Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #213

Radio: March 23, 2018

The show finally dropped: iHeart Media, owner of 850 radio stations nationwide including eight in Los Angeles, announced March 14th that it had entered into a court-supervised restructuring through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

This just weeks after giving bonuses to top-level executives.

Interestingly, many observers miss the point. CNN reported, for example, that “The company has struggled with falling revenue. It was down in 2015, barely grew in 2016 and fell in the first nine months of 2017. This has come amid declines in the radio ad business and growing competition from streaming rivals like Spotify and Pandora.”

As if the the declining revenue was just a random event, and that the massive $20 billion debt it assumed in a leveraged buyout years ago would have not been a big issue had this random event not occured. What is missed is the reason for declining revenue: the very business model that is iHeart Media.

When the cap was lifted on the number of stations a company could own nationwide, the argument was made that economies of scale would allow greater format variety, better programming, better marketing, and more.

Instead, as companies overpaid for stations and the economies of scale never materialized, large owners such as iHeart cut talent, cut programs, added more commercials, and - operating essentially as monopolies - stopped truly competing. Some markets don’t even have local personalities, instead using recorded voices from other cities or satellite feeds.

Even in large markets like Los Angeles, most stations don’t have personalities hosting shows part of the day; few stations do after 10 p.m. daily. In some cities morning shows are repeated in the evening; in others, “music mixes” are played via computer at least one shift.

When all this started, listeners, in response, looked for alternatives. Satellite radio, online services such as Pandora, and of course iPods and the like all capitalized on radio’s failure. With few exceptions, radio evolved into a background listening service, causing ad revenues to plummet. In other words, it wasn’t a random event: the likes of iHeart caused it.

So while this move will give iHeart some breathing room, unless it is forced by creditors to sell most of its stations, I don’t see this as a good move at all. We need local. iHeart is the antithesis of local in far too many cases.

As someone posted somewhere, when retailer Toys R Us is allowed to die but iHeart is not, something is wrong with the world.

Yet, In Another Time ...

In the days when one owner could not own more than seven stations nationwide, stations did compete. They had to, even after midnight, when the ratings are not being taken, because owners knew those listeners may transform into ratings later in the day.

From Airchexx.Com comes an example of just that: a sample of the late, great Big Ron O’Brien from WNBC/New York in the wee hours of the morning.

O’Brien was part of the KIIS-FM (102.7 FM) air staff that set records for FM station ratings in the mid 1980s. This recording happens to be from WNBC circa 1982; I believe he was less than a year away form his arrival at KIIS, though he had already been at and left Los Angeles from his tenure at KFI (640 AM).

What makes this aircheck so impressive is the time. O’Brien was a top-tier talent, and WNBC had him on at 4:00 in the morning. I don’t know the reasons - perhaps he was filling in, a recent hire getting used to the WNBC format, or he ticked off the program director. Regardless, NBC apparently felt it important enough to run talent at that time of day, and O’Brien was a true talent.

Regardless, it’s a fun listen. Check it out at

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #212

Radio: Friday, March 16, 2018

KROQ (106.7 FM) morning team Kevin and Bean are raising money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Cedars-Senai NICU this year through the now sold-out 10th annual “Kevin and Bean’s April Foolishness” show, a charity event being held this year on Saturday, March 31st at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

On hand for the show will be Doug Benson, Adam Devine, Bryan Callen, Jeff Garlin, Gabriel Iglesias, Mike Relm and Sarah Tiana. Over the past nine years, the show has raised more that $1 million for charity.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund serves United States military personnel suffering the effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Cedars-Sinai NICU is designed to address the needs of critically ill babies, premature newborns or infants requiring close observation.

Podcasting Growth

Over the air radio is still king as far as listening entertainment goes, but podcasting is on the move. A study from Edison Research and Triton Digital reports that 44% of people aged 12 and over have listened to a podcast and 22% say the car is the place they most often listen.

Podcasting is akin to television’s digital video recorders, offering on-demand entertainment. Radio digital recording can be accomplished on line as well, using various programs. I wonder if or when an easy-to-use (per haps portable) audio recorder will be developed for recording radio stations on the fly. Or if there is a market considering what is available on line.

