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Radio AM to FM: June 13, 2003

Valenzuela is Back!

Former Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela has returned to Chavez Revine, this time not to play but to talk: He joins Jaime Jarrin and Pepe Yniguez for the Dodgers Spanish-language radio broadcasts, heard locally on KWKW (1330 AM).

Details of the deal were not available at press time, but it appears to be a three-year contract.


The mention of big-band KGRB (now Spanish KALI, 900 AM) brought numerous correspondence regarding the station, its owner and of course the music. Never has such a small station been so missed.

Reader Rufus Baker of Santa Monica wrote in with some special memories:

"Chances are the distinguished elder statesman announcer T. A. Bross had in mind was one of my personal favorites, Robert Baxter (Bob) Mayfield, who for years was the weekend morning man and in the late 1980s took over weekday mornings when Bob Stone moved full-time to KKGO (now KMZT, 105.1 FM)."

(Bross is a reader who asked in the column two weeks ago about an announcer from the past).

"The whole KGRB crew and indeed the station itself existed in a sort of time warp. The station broadcast from an old Craftsman-style house in a City of Industry cul-de-sac where the rest of the homes were in West Covina. There were thousands of old, dusty LPs on shelves in the main room, where ancient KFWB equipment from the 1940s and '50s was in daily use.

"Over the years, I spent quite a bit of time out there with my friend Lyman Jay, who in his 40s was the 'youngster' of the KGRB crew. He showed me how to put a Windex bottle atop the phonograph as it played records so they wouldn't repeat themselves or skip, and how to put the rubber bands just-so around the mikes so they would face the right direction.

"Despite everything, or maybe because of it, I loved KGRB. It was a real station, with an honest sound and genuine announcers. Here you'd find everything from 1918 jazz and Felix the Cat by Paul Whitman of the 1920s through the latest so long as it fit the format.

"There will surely never be anything even remotely approaching KGRB ever again ... in the current market there couldn't be."

Faux Press

"The Federal Communications announced today that it has agreed to be acquired by Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio Texas," says the press-release circulating on internet newsgroups.

"Clear Channel CEO Lawry Mays said, 'The FCC has been a wonderful business partner for the past several years, and has carried out our directions with great enthusiasm. We are proud to welcome the FCC into the Clear Channel Family of companies.'"

Obviously it's fake, but in reality, is it that far off?

Well, Maybe

You can blame the FCC, but it really was Congress that started the whole problem with the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. That is the act that opened the way for three large group owners to control an estimated 50 percent of radio listening in America.

And it was Congress that formed rules forcing the FCC to evaluate media regulations every two years under an order to drop or change any regulations that couldn't be defended on a competitive standpoint.

So it's humorous to watch members of Congress trample over themselves in order to be the first to condemn the FCC on its latest action, loosening rules for cross-ownership and ownership caps for television stations and newspapers.

Maybe something good will come out of this, since broadcasters across the country are shirking their duties of broadcasting in the public interest. These are our airwaves, after all, and I don't think the public is well-served by running computer-controlled programming and dropping local news coverage.

Maybe. But I doubt it.


KFI (640 AM) afternooners John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been extremely outspoken on the Laci Peterson murder case, stating over and over that they feel Laci's husband Scott is the guilty one.

Now they're taking it onto their web site ... by running "nude" photos of Scott's former fling, Amber Frey.

Yes, they are nude. Yes, they are censored. See them at


Copyright © 2003 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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