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Radio AM to FM: August 22, 2003

On the Move

When former KFI (640 AM) personality Karel announced last year that he landed a job on San Francisco's KGO, I assumed that he moved there. I thought wrong.

Just as Gene "Bean" Baxter does his half of the Kevin and Bean show from his home in Seattle rather than the studios of KROQ (106.7 FM), Karel sends his voice to the Bay area from his home in Long Beach.

High speed phone lines, the internet and DSL connections make it all possible. And many well-known personalities are doing it.

Think Rush Limbaugh broadcasts from "high atop the EIB building" in Manhattan? Think again: he broadcasts from his home in Florida. Laura Schlessinger? She does it at home as well.

It's a trend that appears to be a win-win situation for many stations and personalities: the personalities get to live where they want and the stations still get to run popular programs.

But is it a good thing for radio? Certainly for syndicated programs such as Limbaugh's and Schlessinger's, it doesn't matter -- for the majority of listeners the host is already broadcasting from out of town anyway. Exactly where out of town is immaterial.

And it has worked well for Kevin and Bean, which might not even exist as a show any more had Bean not been allowed to move. I can't even tell he is not in the same studio as co-host Kevin Ryder.

Yet I can't help but think that local shows should be local. That there really is supposed to be a connection to the community in which you broadcast, so that a real connection can be made with the audience. You can't have a real connection with your listeners when you don't travel the same roads, experience the same weather or go to the same attractions.

So while I understand the attraction, I hope it doesn't spread much. Otherwise, we might as well listen to nothing but satellite services. Or Clear Channel stations.

Just a Joke

Stacey Cohen of the upstart All Comedy Radio Network recently told me that she had a "big announcement" to make ... soon. Now Don Barrett of reports that an unnamed Los Angeles station is getting ready to sign up with the network. Could it be true? And if so, which one?


If you missed KPCC's (89.3 FM) presentation of Code of the Woosters last Saturday night, you're not alone. In fact everyone missed it, due to a snafu at the station: seems the tape never made it from the mail room to the Saturday evening engineer, due to some vacation time on the part of the normal carrier. Probably had something to do with some vast right-wing conspiracy as well. In its place was the aptly-named Another Time by Ronald Harwood.

At any rate, Woosters will air this week as the station moves the entire schedule for The Plays the Thing back by one week. Hear it tomorrow from 8 to 10 pm.

Mail Bag

"I certainly agree with you about the music I now hear on KLAC and K-SURF. The music drought is over (for a long while, I hope). It makes my day so much easier to be able to tune in. And both stations have some interesting, fun radio personalities to give us the music. Let's hope they're both on the air for a long time." -- Diane Barrie, Torrance.

"Does K-SURF have a web site, and do they stream?" -- John Nikelsky, Mission Viejo

Yes and no. The site is, but they currently do not stream their audio. And, like competitor KLAC (570 AM), they don't broadcast in stereo either, which is too bad. Adult standards sound quite nice in AM stereo.


Copyright © 2003 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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