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Radio AM to FM: October 15, 1999

Unofficial Los Angeles radio historian Don Barrett, author of Los Angeles Radio People as well as a companion web site that has become extremely popular during the past two years, suffered a stroke last week that resulted in retinal artery occlusion and a slight loss of site in one eye.

Since the stroke occurred, Barrett has undergone a battery of tests and may face surgery, but he says that he is in no pain and apparently has no other side effects than the site loss. "Now I understand why they call this a silent killer," Barrett told his web page subscribers, "It just happens. There was no warning."

Get well, Don.

Spitting On San Diego

Jim Rome, whose popular syndicated sports-talk program airs locally on KXTA (1150 AM), is no longer heard live in San Diego: the city where his show was launched and where his strongest fan base can be found. Effective immediately, Rome is heard live in Los Angeles on KXTA from 9 am to 12 noon; tape-delayed in San Diego from 1 pm to 4 pm on XTRA (690 AM).

According to an announcement Rome made on the air just prior to the programming move, the decision was his. However, being the cynical person that I am, I don't believe him. Or I don't believe that he is telling us everything.

KXTA and XTRA have a problem. They both call themselves X-TRA Sports, and they both have a similar focus. But Los Angeles is a far bigger city than San Diego, especially by radio standards where Los Angeles ranks Number 2 behind New York while San Diego ranks 16th. That makes KXTA the flagship West Coast sports station of Jacor, AMFM, Clear Channel, or whoever owns them this week. And KXTA is constantly embarrassed by losing in the Los Angeles ratings books to XTRA, which actually broadcasts out of Mexico.

So what do you do when people would rather listen to the out-of-towner? Simple: take the one personality that earns decent ratings, make him live on KXTA, and put the tape delay on the poor stepchild down in San Diego.

Does Rome have anything to gain from the move? A little, perhaps. Now his show can be heard twice a day from Los Angeles, as XTRA's 70,000 watts blanket much of the city with more power than does KXTA. But KXTA stands to gain more, as people like to listen live and the former XTRA listeners may jump ship to KXTA ... and give KXTA a possible win, at least among the low-rated stations in town.

Web Log

A long time ago, I planned on putting together a web page with radio program logs, special program information, and other interesting radio information.

I never got around to it. But Carolyn Yoshida and Mike Meyer did, and their version of my plans can be found at

The site is still under construction somewhat, and will have more features added later. But it sure is nice to know that I don't have to go through all that work. Check it out for yourself.



Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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