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Radio AM to FM: November 10, 2000

The Return of Color Radio

There are relatively few milestones in the history of Los Angeles radio. One of those milestones was the birth of top-40 "Color Radio" KFWB on January 1, 1958, creating a station that ruled Los Angeles from that point until 1964, when KRLA (1110 AM) knocked them out of the top spot.

During its top-40 heyday, KFWB regularly earned Hopper ratings in the high 30's, often making it into the 40's ... meaning that over 40% of the radios in Los Angeles were tuned to KFWB. They did it not by playing the best music format, according to Color Radio creator Chuck Blore. "There were six stations in Los Angeles playing essentially the same music, "Blore told me recently. "What made us different was what happened between the records ... the 20 percent of the programming that we could actually control."

That 20 percent included personalities like Bill Ballance, Elliot Field, Ted Quillin, Gary Owens, Al Jarvis and Jim Hawthorne, along with special sounds, reverb and humor. Well get ready to hear all that again as Color Radio makes its way to the World Wide Web.

Ballance, Field, Quillin and Owens are all slated to be part of the new internet version of "Color Radio," scheduled to begin webcasting on January 1, 2001. Blore likes all those ones, not only because of the original debut date, but because "we spent so much time on the air stating that we were number one," he joked.

"Hopefully it will sound as if we've never gone away," Blore said, adding that the music will be from the KFWB glory days time period of 1958 to 1965. The programming will not always be live, but he guarantees that it will sound as if it were coming straight from the studios, and certain hours of every day will be live.

It won't be known as KFWB either, as KFWB still lives on as an all-news station (although there are some observers who feel that a return of Color Radio to AM 98 wouldn't be a bad idea). Instead it will be called simply Color Radio, and it will -- by necessity -- require the recording of all-new jingles designed to sound just like the old ones ... without the reference to KFWB.

"Yes, I am excited," said Blore regarding the return of Color Radio. "While it was going on we didn't realize what we were doing to the extent that we were doing it. I just got off a conference call with the DJs, and for the first 10 minutes it was hilarious ... everyone was trying to top everyone else. This will be a very entertaining station."

Radio Log

I admit it ... the Radio Log was outdated for quite some time. I take full responsibility. But as I was updating it this week, I wondered, what would be more helpful? A listing as it is by call sign, a listing by frequency, or a listing by format? What do you think? Let me know by writing to me at the Breeze or by e-mail at Be part of history as we make the radio column more useful to you.


Copyright © 2000 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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