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Radio AM to FM: March 30, 2001

Here Come Da Buzz

This is the final week for KLAC (570 AM) as a music station. By Monday a copycat already-in-every-other-city "hot talk" station known as "The Buzz" will supplant the adult standards KLAC has played since dropping country a while back. The change leaves huge holes both in the loss of the adult standards music format and the loss of yet another reason to tune in the AM band.

Talk and sports designed to attract a primarily male audience will be the focus of the Buzz. Apparently it worked so well at the almost unrated but co-owned KXTA (1150 AM) that owner Cheap Channel (credit Bill Mann for that jab) wanted to try it again. And it just might work ... while KLAC has had ratings in the 2.0 to 2.5 share range, I'll bet Da Buzz will be able to go down to the KXTA area of 0.3 to 0.4 share range in no time.

Jim Rome is the main attraction; he'll be moving over from KXTA. KFI's Tim and Neil will be there also, as will KYSR's Jamie White, who will host a one-hour show called For Men Only. Rumor has it that Phil Hendrie may be taking the morning shift leaving afternoons on KFI (640 AM) open for the return of John and Ken.

Kind of makes you wonder what is in store for KXTA, considering the one person who almost got ratings is leaving that station for Da Buzz. Certainly KXTA cannot survive as a sports station when every listener the station had moves to Da Buzz for Romie's show. Maybe this is Cheap Channel's way of repaying Southern California for all the airwave destruction it has committed in its drive to own 1200 stations and run them all with 24 people ... just shut the sucker down and help prevent rolling blackouts ...

Not Pretty

If the response I've gotten to Peter Tilden's move to KZLA (93.9 FM) mornings is any indication, Tilden has his work cut out for him.

"Peter Tilden has a good radio voice, but not for a morning show," writes Charles Schreiber. "He's better for classical music ... the new format puts you to sleep, not wake you up."

"Why would a programmer think that an obnoxious, big-city type of loser like Tilden would fit in on a country station?" asks Bill Hayes. "But then again, KZLA is not a country station ..."

Many people wrote in commenting on the fact that Tilden himself put down country music many times when he worked at KABC, while one observer thinks its a way for owner Emmis to pretend to support the station when in reality they are looking to ditch the format. "Look, we tried," he expects them to say as they switch to an urban hits format.

Not all of the responses were negative, however. Or at least not completely negative. "The Friday before he started he was on the morning show (as a guest) and was quite funny. I thought I would really enjoy listening to him," wrote Laura. "But the humor I heard that day has not been there this week ... I have a strong feeling I am not really going to like the morning show as much as in the past."

For now I'm withholding judgment, as many excellent programs often start out slowly. I'll give him my standard month and report back to you then.

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Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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