A*S*H and was a DJ on Ten-Q as but two examples -- gives him an interesting perspective on all things entertainment.
One of the funnier segments is a story told of when he was given a chance to do a show on WLS/Chicago, a one-time powerful top-40 AM station. I’ll keep it brief, but the story is that, while he had many years of experience on radio, he convinced the DJ on duty just prior to his shift that he had no clue what to do, and that his only connection to radio was that his father (really) happened to be the WLS general manager. The DJ was sweating bullets before he revealed his experience by “hitting the post” of the song played at the top of the hour ... check it out in episode five. And then listen weekly; it is definitely well worth your time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #206

Radio: January 19, 2018

Amp Radio (97.1 FM) is finally getting a new morning show.

Former morning man Carson Daly left the station in July to (supposedly) spend more time with family, though I think money had much to do with it as former owner CBS was cutting numerous positions all last year. Regardless, the station has been without an “official” morning show since Daly left, and numerous observers speculated that perhaps Amp would simply go without.

Putting those rumors to rest, Amp announced last week that Edgar Sotelo and Brian Moote would have wake-up duties beginning in February, though no exact date was given.

Sotelo was last heard on Amp Radio in New York, where he hosted mornings until that station changed to alternative in November. Moote was part of WWWQ/Atlanta’s “The Bert Show.”

Both face formidable competition from a variety of stations such as Alt 98.7’s The Woody Show, KLOS’s (95.5 FM)) Heidi, Frosty and Frank, and Amp’s own sister station KROQ’s Kevin and Bean.
 
But Amp’s main competition is KIIS (102.7 FM), and morning man Ryan Seacrest has been literally calling in his show from New York as he hosts -- at roughly the same time -- television’s Live! with Kelly Ripa ... his radio show acting as a mere promotional tool for his television shows and appearances. This leaves KIIS potentially vulnerable, and may make for some interesting competition.

Kevin on the Weekend

Speaking of Amp Radio, if you haven’t heard Kevin (Schatz) on Amp weekends (6 a.m. to 12 noon, I believe), you’re missing out. The South Bay local boy plays the hits with a special mustache twist ...
Cuts at KCAL

The problem of declining advertising revenues in radio are apparently not hurting just the large group owners that caused the problem. Last week the Inland Empire’s KCAL (96.7 FM) announced cuts that meant the loss of longtime morning hosts James “Jimbo” Smith and Tiffany Angelo, morning producer Steven Kono, and 42-year KCAL personality Michael Stewart, who had been doing overnights.

“The cuts took us by surprise,” said KCAL programmer Darly Norsell who explained that it was even more of a surprise as the station has been doing well in ratings lately.

The cuts apparently came down straight from the station’s owners, Anaheim Broadcasting, which also owns KOLA (99.9 FM) once owned the former KEZY in Anaheim, hence the name. Anaheim Broadcasting is run by Tim Sullivan, once a general manager of KHJ (930 AM) and later KWST (now KPWR, 105.9 FM).

KCAL General Manager Jeff Parke told RAMP.Com that “ownership decided they just couldn’t keep operating KCAL with such high expenses,” adding “this has been really tough, to say the least. All the people we let go are like family.”

Patrick Tish, the remaining member of the former morning show, now hosts a music-intensive show; Frank Garcia, who serves as the station’s production director, has taken overnights. No format change is planned. KCAL was one of the stations I applied to years ago. They turned me down ...

This is an unfortunate situation; I hope KCAL can get back on better financial footing. We need local stations!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #205

Radio: December 12, 2018

One of the weekend highlights of the former classic rock station The Sound (now religious KKLQ, 100.3 FM) was Mimi Chen’s Peace, Love, and Sunday Mornings, an eclectic musical program that truly harkened back to the days of KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) or even KNX-FM (now KCBS-FM, 93.1). When The Sound found God, her show was without a home. At least for a while. 

The obvious place for her show is the new 88.5 FM, formerly known as KCSN. And that’s exactly where she landed.
 
88.5’s facebook page announced on January 5th that “The rumors are true! We are happy to welcome Mimi Chen's Peace, Love and Sunday Mornings to 88.5 FM starting this Sunday 1-3 p.m.”

OK ... Sunday mornings on Sunday afternoon? Perhaps the show needs to change the name to Peace, Love and Sunday Brunch, as one fan (Julie Wysocki) posted on Facebook. For now it’s just Peace, Love and Sunday and started on January 7th. Same show, same vibe. Which is good.

Now all 88.5 has to do is tweak their signal. In spite of a power increase and a simulcast utilizing the same frequency of the former KSBR in Orange County, I can still barely pick up the station at home or in the car. Streaming works, of course, at 885fm.org

Speaking of Signal Issues

Reader Rick Hamilton of San Pedro has a bone to pick with SiriusXM satellite radio. Namely that the signal has been weak lately. “I was stuck in traffic on the freeway a few weeks ago, and the signal just kept dropping out,” he told me. “It got so bad I couldn’t even listen.”

