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Radio AM to FM: April 16, 1999

Burke Out at KIIS-FM

You can't really blame Jacor for what has become of KIIS-FM, once the dominant radio station in Southern California and now just a has-been living on past successes. Previous owner Gannett is really the one to blame -- they messed up the station before it was even a gleam in Jacor's eye.

But one would think that Jacor would try to, well, improve the station somewhat. Since taking control they have done essentially nothing, however, and it appears that they are now hell bent on messing it up even more.

Case in point: KIIS-FM has let Billy Burke, one of the few personalities on the station worth listening to, go. Replacing him is no-one: the station will be commercial-free and jockless during Burke's old shift of 10 am to 12 noon (although you may recall that Burke was originally hired for afternoon drive).

I imagine Jacor hopes to attract listeners to KIIS by hyping the music ("continuous bad music?"). Of course it was that thinking that cost the station its dominance back in the late 1980s -- when Gannett thought the personalities didn't matter, and Paul Freeman, Ron O'Brien, Bruce Vidal and the others that brought them success were fired. The station never recovered.

Will Jacor figure it out? I doubt it. I call the move "Pulling a Jacor."

And Now This

Speaking of Pulling a Jacor, most of the staff of KEZY has been fired as the station adapts a name ("Mix 95.9") that it copied from the other 600 "Mix" stations across the country. It appears that only Carolyn Hogenraad and morning co-host Liz Pennington remain.

Former morning co-host John Fox, who was one of the first to be let go, has landed a job at KFWB, writing and reporting for the all-news station. Lamenting that he didn't have a chance to say "goodbye" on the air, here's his comment:

"Dear KEZY Morning Show Listener,

"I thank you for your loyalty and friendship over the last six years. I am proud to have been the last in a long line of memorable entertainers on the KEZY morning show. Whether you were one of the over 3,000 people I had on the air during that time or just liked what we did, I hope you'll have fond memories of the contests, jokes, stunts and interviews ... memorable interviews with Casey Kasem, cartoon voice legend June Foray, Corky Carroll, comedians Judy Tenuta, Rocky LaPorte, Carlos Alazraqui, and Steven Wright ... and of course ... Snausages. If any or all of this brightened your day, lightened your load, or somehow found a place in your heart ... I'm glad.

"It's all about communication and if what we did spoke to you, then I guess we did it right. Maybe we'll get the chance to do it all again somewhere else in the Southland."


Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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