Radio AM to FM: January 29, 1999
A few weeks ago I asked for your opinions of local radio, specifically what you want or expect to happen to local radio in 1999. Here are some of the more interesting responses:
"I'd appreciate an occasional option of Big Band and Broadway music on a good FM station," writes Dorothea Jaster. "By Broadway I mean the golden years of Broadway and movie musicals. People are paying to learn ballroom and swing dances now. Maybe there's hope for melody again."
(My response: it's not on FM, but the new Chief Engineer at KLAC, Greg Ogonowski -- one of the best AM engineers in the nation -- should soon have KLAC sounding better than FM. He's that good. And the format may be just what you are looking for.)
Ralph, who wrote in via the internet, expects and/or wishes for the following: "Y-107 turns into a real rock station ... KLOS brings back Gino for afternoons ... the KEZY format gets left alone ... American Top-40 gets aired in Los Angeles." And his pipe-dream? "Mega 100 flips their format back to The Pirate."
Don't count on it.
Ray, who also wrote in from the internet, says: "Radio needs an on-line schedule and listings like Click TV and TV Guide. Not like the printed magazine that came out barely once a month and was out of date the day it was printed. Once people can find good radio, I think it would create more good radio and cause growth."
Ray says that he is trying to do his part by listing his "favorite shows" at http://members.tripod.com/~chinesecookery. I, too, am toying with placing an on-line listing of radio programs on the web. The only problem with that plan is that it cuts off so many potential listeners who have no internet connection.
Keep the letters coming: send to the Daily Breeze or through my e-mail address listed at the end of the column.
Back In Time
For years one of the most popular programs in Los Angeles has been the nightly "KNX Drama Hour" at 9 pm. It literally decimates most of the competition with reruns of classic "golden age" radio programs like The Lone Ranger and The Jack Benny Program.
Which brings up a thought that I have had for years: why doesn't a station in Los Angeles take a gamble (and in my opinion it isn't much of a gamble) and start airing "golden age" programs all day? There is a very large number of good recordings around -- many of which are already for sale on cassettes and compact discs -- and a station could put together a format that sounds just like one of the network-owned stations of the 1920s, '30s, or '40s, complete with real announcers (perhaps longtime CBS announcer Bern Bennett) giving the call letters at the top and bottom of the hour?
I think it could work. Now all I need is a station willing to try something new. Or old, as the case may be.
Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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