Radio AM to FM: May 14, 2004
Star Fish Fest
Sister stations KFSH (95.9 FM) and KKLA (99.5 FM) have released a call for entries into the StarFish Awards, the chance for an up and coming Contemporary Christian band to perform in concert with jars of Clay, Steven Curtis Chapman, Delirious, Crystal Lewis and Jeremy Camp.
You might call it a Fish Star Search.
Contestants are invited to submit one song on a CD now through June 18th. A group of professional musicians as well as KFSH staffers select weekly finalists those songs are then played Fridays on KFSH's Fresh Fish Fridays. Listeners are then invited to vote for their favorite StarFish song via the KFSH web site (thefish959.com) or the KKLA web site (kkla.com).
The grand prize winner will appear on the Main Stage of the Fish Fest at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine on July 25th, and have their CD submitted for review by the independent record label, INO Records. For full details, see either station's web site.
Joe Crummy has left his weekend/fill-in position at KABC (790 AM) in order to take a fulltime gig at KFYI/Phoenix. Interestingly, he'll be doing his show from Los Angeles and could have continued with his KABC job, but the powers that be at ABC Los Angeles didn't want him to work there and at KFYI ... seeing that KFYI is owned by a competitor.
KIIS-FM (102.7) presents its annual Wango Tango concert tomorrow at the Rose Bowl. This year its called Wango Tango On Air with Ryan Seacrest, who will be filming backstage to obtain material for one of his television programs. Scheduled to appear are Jessica Simpson, Lenny Kravitz, Hilary Duff, Enrique Iglesias, Clay Aiken, N.E.R.D., JC Chasez, Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Rooney, J-Kwon, Kimberly Locke, and Nick Cannon; tickets range from about $30 to $150.
For what its worth, Wango Tango, and similar productions such as KROQ's Weenie Roast, remind me of what's wrong with modern corporate radio. Time was when such concerts were free, or all proceeds were donated to charities. Now the concerts are little more than ways for the station to earn additional money, also known as NTR for Non-Traditional Revenue.
Not that there's anything wrong, per se, with the concept. In fact, with today's radio business model, it's almost a requirement. And as radio productions go, this is a good one: very slick, so much so that fans rarely notice that it isn't worth the money (kind of like a high school prom). I just think it's sad how radio managers -- admittedly by necessity -- spend so much time thinking of ways to get money from their listeners instead of thanking them for their support day in and day out.
Interestingly, it also reminds me of the fact that we are now in a period that almost duplicates the conditions of the early 1980s, when KIIS-FM began its meteoric rise to the top of the ratings. Back then, stations were complacent, taking their listeners for granted. Managers of top stations were happy with their 3 and 4 shares in the ratings; no one thought earning above a 5 share was even possible. Traditional top-40 radio was considered dead.
The exact same thing is happening now, which makes me wonder: will there eventually be a challenger to KIIS-FM, that will show Los Angeles how to really do top-40, just as KIIS-FM showed everyone in 1982? Or is the relative stability and format sharing among the group owners preventing such a move?
Copyright © 2004 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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