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Radio AM to FM: March 29, 2002

Don't Look Now, It's the Waggys!

Hard to believe its been a whole year since the last Radio Achievement Awards were given out, but it has. Actually it's been more than a year, but scheduling conflicts caused by a a newborn baby named Sean (and the subsequent lack of sleep that ensued) delayed them by about two weeks.

Regardless, the time has come to recognize the achievements of the movers and shakers of Los Angeles Radio as Radio AM to FM proudly presents: The Waggys.

Best Morning Host on a Music Station: "Uncle" Joe Benson, Arrow 93. Benson was in a tight race again this year, as Los Angeles morning radio has some fabulous personalities including Rick Dees (KIIS), Kevin and Bean (KROQ), and Charlie Tuna (KBIG) among others. What gave him the win was his thorough knowledge of music and the fact that he actually plays music .... a rarity nowadays.

Best Morning Host on a Talk Station: Bill Handel (KFI). I hate saying this, since Handel is so amazingly obnoxious, but his show actually does a thorough job of covering current news and events ... better than the so-called news stations. He really shined after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, providing detailed analysis with the help of his producers, directors and guests.

Best Tax Deduction: KLAC. Time was when KLAC was a popular station, whether they were playing country music or adult standards (common thread: music). The move to talk was ill-conceived and poorly designed, and led to the lowest ratings since the station began broadcasting, giving KLAC an edge in this category over perennial winner KXTA.

Best Evening Personality: Phil Hendrie (KFI). I know many who feel he is being wasted in the evening, and should be on in the morning. I'm not sure I agree: evening is when people are a little tired, and might just believe some of the stunts he pulls. His only downfall comes when he tried to be politically funny as himself.

Best Overnight Personality: Doug McIntyre, KABC. I get mail about him all the time, because he is the overnight guy who should be in prime time. I was supposed to interview him last April; maybe I'll finally do it this year.

Best Reason to Listen to the Radio: Talk. I hate to say it, because deep down I don't like talk radio, or more accurately, I get tired of it. But music in L.A. is generally weak, while some of our talk hosts are great entertainers: Hendrie, Handel, Mr. KABC, Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Prager, Dr. Laura, McIntyre ... even some of the people on KLSX and KLAC.

Station of the Year: KLOS, KFI, Arrow 93 and Star 98.7 (tie). I almost removed this category from the list, because no one station deserves it any more. I can't tune in to one station and just leave it there all day without going nuts. It's kind of sad, actually, that you need four stations to do (almost) what one station used to do before deregulation and consolidation.

KLOS and Arrow do a good job of representing pop and rock oldies, KFI is about the only station that still has a news department, and Star is the one that plays some current music that I like. Combined, they still don't match the singular winners of the past. Hopefully, one day a great station will come back again.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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