Radio Column for February 20, 1998
After a four-year gig waking up Orange County on KIKF (94.3 FM), Charlie Tuna is back in Los Angeles, courtesy of KRTH (101.1 FM).
Currently Tuna is working weekends, but if KRTH is smart, they'll have him move to mornings now that longtime KRTH morning personality Robert W. Morgan has officially retired. This would be somewhat of an irony, considering that Tuna followed Morgan into the KHJ morning shift back in 1970 when Morgan left that station for a job in Chicago. When Morgan came back to Los Angeles, he pushed Tuna out, leading to hard feelings that continued for a long time.
Writing about Tuna is much like writing about Los Angeles radio in general -- it seems he has worked at just about every radio station in town. Here's a quick rundown:
KHJ (1967 - 72), KROQ (AM) (1972 - 73), KKDJ (1973 - 75), KIIS AM/FM (1975 - 77), KHJ (1977), KTNQ (1978 - 80), KHTZ/KBZT (1980 - 86), KRLA (1986 - 90), KODJ/KCBS-FM (1990 - 93), (KMPC 1993 - 94), KIKF (1994 - 98), and now KRTH.
Known to most fans as the king of the corny joke -- remember the Morning Wake-Up Story? -- Tuna also has a history of psychic ability, actually predicting the Sylmar earthquake back in 1971. On that fateful day, February 9, Tuna signed on to KHJ at 6 am mentioning that he was feeling "little shaky." Just a few minutes (more accurately 40 seconds) later, the quake hit and knocked KHJ off the air for a large portion of the day. I remember it well -- I got to stay home from school that day.
In any event, Tuna is definitely a pro -- trained at some of the best stations in the country -- and a Los Angeles radio icon. It's nice to have him back in town playing the music that we grew up listening to him play the first time.
KFI (640 AM) has made a few alterations to its weekend lineup. Turi Ryder and Scott Greene are no longer with the station. Moving into the Saturday and Sunday 6 - 9 pm shift is Debra Rich, who's been doing the early (really early) Monday morning shift since last fall. Her goal is for listeners to find
the opening premise of her topic totally outrageous and absurd, but by the end of the show to get her point.
Debra's old time slot and that left by Scott Greene's departure will be filled with "Best of" programming for awhile. Sunday early mornings will be Best of Dr. Dean Edell and Best of Handel on the Law. Early Monday will be Best of Jeff Levy on computers.
Larry Elder has regained his full four hour afternoon shift on KABC (790 AM), ever since Florida transplant Ed Tyll was fired for having a dull and unimaginative program. No word on the whereabouts of Tyll, although I am sure he's been knocking on the doors of KLSX (97.1 FM) since he was let go.