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Radio AM to FM: September 25, 1998

Jacor Buys KEZY and KORG

It figured to happen sooner or later. The last remaining listenable "top 40" station in Southern California is being gobbled up by Jacor, as the corporate-radio giant pays $30.1 million for KEZY (95.9 FM) and sister KORG (1190 AM). This takes Jacor up to the magic number of 222 -- 222 stations owned, operated or represented by the company that also owns KIIS-FM (102.7 FM) and KXTA (1150 AM) in Los Angeles as well as a handful of stations in San Diego.

What that means for KEZY is unknown. The station has under performed for years, due to a combination of factors centering on current owners ML Media Partners LP refusal to put any real money into upgrading or promoting it. In spite of that, KEZY has managed to stay above water and has a rather decent following in Orange County and many fans in the South Bay in spite of a spotty coverage area.

Hopefully, Jacor will see the value of the station, leave the format and call letters untouched and prepare it for full competition against Chancellor's KYSR (Star, 98.7 FM) and KBIG (104.3 FM). KEZY already blows both Star and KBIG out of the water formatically; with a good signal and some promotion, KEZY could easily blow them both away in the Arbitrons.

The fate of KORG is also unknown, but it can be assumed that the current format of brokered foreign-language programming will be history. I've heard of two possibilities so far: all-sports or "full-service." Southern California hasn't had a full-service station in years, one in which the station provides music, news and information geared toward an adult audience. It would be nice if someone tried that approach again.

Nothing will happen to either station until at least December or January, when the deal is expected to close and receive FCC approval. ML Media partners paid $15 million for the combo in 1989.


In other Jacor news, Joel Denver's internet-based All Access News is reporting that the media giant will acquire Groove Radio KACD/KBCD (103.1 FM) by next week under a lease agreement and flip the format to Adult Alternative (a la KSCA, 101.9 FM) soon after.

If that proves to be true (AND Jacor does indeed keep KEZY as is), I may become a Jacor fan. Scratch that ... I will be a Jacor fan.

Duncan Resigns

KLOS (95.5 FM) programmer Jim Duncan, who arrived at the station in Spring, 1997 and quickly made the rock outlet quite a bit better, has resigned.

No replacement has been set, but at least one observer has mentioned Rita Wilde as someone who should be a possible candidate. I concur. Wilde has the experience, knowledge and attitude that KLOS needs to continue to grow. I think Wilde should be given serious consideration. And, as Sam Bellamy proved when she was at KMET during their heyday, the best album rock programmers are women ...


Copyright © 1998 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press