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Radio AM to FM: April 19, 2002

What's the news on KFWB?

Big rumor in town ... is KFWB (980 AM) on the block?

Seems that owner Infinity is one over the limit when it comes to radio and television station ownership in Los Angeles, due to the recent merger with Viacom. Viacom's Channel 13 is what placed it over.

So Infinity has a tough choice to make: Lobby the government for a waiver to allow it to stay over the limit until said government buckles under the pressure of lobbyists from the broadcast industry and permanently raises (or abolishes) the ownership cap, or sell off one of its stations ... perhaps the one it has run into the ground.

Most observers feel that the latter will happen and KFWB will be sold to a Spanish broadcaster using the mega-corp logic that you must always sell your stations to companies that won't compete with you. I, on the other hand, feel that a waiver is in the works, as all indications are that the FCC and other involved agencies are about to buckle on the ownership issue and let three companies own everything.

They own almost everything as it is now. Isn't the FCC a wholly-owned division of Clear Channel?

Auction Mania

Don Barrett reported on his web site that a seller on eBay received $83 for his book, Los Angeles Radio people Volume 2, described on the auction site as "out of print" and "exceedingly rare."

I looked it up myself and found that the story is indeed true.

"MSRP $24.95," continues the description. "A wonderful read. 40 years in the making, '400 pages, 500 photos and 3000 personalities.' They're all here! ... Take an awesome trip down memory lane."

A perfect description of the book, actually, and radio junkies are looking forward to the 3rd edition due out soon. Only one slight, very minor discrepancy: the book is still available. For $14.95 directly from Barrett, including taxes and shipping. has it for $9.95 plus tax and shipping.

Maybe I should buy a few hundred and sell them on eBay ...

Short Takes

Weekend personality Karel Bouley is out at KFI (640 AM), as new programmer Robin Bertolucci begins to make her mark on the popular talk station. The move ends Bouley's 3-1/2 year association with KFI.

Checking the schedule, I see that Jeff Levy -- the computer guy who blames video drivers and cuts to commercials (I love hearing about problems I never have; Windows users crack me up) now can be heard on both Saturdays AND Sundays at 10 AM. That's twice the fun ...

KNX news director Bob Sims retires effective April 29th after 33 years at the all-news station. Sims will be replaced by current Executive News Producer Ed Pyle.

Standard and Poor's has given Clear Channel Communications a "BBB-" credit rating, due to the advertising recession, CCU's capital spending needs and debt related to acquisitions and mergers. You can bet that cost-cutting moves such as voice-tracked personalities will continue unabated; the world's largest radio company has about $9.5 billion in outstanding debt.

KHJ: Inside Boss Radio by OG Boss programmer Ron Jacobs is now shipping. Check out for more information, if you just can't wait for my review (coming soon).


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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