Airwaves: June 16, 2006
The Buzz at KRTH
For years, listening to KRTH was like listening to a cassette tape of oldies. The same tape. Over and over. For months at a time.
It got so bad that the station even tried hiring top-40 personality Hollywood Hamilton to bring some life -- and ratings -- to 101.1, but alas, it was not to be. Ratings are hard to come by on an oldies station so predictable you could set your watch to when they played Oh Pretty Woman. Hamilton was let go.
Believe it or not, things really are finally changing on KRTH. I listened the other day and was actually able to listen. New songs, at least for them, were actually on the air. It was tolerable.
And its not just me. I've received letters and e-mails stating the same thing: KRTH is actually changing ... for the better.
We'll see if the evolution continues or if the station just put in a new tape. But right now, things look promising.
Tomorrow at 10 PM, KPCC's (89.3 FM) The Play's the Thing will air The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial starring Ed Asner, Mike Farrell and Sharon Gless, recorded during the L. A. Theater Works' 24-city national tour.
Adapted from original trial transcripts by Peter Goodchild, the play tells the story of the 1925 Scopes trial -- Tennessee vs. John Scopes -- in which Scopes was on trial for teaching evolution in his classroom while he was a substitute teacher, in violation of Tennessee law which forbade teaching "any theory that denies the story of divine creation as taught by the Bible and to teach instead that man was descended from a lower order of animals."
The trial itself was not the success Scopes' supporters had hoped. The idea was to get Scopes convicted in a lower court and have the conviction overturned on constitutional grounds by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Instead, the conviction was overturned on a technicality, and the law would not stand a constitutional test until years later. It did succeed in once sense, by sparking open debate into the law across the country, as well as discussions on the idea of separation of church and state that continue still today.
If you can't hear the play live, it is available for listening all next week on www.kpcc.org.
KSUL alumnus Mike Stark checked in to say that the reunion held to commemorate the 25th year of the former Cal State Long Beach student-run station's demise was a resounding success.
"Attending one of the events was a former manager of the station who now owns a multimillion dollar television production company in Las Vegas; he attributes much of his success to the management skills he garnered from managing students as a student.
"A former sports reporter now consults radio chains throughout the country on marketing and sales; he credits his first professional job to the late great Laker announcer Chick Hearn, who helped him in a play-by-play job after hearing him call a Long Beach State game on KSUL."
Overall, about 50 alumni attended the reunion, and more events will be planned in the future, Stark said, lamenting that it is quite unfortunate that the university still doesn't understand what they lost when they shut KSUL down to make way for a professionally-run station in 1981.
Copyright © 2006 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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