Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Radio Waves Podcast #85

When old school Hot 92.3 FM became hip-hop Real 92.3, one of the casualties was Art Laboe, whose syndicated Art Laboe Connection didn’t fit in with the new format.

The 89-year old broadcaster is considered a friend to his numerous fans, and those fans span generations. Many remember him from the original KRLA (now KDIS, 1110 AM), a station he helped save with an oldies-current hybrid format in the 1970s, or his live broadcasts from venues in East Los Angeles beginning in the 1950s. Laboe is the DJ loved by grandparents, parents and children all the same time.
And they didn’t like when he was removed from the air.
Luckily, KDAY (93.5 FM) is picking up the slack. The station announced that Laboe’s syndicated program can now be heard Sundays from 6 p.m. to 12 midnight. If you are in the Inland Empire or have a clear signal for Old School 104.7 (KQIE), you can hear him even more often: weeknights from 9 to midnight.

Laboe is a Southern California treasure. Not just a legend ... he truly loves his listeners and loves his audience. He plays -- as he always has -- requests and dedications, and is the epitome of old school personality radio. You just don’t have many like him left. And his radio career all started because he wanted to impress girls.

True story.

For the trivia-minded ... this brings Laboe full circle with the KDAY call letters; he spent a year or so at the original KDAY (now KBLA, 1580 AM) around 1960.

New PD

Ken Charles has been named the new Program Director for KNX (1070 AM) replacing, well, no once technically ... the station has been without a programmer since September when it let go of longtime KNX and KFWB (980 AM) Andy Ludlum.

Charles comes to CBS from Clear Channel/iHeart Media where he most recently was VP of programming for iHeart’s Sacramento cluster of stations as well as being the national brand manager for all of the iHeart news, talk and sports stations. Whatever that means.

Position 93

A lot of action over of Airchexx.Com, with some recent additions being recordings of KHJ (980 AM), KFI (640 AM) and Ten-Q (1020 AM) circa 1978.

It’s an interesting comparison of what was done in the face of stiff direct competition -- all three stations were running forms of top-40 -- along with the competition from the FMs in the form of album rockers KLOS (95.5 FM), KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM), and top-40 formats on such stations as KIQQ (now KSWD The Sound, 100.3 FM).

Listening to KHJ of the era is just sad. All the excitement that made the station what it was is missing from the format created by programmer John Sebastian. On the other hand, Jimi Fox-led Ten-Q was on fire and KFI was about to make its move under the direction of John Rook. Ironically, as bland was KHJ was during the Sebastian years, today it would be s standout personality-driven format. And Ten-Q would be killing everyone, just as KFI would have done had they not gone soft.

The last great era of top-40 on AM is represented in part by these airchecks. Add in some later KHJ when Chuck Martin brought them back from the dead and you will wonder what happened on the way to radio as it is done today.

Check out Airchexx.Com and ReelRadio.Com.

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