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Radio AM to FM: December 13, 2002

Classic John and Ken

KFI's afternoon team of John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou were in prime form last week broadcasting live in front of a Beverly Hills law firm that the pair accuse of bullying and frightening owners of small businesses into paying quick cash settlements.

It seems that the Trevor Law Group has been filing blanket lawsuits against auto repair shops and restaurants with minor violations using a depression-era California law that allows unharmed parties to sue small businesses, even if they have never stepped foot in the business.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of small businesses have been hit with suits which Trevor Law will settle for a few thousand dollars ... just so they won't have t go to trial.

John and Ken call it a sham and a shakedown, and they spent last Friday broadcasting live outside the law firm's offices, along with a numerous businesspeople who were hit with the suits and attorneys who gave advise to the business owners (primary advise: don't settle).

It was classic John and Ken: being obnoxious for a cause. Not since the OJ trial has the duo been so entertaining.

AM Hash

The big debate on the Yahoo Groups AM stereo forum centers on the recently approved (tentatively, at least) system for broadcasting digital signals over analog airwaves -- known as In Band On Channel (IBOC) or HD Radio -- and its effect on analog broadcasts.

It appears not everything is well in digital land, at least according to the engineers on the forum. It seems that the digital portion of the signal appears to leak into the second and third-adjacent channels, meaning that a station broadcasting IBOC can interfere with a station broadcasting on a nearby frequency. Weak stations may disappear completely, at least according to those on the forum.

Supporters of IBOC, including engineers at WOR/New York which is currently broadcasting digital signals during the day, insist that the complaints are hogwash, and that IBOC is truly the sound of the future.

As far as I know, there are no stations within my reception area testing IBOC radio, so I cannot speak from personal experience regarding this issue. I do know that engineers from some of the major broadcast groups were concerned about this and have made recommendations to help, including lowering the level of the IBOC signal. I plan to research this further in the coming weeks.

For more information on the anti-IBOC side of the debate, go to On the pro-IBOC side, try the manufacturer's web site at


Last week's mention of a subscription to Don Barrett's LARadio.Com incorrectly identified the subscription as a lifetime subscription. In fact, the subscription lasts only up to one year.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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