Go to most radio station websites and you can usually find recordings of the station’s best bits form that day. Will podcasting replace radio? Doubtful. Will it complement it? It already does.


A 2017 lawsuit filed against SiriusXM personality Howard Stern and the United States government by Judith Barrigas has been dismissed by a U. S. District Court.

The suit stemmed from a phone call that aired on Stern’s show in which Barrigas’ conversation with IRS agent Jimmy Forsyth -- she had called to ask questions related to taxes -- was heard over the air on Stern’s show when Forsyth’s own call to Stern got taken off hold and run live.

Forsyth didn’t realize that he was off hold with Stern, Stern and co-host Robin Quivers didn’t realize at first what was going on when they overheard the conversation, and Barrigas had no knowledge anything was unusual until someone called to tell her that her conversation that included her telephone number was heard by Stern listeners nationwide.

In the end, Judge Allison Burroughs ruled March 9th that Stern didn’t intentionally air private information, and that the IRS agent’s “inadvertent disclosure” was covered by an exemption shielding the government from liability for actions by an employee.

Short Takes

As I write this, a Monday midnight deadline to make a deal with creditors had come and gone with no word on the fate of iHeart Media as it moves toward bankruptcy. That’s too bad. I was hoping we would hear the good news that giant corporate McRadio was over and local owners would return.

Against hope, an eviction notice was sent to the Ports O’ Call Restaurant in San Pedro. The eviction includes the internet podcasting LA Radio Studio next door that the restaurant’s owner has been supporting in the public interest for the past few years. Negotiations continue, though so perhaps all is not lost. A public meeting regarding the development will take place March 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Warner Grand Theater on 6th Street in downtown San Pedro.

K-Surf now has an FM translator, so people in the area of coverage - Calabasis to Reseda - can hear oldies on 98.3 FM. I’m not sure how the coverage of the FM signal compares with the AM, which also carries a digital HD stream that sounds phenomenal. The station can also be heard on line and as a secondary HD channel on 105.1 HD2, if you own an HD radio.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #211

Radio: March 9, 2018

Apparently I am the last to notice when a new channel comes on to SiriusXM satellite radio. Admittedly I do spend too much time in the ‘70s and on The Pulse. Ironically, the music on this new channel is one of the formats I would run (will run?) if I ever get my hands on a radio station of my own ... preferably AM, as I want to prove you can still program an AM music station successfully. More on that later.

Pop Rock channel 17 made its debut on SiriusXM back in January. The satellite service describes it as “fun, upbeat music that (comes from artists who) started in the world of rock then crossed over to became massive pop hits in the ’90s and ’00s.”

What artists? An extensive list that focusses on the likes of Maroon 5, Matchbox Twenty, Third Eye Blind, Lit, Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Goo Goo Dolls, The Killers, Green Day and Train. Some of those I consider pop alternative; many of the artists were also those heard on The Mix (now The Fish, 95.9 FM), one of the best “top-40” stations of the era as superbly programmed by Craig Carpenter.
Supposedly this music influenced later artists such as Twenty-One Pilots, which is fine as long as I don’t have to actually listen to Twenty-One Pilots. Pop Rock is now one of my go to channels on SiriusXM.

Flashback Top-40

Banana Joe Montione was part of some great radio stations during his career, including the last great version of KHJ (930 AM) as programmed by the last great KHJ programmer, Chuck Martin. He was heard for a time on KIIS-FM (102.7) as well.

Now he’s creating content that can be aired on stations through his Banana Joe Radio Group. The latest creation: Flashback Top-40, ready to roll to stations nationwide -- though not available locally as of yet.

What is it? Hits from the ‘70s through the ‘90s with a top-40 sound ... “a modern version of the great top-40 radio sound so dominant during the eras we cover,” he told industry radio news site AllAccess.Com

Interestingly, as I stated in a column last year, this is another format I would run on a station if I had control ...
AM Improvement

I have long held that bad programming on AM stations is the primary reason that so few people tune in to the band at all. As warmed-over political talk formats, all (yawn) sports, religious broadcasts ... took over from the popular music and variety formats that were the early successes of many AM stations, listeners had to leave. Indeed, the last decent ratings of many stations from KHJ to The Mighty 690 came when they played top-40 music.

