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Radio AM to FM: January 25, 2002

Limbaugh Hears Again

One month after undergoing cochlear implant surgery and three months after going completely deaf, popular talk host Rush Limbaugh (heard locally weekdays 9 AM to noon on KFI, 640 AM) has his hearing back. At least some of it.

Limbaugh was fitted last week with a tiny microphone and sound processor that connects with the implant in his left ear. The implant, a cluster of electrodes, connects to his hearing nerve in order to relay sound to his brain.

An obviously excited Limbaugh announced on his show Monday that the implant was a success. "Everything is normal," he told his listeners. My miracle was immediate, in terms of conversation."

It is too early to tell exactly how much of his hearing has returned, but one report claimed 80% in the left ear.

His sudden deafness was caused by a rare autoimmune disease, in which the body's immune system actually attacks a victim's inner ear, damaging the hearing nerve. Occasionally the condition can be stopped or reversed by special drugs, but the drugs did not work in Limbaugh's case.

Fax It In

The FCC has a new fax number for use by the general public. If you would like to send correspondence to the agency regarding FCC activities, complaints, inquiries, or anything that is not an official filing, you can fax it to the agency at (202) 418-0188.

The mailing address, by the way, is 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.

Talk Talk

Salem Communications has taken over ownership and programming of KSZZ in San Bernardino and renamed it KRLH, NewsTalk 590 AM.

The station is essentially a clone of sister Los Angeles conservative talker KRLA (870 AM), running such programs as Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager Michael Medved and Larry Marino.

Old timers will remember 590 AM as KFXM, the call letters used from 1929 to 1988 (1925 to 1929 it was called KFWC). KFXM was the Inland Empire's top-40 leader during the 1960s and '70s. Tennissee Ernie Ford was once a DJ there prior to top-40, and Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers were broadcast live, back when such things were done. KABC-TV Channel 7 reporter Gene Gleeson was 20 when he was a DJ at KFXM.

After dropping top-40, the station changed call letters to KRSO and tried news, followed by adult standards. It later became country KHTX before finally going Spanish with the calls KSZZ. The KFXM call letters live on through an FM station at 103.3 in Temecula.

When It Was Good

The latest addition to Uncle Ricky's Top-40 Radio Repository ( is Paul Freeman on KIIS-FM (102.7) in 1986 ... back when they were dominating Los Angeles with 10+ shares of the ratings. It's an interesting comparison with the KIIS-FM of today, which aside from the music, sounds exactly like the other Clear Channel music stations in town, KYSR (98.7 FM), KOST (103.5 FM) and KBIG (104.3 FM). Back then, KIIS-FM was big, and you could tell: even the jingles were big. Today, KIIS is afraid to play jingles, I suppose because it might set them apart too much.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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