I’ve noticed the same problem ... far  more dead spots than normal. Not so bad that I can’t listen, but I haven’t been stuck in traffic so I quickly travel through the dead spots. I plan to contact their engineering department for an explanation, but before I do, I wanted to ask you: have you been experiencing problems with SiriusXM? If so, send me the location of trouble and I will send a report listing them all. My hunch is that it has to do with un-synchronized land-based signal boosters. If you happen to know which system you are using (Sirius, XM or the newer SiriusXM) that would be helpful.

Radio’s Problems

I’ve been on a clock-radio kick lately: my Boston Horizon Duo-i started having issues, so I set out to find a replacement. Unfortunately I could not, so I bought another Duo-i off of eBay.

But I thought it would be a good idea to check out the other radios in the house, including my younger son’s Horizon Solo which works fine other than a dim clock dial. I figured I’d take the lamp from my broken radio and fix his.

“Don’t bother,” he told me. “I never listen to the radio any more anyway. There’s just nothing on.” His music comes from iTunes on his computer.

My older son? SiriusXM.

Two kids who shun radio completely, both sons of a radio dork who lives and breathes radio. If I didn’t set an example, I  can’t imagine who could. This is anecdotal, but at the same time not a good trend.

KFI HD

KFI (640 AM) was once the second-best sounding AM HD Radio station in town (KNX 1070 AM is still the best). But for reasons very unclear to me at the time, KFI management made the decision to shut off the HD on the AM signal and instead simulcast the signal on a secondary channel of KOST (103.5 FM) using 103.5 HD2.

According to a reliable source, the reason for shutting off the AM HD signal was that one listener complained that they didn’t like the abrupt change that happened when the HD signal wasn’t strong enough, and the radio had to switch to analog.

One listener. Not confirmed, of course, but most likely true ... my sources are darn good.

So the rest of us can’t experience KFI in HD because of one listener. Oh, we can listen to the KOST simulcast, but that drops out so often it is virtually unlistenable in the South Bay of LA County. To make matters worse, KFI still broadcasts in narrow band analog, so the station sounds bad even on a good wide-band AM radio. And don’t get me started on the technical tweaks that supposedly help ratings but make the station sound distorted to regular listeners.

Used to be that engineers tried their best to make stations sound good ... with the best signal of any station in Western America, perhaps KFI could at least go back to broadcasting wideband AM stereo, if indeed management won’t turn the HD back on.
///

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #204

Radio: January 5, 2018

My grandmother listened to Hilly Rose for years on various radio stations; her enthusiasm for his show made me a fan too. I found his programs informative, educational, and entertaining ... one of the best of the first generation of talk shows as heard in Los Angeles.

Rose passed away December 27th of natural causes. He was 91.

Prior to his many years in Los Angeles, Rose perfected his craft in San Francisco at KCBS, KGO and KNEW; he was also heard (and seen) on Bay-area television station KTVU Channel 2.

Locally he was heard on KABC (790 AM) beginning in 1970. In 1972 he moved to KFI (640 AM) where he stayed until he left in 1979 for KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM). 1982 brought him back to KABC for a couple years; he retired in 1984.

KFI is the station I remember carrying his show. Being on in the late evening hours game him incredible reach: KFI is among the most powerful stations in the United States, and reaches much of the country at night. Rose effectively had a nationwide show with calls coming in from many of the contiguous 48 states.

One of his claims to fame is pushing support for the Jarvis-Gann initiative, better known as Proposition 13. Rose, talk host friend Ray Breim, and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner were early supporters of the proposition, and helped get people to talk about it.
Two years ago I mentioned Rose in this column; he reached out to me explaining his decision to retire.

“Thank you for remembering my name out of so many talk show hosts of the 70's and 80's,” he said. “I quit KABC in 1986 because I saw the great axe coming. 

“I started doing talk shows at KCBS in San Francisco in 1963; that is 23 years of discussing the same subjects repeatedly.

“I must point out that 52 years later we are still endlessly discussing abortion, immigration. race, crime, war (Vietnam, now middle-east), immigrants taking jobs from citizens ... the list goes on and on. Nothing is resolved, indeed in most cases the situation gets worse.

“I got tired of discussing the same things over and over again, and went into the specialty of paranormal. At least there  was always something new to talk about (with the exception of Roswell). That eventually led me into doing the Art Bell Coast to Coast AM show on over 600 radio stations.

“I finally quit radio last year [2014] after 52 wonderful years in broadcasting. Yes, the outlook is dreadful, but with all the new mediums available today, surely someone with "that certain fresh touch" will emerge. They always do.”