I know that technical issues make it hard to compete with FM. Interference from all sorts of items from cable boxes to computers all wreak havoc with AM reception. But even without those problems, with the current formats found on AM stations in most cities, it’s still a lost cause. My position: programmers and owners pushed AM listeners to FM, in much the same way that today’s programmer and owners are pushing people toward satellite and online listening.

Yet I still believe that if you give people a reason to listen, they will. K-SURF (1260 AM, 105.1 HD2) is a case in point. A station that doesn’t even cover much of the LA Metro area and has absolutely no promotion earns a rating higher than does KABC (790 AM) ... and most other full-power AMs in town.

My opinion doesn’t sit so well with some of the members of a Facebook group, ironically dedicated to fans of AM radio. There I was told that nothing I said would work, that music on AM has absolutely no chance of competing at all today.

Even formats that are not available elsewhere? No, some said. Which basically means that initiatives for AM improvement, via whatever technical means are possible, are moot.

Is that true? I still doubt it. But I am curious: if a station in town played a format you absolutely love -- be it the formats already mentioned above or something else like standards, heavy metal, progressive rock, or uncluttered top-40 -- and it was only found on AM, would you listen? If not, what would get you to listen to something on the AM band?

Of course purists know that AM can sound great as far as fidelity if you listen on a good analog radio (say an old tube model or a more modern wide-band AM stereo receiver) or an HD tuner. But I’m taking the worst case - what might get you to listen to AM -- if there is anything -- assuming you have to listen to it on a typical radio available today?

Send me your comments. Perhaps as iHeart goes bankrupt, we can make some radio magic out of the ashes ...

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #210

Radio: March 2, 2018

Inside Music Media’s Jerry Del Colliano ( is predicting that iHeart Radio, owner of numerous local stations including KIIS-FM (102.7) and KFI (640 AM) is going to be bankrupt soon ... perhaps by the time you read this. Thursday March 1st was the day he predicted. And he’s often right.

What would that mean for the world’s largest radio group owner? A huge mess, says Del Colliano. And he’s right, due in part to the company having kicked the can of debt payments down the road for too long. Basically, iHeart owns too many stations, owes too much money (over $20 billion) and has helped devalue radio to the point where ad revenue continues to decrease. We’ll see next week if the prediction is correct.

Emmis Sells St. Louis

While iHeart continues to avoid the obvious -- selling stations to pay down its huge debt -- Emmis Communications, former owner of Power 106, is doing just that. In fact, Power itself was sold to pay down its relatively minor debt, and they just sold its four stations in St. Louis to reduce it even more. Emmis owes about $80 million and the St. Louis sale will generate about $60 million for the company.

Losing a Gem?

Construction has begun at Ports O Call Village in San Pedro, the one-time thriving retail village that was allowed to decay by the landlord, the Port of Los Angeles, which is run by the Harbor Commission.

While the owner of the namesake Ports O Call Restaurant -- one of San Pedro’s treasures -- tries to negotiate with the Port and developers of the new San Pedro Public Market, lost in the details is a little radio studio just outside the restaurant that is a podcasting voice for Southern California.

Basically, if an agreement for the restaurant is not made, the Los Angeles Radio Studio, funded as a public service by restaurant owner Jayme Wilson and run by Michael Stark, the eight-year old studio may have to shut down.

That would leave numerous local voices in limbo. The studio serves as the recording room and distribution center for numerous programs heard locally and around the world:

• Phil Hulett and Friends, heard on KFWB (980 AM) until the station was sold and changed formats. Hulett’s popular program is heard in over 60 countries and covers just about everything except politics.

• Talk Time Internet Radio, hosted by Zeke Vidaurri, spotlights issues important to San Pedro and includes discussions and interviews with local leaders and politicians.

