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Airwaves: September 4, 2009

KGIL Goes Retro

Making a move sooner than expected, KGIL (1260 AM) dropped their essentially syndicated talk format last Friday at 4 PM in favor of a locally-programmed music format called Retro 1260.

It’s an interesting variation on what I was hoping they would play -- standards -- though perhaps it is most like what was once heard on such stations as the original KMPC during the early 1970s, then called MOR for “Middle of the Road.”

Indeed, the first broadcast day was a hodgepodge of music from the past, including some songs not heard locally in years. The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Last Night I Didn’t Get to Sleep At All, Johnny Angel, Do It Again, Sugar Sugar, Homeward Bound, and some jazzy standards and Big Bands. Personally, I like it, and I hope it does well for station owner Saul Levine.

Longtime KOST (103.5 FM) personality Mike Sakellarides -- let go after 25 years on that station in one of Clear Channel’s recent blood lettings -- starts off each weekday morning with an unconventional 8 am to 1 pm shift, followed by Nick Tyler and Jeff Serr.

For reasons unknown, the station website at www.1260.am was down at press time; it is supposed to be up by the time you read this and should allow for internet streaming just in case you are in an area not well-served by KGIL’s signal ... about half of the County. Or more. But if you are one of the lucky few who own an HD radio and have good reception of KKGO (105,.1 FM), you can hear Retro 1260 on the 105.1 HD-3 digital stream.

Danger

Fires on Mount Wilson may cause a huge communications problem for Southern California, as numerous FM radio and television stations broadcast from there, along with emergency and cell phone repeaters. If the fire progresses far enough to disturb power and/or damage equipment, many people may be without over-the-air television service for many stations, cell phones may not be reliable and emergency calls may have to be rerouted. As some cable companies rely on retransmission of
over-the-air local stations, cable reception could be disrupted as well.

What Would Laura Say?

As Dr. Laura prepares to move up the dial to the new NewsTalk KFWB (980 AM) from her longtime home of KFI (640 AM), at least some listeners are concerned if they will still be able to hear her. For example, reader Brenda Lehman wrote in this week asking “Any suggestions for KFWB? I’m not able to get the station from my home or office in San Bernardino. KFI comes in loud and clear but not KFWB.”

Unfortunately, there are no local affiliates for Dr. Laura in your area, though I would not be surprised if that changed in the near future. As you say, KFI comes in loud and clear, so there was no reason for another affiliate, and KFI may have even had an exclusive agreement covering your area as well.

But all is not lost. You can stream her show from the KFWB website, kfwb.com, from the Dr. Laura website, drlaura.com, and on the off chance that KOGO’s killer San Diego signal reaches your area, you might still hear her on the radio on 600 AM noon to 3 PM. And if you subscribe to Sirius/XM satellite radio, you can hear her live with a few extra calls each day.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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