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Radio AM to FM: October 27, 2000

Kind and Gentle

KABC (790 AM) may be celebrating 40 years as a talk station, but they won't be doing it with John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou. The morning team -- and morning news anchor Carol Ramos -- were unceremoniously dumped from the station after their program last Friday.

But you won't find the team shedding any tears. "It just wasn't right," said Kobylt. And we knew it for a long time. Our show, or our style of show just doesn't fit with the direction KABC is taking."

KABC programmer Eric Braverman agreed, stating, "(John and Ken) are two talented individuals who were just in the wrong environment."

That's a far cry from the fanfare generated by former programmer Drew Hayes when he hired the team in 1999. That version of KABC was supposed to be "in your face" radio designed to reverse a decades-long ratings slide by imitating competitor KFI (640 AM) -- or at least the perception of KFI -- the station that knocked KABC out of the top talk spot.

Yet for whatever reason, John and Ken were never able to capture the magic they had when they were working afternoons on KFI, and the higher ratings dreamed by Hayes never materialized. When Hayes was fired earlier this year, many felt that it was just a matter of time before replacement Braverman released the team from their time slot. That time is now; their contract runs through this year.

So what lies ahead? John and Ken have a bit of a vacation due to their contract. After that they obviously have the potential of moving over to KLSX (97.1 FM) if anything opens up, or perhaps back to KFI, which has seen its own fortunes drop after letting John and Ken get away.

KABC plans to use Gloria Allred and Mark Taylor for a few weeks, then debut the new kinder and gentler "KABC Morning Show" with Sacramento's own Dave Williams and Amy Lewis, on November 13th. According to Braverman, the new show will "give listeners everything they need to know before they get to work in the morning." In a kinder, gentler way.

Its a Festival

The Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills launched a week-long celebration of radio last night. Running through next Friday, November 3rd, the museum is featuring seminars, live broadcasts, and special events all geared toward radio's rich history.

Highlights include Dr. Demento, Stan Freberg, historian Don Barrett (along with friends Dick Whittington, Al Lohman, Dave Hull, Jimmy O'Neill and Bill Balance) and a Chuck Cecil dance party on Saturday; a discussion of The Rise of Rock FM with personalities including Raechel Donahue, J. J. Jackson, Jim Ladd and Dusty Street on Monday; and live broadcasts throughout the week including KFI's Phil Hendrie on Thursday.

For tickets or information, call the museum at (310) 786-1015. All events are at the museum itself, located at 465 N. Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills.


Copyright © 2000 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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