Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Radio Waves Podcast #182

Radio: July 21, 2017

Officially, “My FM” KBIG (104.3 FM) is a “Hot Adult Contemporary” station, playing music that is “hotter” or more upbeat than traditional adult contemporary stations that in the past were designed in large part to be unoffensive.

But a closer listen shows that My FM is really modern top-40, or as close as one can get. Much of the music played -- from such artists as Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and Imagine Dragons -- sounds similar to what one-time top-40 giant KIIS-FM (102.7 FM) played in its heyday of the mid 1980s. In fact, My FM sounds more like a 2017 version of KIIS-FM than does KIIS-FM itself.

So perhaps it is fitting that My FM has taken the crown from KIIS-FM to become the city’s number one station for most of this year, including the most recent ratings for June released last week. My FM’s 5.8 share keeps the station solidly in 1st, followed by The Wave KTWV (94.7 FM) at 5.4, KRTH (101.1 FM) at 5.1, KIIS at 5.0 and KOST (103.5 FM) at 4.8.

Some interesting pairings came out of the report. For example, the two top-rated AM stations in Los Angeles were tied at at 8th place with a 3.3 percent share of the audience. Real KRRL (92.3 FM), which tried to destroy Power 106 KPWR (106.1 FM) by stealing the Big Boy morning show -- and did so for a while -- found itself humbled and tied with Power (and Go Country) at 11th place with a 2.9 share. And KKJZ (88.1 FM), licensed to Cal State Long Beach but run under a deal with Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson Broadcasters, tied Mt. Wilson’s own oldies station KSUR (1260 AM, 105.1 HD2) (and religious hit music station KFSH, 95.9 FM) at 38th with a 0.5 share.

KRTH beat Jack (KCBS-FM, 93.1) in oldies, 5.4 to 3.5. But “old school” oldies KTWV The Wave beat them both with its 5.4 share. I wonder if the suits at Real 92.3 think dropping old school for urban top-40 was such a brilliant idea after all ...

Classic Rock The Sound (KSWD, 100.3 FM) beat KLOS (95.5 FM) by almost half a point: 2.7 to 2.3. KYSR -- Alt 98.7 FM -- beat KROQ (106.7 FM) by half a point: 2.9 to 2.4. The highest-rated Sports station -- by a nose -- was KSPN (710 AM) with a 1.0 share; KLAC (570 AM) was right behind at 0.9. It must be noted that when both sports stations played music, their ratings were in the 2’s ... but who needs ratings and listeners when you can have programmer and consultant egos?

The top-rated public stations? Another interesting combo ... KCRW (89.9 FM), KUSC (91.5 FM) and KPCC (89.3 FM) tied with KJLH (102.3 FM) at 25th with a 1.5 share.

Looking closer at KFI, it is interesting that Bill Handel mornings and Tim Conway, Jr. evenings truly drive the station with Handel earning a 4.2 share during his time period and mostly Conway (the rating period is 7 p.m. to midnight; Conway is off at 10:00) earning 4.5 -- the highest ratings of the station’s broadcast day. This proves that entertaining content will attract an audience or all ages, even on AM ... that rating for Conway is a 4th place tie with KRTH in the time slot. 

Each rating is an estimate of the percentage of listeners tuned to a station between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 midnight as determined by Nielsen:

1. KBIG (5.8) 2. KTWV (5.4) 3. KRTH (5.1) 4. KIIS (5.0) 5. KOST (4.8) 6. KOST, KCBS-FM (3.5) 8. KFI, KNX (3.3) 10. KAMP (3.0)

11. KPWR, KRRL, KYSR (2.9) 14. KKGO, KSCA (2.8) 16. KSWD (2.7) 17. KRCD (2.6) 18. KXOL (2.5) 19. KROQ (2.4) 20. KLOS (2.3)

21. KLAX (1.9) 22. KBUE, KXOS (1.7) 24. KLYY (1.6) 25. KCRW, KJLH, KPCC, KUSC (1.5) 29. KDAY, KSSE (1.3)

31. KRLA, KSPN (1.0) 33. KLAC, KWIZ (0.9) 35. KEIB (0.8) 36. KABC, KFWB (0.6) 38. KFSH, KKJZ, KSUR (0.5) 41. KWKW, KYLA (0.4) 43. KTNQ (0.3) 44. KKLA, KLAA (0.2)

Leno Does Conway

Yes, that WAS Jay Leno filling in for Conway on June 12th. Missed it? Head over to and click on the Conway page ... the full recording is there via Conway on Demand.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Radio Waves Podcast #181

Radio: July 14, 2017

There are specific rules for identifying broadcast stations. Officially, station identification must consist of the station's call letters immediately followed by the community or communities specified in its license as the station's location. This must be done once per hour as close to the top of the hour as possible.

So count me as confused when listening to KRDC (1110 AM) lately. The once-proud KRLA is now Radio Disney Country with one of the strangest sets of IDs I have ever heard. Yes, sets. As in three as I heard on Monday.

The first was “KRDC AM and FM.” The second was “KRDC Pasadena.” The third was “KRDC 99.1 FM and 1110 AM.” Only the second is truly legal, but it appears that the multiple IDs are designed to mislead listeners into thinking that there is an FM station involved. Except there isn’t, at least in the traditional sense. 

