Airwaves: May 27, 2016
All Memorial Day weekend, starting Thursday at 12 noon and running through Monday, The Sound (100.3 FM) will run a rather unique special: over 800 songs played in alphabetical order.
That sounds rather mundane, doesn’t it? Here’s the rub: listeners can vote “like” or “dislike” via text to 21003, and if too many “dislikes” are tabulated for any songs, programmer Dave Beasing says he’s “willing to yank them off the air even before they’re done playing.”
The list of “over 800” was out together by Beasing; he describes the list as “classic rock staples with some things we are thinking of playing more of, and some nuggets for variety.” The entire staff chipped in with ideas as well, he says.
Should make for s fun weekend.
Don Barrett came out of retirement as he occasionally does over at LARadio.Com to post an interesting story: “New LA Rams Find Broadcast Home at KSPN and KSWD (100.3 The Sound)” reads the headline.
My first thought was that the station was either purchased by Cumulus or that owner Entercom had secretly hired Lew Dickey, former CEO of Cumulus. Only Cumulus or Dickey would do that, right?
Does anyone listen to sports on the radio in Los Angeles? We have three ... or is it four? ... all-sports stations with combined ratings that in the past would be considered a failure if on just one. And no station in the last decade has had a noticeable ratings boost with sports play by play, even when you count the Dodgers. It’s too easy to catch games on television.
So count me as cynical that the Rams will prove beneficial to The Sound. But, and here’s a big but: as of right now it is still rumor. And to add to the fun, of the few times I have been proven wrong about something related to radio, Beasing -- arguably among the best programmers in town -- is often the one doing it. Which means if he is behind this or supporting this in any way, it might have merit.
On that count I still don’t know. I did contact Beasing for comment, along with station manager Peter Burton. Neither would confirm or deny the rumor, basically leaving me with “no comment.” So while I believe the rumor is true, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Did you have a chance to check out http://thelegendsofrockandroll.com? It’s the front page of a site run by CVSC AVCO Broadcasting, and features a set of online stations all paying tribute to classic radio stations of the past: KFRC/San Francisco, KHJ/Los Angeles, KYA/San Francisco and more. Most are current streams playing oldies on actual broadcast stations that use the same name as the classics, but the KFRC stream is special, playing old airchecks as they originally aired on the Big 610. I’ve mentioned the KFRC page before, but only recently found its ties to CVSC AVCO.
As of press time this week, the KHJ stream is actually playing KOOL-FM out of Hanford, California, though last week it was indeed streaming a station calling itself KHJ-FM from a location I cannot yet determine.
Student-run K-Beach (KBeach.Org and 88.1 HD3), on the campus of Cal State University, Long Beach, wrapped up its 88.1 hour fundraising marathon last Sunday. University Media Coordinator Danny Lemos said he would not have a final tally immediately, but my own estimation is that the station will easily break it’s effort last year in which it raised just over $9000.
Lemos was heavily involved in the marathon, even doing a three-hour shift as “Chuy from La Puente” in the wee hours of the morning. “Chuy” was a recurring character on Rick Dees’ morning show on KIIS-FM (102.7) prior to the arrival of current morning man Ryan Seacrest. Lemos told me that he’ll make the segment available as a podcast.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Radio Waves May 20, 2016
This is the weekend Long Beach State student-run radio station K-Beach (kbeach.org and 88.1 HD3) is holding its 88.1 hour fundraiser, raising money for operations and equipment. Last year’s theme was “we want more,” and they got it ... $9000, almost doubling the very modest goal of $5000.
This year the special programming runs begins Thursday May 19th at 8 a.m. and runs through Sunday May 22nd at 12 midnight.Rumor has it that I am a guest with LA Radio Studio’s Mike Stark Sunday at 7 p.m., but neither I, Stark nor station advisor Danny Lemos have confirmed this at press time ... I guess I’ll find out when you do.
No More Oldies
I have to admit this caught me by surprise. It was just recently that I wrote of the great music that was once found on KRTH’s (101.1 FM) digital HD2 radio stream ...
“I was shocked this week to tune into KRTH HD2 on May 11th and find the great classic 50’s and 60’s oldies gone and the kiddie pop crap of Radio Disney defiling it’s place on my HD radio dial! KRTH HD2 had been my favorite local broadcast radio music station in LA for the last few years and I can’t believe it’s just gone and probably for good.
