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Radio AM to FM: March 19, 1999

1998 Waggy Awards

Forget the Oscars. Those in the know are gearing up for this year's edition of the Radio Achievement Awards (RAA), celebrating the highs -- and lows -- for radio in the past year. Winners (sort of) receive the coveted Waggy, perhaps the finest award that can be bestowed on the movers and shakers of the radio industry for the year: 1998.

And so, without further ado ...

ROCK STATION OF THE YEAR: KLOS. Sure they sound essentially like they did in 1978. But if you like intelligent personalities playing dinosaur rock as well as some new stuff, KLOS is the place to be. Besides, any station that includes Rita Wilde as programmer can't be half bad.

TOP-40 STATION OF THE YEAR: KEZY. Consider it a cross between Star and Channel 103.1 ... accessible without being (overly) predictable. Hopefully new owner Jacor won't screw it up.

THE STATION THAT SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN STATION OF THE YEAR BUT DIDN'T BECAUSE THEY STILL AREN'T READY FOR PRIME TIME: Channel 103.1 (KACD/KBCD). They've only had one personality since signing on months ago -- Nicole Sandler. I think I might have heard another that was added just recently, but I'm not sure if he was a live person or just a taped commercial. Someday Jacor will realize that it's not just the music that makes a station special.

BEST MORNING PERSONALITY: Charlie Tuna, KLAC. He never really left the air, he just wasn't noticed when he played country music behind the Orange Curtain at KIK-FM. Back on KLAC we can now remember how good he really is ... when he's not paired with Dean Goss.

BEST EVENING PERSONALITY:Phil Hendrie, KFI. Genius is how some people describe him. Most of his shows are fake: fake topics, fake guests (with most voices done by Hendrie himself). But his callers are real, and they don't seem to be in on the joke. You have to give yourself time to understand the program -- once or twice won't do it -- then you'll be hooked for life.

BEST EVENING PERSONALITY WHO'S WILTING AWAY IN MORNINGS NOW: Mr. KABC (Marc Germaine), KABC. On his free-form evening show that featured no screeners, he was brilliant. Then KABC moved him to mornings. Someone save him. Fast.

BEST CONTEST: "Gay or Straight," Star 98.7. Running on the afternoon show, this contest pits straight males against gay males in a battle of wits. Questions range from science to fashion; so far the gays are winning. Insert stereotypical comment here.

GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Bob Moore, KRLA/KLSX. Hey, I know what you're thinking: he isn't respected outside of his own mind and his boneheaded programming decisions are legendary. But his stations make money ... even without listeners. As long as the advertisers don't catch on, this could start a movement.

PROGRAMMER OF THE YEAR: Rita Wilde, KLOS. Her Los Angeles career began at 1190/KEZY. I like anyone who worked there. And she has helped KLOS recapture some of the "KMET sound." Am I allowed to say that?

BIGGEST WASTE OF ELECTRICITY: KXTA. Many have tried, all have failed; KXTA failing more than the rest. Sports radio in Los Angeles doesn't work ... get it? Adding insult in injury, local KXTA gets beaten in the Los Angeles ratings by San Diego's sports station, XTRA.

Well, that's it. Thank you for tuning in to this year's Waggy awards. We now return you to the regularly scheduled program, already in progress.



Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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