It has been common knowledge for the past month or so that Rush Limbaugh would be moved from his longtime home of KFI (640 AM) to the new “Patriot,” KEIB (formerly KTLK, 1150 AM), so when I logged onto the KFI website Monday to find out who the new host was for the unfilled 1-3 p.m. shift, I was surprised to see Limbaugh still listed as the 9 a.m. to 12 noon host.
I was ready to call KFI/KEIB marketing manager Neil Saavadra and give him a hard time about the mistake. Until I tuned in and discovered that Limbaugh was indeed on KFI. As well as KEIB. What gives?
“We wanted to make the transition an easy one,” Saavadra told me. So through January 17th, you can hear Limbaugh on two local stations. January 20, then, will mark the beginning of KFI’s almost-all-local format. Oh, and the new 1-3 p.m. shift? Nothing to announce yet; it appears that a selection is being made as we speak.
I received more emails on Johnny Magnus’ “Weather with a Beat” this week than on any topic in recent memory. More than even the political talk radio letters. It seems that Magnus has a lot of fans still.
More than a few people wrote to give me the name of the song, which turns out to be “Cute,” arranged by Neal Hefti and performed by Count Basie and his orchestra.
Reader Mike Dangott wrote also to tell of a website that showcases the Golden West era of KMPC, at www.710kmpc.com. KMPC is one of Magnus’ longtime stomping grounds. But others -- including former KMPC master programmer Chuck Southcott himself -- recall Magnus on other stations as well. “I recall first hearing Magnus doing ‘Weather with a Beat’ when I was in high school and he was at KGFJ,” he said. “Johnny used several themes for the bit, but most often the music was indeed Hefti's ‘Cute.’”
I asked former KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) newsman and morning co-host “Paraquat” Pat Kelley if “Weather with a Beat” was the genesis behind Kelley’s famous “Fish Report with a Beat” as heard on The Mighty Met. Turns out, it was. “Sure, it was a parody of The Magnus thing. We used The Band’s rendition The Third Man Theme. (Pink Floyd’s) Roger Waters recorded the theme and put it on an album.” Somehow this all makes sense now.
I knew someone would come to the rescue.
Jim Hilliker is Los Angeles radio’s official historian. I know of no other single person who possesses the vast knowledge of Hilliker, and I have been hounding him to write a book (a series of books more likely) on the subject of Los Angeles broadcasting. He sent along this note:
“The license for 1150 AM has had 8 combinations of call letters, but the station used the KIIS call letters two separate times, 1970 to 1980, and again from 12-1-84 to 8-17-97. The change from KTLK to KEIB is the 9th set of call letters used by 1120/1150.”
Those calls are KMIC, KMCS, KRKD, KIIS, KPRZ, KIIS (again), KXTA and KTLK.
As it turns out, 1150 is not the only frequency used by the station, which complicates the story a bit. As Hilliker explains, “Between 1927 and 11-11-28, the licensee used 775 kilocycles, 1140 and 1340 kilocycles (or kilohertz today) on the AM band. The station moved from 1340 to 1120 on November 11, 1928, but had to divide air time with KFSG. The change from 1120 to 1150 took place on March 29, 1941. The KRKD calls were used the longest from January 21, 1932 until May 1, 1970, 38 years.
“Trivia about the station history: Network radio and TV announcer Harry Von Zell started in radio at KMIC/Inglewood in 1927; Also, movie and later radio and TV cowboy star Roy Rogers first sang on the radio over station KMCS/Inglewood in 1931 on a midnight talent show using his given name of Leonard Slye.”
So there you have ... the rest of the story.