Sound Success

The last full ratings book for The Sound (now K-Love KKLQ, 100.3 FM) was quite impressive: the November ratings for all listeners aged 6 and over was 2.8, up more than half a point from October’s 2.2 and almost a point above September’s 2.0. The real news came from the demographic of Men aged 35-64, where the station’s numbers jumped s high they were a very close 2nd in the city. Nielsen rules prevent me from quoting exact numbers, but the increase from September was almost double in that demo between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

I think the time may be ripe for a new approach for The Sound. Here’s my plan:

Develop programs using The Sound DJs and make them available as podcasts ... but also market the package as a ready-to-air format for digital HD stations nationwide. Advertising can be split between national and local ads (if they want) kind of like cable TV does with some programming.
 
This would keep the format going and viable until a local station is found, takes the format into what some consider radio’s future, and adds the enticing bottom floor of HD signals actually being listened to by normal people. I believe The Sound could help sell HD radios, and ultimately could help make HD truly a success.

THEN we buy back 100.3 (and for me KHJ 930 AM so I can program top-40) and we are all set …

By the way, the December ratings just released had the Sound still running for 14-1/2 of the 28 rated days. Those 14 days were among the highest ratings the station ever had. Yet the overall results for December had 100.3 at a mere 1.2 share. If the new format crashed that far already, imagine how the new station will look with a full month.

Relying on listener support rather than ads, K-Love owners don’t truly care about ratings. But having few listeners may make donations hard to fetch. Just sayin’ ...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Radio Waves Podcast #203

Radio: December 29, 2017

Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Cliff Winston passed away December 19th due to a heart attack. He was 63.

His Los Angeles debut was in 1986 on KJLH (102.3 FM) where he stayed until he got an offer from the original 100.3 The Beat, KKBT in 1990. He returned to KJLH is ’93, went back to The Beat in 2006, and stayed through the transition to V-100 (KRBV). He remained at V-100 until the station was sold to Bonneville in 2008.

He was The Beat’s original morning man and acted as programmer for KJLH during his second tenure at the station owned by Stevie Wonder.

As with many in radio, his formative years were spent listening to legendary stations; growing up in Southern California, Winston told LARadio.Com’s Don Barrett that he spent many hours listening to KHJ (930 AM), the original KRLA (now KRDC, 1110 AM) and KFWB (980 AM). He attended the University of Washington and began his radio career in Seattle, followed by St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit and Houston before finally landing at KJLH.

Garman Out

Catching up on old news, Ralph Garman left the morning Kevin and Bean show of the formerly relevant KROQ (106.7 FM). It appears that Entercom is still slashing the budgets that CBS didn’t already slash before the merger of the two companies. I give KROQ about a year before Entercom totally destroys what is left of the one-time trendsetting station. Garman’s last show was November 30; he had been with the station 18 years.

Objections

Two objections were filed December 18th against the pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Cumulus Media.

One came from Randy Michaels, the on-time leader of Clear Channel Communications, now known as iHeart Media. Michaels claims that Cumulus had agreed to purchase two stations from his company Merlin Media for $50 million, but that Cumulus is now trying to use the bankruptcy to negotiate a lower price.

How interesting that one of the architects of huge corporate McRadio, one who I credit with helping begin the breakdown of the industry is now protesting when it brings him down. Karma’s a ...

The second objection comes from a group of unsecured creditors who complain that the proposed deal hurts them in order to benefit the larger bondholders. Which it does.

Pirates

Scott Shannon’s Pirate Radio KQLZ launched on 100.3 FM in March of 1989; the station lasted just over four years until April, 1993 though it “jumped the shark” when Shannon left in mid-1991 and the station tried a hard-rock/heavy metal format that was badly beaten by the far better-programmed KNAC (now KBUA, 105.5 FM)

If you want to hear samples of the earlier years of the Pirate, head over to RadioDiscussions.Com and look in the Los Angeles section. Member SpiritOf67 has posted numerous airchecks of the era. The second-best part? How he obtained them.

“In 1990, I worked at a radio station as a producer, voiceover/production assistant, and board operator. When we ran programs off of the satellite, I would dial around some of the transponders to see what kind of programming was available. Several programs we carried were distributed through Westwood One. 

“Westwood One distributed the show ‘Pirate Radio USA’ which was based on Pirate Radio Los Angeles (KQLZ). In many instances the local feed of KQLZ/Pirate Radio would remain on after the show, giving board ops like me a chance to listen to the station (note--this was several years away from internet streaming, and hearing out of market stations like this was a rarity).”

He taped some of the feeds, giving a nice historical perspective of a station that made a huge splash for a while in Los Angeles. Recordings of Pirate Radio are exceedingly rare; I personally would love to get a copy of the show when Shannon spent the morning bashing me over what I wrote in my column ... funny stuff. I asked Shannon for a copy at the time and never got it; I think he was afraid I was going to use it against him not knowing that it was one of my favorite Pirate bits.