Getting Real: Friday, February 6th marked the first local format change of the year as Hot 92.3 FM became Real 92.3, “the new home of Hip Hop and R&B for Los Angeles.” The change took place at 9:23 a.m. following the conclusion of the Hot 300 Countdown; after a prerecorded transitional segment in which comments were made such as “having the power” -- an obvious swipe at Power 106 -- Real launched with the playing of "Only" by Nicki Minaj.
All of the Hot jocks were let go: Jimmy Reyes, Damon Knight, Renee Taylor and Josefa Salinas. The station is currently running jockless, “rolling 10,000 joints in a row” commercial free. At least they have class.
Doc Wynter is the new programmer; he had previously been owner iHeartMedia’s senior vice president of Urban programming and is considered by some to be one of the best Urban programmers in the country. In Wynter’s sites: Power 106.
In order to go after Power, one of the first things done was to lure Power morning icon Kurt “Big Boy” Alexander down the dial. No word on when Alexander will start waking LA from his Real home, but if Power 106 owner Emmis has its way, it will be “never.”
Emmis claims that Alexander is in breach of contract by refusing to abide by the “right of first refusal” clause in his contract with the company. Emmis is seeking an injunction to prevent Alexander from moving to iHeartMedia as well as asking for millions of dollars in damages. One of Emmis’ claims, according to RadioInsite.Com: they discovered him and invested heavily in him and his career over the past 20 years, making him the star he is today.
That right of first refusal in an interesting one. The agreement stipulates that Emmis has the right to match a competitor’s offer of employment. Emmis did, but Alexander left anyway. What will need to be sorted out: Did a match automatically mean that Alexander had to stay? Also unsaid: Is the offer from iHeartMedia exactly the same, or were there other perks unmatched by Emmis? If allowed to move, will iHeart pull an iHeart and syndicate Big Boy’s Neighborhood? Did Emmis meet or beat? Finally, was there any indication that Alexander was unhappy with his situation?
My take: Alexander will be allowed to move. He will do mornings on Real. iHeart will destroy more small-market radio by syndicating the show. But in the end locally, it won’t make much difference ... Power has been THE Hip Hop station (OK, purists, I know that no radio station plays “real” Hip Hop) for more than 20 years.
iHeartMedia -- then known as Clear Channel -- has tried to compete with Power in the past -- using The Beat 92.3 -- but was unsuccessful. This time could be different, but I sincerely doubt it will. If it IS successful, maybe we’ll see Chuck Martin bring back true top-40 on K-West 106 ...
Hey, I can dream.
Valentine’s Day Bliss
Always the romantic, internet talk host Tom Leykis (www.BlowMeUpTom.Com) is offering listeners discounts on flowers from ProFlowers.Com or gourmet dipped fancy strawberries from Berries.Com. With a twist.
Leykis, married and divorced four times, wrote this in an email to listeners: “Your Professor is absolutely opposed to marriage, relationships and living together. Let there be no doubt: if there is any way to avoid giving anyone the key to your front door, money, copies of your ATM or credit cards, or your DNA for child creation, you must absolutely avoid that.
“Your Professor also believes that dating is for (one thing) only ... You don't want to be paying your date's bills, helping her out, or showering her with attention and gifts. The more you give, the higher you set the expectation bar, the less respect you get in return.
“Your Professor also knows that, for many listeners, that ship has already sailed. Many of you have already selected a girlfriend or a wife (while secretly wishing you hadn't) and a large number of you are married or have kids.”
Speaking to the offers, which are actually available through other radio and online sources, Leykis explains, “These gifts are so good that it will look as if you really care, when all you really did was log onto a website and insert our promo code, your address, and your credit card number. Five minutes and you're DONE without having to think about it!
“Give her the impression that you still care while you secretly support your friends at The New Normal.”
And isn’t that what love is all about?