Airwaves: December 23, 2005
Moving On Up
After a nationwide search for a programmer to replace Jay Coffey, who resigned the post from KRTH sometime around October, Infinity executives finally found what they were looking for in the form of Jhani Kaye.
If Kaye's name is at all familiar to you, there's a reason: he helped program KFI and KOST for over 20 years and most recently was the director of Adult Contemporary programming for the Los Angeles Clear Channel stations, KOST and KBIG.
So what's an expert on AC programming doing at an all-oldies station? According to statements released by both Kaye and Infinity, Kaye will use his programming expertise to bring KRTH back to its glory. Apparently there are no plans to back off of the all-oldies format.
Of course there's a conflict here: KRTH's glory days were when it was an oldies-flavored AC station in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Back then it featured an amazingly huge playlist that included everything from the Beatles and the Eagles to Bruce Sprigsteen and Rick Springfield. Obscure songs would often find their way onto the station, such as One Fine Morning by Lighthouse, which I haven't heard on the radio since Pat Evans played it on KRTH in the early 1980s.
Weekends were a special treat on KRTH back then, featuring rotating themes such as "Souvenirs of the Seventies;" most of my high-school aged friends listened on those weekends, and we used to play the station all weekend long at the Sears Surplus Store where I worked at the time.
It was 1986 when KRTH began to tarnish. Adopting all-oldies gave the station a small boost in the ratings for a short time, but its essentially been downhill even since. Nowadays, the mere mention of KRTH brings jeers from whomever is around due to the tight playlist the station has had and the ever-increasing repetition of music. Just as oldies stations in general were quickly losing flavor, KRTH became a shell of its former self. I can no longer stand to even tune in KRTH for more than a few seconds at a time. And it was probably 1986 when I last was able to listen all day like I could before all-oldies.
So while publicly Infinity and Kaye are saying the station will remain focussed on oldies, I sincerely hope they will at least consider bringing back the real KRTH glory days by instituting a similar current AC - oldies combination station. I think it would be an instant success.
Kaye begins his work at KRTH on January 1st.
Wink Martindale returns to the Los Angeles-area airwaves beginning January 7th on the KKGO/XSUR simulcast (1260 and 540 AM). His show will run Saturdays from 12 noon to 3 PM. Martindale will continue hosting a program on the syndicated Music of Your Life format -- run nationwide but not here -- as well.
Howard Stern leaving terrestrial radio? Danny Bonaduce leaving Star 98.7? Jack FM? What is your idea of the top stories in radio for 2005? Drop me a line and let me know.
Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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