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Radio AM to FM: February 25, 2000

Calm Before the Storm?

Relative calm envelopes the outward Los Angeles radio scene. But behind the scenes some major planning, tinkering and possible remodeling point toward major changes within the next few months.

KABC (790 AM) has moved Matt Drudge's syndicated Drudge Report up by three hours on Sunday, so that the popular program can be heard live rather than on tape delay. Hear Drudge now from 7 - 9 pm Sundays.

Considering that Drudge is one of the few bright spots on KABC -- he was number 1 in his old 10 pm - 12 midnight slot -- and you see why programmer Drew Hayes wants to move it -- a live program is that much more appealing; perhaps if KABC can build more weekend numbers, the listeners may just spill onto the rest of the lineup.

Yet this move may be just a beginning, as Hayes has not yet stopped KABC's slide let alone reversed it. Something big is coming to KABC ... I can just sense it.

Programming meetings and construction are the latest happenings at beleaguered KRLA (1110 AM) according to unofficial Los Angeles radio historian Don Barrett ( move toward the internet? Changes to make the station more (or at least a little) appealing were owner CBS to sell it? KRLA is now at its lowest point in over 40 years (the entire history of the station) ratings-wise.

Word has it that -- as predicted here last year -- Minnesota Public Radio has taken full control of KPCC (89.3 FM) and will drop the current eclectic programming schedule in favor of all news and talk. If the rumor is true, all music including the evening Adult Album Alternative block KPCC At Night will soon be history.

I told you not to trust this deal. Not only do we have a college station run by everyone but students, these non-students are not even from California any more. Pasadena City College should immediately lose its broadcast license.

And finally, while various names are being thrown around as replacements for Charlie Van Dyke, Jim Carson is actually doing very well, thank-you-very-much, at least according to the letters I've been receiving. He sounds smooth and polished ... as you would expect a veteran Los Angeles broadcaster to sound. KRTH management should add Carson to the short list if it hasn't done so already.

Just One Hour

He has the shortest talk program in town, but does a darn good job when he's on. I'm talking of course about the Ask Mr. KABC program, heard on KABC weeknights from 9 - 10 pm.

According to Mr. KABC himself (and verified by the Arbitron book) Mr. KABC earns almost twice the rating of the other talk stations in town during his hour. Those stations include KFI (640 AM) and KLSX (97.1 FM), and the demographics include 12+ (people aged 12 and over, not usually a selling rating but instead bragging rights), 25-54 (the selling demo), and 35-54.

One has to wonder why the program still sits at one hour when it could be expanded by at least a couple very easily.

Grand Benson

KCBS-FM (93.1) personality Joe Benson will be Grand Marshall of the 56th Annual Camellia Festival Parade in Temple City tomorrow. The festival and parade are designed exclusively for kids ... only kids and adults accompanying them are even allowed in the parade.


Copyright © 2000 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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