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Radio AM to FM: June 23, 2000

And then there were two ...

The (bad) news that Southern California's best pop-rock radio station -- KXMX (Mix 95.9 FM) -- will abandon the format and switch to contemporary Christian music when new owners take control of the legendary Anaheim station on or about August 1st, is old news.

What's new is the fact that programmer Craig Carpenter appears confident in keeping the format in town by whatever means necessary ... perhaps including the slight possibility of convincing the new owners to do the right thing and leave it alone.

"There is a strong chance that the Mix will survive or evolve into another local station," Carpenter said. "I'm working long and hard to keep the format alive."

Yet it appears that no matter what Carpenter does, there will indeed be a Mix around. KIKF (94.3 FM) owner Art Astor has announced that his station will drop its 20-year old Country format sometime before the end of June, adopt a softer version of KXMX's format, and call the new station "Cool 94.3, The New Mix."

That may cause a problem if KXMX manages to stay around either on 95.9 or on another station. It certainly will cause problems during the overlap time when both stations are using the same name. Don't be surprised to see some cease and desist orders being thrown around.

Back to Roots

Ironically, KIKF programmer Craig Powers is returning to his roots, so to speak, and competing (albeit temporarily it seems) with the station he once programmed with a very similar format: Powers programmed KEZY a few years before the station was bought by Jacor and changed to Mix.

Aster calls the change a "no brainer," as country music is just not that hot in Southern California. In the meantime, KXMX has seen the best ratings it has had in the station's 30+ year history. If KXMX goes away, then KIKF can come in to pick up the slack. Unfortunately, KIKF's signal is weak in most of the South Bay.

Personally, I'd like to see both survive and succeed. Mix has proven (as KEZY-AM (1190) did in the 1970s) that Anaheim is home of the little stations that could. Since I like Mix far more than anything Los Angeles has to offer, I'm kind of looking forward to having a pair.

No Football for Limbaugh

In what many are calling a blatant political move, syndicated conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh will not be allowed to join Monday Night Football as a color commentator.

Too bad, too, since Limbaugh knows more about sports than most of the decision-makers at ABC Television, and probably would have made a great addition to the staff.

Ask the Sheriff

Sheriff Lee Baca has agreed to appear as a monthly guest on KABC's (790 AM) John and Ken morning show on a to-be-announced schedule. Listeners will have the opportunity to talk directly with the Sheriff just as callers to Larry Elder's afternoon program can talk with LAPD Chief Bernard Parks.


Copyright © 2000 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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