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Radio AM to FM: May 17, 2002

Which Infinity station goes?

The streets are buzzing about what will become of one Infinity-owned radio station ... and which one at that.

You may remember that Viacom merged with Infinity, and the addition of recently-purchased KCAL-TV Channel 9 to the fold places the company one over the current legal limit of radio and television station ownership. In addition to Channel 9, the expanded Infinity already owned radio stations KROQ, KRTH, KTWV, KLSX, KNX, KFWB and KCBS-FM, along with KCBS-TV Channel 2.

I had figured that the FCC would be raising the limits anyway, so a sale would not be needed. It appears that a change in limits won't happen soon, however, so Infinity has six months to dispose of one radio property.

Most observers thus far have focussed on all-news KFWB, as the station is a duplicate format for the company (as sister to the slightly higher-rated news station KNX), figuring that Infinity will just ditch the station, be back at the limit and everyone will be happy.

Don't place your bets just yet, however. KFWB is a cash cow, what with all the commercials it runs throughout the day. More recent rumblings have been surfacing regarding other possibilities. One says that KROQ moves down to KCBS-FM's spot on the dial, and Infinity sells off 106.7 (doubtful). Another says that both KTWV and KLSX are vulnerable, with the possibility of one ending up in the hands of Bonneville, which wants to reenter the market with a new classic hits/rock oldies format called "The Drive."

In actuality, all Infinity radio stations are vulnerable, depending on the buyer. Do you have any guesses? Send them to me at the Breeze and I'll feature them in a future column.

Short Takes

KABC -- the all-local talk station -- has added another syndicated program to its lineup. Bill O'Reilly takes the 9 to 11 am shift with his "Radio Factor" effective immediately. Gloria Allred and Mark Taylor follow from 11 to 11:45 am.

You read that right: Allred and Taylor get 45 minutes. Figuring news and commercials, that leaves about 10 minutes each for the liberal/conservative pair. Some -- not necessarily me -- say ten minutes too much ...

Johnny Hayes has been removed from the KRTH lineup, giving the station one less reason to listen ... as if any more were needed. Could Hayes return to the air on another Infinity station (read: KTWV)? Or might he return to the repetitive oldies station as one rumor states?

The Sears Radio Theater, originally broadcast on CBS Radio stations in 1979, returns to the local "web waves" via WRVO in Oswego New York ( Local time: 6 pm Wednesdays.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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