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Radio AM to FM: April 9, 2004

All Over Again

It's been just about ten years since KLSX (97.1 FM) became a talk station. And those first few weeks of their "Moron Talk" format were priceless; I wish I had the foresight to run tape on the station when listeners called in to make fun of hosts Kato Kaelin, Mother Love or the Regular Guys, none of whom knew they were being made into jokes by their callers.

Not nearly as fun but similar in concept, Air America -- the liberal side's answer to Rush Limbaugh -- debuted last week on KBLA (1580 AM), with hosts such as Marc Maron, Sue Ellicott, Mark Riley, Lizz Winstead, Chuck D, Laura Flanders, Al Franken, Katherine Lanpher, Randi Rhodes, Marty Kaplan Janeane Garofalo, and Sam Seder ... none of whom appear to have any experience in talk radio and none of whom seem to have any idea what makes Limbaugh so popular.

To be fair, Rhodes almost gets it. her show is somewhat fun and interesting. But the network's big star, Al Franken, most certainly does not. His first week was one of the most uninteresting, unfunny material I have ever heard. So bad was it that it actually became funny for all the wrong reasons.

Most of the first week was filled with inside jokes, giggling, co-hosts talking over each other and other bits that combined would add up to a mediocre set of shows ... if they moved up a few levels.

It's probably worth taping these first weeks, folks. If this network ever has to make money, it will quickly become history.

Local Reaction

Tom Leykis, who once did an entertaining issues-oriented afternoon show with a liberal slant on KFI (640 AM) reportedly tried to bet Franken big bucks that Franken's show would never break a 1 share in the Arbitron Ratings.

Leykis gave up issues for a try at sex-oriented talk appealing primarily to 20+ males, and has been very successful since landing his show on KLSX afternoons. In fact, Leykis is one of the reasons that people started to take KLSX seriously. Leykis' take on Air America? They should have gone for experienced hosts.


"Viacom can no longer bear the weight of government pressure and its affects on our corporation," said WXRK/New York's general manager Tom Chiusano to open what would have been the Howard Stern Show on April 1st. "While we're sorry to end the Howard Stern Show, we promise quality programming in the future.

This was the launch of "fun without the filth," the new wholesome morning show to be distributed by Viacom all across the country in place of Stern.

As expected, listeners from all over called in to complain and get their Howard back. After about an hour, they did.

"We're back for anybody who was stupid enough to fall for that," said Stern. "Check your calendar, people" added sidekick/newswoman Robin Quivers.


Copyright © 2004 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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