Radio: March 31, 2017
The votes have been cast and the counts have been completed. Time for the 2017 edition of the Radio Achievement Awards, also known as The Waggies.
It’s actually been a few years since I last awarded Waggies. And this is the first year I actually counted votes; I was a bit surprised and pleased that many of my choices were also yours. It seems great minds think alike. If the selections were mine alone I will place an asterisk next to the category, otherwise they are based upon your votes. So without further ado:
*Best Morning Music Show: The Woody Show, Alt 98.7 FM (KYSR). Jeff "Woody" Fife, Renae Ravey, Greg Gory and Jason "Menace" McMurray entertain Southern California with somewhat risqué yet still (usually) family-friendly humor, and have helped increase Alt 98.7’s ratings during a time when most alternative rock stations nationwide -- including KROQ (106.7 FM) have declined.
*Worst Promoted Station: KABC (790 AM). They have some good shows: Doug McIntyre in the morning, The Drive Home in the afternoon (especially when Jillian Barberie is busy with another project and John Phillips flies solo or with another co-host. But you’d never know it ... KABC desperately needs some sort of promotions push ... even some ads might help.
*Best Station Owner: Saul Levine. The last of the independent owners in town, he still believes in radio -- including AM radio, which most owners have left pasture. Go Country (105.1 FM) is the number one country station in town, and he just launched oldies on K-SURF (1260 AM) which has brought cheers from classic car clubs for allowing drivers to hear something they like on the original AM car radios.
Best FM Station: KSWD The Sound (100.3 FM). Again, oldies seem to be a favorite format. Official The Sound is Classic Rock, but many of the songs played were hits on top-40 stations first. What sets The Sound apart from other, similar stations? Well, none are truly similar any more. KRTH (101.1 FM) has gone newer, KLOS (95.5 FM) has gone rockier, and Jack-FM (KCBS-FM, 93.1) is just annoying at times with songs that should never have been released in the first place.
Best Alternative Rock Station: Alt 98.7. Surprised? I was. I would have awarded it anyway but your votes -- and station ratings -- backed me up. Alt has a buzz not seen since KROQ (106.7 FM) of the 1980s.
Best News Station: KNX (1070 AM). The second-place for best AM votes, winning best news isn’t as impressive when it’s the last man standing. Regardless, KNX still does all-news reasonably well considering the cost-cutting moves that have lessened its prestige.
Best Talk Station: KFI (640 AM). No surprise here ... KFI remains consistent snd entertaining; I just wish they’d clean up the audio and bring back the HD signal.
Best Morning Talk Show: Doug McIntyre, KABC (790 AM) weekdays. One reader nominated McIntyre for three different categories: Best Morning Show, Best Ensemble, and Best Speaker. “The only one I can trust,” wrote another.
Best AM Station: K-SURF (1260 AM, 105.1 HD2). This one came from nowhere. And I’m not even sure it even qualifies to win a Waggy because it wasn’t on the air last year. but your votes were clear - you like oldies, and you don’t mind hearing them on AM.
Best Mid-Day Show: Jonsey’s Jukebox, KLOS (95.5 FM). It’s only two hours a day (noon to 2 p.m., but it’s a treat. Steve Jones plays what he wants when he wants, often highlighting music you can’t hear elsewhere while talking with artists who are true to the art form. The show also gives KLOS some real street cred, and have helped put the station back on the map after years of neglect.
Best Weekend Show: Peace Love and Understanding, The Sound, Sundays 8 - 11 a.m. Affectionately called “the hippy show” by some, the program features Mimi Chen offering up songs from the late sixties and more, ... putting you in a great mood for the day. My only problem: it conflicts with the Jesus Christ Show on KFI, to which I give honorable mention.
There were many good choices sent in for many categories that didn’t make the list, but I will do my best to promote them in future columns. A varied list that includes such personalities as Tim Conway, Jr., Bryan Suits, Larry Elder, Kevin and Bean, Gary Bryan, Ron Kilgore, Terri-Rae Elmer, Ric Edelman (or is that Rice Delman?), Peter Tilden, and Johnny Magnus, among others. In spite of the problems facing radio -- many self-imposed -- we still have some great personalities and great stations in town.
Radio March 24, 2017
Last week, Saul Levin’e Mt. Wilson Broadcasting launched a new oldies station on KKGO’s digital stream (105.1 HD2), with a weekend simulcast on sister station KBOQ (1260 AM), which had been playing standards. Calling the oldies format K-Surf, the original plan was to try oldies only on 1260‘s weekends to drive listeners to the HD signal as well as to gauge listener acceptance of the new format.
Just one week later, the decision was made to run oldies full time on KBOQ. It appears that the listeners have spoken.
Levine says that the response has been huge and tremendously positive. This is not surprising; the oldies being played -- primarily music from the 1950s through the ‘60s -- have been essentially missing from the local airwaves for years. So the decision became a no-brainer. Levine says he is looking into hiring an air staff, and the call letters of 1260 were officially changed to KSUR as of 6 a.m. Monday.
What about the standards that 1260 had been playing up until last Friday? They can still be found on 105.1 HD3, as well as online at unforgettable1260.com and via smartphone apps like TuneIn and StreamS Hi Fi Audio.
So to recap: K-Surf is now oldies 24/7. Standards can still be heard on KKGO 105.1 HD3. And K-Surf is simulcast on 105.1 HD3. What a great way to attract listeners to HD streams, as well as to the AM band.
Numerous emails arrived almost as soon as the weekend simulcast began on March 10.
“I Remember dancing to 1260 AM music back in the 1950's Van Nuys High School Sock Hop. Love this music the best times in my life.” -- Danielle Gallardo
“I was just lamenting the other day that the oldies which are played on the radio today are not my oldies. I was beginning to think that I was from the dinosaur era ... thank you for introducing me to true oldies.” -- Sheena Caughey
Memories of KPOL
I grew up listening to KPOL (now KMPC, 1540 AM). Not necessarily by choice; it was the station my father listened to in the car and if he was in the car, that was the station we heard. No, there was no other choice.
KPOL at the time I recall played Beautiful Music, a format that was popular in the 1960s and early ‘70s, especially on FM, that featured string versions of popular songs as well as light vocals. KPOL was also on FM, simulcasting the music on 93.9, but due to the majority of radio listening at the time being AM, KPOL distinguished itself not only by playing the format on AM, it was also one of the few “pretty music” stations at the time with real DJs. And it had very decent ratings as well.
Until recently, I’ve never heard any recordings of KPOL; I didn’t think any existed. But through the magic of the internet, I found one. You can find it too ... at http://tinyurl.com/1540KPOL. It’s from August 7, 1964 and not exactly the format I remember, but a good sample of easy listening music from long ago. And it does indeed feature the harp interlude sound I remember so well from my days as a passenger in our ’64 Impala wagon or our ’67 Camaro.
What is your favorite station and why? Favorite shows? Personalities? I’m working on the final tally of suggestions for the Radio Achievement Awards -- aka The Waggies -- for 2017, to be announced next week in this very space. Unless something else comes up, of course. Send your suggestions to me now; your suggestions and nominations could make a difference!