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Radio AM to FM: July 11, 2003

Clear Channel to the Rescue

They may get bashed for being big and evil, but Clear Channel Communications is playing the part of the Good Guy in San Diego by allowing a competing local station to stay on the air.

The saga of KCBQ (1170 AM) has been a long and mostly sad one of a once dominant top-40 station with a signal that blasted up the coast slowly sinking into oblivion. The story culminated in the loss of the station's transmitter site -- to make way for a home improvement center -- and a NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitude in America's (self proclaimed) Finest City that left KCBQ with nowhere to turn, at least temporarily. For a time it seemed that the station was going to be forced off the air.

To the rescue is Clear Channel's KPOP (1360 AM), which will allow KCBQ to share the KPOP transmitter site through an engineering technique called "diplexing." Signal strength is expected to be significantly reduced for KCBQ, but at least the once-popular station will stay on the air. The move will happen on (or around) September 13th; in the meantime, the search continues for a new permanent site.

KPOP plays adult standards, while KCBQ runs syndicated talk programming.


Daytime Update

"Regarding your column about stations that sign off at sunset, there is still one station in this area that operates only during the daylight hours. That station is KBRT (740 AM), owned by Crawford Broadcasting in Costa Mesa (transmitter on Santa Catalina Island). I can always tell when they've just signed on or are about to sign off: all-news KCBS/San Francisco has a powerful-enough signal to create static." -- Katherine Koelker, Hawthorne

You're right, and I should have remembered that one. KBRT has a 10,000-watt directional signal during the day, but apparently must protect the KCBS signal at night.

State of Radio

"I have been reading your column for many years. As a native Angelino, I have seen a lot of changes. Unfortunately I can't believe how bad radio has become in L.A., considering the size of this market. I can't really say there are any stations I really listen to anymore. In fact, right now I'm listening to KSGR in Austin, Texas through the internet ... an interesting AAA station with a Texas twist.

"I also wanted to thank you for turning me on to I listened to the sign off of Dave Diamond on KBLA again ... almost brought tears to my eyes. I still remember listening to it after dropping off my high school sweetheart back in 1967, complete with the sign on of KBBQ and their first song, 'I've Got a Tiger by the Tail.' I will be poking around more on this site." -- Dan Palmer, via the web.

I agree with your assessment of local radio programming: it does leave much to be desired. There is little passion in radio any more; no wonder listeners rarely get passionate about stations as they did in the past. Seriously, what's the difference between KIIS, KYSR, KBIG and KOST? Since most stations dropped jingles, play much the same music and have personalities that are either canned or sound that way, what's to get excited about?

On the other hand, there are some standouts. KFI and KABC do a great job with talk, and both stations recently revamped weekends to make them even more interesting. KFWB sounds better than in years, and I've found KLAC to be quite pleasant. I just wish I could find a contemporary music/alternative station I could like. I really haven't found one worth listening to since The Mix went off the air almost three years ago.

I also agree on My wife thinks I'm crazy, but I love poking around that site! You never know what you'll find.



Copyright © 2003 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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