“Couldn’t the station owner have found some other LA market station they own to attach Radio Disney to and leave the KRTH Classic oldies format alone, or at least move the rock oldies to an HD channel on a sister station in LA? It’s a crying shame to think a great rock oldies format like that will never again grace LA’s airwaves. It now seems that LA’s last radio broadcast link to the “Boss Rock” glory days of 93 KHJ AM in the 1960’s is gone for good” -- Rick Koenig
“I'm PISSED KRTH HD 2 IS RADIO DISNEY! We have 1110 AM (KDIS) for that ... and what kid has access to an HD radio anyway? Main KRTH plays stuff I can't handle; KRTH HD2 played what I call KHJ music. I was 9-1/2 when KHJ started in 1965 and listened since day two of Boss Radio. Disney parked on KRTH HD2 -- think 1110 AM is for sale?” -- Joe Costanzo
It’s a bit of a strange move, considering that KDIS is the sole remaining station in the Radio Disney chain -- the mouse sold 23 of 24 stations it previously owned by mid 2015, holding on to flagship KDIS for its studios and distribution network. It was well-known that Disney Radio would replace those stations with HD streams -- a horrendously bad idea in my opinion, due to reader Koenig’s observation that few kids own HD radios. But to run HD in a city with a full-power AM? Why have both?
An email to KRTH manager Dan Kearney has gone unanswered so far, but my assumption on KRTH side is that the decision is purely financial. KRTH made little money on the K-EARTH Classics format due to limited commercials, and it is certain that Disney is paying for the ability to run the format on the KRTH HD stream. The big followup question is -- why didn’t KRTH at least put the Classics format on an HD3 stream? KKGO runs three streams and the sound quality on all is excellent. KRTH should do that and then sell the format ... there is no reason for a lack of advertising on a format the station has exclusively.
KDIS once had an HD signal as well, which made the station sound much better than traditional narrowband AM. I’ve heard rumblings that the station is back to broadcasting in analog AM stereo, but I have not gotten my Carver AM stereo tuner out of the attic to confirm. Regardless, is there any reason to hold on to 1110 if the stream is already available on HD? As well as iPhone, Android, and online?
As to alternatives, there are few, at least on air. The focus of KRTH Classics was 1950s and ‘60s pop and rock. If you don’t mind going older, the HD3 stream on KKGO (105.1 FM) is a wonderful adult standards format. But that’s it -- nothing else locally. Perhaps 1110 could resurrect the oldies format and put the KRLA call letters back where they belong, rather than using them for a talk(?!?) format on 870 AM.
The best bet for now? Get a membership ($10 donation) to ReelRadio.Com and download -- for personal use only, please! -- actual airchecks from such stations as KHJ, playing those same oldies when they were new. Presented the DJs that made them hits: Robert W. Morgan, The Real Don Steele, Charlie Tuna, and more. You’ll drive your family crazy as I often do, but it’s so much fun to hear KHJ playing top-40 music circa 1965-1980 in your car, just as you heard it originally. Or your parents heard it originally, as the case may be.
On Line Homework
Try this out. http://thelegendsofrockandroll.com. Essay due next week.
Former KIIS-FM (102.7) General Manager Wally Clark-- who was part of the team that helped propel the station to the top of the ratings in Los Angeles -- will be honored by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters June 29th at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City. For information, go to ppbwebsite.org.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Last October I wrote of a segment on The Sound’s “Mark in the Morning” program in which actors portrayed callers in an an absurd scenario that mocked “candid phone” type segments popular on morning shows throughout the country.
These are segments in which people try to to trap others, such as when a girlfriend has the DJ call her boyfriend to get them to admit on the air to infidelity. As the story unfolds, hilarity ensues as the boyfriend digs a deeper hold until he finally admits his cheating.
Why did The Sound’s Mark Thompson use actors? To make a point: they are all actors. All of them. Everywhere. On every station in America that runs such segments. There is even a service from Premiere Networks that provides said actors, as does the United Stations Radio Network.
The problem is that these calls, if they used “real” people, have always been illegal. The station has to get permission for the participants to be recorded before the recording begins. It’s not enough to get permission later ... it must be explicitly given prior to the start of the recording, and no jilted lover or cheating partner would dare give permission to be embarrassed beforehand. Failure to do so can result in huge fines from the FCC, or even cause license renewal problems (apparently one of the new times the FCC actually does much of anything). This has always been the rule, though it was rarely enforced until the 1990s (meaning yes, Rick Dees far more creative Candid Phones were most likely real).
So imagine my surprise when I tuned into KIIS-FM (102.7) the other morning and heard an episode of morning man Ryan Seacrest’s Ryan’s Roses ... exactly the type of segment that Thompson mocked. And Roses was almost as absurd as Thompson’s: Seacrest calls girls’s boyfriend, boyfriend claims he has no knowledge of the jewelry found under the couple’s bed, Seacrest pushes, boyfriend admits cheating, girl starts crying, hilarity ensues.
Perhaps in these days of reality television, in which the reality presented is the furthest thing from the truth, all of this is to be expected. Still, I’m surprised that anyone falls for it. Maybe they don’t and I’m the only one who doesn’t “get it.” But like the fake reality cable shows including Bar Rescue and Mystery Diners, I think it’s time to expose the deceit.
