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Radio AM to FM: July 19, 2002

Surprise Inspection Leads to Free Air

Last Friday, July 12, every radio and television station Los Angeles that has a transmitting antenna located on Mount Wilson -- a huge list that includes KIIS (102.7 FM) and KPWR (106.7 FM) among many others -- was forced off the air for testing purposes.

It was a surprise radio frequency (RF) hazard inspection by the FCC, which called for every station to completely shut down one by one for about 30 seconds each in order to take measurements and determine which station or stations was responsible for "hot spots," or areas which exceeded maximum RF radiation allowed by law in areas of public access.

Some stations had to power down once, others more than once, with the entire process taking about four hours.

Quick Takes

Banning (Inland Empire) Classic Country station KMET (1490 AM) recently changed formats to Smooth Jazz, making it one of two AM stations in the country to broadcast the format. Not lost on followers of Los Angeles Radio, the KMET calls were once legendary in Los Angeles on 94.7 FM as "The Mighty Met," which itself went to Smooth Jazz back in 1987. That station is now known as KTWV.

Is KLON (88.1 FM) about to drop a part of broadcast history? One report has the KLON calls -- among the oldest of the Los Angeles FM stations -- changing to KJAZ, in commemoration of the station's format. Bad idea if you asked me.

Former KRLA (the original one at 1110 AM, not the fake new one at 870 AM) assistant programmer David Schwartz is profiled this week in the Cable Edition of TV Guide. Schwartz now works with cable's Game Show Network, where his expertise of game shows -- he co-authored three books on the subject -- comes in quite handy.

He should know ... Writing in the July 12th edition of Entertainment Weekly, Clear Channel's head of production Steve Smith compared satellite radio with cable television, stating that "both just give you more choices of crap." Of course he's right. Why pay for "crap" when you can get it free on your local Clear Channel station? My guess, though, is that Smith has never actually heard XM or Sirius satellite radio. Or his own stations, for that matter ...

Quiz: Where on U. S. soil can you find AM stations that broadcast on "off frequencies" (more accurately 9-KHz spacing) such as 585, 612 and 648 KHz? Don't all AM stations in the U. S. use 10-KHz spacing, placing them on frequencies such as 640, 980 or 1070?

Answer: In Guam and American Samoa. Both K and W call signs are used. (Thanks to Radio World and Michael D. Brown for that one).

Ratings are out. Details next week.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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