Thursday, September 25, 2014

Radio Waves Podcast #51

If you can stand one more column on KFWB (980 AM) ... the station finally launched its new Beast identity last Monday, September 22, along with a handful of local shows exclusive to the station.
Former LA Clipper and UCLA Bruin basketball player Marquis Johnson teams up with Fox Sports anchor Jeanne Zelasco to start the day with a love and local program weekday mornings from 5:30 to 9:00. They are followed by CBS Sports syndicated host Jim Rome 9:00 to noon. Noon to 3:00 p.m. features longtime popular Channel 4 sportscaster Fred Roggin for another local program.
Afternoons from 3:00 to 7:00 are hosted by former NFL tight end George Wrighster and veteran San Diego radio/TV host Brett Winterble in a program called “The Drive.” LA Sports Today comes on at 7:00.
At 9 p.m., it’s back to the CBS Sports Radio syndicated fare, including Doug Gottlieb at 9:00, Damon Amendolara at 11:00, and Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson at 3:00 a.m.
As the flagship station for the Los Angeles Clippers, The Beast 980 will carry every Clippers game throughout the year in addition to what station spokesman Howard Freshman calls “comprehensive, behind-the-scenes coverage” of the team.
The station will also carry NFL primetime games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights, NCAA football and basketball games, a weekly look (I am a Bruin so should I say “weakly look?”) at USC athletes on “Trojans Live; time and date to be announced.
I have to say, as much as I think sports radio won’t work -- and I have a couple decades of ratings from other all-sports stations from Los Angeles to prove my point -- I have to say I am impressed with what The Beast has put together. At least on paper. I like that most of the broadcast day is local. Will it be enough? 
That’s a tough one ... I still say no. I just don’t think radio listeners in Southern California care enough about sports to tune in to sports radio to begin with. Fully 16 stations come up ahead of the combined ratings for KLAC (570 AM), KLAA (830 AM), and KSPN (710 AM). The current top of the heap, KLAC, is 29th, and that is with the Dodgers who could not be seen on most televisions this season. That KFWB is now the 4th such station in town does not bode well for its future success.
If I am wrong, though, I will certainly admit it.
The Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters saluted Carl Reiner at the luncheon earlier this month. Sitting next to me was my host, Chuck Southcott, former programmer of the late, great original KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM) and the Music of Your Life format; to his left was former KLAC and XETRA (690 AM) programmer Brad Chambers. Both have been competitors; both are currently working on projects involving adult standards music: Southcott with a syndicated format available -- unfortunately -- only in other cities, and Chambers with Martini in the Morning (www.MartiniInThe Morning.Com), an internet service playing the same music.
I always wondered if the two of them got along, considering that they for years have been competitors, often at stations that seemed to be fiercely competitive.
Turns out, they are friends. I should have guessed ... both are true gentlemen. And the stories they told were almost as interesting as was Reiner! Accidental behind-the-scenes radio stories ... gotta love it.
Marotta Retiring
Rich Marotta announced last week that he will be retiring from radio, including from the show he has been a part of for the last 22 years, the Bill Handel morning program on KFI (640 AM). His last day will be Friday, September 26.
According to All Access Music Group, a website dedicated to radio (, Marotta has been doing his KFI work from his home in Reno, Nevada. 
Clear Channel is Dead
It is true. We don’t have Clear Channel to kick around any more. Unfortunately, the company that did more to damage radio than any other single company is still here, just under a different name.
Does this mean even Clear Channel executives know how much people hate them?
Regardless, the company is now called IHeartMedia. Big whoop. I would have been happier had the company just gone under so their hundreds of radio stations could revert back to being, well, good.

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