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Radio AM to FM: April 2, 1999

John and Ken Vanish!

The big mystery of the week centers around John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou -- aka John and Ken -- and their sudden disappearance from the local afternoon airwaves. Their last show on KFI was March 19th, and KFI has apparently run promotional announcements stating that they will announce where John and Ken end up -- if they end up somewhere else in afternoon drive.

Well, as KFI know, those announcements will never be made. John and Ken are moving up the dial to KABC for mornings, beginning July 1st.

The program will continue in syndication for two months, then end. After that, the pair will take 5 weeks off in preparation for their new morning duties.

"This is where I wanted to be," Kobylt told me recently. "While I have nothing but respect for the people at KFI and appreciate everything they have done for me, I really, really wanted the job at KABC."

The loss of the syndication deal they had at KFI is not that big of a deal according to Kobylt, who confirmed reports that KFI and station owner Cox wanted to dump the syndication deal anyway. Besides, the offer from KABC was excellent, he said.

Replacing John and Ken on KFI are (primarily) Charles Karel Bouley and Andrew Howard -- Karel and Andrew -- who are described as "a gay couple" that do a show that's "not about gay issues" according to KFI programmer David G. Hall. And, while KFI management insists that one of the reasons they let John and Ken go was that they wanted a live, local show, the 3-4 pm slot will be filled with Atlanta-based syndicated consumer advocate Clark Howard.

Until John and Ken debut on July 1st, mornings on KABC will be handled by Joe Crummey. Mr. KABC, who assumed morning duties since Ken Minyard and Peter Tilden were fired, has already moved back to weeknights with a real, full-length program, 9 pm to 12 midnight.

Mixing It Up

Jacor has dumped the format on KEZY, only to replace it with a new format consisting (thankfully) of essentially the same music geared toward essentially the same audience but with a stupid, corporate-radio-inspired name, "Mix 95.9."

Gee, how original. I wonder where they came up with that one? I guess "Phlegm 95.9" was already taken.

In any event, at least the legendary KEZY calls were saved: they're moving to sister station KORG (the original KEZY) once KEZY adapts call letters that somehow say "Mix." I like KMXT, if that combo is available. Then they could use the real calls and not use "Mix." It would sound much better.

The air staff is still there running the boards, but they're not on the air. The station is running jockless for about 30 days while the new staff is selected.

Personally, I find the new format a bit tighter musically which may make it more successful commercially, but I'm going to miss some of the strange quirky songs that managed to sneak into the old KEZY playlist. I'm also going to miss the call-letters (I hate "slogan names," especially stupid ones like "Mix.") Hopefully some of my favorite personalities will remain: John Fox, Liz Pennington and Scott Free are actually some of the better personalities in the area.

Quick Takes

Johnny Magnus has been removed from afternoons on KLAC, replaced by Gary Thompson (that's right ... from KYSR). Magnus moves to weekends. K-Traffic (KKTR) and KGIL merge to adapt the syndicated Westwood One AM Only format that previously ran on KLAC. KGIL switches from Chuck Southcott's Music of Your Life while K-Traffic switches from Nat King Cole ... the traffic reports stopped three weeks ago.


Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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