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Radio AM to FM: March 5, 1999

The 1980s are coming back to get you.

Star 98.7 (KYSR), which has a large amount of music from the 1980s in its regular rotation, is capitalizing on the popularity of the decade by staring a new daytime feature.

It's Totally '80s at Noon and its hosted by new Star midday personality Greg Simms.

According to Star spokeswoman Rachel Braver, Simms will play "an hour of 'rad' eighties tunes as requested by callers and listener faxes" every Monday through Friday from 12 noon until 1 pm. In addition, each day will feature a special trivia question about the music, television programs, or pop culture of the Reagan decade. Winners, according to Braver, will win a "gnarly" prize.

OK, fine. Fer sure, fer sure.


The first Arbitron "trends" of the new year are in, and while the full book could yield major changes in ranking due to how Arbitron processes the data, there were a few surprises.

First and foremost, KRTH jumped way up to dominate the oldies format in Los Angeles, beating Mega 100.3 by almost a full point: 3.5 to 2.6. This is the first time that Mega hasn't been breathing down KRTH's back for quite some time and must be a nice surprise to new KRTH morning man Charlie Van Dyke, who saw a fairly swift drop when he first arrived on the scene. Not that I blamed Van Dyke; some observers noted that KRTH is finally -- just recently -- expanding its stale playlist due to the competition from Mega.

KLAC continued its own upward swing, moving up 0.1 to 2.4. Shows what happens when quality music programming makes it to the AM band.

And KRLA, which is spending more on personalities this year than the total of the last few is moving up also ... to 0.7 from 0.6 -- matching their ratings from last Summer. It appears that Los Angeles may not be craving the old KABC format after all.

Quote of the Week

From Rick Cummings, Executive VP of programming at Emmis Communications (owner of KPWR) in an interview with Erica Farber in last week's industry newspaper, Radio and Records:

"I still think what we did in Los Angeles in 1986 with what is now Power 106 was probably one of the highlights. I put it on the air and it was a tremendous ride for a number of years. It's still a very successful radio station. It sort of redefined Top-40. I kind of created what is known today as crossover."

Now, don't get me wrong. But Cummings was the one who felt playing stale music on what was then Magic 106 was the way to beat then-dominant KIIS-FM. Let KIIS take the risks and break the hits, Magic would pick them up later.

That strategy, by the way, failed miserably. Until now, however, I never knew Cummings had anything to do with Power, other than accidentally being with Emmis at the time ... and I was working there at the time (lowly unpaid intern, but still there). I wonder what the people who worked at the station and did the programming think about this?

Not that Rick's a bad guy. I'm not sure he could program his way out of a paper bag, but he does like South Park from cable TV's Comedy Channel (also stated in the interview). Anyone who likes South Park is ok by me. I'll even let him take credit for Power.

As to crossovers ... nah.


Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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