Radio Column for March 27, 1998

From the Rumor File under "If anyone's this stupid, they should be fired," Joel Denver's internet "All Access News" is reporting that KRLA (1110 AM) may be switching to a sports/general talk format on April 2nd. Manager Bob Moore is denying the rumor.

If KRLA does go sports-talk, they enter into a strange world where no one listens to the radio any more. A world where two previous attempts failed miserably and current attempts are almost unrated.

If KRLA goes general talk, they enter into a world where KFI and KABC dominate and where all other attempts have failed -- including sister FM KLSX (97.1 FM), which loses almost all listeners after Howard Stern sign off for the day.

In other words, if KRLA changes to either all-sports, general talk, or a combination of the two, the owners can kiss any chance for success goodbye. And the person making the decision should be tarred, feathered, and then fired.

You see, people in Los Angeles just don't care about sports radio. And there just aren't enough good talk personalities to go around. My guess is that KRLA owner CBS is looking for an outlet to put their lame syndicated programs on the air in Los Angeles, and will destroy KRLA to do it -- in much the same way that ABC killed any chance KMPC (now KDIS, 710 AM) had by putting Radio Disney on the air.

But no one would be stupid enough to do actually do this, would they?

Digital Display

USA Digital, a consortium of Westinghouse, Gannett and Lucent Technologies that has been working on developing and solving the problems of digital broadcasting on existing AM and FM frequencies, has some new competition.

Digital Radio Express has been working on an FM digital system for about two years, and hopes to begin testing soon. On the drawing board is an AM digital system that is much further off. By comparison, USA Digital has been testing both an AM and FM system, but has had trouble overcoming problems with interference and dropouts.

According to Digital Radio Express president Norman Miller, the system "is viable and will demonstrate performance vastly superior to that demonstrated by the other systems" including USA Digital's.

Hogwash, say supporters of USA Digital. "We're not just doing demonstrations," said CBS Radio Director of Engineering Glynn Walden, who has worked closely with USA Digital. "We've done demonstrations, now we're building a real system, totally integrated with AM and FM."

More on this as it develops ...

Tax Tips

For those who feel no rush to do their taxes, KFWB (980 AM) wants to help.

Every weekday at 6:25 am, 10:25 am, 12:25 pm and 7:25 pm through April 15th, the station is airing special one-minute special reports to help you untangle your tax questions. Topics include capital gains, small business and home office deductions, charitable contributions, IRA accounts, electronic filing and computer tax help.

The series also runs on weekends ever two hours at 38 minutes past the hour beginning at 5 am Saturday, 7 am Sunday.