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Radio AM to FM: March 9, 2001

Radio Achievement Awards

Nominations have been entered, votes have been cast and results have been tabulated, stored in a bank vault near downtown New York City. Yes, the time has come: The 2000 Radio Achievement Awards -- The Waggys -- are on the air.

Station of the Year That is No Longer Around: KXMX (95.9 FM). This little rock station from Anaheim just sounded too good, playing a far better format than any of their so-called competitors in Los Angeles. Of course, good formats and former KXMX owner Clear Channel don't go well together, so they sold the station (forced due to FCC ownership limits) and made the station go away, hoping people wouldn't notice just how bad Star (98.7 FM) and KIIS (102.7 FM) really are.

Station of the Year That IS Still Around: KMXN (94.3 FM). It was a direct copy of Mix 95.9, but owner Art Astor and programmer Craig Powers realized the great hole that Mix would leave when it left the air. Astor said it was an obvious move, and I agree. Too bad the signal is only good within what seems like a five-block radius of the station's Orange-County studios on Ball Road.

Programmer of the Year: Craig Carpenter. (I have to be careful here ... that's three positive things in a row) Carpenter is the man behind the sound of the Original Mix. Enough said.

Station That Should Be On the Air but Isn't: Channel 103.1. Yes it lives on in the internet, but its not the same. At one time stations that experimented with music on FM were the norm, but that was long before the corporate takeover of our public airwaves. The fact remains that while Los Angeles once had three active rock "progressive" stations on the air at the same time (KMET, KLOS and KWST) it now has none. But hey, at least we have 75 all-sports stations.

Most Improved: KGIL/KRLA (870 AM). Who woulda thunk it? The station that was once the place to go for laughs is now a real talk station.

Best Morning Show: Joe Benson, KCBS-FM (93.1). Perhaps I'm just a bit jaded on talk in the morning, but I appreciate hearing actual music along with the intelligent information dispensed by Benson. The fact that he's one of the few "non-team" morning jocks gives him an edge too ... he stands out from the crowd by doing the show himself.

Best Talk Show: Phil Hendrie, KFI (640 AM). I can't take him every day, but when he's hot, he's hot. Especially when he's making fun of Barbara Streisand. Or Art Bell. Or Tom Leykis (sorry Tom, you know I luv ya ... but his parody of your show is funny).

Best Oldies: KLAC (570 AM). It'll be gone by early next month, but its a good choice until then.

I must be getting old ... far too little sarcasm this year. If you're too disappointed, don't be ... just wait until next week for: The Readers Revenge.

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Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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