Radio Column for March 20, 1998

It's a tradition this time of year: tabulating the votes from members of the Academy as we gear up to honor the movers and shakers of the radio industry.

That's right! Just in time to barely beat that other awards show, it's the latest edition of the Radio Achievement Awards (RAA) -- better known as the Waggys -- honoring the achievements of radio people from around the world during the year 1997. The categories this year ...

Station of the Year: KLOS (95.5 FM). Who would have thought that a return to the dinosaur rock of the 1970s would open up their play list to some of today's best album rock? It's not as deep as the old KSCA (or even the same focus), but KLOS has managed to resurrect the old AOR format to sound just about as good as they have ever sounded.

Personalities of the Year: Kevin and Bean, KROQ (106.7 FM). Yes, I know many were hoping for a third year win by KFI's (640 AM) John and Ken, but I don't get to listen to afternoon radio as much lately. Kevin Ryder and Gene (Bean) Baxter are still one of radio's best morning teams. Comedy without being insulting -- what a concept!

Best Commercial Radio Newscast: KFI (640 AM). KFI is one of the few stations to have a real news department, and it shows in superior coverage that should be the envy of all the others. Unfortunately the others don't care.

General Manager of the Year: Bob Moore, KLSX (97.1 FM) and KRLA (1110 AM). Under the leadership of Mr. Moore, KLSX and KRLA have become two of the most underachieving radio stations in Southern California, giving owner CBS/Westinghouse/Infinity a way to write off all the money they make over on KRTH (101.1 FM). The way he throws low-rated sports programs (Ducks? Angels?) in the middle of the KRLA oldies format; the way he shifts all the money over to promote KLSX even though no one listens after Howard Stern signs off ... brings tears to my eyes.

Unfortunately, KRLA is sounding a bit better again under the direction of new programmer Pam Amaya, so Moore may not be able to claim this prize for 1998 -- KRLA may do well in spite of the sports programming ... and KLSX isn't dreadfully awful any more. Stay tuned.

Best Comedy Bit: "Choose the Name," KIBB (100.3 FM). At first it sounded like a real contest -- B100 wanted a new name for their new format. But when the new name was "chosen" out of "thousands of entries" last Fall, it soon became apparent that the station managers have one heckuva sense of humor. Mega 100.3 is one of the funniest, stupidest names I have ever heard for a station. I'm still laughing at how bad the name is ... I wonder when they'll start using the REAL one?

Best Movie: Private Parts, Howard Stern (KLSX). This is a funny movie. Sure, it was designed in part to make Stern look more "acceptable," but this story of his rise to radio fame is funny -- especially the perfect spoof of televisions Match Game. If you haven't seen it yet, rent it. You won't regret it.

Have a nomination for next year's Waggys? Send them in throughout the year to me in care of Rave!, or e-mail suggestions to (AOL users can use the screen name rwaggs).