Two new talk shows may help make for an interesting battle between format leader KFI (640 AM) and rejuvenated original talker KABC (790 AM).
KABC’s “Mid Day L.A.” began on the President’s Day holiday last Monday and pairs together Jillian Barberie and John Phillips. The two had done a impromptu trial run a while ago last year as fill-ins for morning man Doug McIntyre, This time they take over the 12 noon to 3 p.m. slot left open when Sean Hannity’s program moved from KABC over to KEIB (1150 AM) in January. Phillips had been handling the shift himself while KABC management decided what to to.
Barberie will be familiar to television viewers as the longtime -- 18 years -- co-host of KTTV Channel 11’s “Good Day LA,” as well as working with the Fox NFL Pre-game Show for about a decade. Phillips was the youngest major-market talk host when he joined KABC, and has spent most of his time working various shifts in the morning as the station tried to figure out what to do with him ... and the station.
This takes KABC, as they say, live and local throughout most of the day, sans traffic reports that originate in Dallas, Texas in case you wondered why the traffic reporters cannot pronounce local street names. And it also gives the station a viable format for the first time in years, at least from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Doug McIntyre and Terri-Rae Elmer in the morning, Bryan Suits at 9, Mid Day L.A. at noon, and Larry Elder at 3 p.m. It isn’t until Mark Levin at 6 p.m. that KABC loses it, and by that time most people are eating dinner and switching to television or KFI’s Tim Conway, Jr.
For their part, KFI added a show I didn’t think it would add. After moving Limbaugh to KEIB, the station expanded and shifted some programs slightly, leaving an opening in the afternoon from 1-3. As owner Clear Channel has been pressuring local management to cut costs, most observers, myself included, figured they’d just expand Bill Carroll and John and Ken by an hour each to cover it.
Instead, they paired up Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Espinosa for what the station is calling “Thompson and Espinosa.” The pair started on February 10th.
When I first heard of the program my thought was of Thompson from Mark and Brian fame. Wrong Thompson ... this is the television version, former nightly weather anchor and environmental reporter from KTTV Channel 11’s evening Fox 11 News.
Espinosa is the host of “Sin Limites” on cable television’s CNN Latino, and has also done reporting with KTTV on the Fox 11 Morning News and Good Day L.A. I am sensing somewhat of a trend here ... I guess KTTV is now the training ground for talk radio ...
This move finalizes KFI’s change to all local programming outside of the overnight Coast to Coast AM that airs from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. And it adds to a strong lineup that includes Bill Handel, Carroll, John and Ken, and Conway. So any thoughts of KABC overtaking KFI any time soon are perhaps a pipe dream.
But for the first time in years, there is actual competition between the two talkers, and one might notice that both stations are moving sway from the political talk that was their image for a long time. Suddenly, talk radio became interesting again ... I may have to break my self-imposed ban of the format and give the stations a longer listen.
KTYM’s (1460 AM) Hutchinson Report often tackles issues that other shows ignore. February 14th, host Earl Ofari Hutchinson conducted an interview with Dr. Robert K. Ross, chairman of the California Endowment, in which the topic of an education achievement gap was discussed.
“Dr. Ross brought out some issues that not even I was aware of,” Hutchinson said in a press release. “The poor school performance of many African-American and Hispanic males is tied into the health care crisis that currently exists in our communities. As these students get passed along there begins a process of doubt that gets imbedded in their mind. This leads to poor eating habits along with a hostile environment that too often leads to incarceration, even death."
Hear the Report Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on KTYM.