Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Radio Waves Podcast #156

Radio December 16, 2016

After more than eight decades broadcasting from studios on La Cienega, KABC (790 AM) and sister station KLOS (95.5 FM) moved to new studios that were the former location of Westwood One Radio Networks a short drive away in Culver City, South of Washington Boulevard.

The La Cienega location at one time was home to Hearst’s KEHE (named after the Evening Herald Express newspaper) which broadcast at 780 on the AM dial. Earle C. Anthony -- owner of KFI (640 AM) and KECA -- bought the property from Hearst and moved KECA from 1430 on the dial to 790 in the 1930s. When Anthony sold the station in the 1940s, it remained on the property and would later become KABC.

The current studios are not that old, and are such a model of good planning that the set designers of Frazier used KABC as the model for the studios shown on the popular television show. They include spacious rooms with adjoining booths for news reporting and call screening. Scott Fybush of Fybush.Com uses the word “majestic” to describe the studios and the small details that are often left out of more modern construction projects. Of course when the just-vacated studios were built in 1989 -- replacing the original 1930s studios -- KABC and KLOS were flying high, so no expense was spared in the design. Station manager George Green made sure of that.

So why move? Money. The current owner of KABC and KLOS is Cumulus, and the value of the property -- Cumulus reportedly sold it for $90 million -- will help pay down some of its massive debt. The site will soon be a mixture of homes and retail space.

According to KABC morning man Doug McIntyre, the new facility is a bit smaller, but the old location actually had more space than they needed. And though he has actually been part of the La Cienega facility since 1982 when he was a guest on the Ray Breim Show, he’s excited about the move.

“It’s brand new with a very modern vibe,” he explained in an interview the Sunday before his first broadcast from the new studios. While weekend shows originated from the new studios as of 6 p.m. on Saturday December 10, McIntyre’s was the first of the major weekday shows to broadcast there beginning at 5 a.m. Monday.

“I spent almost a quarter century at the La Cienega studios, so it is a bit strange to be moving, but it’s a good time. There is a positive vibe with the station, and a positive vibe with the move.”

And as if nature agreed with the move, McIntyre told a story of cats. “At one time we had 23 cats on the property. As time went on, just one was left, an old cat we named ToupĂ©. Well, ToupĂ© died last week, so we buried  him using the same shovel that was used to break ground on the new studios that were competed in 1989. It was a silver shovel with George Green’s name on the handle; we buried the cat in the back. It’s as if everything has gone full-circle”

Elmer Gone

Terri-Rae Elmer, who did news on McIntyre’s KABC morning show for the past five years after a longtime stint on KFI, was let go from the station. No reason was given, but it is known that her contract was not renewed.

Hopefully Elmer will return to the air soon; she is an accomplished reporter with a sharp wit. Will she return to KFI or perhaps move to KNX (1070 AM)? Time will tell.

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