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Radio AM to FM: December 26, 2003

Mega Hot

Two years ago, Mike Marino was replaced by Michelle Santosuosso as programmer of Mega 92.3 FM. The station changed its name to Hot 92.3 and focussed more on current rhythm and blues music, at first sounding much like KJLH (102.3 FM).

It worked, for a while. For about six months, Hot 92.3 -- later to become Hot 92 Jamz -- increased its ratings share in the quarterly Arbitron. That jump was short lived, however, and over the past 18 months or so the station has dropped; most recently it earned a 2.2 share, slightly lower than Mega's last book of 2.6.

Enter: Mike Marino. he's been rehired to bring the station back again. Expect a deemphasis of currents in favor of oldies, a return to the Mega roots and possibly the Mega name. Marino's charge is to bring the station back to its former glory.

Interestingly, however, a look at the 92.3 ratings over the past few years shows ratings that average in the mid twos, and overall, Hot actually did better -- slightly -- than Mega, at least on 92.3 FM. It's the 92.3 FM frequency that's been the problem: Ever since Mega and The Beat swapped frequencies a few years ago, the fortunes of Mega/Hot have declined, while The Beat increased.

Apparently dial position is more important than signal strength and coverage. Whether Marino can combat the curse of 92.3 remains to be seen.

Last Dance

KDLD/KDLE (103.1 FM) has played its last dance. As of this week the station is running continuous Christmas music, and rumor has the station taking on an active rock format at the start of the year in an effort to try to steel some listeners away from KROQ (106.7 FM).

According to Don Barrett's, Michael Halloran had been selected become programmer of the new station; after hearing Halloran's version of radio on Cool Radio 94.3 last year, I'm not sure its a bad thing that the deal is apparently off. KDLD/KDLE owner Entravision is in the process of searching for and interviewing other candidates; my vote goes to former KXMX (Mix 95.9 FM) programmer Craig Carpenter, although my guess is that Carpenter would need a great deal to leave his current position with Salem Communications.

Lujack on the Net

Transplants from Chicago may be interested to know that legendary Chicago personality Larry Lujack is back on the air on Chicago's new "Real oldies 1690," WRLL, and can be heard via the internet at

Lujack, who spent 20 years in Chicago at top-40 giants WLS and WCFL, has been paired with Tommy Edwards for the weekday morning shift (5-9 AM Chicago time). Edwards is the man who launched Arrow 93 here in Los Angeles. Former Los Angeles personalities on WRLL include Jerry Bishop (KFI/KIIS) and Scotty Brink (KHJ).

I've been reading about WRLL on various radio newsgroups, and the response has been positive. The format is a mix of songs from such artists as Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, and Dean Martin ... when Rock and Roll music was beginning to enter the mainstream. When I listened to the audio stream, however, I wasn't impressed with the personality, who seemed to be on tape and showed little emotion.


Copyright © 2003 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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