Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Radio Waves Podcast #36

I’ve been listening a lot more to KNX (1070 AM) lately. And I am not sure why. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I do like staying informed, but at least part of it has to do with how much I like the “sound” of the station on my car stereo that receives the digital, so-called HD Radio, signals that are sent along with the regular analog audio.
To my ears, KNX is the best-sounding HD radio station on the AM band. Very much FM-like, with an extra punch that puts it ahead of some of the FMs. Very clean, and very deep ... it rattles the subwoofer well.
Only real problem: it tends to highlight the sometimes poor editing on some of the commercials, including one short ad where the speaking vocals stomp the jingle for “five star service at one-star drive” that creates an especially annoying bit of on-air clutter.
The Mellow Sound
One of the stations I enjoyed in the past was KNX-FM (now KCBS-FM, 93.1) and the Mellow Sound format. I suppose it was the influence of my sister, Jackie, who tended to listen to a lot of the music played on the station. One of my favorite features was The Odyssey File, in which strange and unusual stories would be presented with some depth.
Much of the music -- though not the Odyssey File or any of the personalities who brought us the original format -- can be found on Sirius/XM satellite radio’s Channel 32, called The Bridge. Probably about the closest thing to KNX-FM that I have heard in years.
Strange Switch
Speaking of SiriusXM ... can someone explain to me why you would take a channel that has a specific appeal and replace it with one that has no appeal?
OK, I’me being harsh, but I know of people who subscribe to the satellite radio service specifically for “40s on 4,” the only channel of its type on the entire SiriusXM lineup. In its place is a special channel playing nothing but Billy Joel.
I’ve been a critic of the practice of “temporary channels” on Sirius XM since the first day they did this. Instead of using dedicated channels for special programming, they take away other channels and stick on programming of often limited interest. In fact, The Bridge was one that used to disappear for months at a time.
Don’t get me wrong, Billy Joel is a talented Singer-songwriter (no, I’m not counting the dreadful “Allentown”), but 24/7? Are you serious? Especially when his music is already played on numerous other channels on the Sirius dial. And even if you wanted to do that, why preempt a channel that has no real alternative? Sometimes I think management at SiriusXM is missing a few neurons.
Cumulus Media, owner of KLOS (95.5 FM) and KABC (790 AM) has brought their country format Nash-FM to the San Francisco Bay area via KSJO/San Jose, which the company just purchased in April.
Which if course starts up the rumor mill ... will Cumulus bring the format here to Los Angeles, and if so, to which station? Is KLOS doomed, or will Cumulus buy another station?
My hunch: It won’t matter. They can put the format on any station they want, if they want, and it won’t make a huge dent in anything. Cumulus is too cheap to really promote anything, and in the rare occasion they convince a decent programmer to actually come work for them, they tie his or her hands so tight nothing can be done. Does anyone seriously think that type of management can take on Go Country 105?

No comments:

Post a Comment