Radio AM to FM: February 4, 2000
KIIS-FM (102.7) thought they had an exclusive on their hands: the world premiere of the new Madonna single, American Pie, to be aired during halftime of the Super Bowl.
Why, I don't know, since usually the halftime commercials are the best part of the Super Bowl (this year and last year excepted). But in any event the exclusive world premiere airing turned out to be just another overplayed Madonna record when it was discovered that a station in Seattle (KBKS) already played it -- every hour -- last Friday night ... two days before the "world premiere" on KIIS.
But that's not all. John Garabedian says that he played the song last Saturday night -- one day before the Super Bowl -- on over 145 affiliates nationwide on his syndicated Open House Party show.
Apparently world premieres just don't mean what they used to ...
Viva 107 (KLYY, 107.1 FM) scored quite a coup recently by signing Humberto Luna to mornings, effectively stealing him away from popular Spanish competitor KLAX (97.9 FM), which had in turn stolen him away two years ago from KTNQ (1020 AM), where he spent something like 20 years waking up Southern California.
Luna is known for wild antics and interviews with top stars; he had left KTNQ soon after that station adapted a Spanish talk format and sank in the ratings.
I've been receiving a huge number of letters recently from people asking about KGIL (1260 and 1650 AM) and KLAC (570 AM). Apparently programming a formerly missing format to an under appreciated and under served audience has its payoffs.
It appears that many businesses use the stations as their "listen at work" music, and customers appreciate not only the music but the announcers, many of whom have a long association with Los Angeles radio.
So why are the rumors constantly appearing regarding KLAC dropping music in favor of sports talk? Does no one remember that KMPC (now KDIS, 710 AM) earned darned good ratings and made decent money when they ran the KLAC format -- adult standards mixed with play-by-play sports broadcasts? Sure the money came from the teams, but the stability of the station came from the music.
And does no one remember what happened when KMPC tried to drop music in favor of sports talk? Their ratings and profit went down the sewer.
Of course the bean counters at Clear Channel Communications don't remember that far back; and they're too young and ignorant to learn from other's past mistakes, and none of them have any real programming expertise (at least by past standards). So when they take over KLAC in the coming months from AMFM, they just may take the station into the no-listener-zone of sports, just like Jacor (now AMFM and soon to be Clear Channel) did with KIIS (now KXTA, 1150 AM). That would be too bad.
But at least we'll still have KGIL.
Copyright © 2000 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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