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Radio AM to FM: May 30, 2003

This One Time, at Radio Camp ...

The Museum of Television and Radio hopes to make radio junkies out of impressionable youngsters ... and I wish them well.

According to the museum, Radio Camp, being held this Summer, is a new week-long class for children 9 to 12 years old that explores the production of radio plays. Students will learn the history of radio dramas, and study voice acting and the use of sound effects.

As a final project, participants will perform and record a radio play and take home tapes of the performance. (You don't suppose KNX would be interested in these for their nightly Drama Hour, do you?)

Two sessions are scheduled: July 29 - August 1 or August 4 - August 8, 12:30 - 4:30 PM. Classes are limited to 15 students; the cost is $140 for museum members and $160 for nonmembers. For information call (310) 786-1035.


Popular KABC (790 AM) syndicated afternoon host Larry Elder is planning to work less: beginning next Monday, Elder's program will be heard one hour less each day, from 3 to 6, rather than 7 PM.

"I've had the option in my contract to reduce the number of hours of my show to three instead of four," Elder said in a press release. "I sincerely believe I can do a stronger show if I focus and concentrate on producing the best three hours on radio every single day ... I will continue to stay committed to giving listeners 100% of my energy and effort Monday through Friday."

My guess is that he made a big deal out of this being his decision because of the time a few years ago when former management forced him to cut his show to two hours a day with hints he was on the way out. This time it does appear to be his decision; most likely it is due to his syndication deal, as syndicated talk shows tend to sell better when they are offered in three-hour blocks. Either that or he just wants to work less.

At any rate, the move advances all of KABC's other evening shows one hour: Al Rantel starts at 6:00, Mr. KABC begins at 9:00, and "the amazing" Doug McIntyre takes over at 12 midnight.

We Get Letters ...

"While turning the dial, I routinely encounter 'Liberation Radio' at 87.9 FM. It sounds somewhat amateurish, plays rap, reggae and R & B oldies, and even has some discussion groups with inner-city teenagers. They periodically reference a 323 area code. What's up with it?" -- Thomas Hunt, Baldwin Hills

I don't know for sure, but it sounds like you found a pirate station. There is no station assigned to 87.9 FM in Los Angeles, and I found a story in the Los Angeles Independent (date unknown) that profiles Daniel Roberts, who runs a pirate station at 87.9 from the living room of his Hollywood apartment.

How he gets away with it is interesting. Roberts claims that he is legit because we are at war in Iraq, and FCC regulation Section 73.3542 gives authority to broadcast on a temporary basis in extraordinary circumstances, "including the continuance of any war in which the United States is engaged."

Of course the full section further states "where such action is necessary for the national defense or security or otherwise in furtherance of the war effort." I cannot receive the broadcast in San Pedro so I cannot comment on how his station helps the war effort. "Technically you can use it for the War on Drugs," Roberts told the Independent. "It's an awesome loophole."

"My L.A. time dates from the late '60s until now. I can remember a station, somehow I think from the Inland Empire, with a DJ who sounded older than the music he played. You could be certain every tune was out of the '30s, '40s and maybe a little '50s. He was my favorite until the station was bought out and he disappeared. Any ancient info or names come to mind?" -- T. A. Bross, via email.

I have no clue. The only person I can think of who plays music like that is Chuck Cecil, and while his "Swingin' Years" program has been around a while, he's still on the air so I don't think that's who you are remembering. If I hear of anything, I'll let you know.


Copyright © 2003 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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