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Radio AM to FM: September 18, 1998

Rantel arrives at KABC

The first of what may be many -- or maybe not -- changes at KABC (790 AM) happened this week when Al Rantel signed on to the talk station at 12:15 Tuesday, right after Paul Harvey's newscast.

Rantel comes to Los Angeles from from Miami, Florida's WIOD, where he signed off on September 2nd. And, while it is certainly hard to judge his style in Los Angeles yet, he apparently went all out trying to tick off his former market of 18 years before moving West: on the WIOD web site, he wrote that he was tired of such South Florida personalities as "The Super Chicks," who sound like "two drunks at a picnic." He also compared programmers to "a bunch of midlife crisis guys trying to stay young by buying a Corvette" and programming "what they think 40-year-old white males want to hear on the radio."

Sounds to me like he won't like Los Angeles, either. Oh, wait, talk programmers in Los Angeles go after 25-50 year old white guys, not just 40-years olds.

In any event, with Rantel on from noon to 3:00, Dennis Prager moves to the 9 am to 12 noon position -- pitting him against the popular Rush Limbaugh show on KFI (640 AM) and the final two or so hours of Howard Stern on KLSX (97.1 FM). It's a tough position to be in, yet Prager may actually make some headway here.

Will this be the beginning or the end of the changes at KABC? Tough call, and it depends on which train of thought you have on the station. One side says that KABC is so messed up that they must change almost everything. The other side says that they might be better off riding the wave a while and seeing what happens to KFI, which, according to some observers is on a downward trend.

Programmer Drew Hayes says he wants the new lineup in place before the Fall Arbitron book begins ... that's less than a week away: September 24th.

Nut Loses Car

Steve Parker "The Car Nut," heard on KXTA (1150 AM), recently went to Hawaii on his honeymoon ... only to have his rental car stolen just minutes after arriving at his hotel.

It seems that just after leaving the car with a valet, a thief jumped into the car and drove off with not only the car but all the newly married couple's luggage. The next three days were spent replacing everything, with local television news crews following them around wherever they went. Don Barrett, author of Los Angeles Radio People says that Steve did manage to keep them out of the honeymoon suite ...

Everything ended almost well, as the Hawaii PD found the car and the luggage -- sans anything really valuable. I sincerely hope that the event didn't put too much of a damper on their celebration.

Birthday Boy

Speaking of Barrett, the great radio reference-book writer celebrated his birthday last Tuesday, September 15th. He shares his birthday month with many other "L.A. Radio People" including Jeff Wyatt (9/1), Joe Cipriano (9/8), and Beau Rials (9/29). Happy birthday, everyone.


Copyright © 1998 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press