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Radio AM to FM: September 17, 1999

September 9th was a big day for internet-using Los Angeles radio fans. Don Barrett's celebrated its second birthday.

Originally intended as an extension of (and as a way to publicize) his book Los Angeles Radio People, Barrett's site quickly became an important stopping point for disc jockeys, managers, programmers and radio fans who check in to find out what's happening in the radio business ... many of whom say they check with Barrett's site before reading their own e-mail.

The site features Current News updated daily, a "where are they now" section, and e-mail addresses for an amazing number of "radio people," in addition to information about the book.

Barrett says that he started getting 100 "hits" (visitors) to his web site daily almost as soon as it launched, and that number has grown substantially throughout the past two years. Unfortunately, all that popularity has meant far more work than Barrett imagined, and that led to the "bombshell" written for the September 9th update: effective September 15, the Current News, Archives and e-mail addresses would be only available with a subscription to the site, at a yearly price of $24.95.

Personally I have mixed feelings about the new subscription policy. On the one hand, I know how much time Barrett spends every day on the site, and at $24.95, the subscription is a genuine bargain, especially compared with some other radio industry newspapers. Radio and Records costs $295 per year, for example, although it does have other features. And the Los Angeles Radio Guide, though launched with great fanfare five years ago, has disappeared from the scene completely. Its subscriptions were $12 per year for six issues.

At the same time, however, the new policy will keep many people outside of the industry from reading a great column and may actually keep those inside the industry from giving news TO Barrett. It theoretically could mean the ultimate end for a great daily read, depending on how many people actually subscribe (as I will do).

I'm not taking sides, though, so let me just say: Happy anniversary to, and best wishes to Barrett for continued success.

Schlessinger Sues

Try saying that five times.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who has the most popular syndicated radio show in the nation (heard locally from noon to 3 pm on KFI, 640 AM) is suing the owner of a Costa Mesa surf shop for slander, according to

The case results from an incident in July when Schlessinger accompanied her son to the Beach Access Surf Shop and became outraged when she saw that the store carried a magazine called Big Brother Skateboarder, which she claimed contained pornographic images.

Actually, the magazine does not contain any pornographic images that I have seen, since it is designed to appeal to young skateboarders and, as many young girls will attest, young male skateboarders are far more interested in skating than anything else, including sex. But the magazine is published by Larry Flint, publisher of Hustler, the same magazine that ran nude photos of the doctor last year.

In any event, Schlessinger went on the air at the time and lambasted Beach Access owner Thomas Moore for placing a pornographic magazine where young people could see it; Moore responded by saying that he did no such thing and, according to Schlessinger's suit, allegedly called Schlessinger a liar.

More on this, as it develops.


Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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