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Radio AM to FM: March 26, 1999

Hollywood Fired!

Former KIIS-FM Golden Boy Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton, who once aspired to take over Rick Dees morning show, was fired from WKTU/New York three weks ago for giving away a Cancun vacation to his publicist's husband in February. The vacation was part of a contest being run on the popular radio station.

Hamilton worked evenings on KIIS before moving to Riverside to do mornings on KGGI. His goal at the time was to develop his morning show into a major-market production and either replace Rick Dees on KIIS-FM (rumored to be on his way out at the time) or take him on directly on another station. A fall-out between Hamilton and his partners at KGGI prevented that from happening, and Hamilton soon found himself both without a Los Angeles morning gig and his regular position at KGGI.

Soon, however, Hamilton made the big jump to New York -- the nation's number one radio market -- one year after WKTU launched a new Urban Top-40 format in 1996. Hamilton, ironically, ended up beating Dees indirectly in his new morning shift: Los Angeles plays second-fiddle to New York in the radio game.

Commenting on the scandal and the firing, Hamilton's agent David Katz told Radio and Records, "Hollywood committed an overzealous act of loyalty. I'm sure he didn't even think twice (about FCC regulations) and made a grave error of judgment. (Still) we're disappointed that WKTU chose to let him go." For his part, WKTU manager Scott Elberg said, "We felt it was in everybody's best interests to come clean and let everyone know that this isn't tolerated at 'KTU or (owner) Chancellor Media."

The firing does not affect his syndicated program that does not air locally; replacing Hamilton on WKTU is RuPaul. (which kind of makes you glad you live in Southern California, doesn't it?)

Not For Sale

After months of rumors and actual buyer-courting, Chancellor Media (owner of KLAC, KYSR, KKBT, KCMG and KBIG locally) has decided that neither the entire company nor the company's radio holdings are for sale after all. That won't stop the President/CEO from stepping down, however, as Jeffrey Marcus resigns and other managers get shuffled.

Replacing Marcus is Tom Hicks, who will share his power with Jim de Castro and Steve Hicks. The company plans to focus on radio, outdoor advertising and the internet in an attempt to increase shareholder value of the company's stocks. Chancellor had been planning to become a multimedia conglomerate similar to CBS/Infinity or Disney/Cap Cities/ABC, but will for now settle for "just" being America's largest radio group.

The move, by the way, brings de Castro to the forefront of the company as they move to solidify their radio holdings. De Castro is a real "radio guy" -- he built Evergreen media, one of the radio groups that is now part of Chancellor -- and his increased power at the company should mean good things.

Or as good as corporate radio can be ...


Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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