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Radio AM to FM: November 15, 2002

Music to Return to KLAC?

If all goes according to plan, today at 12:15, Clear Channel Los Angeles will unveil its newest creation, the Fabulous 570, at a client sneak preview party.

That's right ... it seems Adult Standards music is returning to KLAC. Not yet, as today's event is just an official announcement of the upcoming format change, which has been on the rumor sites for the past two weeks or so. The official on-air launch is scheduled for December 12th, and if the rumor proves to be true, holiday music will be involved.

Last year sister station KOST (103.5 FM) got a huge boost from playing holiday music between Thanksgiving and Christmas; it seems this year KLAC may try the same thing.

It's a smart move on the part of Clear Channel, which owns a very successful standards station in San Diego, KPOP (1360 AM). The market is ripe for a strong-signal well-programmed standards station in Los Angeles, and KLAC itself was successful with the format until last year when the decision was made to drop music for talk. Ratings under the new talk format were less than half of what they were with music.

More on this story as it develops ... In the meantime, if you have suggestions for personalities or other ideas for the station, send 'em in. It will be interesting how your version of The Fabulous 570 compares with the real thing. Maybe KLAC management will even take your ideas to heart.

Two Become One

In other Clear Channel News, the company has announced that separate programming for XTRA/San Diego (690 AM) and KXTA (1150 AM) will cease, and the two stations will combine to become one giant simulcast of sports programming for all of Southern California.

The move will affect XTRA more, in some ways, as it has been relatively successful catering to the San Diego sports market, while KXTA has lived under the shadow of its more powerful sister station to the South for years. It was only recently that KXTA's ratings in Los Angeles finally beat those of XTRA, and even then it was by an extremely narrow margin. To spread its appeal, the new focus will probably be less localized on San Diego.

No announcements have been made on who will stay and who will go. You can be sure that Jim Rome's show will continue, and Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton is probably safe as well.

What confuses me is the reason behind the simulcast. I always thought XTRA's 77,000-watt signal covered everywhere that KXTA reached, so that a simulcast was redundant. That is something I will check out in the next few weeks.

Sell Off

Viacom/Infinity is still trying to hold onto all of its current radio stations, asking for another waiver extension so that it can keep them all until the FCC ups or removes the ownership cap. The company went one over when it purchased KCAL-TV Channel 9; current FCC rules allow a company that owns two television stations to own only six radio stations, and Infinity owns seven.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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