After 30 years, KROQ’s (106.7 FM) Loveline has left the air. The final show aired April 28th; the news broke on the station’s Kevin and Bean Show when co-host Dr. Drew Pinsky made an appearance on a recent morning.
The program was launched by Jim “Poorman” Trenton along with “Swedish” Egil Aalvik and “Spacin’” Scott Mason in 1983 as a dating and relationship-advice show. Pinsky was added in 1984 to give medical advice ... before he was even a doctor; eventually Poorman was forced out of the program he created, to be hosted by Pinsky and a series of co-hosts, most recently Mike Catherwood.
Revenue at Cumulus -- owner of KLOS (95.5 FM) and KABC (790 AM) along with 452 other stations across the country -- was down and losses increased in the first quarter financial results released earlier this month. For the quarter, revenue fell 0.9 percent to $268.5 million, losses increased 20 percent to $14.4 million. Debt remains at roughly $2.5 billion, and as of closing last Monday, the stock price stood at 38.2 cents per share.
And that was the good news. Apparently revenue was down less than expected.
On the other side, the company still has yet to have a stock value greater than $1 per share since it was warned by NASDAQ, and it risks being delisted on the stock exchange. In response to that problem, the company pulled a fast one and was able to get approval from NASDAQ to move the listing from the exchange’s Global Select Market to the Capital Market, giving it an extra 180 days to reach that $1 mark at least ten days in a row. The move was made May 3rd ... the day the stock was supposed to be delisted. If it cannot make the $1 mark in the next 180 days the company will try other charades, including a possible reverse split.
The addition of Lisa May to KLOS’s morning Heidi and Frank Show has been a tremendous success, making for a far more interesting and intelligent program, I like the fact that the program pays at least a little respect to informed listeners ... and May does a great job adding her voice to the broadcast, taking the show to far greater heights.
She joined the program just over a year ago -- May 11, 2015 -- after many years with Kevin and Bean on KROQ.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Airwaves: May 6, 2016
KCBS-TV Channel 2’s Rick Garcia sat down with former longtime morning man Rick Dees to “share past and present memories.” You can see it online at http://tinyurl.com/DeesCBS
Interesting, though incomplete and incorrect.
“When did you start to conquer the radio world in the morning?” asked Garcia.
“Well, I remember getting a call and it was a ... kind of a disco station. They called it KIIS,” explains Dees.
Don’t get me wrong - I love Rick Dees. I can’t figure out why a talent like him is not on the air somewhere here in town with the freedom to do a show like he once did, not the shell they allowed when he was last waking Los Angeles at Movin’ 92.3 a few years ago. But Dees is wrong, and he knows it.
He really got “the call” from RKO’s KHJ (930 AM), as part of master programmer Chuck Martin’s plan to revitalize and restore KHJ’s glory. This was in 1979. Dees -- and an entire airstaff of excellent DJs led by the expertise of Martin -- actually propelled KHJ up in the ratings, at a rate that caught owner RKO by surprise. Unfortunately, it was so much of a surprise that RKO heads in New York had (unbeknownst to Martin) already committed to change the format from top-40 to country. Dees left after the change in November, 1980 but did not start on KIIS-FM (102.7) until July of 1981. By then, KIIS had already dropped disco.
Not that this really means anything. But it does give me a chance to mention KHJ, Martin and Dees in one story. I like that.
Airchexx.Com has an amazing recording of KRTH (101.1 FM) from the era that I particularly like, running a format I would like to hear today. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/KRTHPast.
This was a time when KRTH was playing a lot of current music, mixed with the occasional “gold,” or what we used to call oldies. In some ways, as it says in the description, it is the “KHJ on FM” that many wish was still on the air ... and that was tried on K-WEST (now KPWR, 105.9 FM) at roughly the same time. Interestingly, this aircheck from 1981 features Pat Evans playing “more music in the morning” due to the former morning team of John London and Ron Engelman moving to K-WEST. Also featured: Brian Bierne, “Mr. Rock and Roll.”
What made the station great? First off ... the jingles: I love the old KRTH jingles from the era. Current music was the majority of the mix but with plenty of oldies as flavor. This allowed weekends to be particularly good because weekends could be something different than the weekday format. You could hear the “runners up of rock” one weekend, a “souvenir of the seventies” the next. It was great radio, a format I think would still work today.
Cal State Long Beach is gearing up for their annual K-Beach fundraiser, which will take place the weekend of May 20, 21 and 22. More details will come as the weekend approaches.
K-Beach is a student-run station on the campus and broadcasts using the digital HD stream of KJAZ (88.1 FM). So you need either an HD Radio tuner or online access to hear it, but just having a student-run station at Cal State Long Beach is wonderful.