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Radio AM to FM: December 31, 2004

The Boyz Are Back

In 1992, brothers Eric and Nick Vidal made the trek from Bakersfield -- where they took their on-air name The Baka Boyz -- to Los Angeles for a stint at Power 106. First it was just for a Friday night show, then overnights, and soon mornings ... all while they were in their early 20s.

During that time they helped solidify Power's transformation from an urban/dance oriented format to hip-hop, and along the way took part in one of my all-time favorite April Fool's Day pranks: the day when they switched places with KROQ'sKevin and Bean for the morning. The Baka Boyz playing alternative and Kevin and Bean playing hip-hop ... priceless. But I digress.

In 1997, The Boyz switched slots with Big Boy, and left somewhat disillusioned for the greener pastures of KKBT. In 2000 they headed to San Francisco's KMEL, and in 2003 ended up in Miami.

Now they're back. Kind of, as of January. Broadcasting from their home base of Miami, the Boyz will once again be on the Los Angeles-area airwaves via the new KDAY every weekday afternoon at 3 PM. They will continue mornings as well on Miami's WMIB The Beat.

Fewer Commercials

We're just one day away from Clear Channel's much-publicized plan to lower the number of commercial minutes airing on their stations. If all goes according to plan, the total number of minutes aired on local CC-owned stations should drop even if the number of actual ads doesn't: the company plans to push 30-second spots in place of 60s.

Additionally, the company will cut the number of commercials in each break which should allow a higher price to be paid for an ad which no longer gets lost in the clutter.

Actual limits will vary by format and time slot, but all Clear Channel stations are affected.

Of course the concept isn't new. But outside of the station in my mind (see this column of May 21, 2004), few stations adhere to it. In this case, it's a bold move that may indeed help slow -- though certainly not stop -- the loss of radio listeners to other entertainment choices such as satellite radio, iPods, CDs ... and talking.

Top Stories

This is the time of year for reflections on the past 12 months. In radio, there were many, many stories that could have made the top-10.

Mel Karmazin leaving the company he founded to work at Sirius, the spread of HD Radio, the retirements of Ken Minyard and Ken Gallacher, Clear Channel purposely making their AM stations sound bad by restricting audio bandwidth, the deaths of Larry McCormick, Bill Ward, Hunter Hancock and Bill Ballance, the firing of Rick Dees, the pathetic saga of Sandra Tsing Loh, Air America's five minutes or so of Los Angeles broadcasts, Saul Levine only changing formats once on his AM stations ... all made 2004 a very interesting year for local radio.

Yet the hands down winners for top stories would have to be the announcement that Howard Stern would be leaving traditional radio for Sirius Satellite Radio, and the collapse of KFI's main broadcast tower after almost 60 years of service when a small airplane struck it almost directly.

All in all an amazingly eventful year, perhaps the most eventful of the 18 years I have been writing this column. I hope your 2004 was good, and I wish you the best for 2005. Happy new year!


Copyright © 2004 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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