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Radio AM to FM: April 18, 2003

Blink of an Eye

Longtime New York rocker WNEW, which spent the last few years as an FM talk station, has gone back to music. This time appealing not to men, as it has done for most of its recent history. This time its being marketed to women, with the slogan, "Music, Gossip, Entertainment" and a new name, Blink.

Blink? As in Blink 182? No. It seems the powers that be at owner CBS/Infinity forgot (or never heard) about the popular pop-punk band, Blink 182 when they named the station Blink 102.7. (Makes you wonder if the band's attorneys have caught wind yet). Regardless, sources close to the station report that the name definitely has nothing to do with the parent company's eye logo.

Musically, the station sounds like a cross between KBIG and the disco stations of the 1970s: Rhythmic Hot AC is the term that comes up. Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, No Doubt, and the Bee Gees can all be in the same set.

Even listeners are getting into the act, as the station is giving listeners a chance to audition for the evening shift.

By now you should be asking, "what the heck does this have to do with Los Angeles?" Plenty, it appears. Rumor has it that Infinity is so enamored with the format that they want to import it into Los Angeles and put it on one of their FM stations.

Which station? Well, the company owns FMs KROQ, KRTH, KLSX, and KCBS-FM (Arrow). I'd guess that KROQ and KRTH are both safe, so it appears that if the rumor is true, it would go to either KLSX or Arrow.

As of late, KLSX beats Arrow in the ratings, but in general they are fairly even. KLSX also has the FM talk format to itself ... good or bad, considering that WNEW also held that distinction. Arrow also has a format exclusive, though it potentially shares listeners with sister KRTH. KLSX makes a lot of money carrying morning man Howard Stern ... and it spends a LOT of money to carry his show. However, Bob Moore is the GM of both stations, and he LOVES KLSX. If I were a betting man, and I'm not, I'd bet on KLSX staying talk and Arrow blinking. Not the way I'd like it, but that's the way I'd bet.

Of course that's assuming a lot of things, not the least of which is the fact that Blink in New York hasn't proven itself yet ... the format may never even make it to the Golden State.


Tax day was the day KNX celebrated its 35th Anniversary as a talk station.

Station VP/GM George Nicholaw is the manager who guided the station into the format in 1968, and he's still there today -- making him the longest-tenured general manager of a news-formatted (and perhaps of any format) radio station in the United States.

"We are about to complete another successful year," Nicholaw said in a press release. "I'm very proud of the numerous awards we've picked up in the past 12 months, but most of all I salute the continued community efforts of our staff and listeners."

Although competitor and (now) sister station KFWB has always been right behind, KNX has been the top-rated news station in Los Angeles in almost all of the ratings books since, well, forever. Congratulations!


Copyright © 2003 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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