Airwaves: May 15, 2009
Kevin and Bean ... Everywhere
The popular morning team of Kevin and Bean, heard for two decades on KROQ (106.7 FM), is movin on up ... to Fresno, Reno, Phoenix ... and beyond.
KROQ owner CBS decided that enough was enough when it came to paying top dollar for one of Los Angeles most listened-to morning shows. So beginning this week the show is syndicated and available to radio markets all across the country.
Hopefully the quality will stay up; Kevin and Bean are among of my favorites -- long time readers may recall that they are the recipients of one of my Radio Achievement Awards, also known as a Waggy. It would be a shame to see the quality drop as was done when Rick Dees was syndicated from KIIS-FM, for example, or when Larry Elder (former KABC afternoon host), Mark and Brian (KLOS mornings) or John and Ken (KFI afternoons) tried syndication.
My guess is that this time it will work, in the sense that the LA market should not suffer. Kevin and Bean already have a show that isnt necessarily LA-centric, and while many listeners may not be aware, Bean (Gene Baxter) doesnt even broadcast from the KROQ studios, instead using modern technology to do the show from his home near Seattle. Partner Kevin Ryder still keeps it local. Will it be a hit outside of Los Angeles? Time will tell, but my hunch is yes.
Of course CBS will probably make it work regardless, due to the fact that it is being hit -- just like every other radio company -- with declining ad revenues. Even if Kevin and Bean arent huge, syndication will help their bottom line. Wont help the displaced local hosts, but thats another story.
Bean told industry newspaper Radio and Records, We never got to do a morning show in places like Fresno and Reno on the way up, so we are thrilled to have the chance on the way down. In response, Kevin said, What? Nobody told me about this...
Its a bit too much on again, off again as the crack engineering team at KFI (640 AM) do transmitter maintenance and adjustments, but the station sounds absolutely phenomenal in digital HD Radio. Its still monaural -- the station was not wired for stereo when it moved to its new studios in Burbank -- but the fullness and clarity are amazing, perhaps one of the best-sounding AM stations available in HD.
Too bad you need an HD radio to hear the difference. Ill see if I can get a recording posted to the internet soon.
Ted Ziegenbusch was let go from the station he is synonymous with, KOST (103,5 FM) late last month. He was one of over 600 layoffs to hit Clear Channel-owned stations across the country.
The problem with these layoffs in general is that they take away the one argument that local radio has against competitors such as satellite radio ... that unlike satellite, it is local. In many cases, including KOST, layoffs are allowing talent from outside the city to be magically transported in through what is called tracking. Personalities track their talking and it is inserted into the right spot by computer. The DJ doesnt even have to be in the same country, let alone the same city. Takes the soul away from the station. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, it is a sign of the times.
Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.
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