Radio: April 8, 2016
My wife would never believe me, but I actually get tired of hearing old songs. The reason for her doubt is the amount of time listening to old songs, either on radio (via The Sound, 100.3 FM) or “aircheck” recordings of classic top-40 radio stations such as what can be found at www.reelradio.com.
So I suppose I’m not helping the situation by listening -- a lot lately -- to KRTH Classics on KRTH 101.1 HD2, a station that can be picked up using a special HD radio tuner. I happen to have one in my truck.
Here’s where you hear songs from 1955 through the 1960s similar to what KRTH used to play on its main channel. The Everly Brothers. Early Elvis. The Box Tops. All with very few commercials: the only commercials that run -- very occasionally -- are for HD radios. I am frankly surprised that owner CBS doesn’t push to monetize this HD channel. or even promote it.
Perfect? Hardly. There’s a repetition of some songs, most definitely. Blood, Sweat and Tears’ “Spinning Wheel “ seems to pop up at least once a day. But then there are the songs you have not heard in years ... or decades. The Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved” played today. Overall, it’s a treat to hear some of these songs, which made me realize: it’s not the actual oldies I tire of. It’s hearing the same oldies I’ve heard for the last 20 years to which I grow weary.
To be honest, I lean toward the stye of radio championed by such programmers as Ron Jacobs and Chuck Martin, who happen to have been the first and last programmers of top-40 KHJ (930 AM). Focus on current music but play oldies -- now called classic rock or classic hits -- two or three times an hour as audio seasoning. But until I am hired as a programmer locally, that type of radio will be missing. And the special seasoning will have to come from this hidden digital extra stream that comes from KRTH and is also available on line and through smartphone apps.
What would make it better? I’d bring in DJs. KRTH’s own Shotgun Tom Kelly could be on the KRTH Classics stream. As could any number of talented DJs that are not heard enough if at all. What a treat it would be to hear Bobby Ocean playing the hits again. Basically, make it a real, viable station. Get more advertising -- but limit the number of commercials in total so you won’t push people away -- as a way to keep the station going.
KRTH is of course not the only good HD station stream around. Fans of the Smooth Jazz version of The Wave (KTWV, 94.7 FM) can still hear the music they love via KTWV HD2. LA’s only commercial classical station can be found as a secondary channel to Go Country, KKGO 105.1 FM HD2. Love the Big Bands and old standards? They’re playing right now on KKGO HD3. And of course the songs that made KROQ (106.7 FM) “world famous” are on Roq of the 80s, KROQ HD2.
KIIS-FM (102.7) has announced the lineup for Wango Tango 2016 to be held at the StubHub Center in Carson on May 14th. Tickets went on sale April 1st to station VIP members, and everyone else April 2nd. Cost runs $35 to $265 per ticket plus fees.
Remember when stations held free concerts? I digress.
Scheduled to perform are Ariana Grande, Zayn, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor, Fifth Harmony, Iggy Azalea, DNCE, Alessia Cara, The Chainsmokers, Kygo, Mike Posner, Zendaya, and Gwen Stefani.
Rumor on the street has Power 106 -- still stinging from the competition of Real 92.3 FM -- making a move back toward the rhythmic dance music the station played when it made its debut in 1986.
This is something I’ve considered for a quite some time. There is currently no competition in the format and some of the original architects of the station are still with owner Emmis. I’d personally rather have the return of top-40 K-WEST (or even AOR K-WEST), but that would once again require me -- or Chuck Martin -- to take over programming directly. Again I digress.
Actually, while I am not familiar with what is being played in any of the Hollywood and surrounding dance clubs -- or if dance clubs even still exist -- I do believe a fun, uncluttered, upbeat current music station would bring some fun back into the Los Angeles radio scene. And the first few few years of Power 106 were hugely successful. Perhaps it’s time to take the station full-circle.