The FM station simulcasting KRDC’s AM signal is a translator, or very low-powered FM transmitter designed specifically to bring a station into an area not well covered by the main signal. In this case it is officially called K256CX and broadcasts -- or did broadcast -- from Irwindale on 99.1 FM after station owner Disney/ABC moved it from Beaumont. Rumor is that it is off the air due to interference complaints from KGGI/Riverside, which also broadcasts at 99.1 FM.

But considering that the translator in no way makes for an AM-FM simulcast combo in the traditional sense, what are they doing?

My hunch is syndication. If Disney wanted to syndicate the format to stations owned by others, it would carry more status if it was available on a Los Angeles FM station. Since it isn’t, they are faking it, so to speak, to make it seem more popular than it is. Again this is just a hunch, but I cannot think of any other reason for the multiple misleading IDs, and the press-releases offered touting the format being available on FM in Los Angeles. Which it isn’t, outside of a small area of Irwindale.

What about Pop Disney?

The old kid top-40 format heard on 1110 AM when it was called KDIS is still around. You just need a digital HD Radio tuned to KRTH (101.1 FM) HD2. Whether that remains as Entercom takes control of CBS Radio -- current owner of KRTH -- remains to be seen.

Power Struggle

The transformer explosion that wreaked havoc with electricity throughout much of the Los Angeles area last Sunday knocked the Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters stations -- KSUR (1260 AM, 105.1 HD2), Go Country (KKGO, 105.1 FM), K-Mozart (105.1 HD2) and Unforgettable (105.1 HD3) off the air. Well, partially off the air ... the transmitters were up, they just had nothing to broadcast with the studios dark. Said owner Saul Levine “our backup generator failed ... looks like we need a new one!”

Interestingly, the signal for KKJZ (88.1 FM) -- which uses the same studio complex as KKGO and KSUR -- was not down. Levine explained that the signal was able to be routed to the Long Beach transmitter using battery packs.

Also interestingly, the coverage of the outage was mixed at best. KNX (1070 AM) reported on the transformer problem and the outages throughout the city, but never put the two together nor explained why a problem in Northridge would cause an outage in Westwood or Pacific Palisades. Most likely that is due to it happening on a Sunday ... cutbacks at CBS have left the all news station with a skeleton crew on weekends.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Radio Waves Podcast #180

Radio: July 7, 2017

Legendary Los Angeles DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, who spent over 40 years on KROQ (106.7 FM) before being released last month in a pre-Entercom/CBS merger housecleaning, will join SiriusXM to host a new weekly show beginning Sunday, July 16 on the Underground Garage, Channel 21.

The move puts Bingenheimer back on a time when people can actually hear him -- he had been relegated to after midnight Sunday nights/Monday mornings on KROQ the last few years. On SiriusXM, he’ll be heard on the West Coast from 6 to 9 p.m. every Sunday night.

While somewhat “challenged” as a DJ -- you would never confuse him with Ryan Seacrest, for example -- Bingenheimer is nonetheless a passionate promoter of music and has helped launch numerous careers over his own long career. Van Halen, The Runaways, The Ramones and many more owe at least part of their success to Bingenheimer and his former program “Rodney on the Roq.”

The Underground Garage channel is executive produced by “Little Steven” Van Zandt, the musician and actor who is still part of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. “Rodney was one of my first calls when I started the channel,” he said adding, “this is where he belongs!” Even if it took years to get his there.

Bingenheimer says he is glad to finally be on earlier on the evening, exclaiming, “I can have more listeners who don’t have to worry about missing school or work the next day” and adding, “I’m so honored to be on the same channel as Little Steven ... we’re going to keep great music alive.”

This is quite a coup for SiriusXM, which in many is out-doing local radio in the personality department. It also gives Bingenheimer potentially the largest audience he has ever had, nationwide. It would be nice to hear some new local bands get some exposure ... bands that traditional radio ignores. I am really looking forward to this.

Wood Good

Alt 98.7 FM has extended the contract for the tremendously entertaining morning Woody Show through 2022. Hopefully national syndication -- part of the deal -- will not screw it up. As it is, The Woody Show is one of the best morning shows in town.

Try Again?

AllAccess.Com reports that Lew Dickey’s new Modern Media Acquisition Corporation has filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission explaining what it plans to do with the $200 million it raised and must spend by November, 2018. Kind of ...

"We will seek to capitalize on the significant experience and contacts of our management team and our partnership with Macquarie Capital to complete our initial business combination,” the filing stated. “We believe our management team’s distinctive background and record of acquisition and operational success could have a transformative impact on verified target businesses.”

Whatever that means. There is more, but it tends to be nonspecific and full of jargon. What is worth reading are the comments posted from AllAccess readers in response to the story. Among them:

“It can't be translated... But, here is the best I can do: ‘I have to spend a lot of money quickly to ruin other companies and put good people out of work while continuing to devalue properties and pretend like I know what I am doing.’”

Dickey was head of Cumulus Media, owner of KABC (790 AM) and KLOS (95.5 FM) locally; his tenure saw the company’s stock lose the vast majority of its value and numerous company stations stagnate or falter before he was forced out last year. As one comment noted, most in the radio industry hope he buys a baseball team instead ...