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Radio AM to FM: February 15, 2002

Longtime PD leaves Astor's OC Station

It was Cool while it lasted ... programmer and afternoon jock Craig Powers has left the building at Art Astor's KMXN (Cool 94.3 FM) in Orange County. And that, apparently, spells the end for the format (it's supposed to change today, so we'll both find out at the same time).

Replacing Powers is Mike Halloran, former swinger (fill-in/weekend) personality at KROQ (106.7 FM), who has been programming Astor's KFSD-FM in North County San Diego for the past year or so. Halloran has done well with "Premium Radio" in North County, and Astor wants him to work the same magic on his Orange County station.

He'll have his work cut out for him: no matter how good the format, 94.3 just doesn't have a very good signal, and gets trounced by a Spanish station on the same frequency from Northern Los Angeles County.

I'll be honest: I'll miss Cool. I liked it. I never thought it was as good as Anaheim's Mix 95.9, however, so I am looking forward to hearing how the new format on 94.3 will sound ... Astor calls it "adult alternative" with a sound "like the old Mix ... but more spiffy." Anything like the Mix -- especially if they could get back some (or all) of the Mix personalities, some of whom happen to work in San Diego radio -- would make me happy. I haven't heard a good new song since Mix went fishing 18 months ago.

Hopefully they'll have an overnight DJ as the Mix did with Krishna; Premium Radio runs jockless overnights and it really takes away from the presentation. The music is good however; it should be interesting. It would also be nice if they could think of a better name than "Cool" or "Premium."

Valentines Heart

February 14, 1949 was the launch date for Heart of the Morning, a new KNX (1070 AM) program with a host that wasn't really supposed to have the job, and that, ultimately, was the reason for its success.

"I don't think the ads mentioned my name because I was just temporary while they tried to decide on a permanent morning host," according to legendary Los Angeles radio and television personality Ralph Story.

Story was scheduled to return to The John Gambling Show on WOR in New York at the end of March. Knowing that, he "was loose as a goose and having a wonderful time on opening day and in the opening weeks. But that was just what they needed, and they asked me to stay."

More on this and other interesting topics as "Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Local Radio Personalities" continues. Until then, here's your trivia question: Story legally changed his name in the early 1950s. What was his legal name prior to the change? Answer next week ...


A few weeks ago I mentioned that the KFXM call letters were being preserved on an FM station in Temecula. Turns out I am wrong. Former KEZY (now KFSH, 95.9 FM) personality John Fox wrote in to tell me that Clear Channel bought the station and dropped the calls so they could simulcast KGB/San Diego on the station. New calls: KGBB.

Figures. Whenever The Evil Empire gets involved, everything gets messed up.

Return of the Jedi

Bryan Simmons has been hired for weekends on KBIG (104.3 FM) ... just a few months after he was fired from KOST (103.5 FM), a station that is not only owned by the same owner (The Evil Empire), it is also programmed by the same person (Jhani Kaye).

Simmons never should have been let go in the first place. But then again, The Evil Empire should not be allowed to own radio stations. Somehow there has to be a cost-cutting move involved here ...


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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