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Radio AM to FM: February 16, 2001

Weekend Talk

KABC (790 AM) continues the remaking of itself by launching a new weekend lineup, effective immediately. Highlights include the return of Ira Fistell to the local airwaves and the arrival of The Motley Fool Radio Show.

Fistell began his talk radio career on KABC way back in 1968. Most recently heard on the old KRLA (1110 AM, now KSPN), his three-hour program airs Sunday nights at 9:00. The Motley Fools -- David and Tom Gardner -- most recently heard on giving their investment advise on KFI, air their program in the wee Sunday morning hours of midnight to 3 am.

Most of the old shows are still there, too, albeit at a slightly different time. Topics range from pets to restaurants, computers to cars. Programmer Erik Braverman calls the new weekend lineup "terrific personalities who complement our weekday programming."

Pacifica Problems

I've only met two people in my life who ever tuned to Pacifica's KPFK (90.7 FM). And they moved away.

So I find it fascinating that enough KPFK listeners still live in Southern California to form the KPFK Listener Group, an organization ("gathering," to use their own description) of concerned KPFK listeners "who have been alarmed by the dramatic changes in programming, the removal of popularly supported shows and the firing of prominent reporters." According to the group, the changes are a "devastating blow to many communities in Los Angeles who have looked to the Pacifica Radio Network as the only place to have their voices heard."

Sound a bit '60s hippy-like? That's because Pacifica has its roots in the counter-culture era of Berkeley, California. But I digress.

Tomorrow at 2 pm at the Southern California Library, 6120 South Vermont Avenue, the group will meet to discuss the latest developments in the ongoing "crisis" throughout the Pacifica Network including KPFK. Immediately preceding the discussion (at 1 pm), the documentary "KPFA on the Air" will be shown. KPFA is the Pacifica station in Berkeley.

Consolidation II

The major markets have already been overrun by the major corporations gobbling up available radio stations. Indeed, Clear Channel, CBS/Westinghouse and ABC/Infinity each have more power in their respective markets than Standard Oil ever did.

But there are some smaller markets that have remained untouched. Expect that to change. With the FCC expecting to change the way it counts stations in a given "market," perhaps effectively lowering the number of stations allow to be owned in an area, many observers are expecting a rash of station sales to the major three as the majors hope to take over the small markets before the FCC rules are changed. So, essentially, radio everywhere will, uh, bite.


Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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