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Radio AM to FM: October 25, 2002

The Way It Was

Web Mania ... searching through the internet for information on Southern California radio, I happened across a most interesting site. Called LA Radio: The Way It Was, the site features background material and personal recollections on such stations as KEZY, KHJ, KIQQ, KKDJ, KRLA, KTNQ, and KBIG, among others.

Wait. KBIG? Who would care about KBIG?

Well, actually, I would. I am interested in information on any local radio station. But this isn't just any KBIG. In fact, it's not even about the current version. This one's about the daytime-only KBIG-AM located at 740 on the dial until 1974, when it became KBRT.

See what I mean? I never knew that there was a KBIG-AM, and I bet most people similarly don't know that there was once a KROQ-AM ... at least those who don't read this column every week. Yet both are featured, as are all the covered stations, with short histories of programming, personalities, and transmitter factoids.

The site is a wonderful resource of information on local radio stations that you may not have thought of in years. There are some inaccuracies, but site master Dave Andrews will take all possible corrections under consideration. Check it out at

Going to War

2002 marks the 104th anniversary of H. G. Wells' novel, War of the Worlds, and the 64th anniversary of its radio adaptation by Howard Koch for CBS Radio's Mercury Theater of the Air under the direction of Orson Welles.

Next Thursday, October 31st at 9:00 PM, KNX (1070 AM) will present the program that scared the nation when it was originally broadcast on October 30, 1938. It was heard by millions of people, many of whom were fooled into believing an actual invasion from Mars was taking place in spite of notices that were read at the beginning of the program, stating that the play was a dramatization.

Since that time the program has been repeated numerous times and even rerecorded a few times, first in 1968 by Jefferson Kaye, programmer of WKBW/Buffalo, New York, then in 1988 by National Public Radio. Eight years ago, the L. A. Theater Works produced their own version that also aired on public radio stations throughout the country, and it was the subject of a 1975 Movie of the Week on NBC Television called The Night That Panicked America.

Thursday night's broadcast is the original, however, as heard on the CBS Radio Network. I find it fitting that it still airs on CBS-owned KNX every year at this time.

Musical Bets

Reader Douglas of Orange County wrote in regarding my recent test of KLOS (95.5 FM), due to a supposition on the part of another reader that eight out of ten times when you tune in to the classic rock station you hear either Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or a commercial. (My informal test, by the way, came out with only about four tune-ins out of ten in which the hypothesis led to the conclusion).

"Here's another one," Douglas writes. "25 percent of the time you hit the Arrow (KCBS-FM, 93.1) button you'll hear one of the four Heart tracks they play. How does Heart do so well in those auditorium music tests?

I'm not sure, but it may help explain why I'm tuning in to KROQ (106.7 FM) a bit more often lately.


Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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