Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Radio Waves Podcast #83

The IRS is investigating an incident in which a call from a taxpayer to an IRS agent ended up on Sirus/XM Satellite Radio’s Howard Stern Show.

Well, half the call, at least. And only a portion. It seems the agent -- Jimmy from Long Island -- called in to Stern and kept working while he was on hold. During that time, the agent was talking with a woman from Massachusetts regarding a tax bill; when Stern put him on the air the agent didn’t realize it and audio from his end of the conversation was heard on Stern’s show. The woman’s voice could not be heard.

During the call, Stern and sidekick Robyn Quivers tried to get Jimmy’s attention, and for the most part the call was uneventful ... just a bunch of numbers being thrown around. Finally, toward the end of the call, the woman gave Jimmy her phone number and he repeated it, so it made it onto Stern’s show.

The woman, whose name has not been released, has been telling news services such as Forbes, “I just feel terribly violated and I like I’m in jeopardy that my credit information might be out there and I’m just totally devastated.”

BS, in my opinion. I heard the call. You can too, at Yes, her phone number was heard, which was stupid, but it is not devastating. Early reports suggest that the text messages and calls were not prank, but people contacting her to warn of what was happening. Regardless, in my opinion, hardly more than a short-term inconvenience.

But I am sure she will be able to use the incident to slash her tax bill. Being put on the national stage may have just saved her some big bucks ... or facilitated the earning of big bucks through potential lawsuits.

Changes at KLOS

No wholesale changes, but the music is definitely starting to drift away from what it has been under the direction of new programmer Keith Cunningham. More ‘80s hair bands it seems, along with more music on the morning Heidi and Frank Show.

Changing the music is basic survival. While KLOS has been relatively stable music-wise for quite some time (about 30 years...), the competition has changed and has been eating away at the listener base. KRTH (101.1 FM), Jack (93.1 FM), The Sound (100.3 FM), and even KOLA (99.9 FM) all play many of the same songs that have been staples of KLOS, and in doing so have been cutting into the ratings.

But are ‘80s Hair bands (Whitesnake, Skid Row, etc) the right way to go? And while I am most certainly not a fan of Heidi and Frank, is adding music going to help? In both cases I have my doubts. But the fact is Cunningham is finally trying to differentiate KLOS for the first time in many years and programmers.

What I cannot understand, since Heidi and Frank tend to attract a slightly younger audience than many of the songs KLOS plays, why doesn’t KLOS move more current? Play some of the better new rock bands and perhaps spark a rebirth of real album rock radio? Not everyone is as old as I am ... and there are a lot of good bands that only get exposed on Sirius/XM or via other means. I for one would like to see a current AOR station again. Any takers?

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