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Radio AM to FM: December 4, 1998

Reel Radio Update

If you haven't been over to Uncle Ricky's Reel Top-40 Radio Repository <> lately, you owe yourself a visit. If you've never heard of the site, you should definitely check it out.

ReelRadio is a site that features audio "airchecks" of legendary personalities and stations from all over the country, concentrating on the major markets but featuring many smaller ones, too. To hear the recordings you'll need a Macintosh or comparably-equipped Wintel computer, some software called "RealPlayer" from Progressive Networks, a modem capable of 28.8 connections or higher, and an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

New to the collection is a recording of the first broadcast day of "L.A.'s Hot Roq" KROQ (AM) from 1972, back when the station was running a top-40 format. Featured on the recording is Charlie Tuna, who had been bumped out of the morning shift at KHJ when Robert W. Morgan came back from Chicago (more on that later), Sam Riddle, Jay Stevens, Steve Lundy, Jim Wood, Jimmie Rabbit and programmer Steve Sands.

With a jock roster like that it amazes me that the station never caught on. Poor signal strength is the usual reason given by the experts: 50,000 watts way up the dial at 1500 AM from a transmitter site actually outside of metro Los Angeles just couldn't compete with the strong signals from KHJ, KRLA, and KFI. Still, this is a great recording of one attempt to steal just some of KHJ's thunder.

Speaking of KHJ, another new addition is the 1972 recording of Robert W. Morgan's first day back at the station after leaving it for mornings in Chicago for just over a year. In it he not only states numerous times how happy he is to be back in Los Angeles, he also pokes fun at the man who replaced him during his absence, Charlie Tuna.

There's also a great recording of a television commercial recording session with Orson Wells. I'm not sure if it's incompetence on the part of the producer or a big ego on the part of Wells, but it is a very entertaining segment as they fight their way through the making of a commercial.

Older exhibits include tributes to Morgan and "The Real" Don Steele, KGB/San Diego's "recycled weekend" from when the top-40 station tried an album rock format in the early 1970s, and "Nine," a spoof of overly researched radio stations as told through the history of fictional heritage station WVWA in Poundridge, New York.


With the departure of Minyard and Tilden from KABC (790 AM), Mr. KABC, aka Marc Germain has assumed morning duties at the station. His own one-hour (9 - 10 pm) weeknight slot is now being filled by Joe Crummey ... who finally gets back into a time slot that will allow his show to flourish. Said Crummey in response to his short shift, "It's a little show, but, hey ... they say size doesn't matter."

In the meantime, KABC management has already begun to mess up Germain's morning show, saddling him with co-hosts for at least the next week.


Copyright © 1998 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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