Radio AM to FM: August 7, 1998

Return of a legend: Charlie Van Dyke has been selected -- finally -- as the new morning guy at KRTH (101.1 FM), replacing Robert W. Morgan, who passed away last May from lung cancer.

Well, actually that's not correct. Van Dyke will be replacing Jim Carson, who has been handling wake-up duties in an interim status since Morgan gave up his post to try and fight the cancer in May, 1997. To give credit where credit's due, Carson did an outstanding job of filling in for Morgan during the past 15 months.

Van Dyke returns to Los Angeles after a 22-year absence. He worked at KHJ as a personality and programmer from 1972-1977, when he was replaced by two people: in morning drive by another Charlie -- Tuna -- while John Sebastian came in as programmer to mess up the station almost beyond repair. Interestingly, Tuna was one of Van Dyke's competitors for the coveted KRTH morning slot.

His last on-air gig ended last Friday when he signed off of KGLQ/Phoenix, and he will take control of mornings at KRTH on August 31st. Van Dyke has been the "voice" of KRTH for the past ten years -- he runs a very successful voice-over company with clients across the country -- so his voice will be very familiar to regular KRTH listeners.


Manager Bill Summers and programmer Drew Hayes are reportedly planning some major changes at KABC (790 AM) soon, and listener Alex Cota wants to help. Or something like that.

Cota is leading a campaign to try to get Michael Jackson back on the air weekdays, and he wants like-minded people to send letters and call the station asking, demanding, begging or pleading that Hayes do just that. If you'd like to be part of this campaign, Cota asks that you call him at (310) 474-1672.

UPDATE (8/3): Ronn Owens is o-u-t at KABC, according to Tom Looney. Word is that KGO wanted him exclusively, as the simulcast with KGO and KABC (including the fact that Owens broadcast from both stations, switching each week) was hurting his San Francisco ratings. No big loss for KABC, as he was never able to make a dent in the local ratings ... as predicted here (and just about everywhere else) last year. In any event, that leaves Owen's/Jackson's 9 am to 12 noon shift open. Hmm ...

Alley Problems

Richard Halpern was set to launch his new edition of The Tin Pan Alley Radio Program last Saturday, August 1st on KGIL (1260 AM). The program was to feature music of the 1920s and '30s, and Halpern says that he had a contract calling for a beginning run of nine weeks.

Well, it appears that KGIL owner Saul Levine decided that he doesn't want the program on the air. Sources close to both Halpern and the station say that Levine disagreed with the amount of money Halpern paid for the air time -- Saturdays from 10 am to 11 am -- and thus canceled the contract. Now Halpern is threatening to sue for breach of contract, stating that the agreement was signed in June and is fully binding. Halpern has received a refund for the amount spent on the air time.

Weekends Change

KFI (640 AM) has a new program on their weekend lineup. Clark Howard has replaced Juan Andres Sunday mornings from 5:00 - 7:00. According to KFI spokesman Diane Budy, Howard is a consumer advocate who will show you how to save money and avoid getting ripped off. "He's kinda like Ralph Nader, but without the speech impediment," Budy says. "Or, like David Horowitz with a normal-sized head." Hopefully he won't be as ignorant as Nader ...


Copyright 1998 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press