• Thrashpie Radio, hosted by former KNAC now KBUE, 105.5 FM) personality Ted "Thrasher" Pritchard, featuring music you haven’t heard on local radio since KNAC left the air.

• Radio Waves, hosted by Stark and Yours Truly, covering local radio while promoting this column and the newspapers that carry it, along with career-spanning interviews with the people who make radio great like Shotgun Tom Kelly and Dr. Demento.

Numerous other shows are recorded at the studio weekly; they can be heard via iTunes and more, accessed at LARadioStudio.Com. “In addition,” according to Stark, “the studio does a lot of work with the CSULB radio program, with internships and hosting shows that are featured on the student station that broadcasts on line and over the air via K-JAZZ’s digital HD stream (88.1 HD3)”

Wilson says that he is in talks with the new developer for the studio (and restaurant) to be part of the new San Pedro Public Market. “A small glassed studio in the Market would connect the development with the world,” he explained. “We could broadcast live musical performances and other events” that are expected to be part of the development.

Hopefully an agreement can be made, as the loss of the only studio of its kind in the area would be huge for the community, just as podcasts are gaining in popularity.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Radio Waves Podcast #209

Radio: February 23, 2018

Talk personality and semi shock-jock Don Imus -- whose nationally syndicated program Imus in the Morning was once heard locally at various times on such stations as KLAC (570 AM), the original KRLA (now KRDC, 1110 AM), and KABC (790 AM) announced recently that he would retire from radio next month; his last show will air on March 29th. 

Not by choice, mind you. Due in part to the financial problems at Cumulus and declining ratings for the program, Cumulus asked to end his contract early rather than letting it run through December 2018.

Imus was a huge for a time in the late 1990s and early 2000s as his program grew in popularity. He was heard locally on WNBC from 1971 to 1977; he was fired from the station in 1977 as the station tried to go in a new direction. Two years later he was rehired and stayed there through the station’s switch from top-40 to sports-talk as WFAN. The program is currently based at WABC/New York.

Syndication began in 1993 and he was even on MSNBC cable television for a time. In Los Angeles, however, his syndicated program was only marginally successful, leading to the change in stations and the eventual dropping of the program. According to the KCAA/Inland Empire website, Imus can be heard Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. KCAA is the closest affiliate to Los Angeles.

His show became more political when it became syndicated; his early days were focussed more on stunts and gags, such as when he once tried to order 1200 hamburgers form a local New Your restaurant. I once heard an imitation he did of local Los Angeles legend Robert W. Morgan that was spot on.

Will he actually retire? I’m betting no. At 77 he certainly can, but my hunch is he will find a local station somewhere and stay with radio a few more years.

Age Discrimination

While Imus has certainly had his problems over the years including being removed from the air when he called the Rutgers University women’s basketball players “nappy headed hos,” this time he’s being taken to court. 

Warner Wolf, who was the sports guy at WABC until 2016, is suing Imus and three executives of Cumulus for age discrimination. Wolf, currently three years older than Imus at 80, claims he was replaced by someone 30 years younger and was the subject of negative comments regarding his age on Imus’ show. He is seeking severance pay of about $96,000 plus damages.

Short Takes

KDAY (103.5 FM) personality Cece moves up the dial to sister station Power 106, to work mornings with J. Cruz. Crystal Bee, formerly with the morning show, moves to mid-days.

Fans of The Morning After with Skippy and Drew love the KFRR/Fresno morning show so much that they set up a GoFundMe page to buy a billboard promoting the program. Listeners then votes for the best billboard, which was scheduled to be unveiled on February 23rd.

Mimi Chen noted on Facebook last weekend that this is the Chinese Year of the Dog, so she asked listeners for good songs about dogs. I suggested “Shannon,” the song by Henry Gross about the dog that drifts out to sea. “Maybe she’s find an island with a shady tree, just like the one in our back yard,” the lyrics say. For those too young: yes, that was a hit. A big hit.

Why can (seemingly) I hear more songs I like on SiriusXM’s Hits One channel than I can on KIIS-FM (102.7 FM)? Is it actually the music or the comparative lack of clutter that makes Hits One sound better?

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

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.


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.


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 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.


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.