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Radio AM to FM: September 5, 2003

K-EARTH Gets Something New

KRTH (101.1 FM) may have the most stale playlist in all of radio, but they now have a new general manager. Owner Infinity Broadcasting announced that former GM Pat Duffy would be placed in charge of Los Angeles news stations KNX (1070 AM) and KFWB (980 AM); replacing him at KRTH is Maureen Lesourd.

Already the rumors are running rampant: will KNX and KFWB play the same stories all day, every day -- the ones that do well in audience tests -- in an attempt to tighten the news playlist for higher ratings? And will Lesourd work the same magic at KRTH as she did when she took over KABC (790 AM) a few years ago?

Seriously, the first thing I'd do at KRTH is get a programmer who isn't afraid to play more than just the same songs over and over again. But then I'm only a listener who can't stand hearing the same oldies over and over again ... Too bad KRTH of the late 1970s isn't around still.

News Passing

Herb Humphries, the man responsible for setting up KFWB as an all news station back in 1968 passed away last week. Former KFWB news director Don Schrack told Don Barrett's, "The KFWB ratings and the industry nationwide could not have been accomplished without the vision, direction and motivation of Herb Humphries."

The cause of death was not announced; Humphries was 71.

Radio Active

Former KSUL "Friday Night Outlaw" Mike Stark sent me the address for a web page that celebrates the history of former Long Beach State student-run radio station, KSUL, which was forced off the air when the university's administration sold out an entire radio/television program for supposed money and prestige.

KSUL went on the air in 1973 and was the laboratory for the university's broadcast program. It was a little 10-watt monaural station broadcasting from the CSULB campus; the transmitter was located on the old Sumitomo building in downtown Long Beach. In spite of its low power, the station was able to be heard quite well in San Pedro, where my friends and I spent many hours listening and calling in requests ... that would actually get played.

It was KSUL, in fact, that made me decide to attend CSULB when I graduated form high school in June, 1981. Unfortunately, the university administration had decided that having one of the best student-run stations in Southern California, as well as one of the best radio/TV/Film departments, was just too much to handle. When Long Beach City College put professionally-run and staffed KLON (now KKJZ, 88.1 FM) on the market, CSULB bought it and essentially kicked the students out of the building. KSUL signed off forever in march, 1981.

It was this event, more than anything else, that led me to believe that colleges and universities should not be allowed to hold licenses for radio stations that are not student run. But I digress.

The web page mentioned by Stark is located at and features a short history of the station, along with photos and best of all recordings (airchecks) of some of the shows. It may not mean a lot to the typical radio fan, but for those fortunate enough to work at or hear KSUL during its short run, the site will bring back great memories.


Copyright © 2003 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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