Back to Wag-Net Main Page

Radio AM to FM: January 23, 2004

Mail Bag

Sima Geller, Torrance: "K-SURF doesn't come through so well. How come?"

Location, location, location. And power. And patterns. K-SURF's 1260 frequency is licensed to the city of Beverly Hills with a daytime power of 20,000 watts and nighttime power of 7500 watts. Due to a directional transmission pattern, however, much of that power goes out to sea, leaving many landlocked areas with less than desirable reception. At night, an especially tight pattern places most of the energy out to sea in order to protect stations in other areas of the country from interference; unfortunately that means those other stations tend to interfere with K-SURF itself.

The solution? Buy a house boat, I suppose. You can try the sister-station simulcast at 540, which sends its signal up the coast from Mexico, try a radio made especially for long-distance reception, or add an external AM antenna to boost your current radio's reception. Radio Shack once had an excellent inexpensive AM antenna; unfortunately it was discontinued.

You might check the C. Crane Company,, for some other models. Or make your own. Search the internet for "AM antenna" or "AM DX" and you'll find newsgroups dedicated to antenna designs and long-distance AM reception.

H. McNaught: "Where is George Putnam on broadcast radio now?"

Nowhere, as of right now. When KPLS was sold, the talk format was dropped in favor of Spanish, and local hosts were forced off the air. If you have internet access, you can go to and read his "one reporters opinion," as well as sign up for a newsletter that will announce if or when he lands on another station.

Tandy Summers, Lomita: "I'm 34 years old and I love the Drama Hour. I hope KNX's ratings drop because of the foolish choice they made to drop it. I've listened almost every night for years and the stories never get old. It brought good cheer to hear it back (on K-SURF)."

You and many others. Interestingly, while I am convinced that the station dropped the Drama Hour in order to appeal to a younger audience, many of the letters I received came from people like you who are under 40. I hope the shows do well for K-SURF.

Sue Pruitt, Inglewood: "Where can Don Imus be heard in my area? I miss the I-Man because he could get good people for interviews ... and great music for bumpers."

The closest affiliate I have found is Santa Barbara, on KTMS (990 AM). I have not tried it myself, but I imagine it is POSSIBLE to receive KTMS locally if you have a good AM radio that can be turned (or have an antenna that can be turned) toward Santa Barbara and away from Los Angeles; otherwise KFWB (980 AM) will overpower everything.

If you have internet access, you might try finding the website of an affiliate that streams his show. One such station is KOTK/Portland, Oregon. Go to and click on the "listen live" link from 5 to 10 AM weekdays.

David Boothly: "As a longtime listener to LA radio -- since 1964 -- I like to know what's going on and what happened to the old LA radio personalities. We know that Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele passed away, but what of the old KRLA personalities -- where are they now? Emperor Hudson, Dave Hull, Johnny Hayes, Bob Eubanks, Casey Kasem, Bob Dayton, Russ O'Hara, Jimmy Rabbit, etc., etc. ... Where are they? How are they? Please bring us up to date."

Good idea. Starting with your list, I think I will try instituting a "where are they now" portion of the column each week.

"Emperor" Bob Hudson came to Los Angeles in 1963 to work at KRLA, where he ordered "his peasants" to "get off the freeways" when he signed off for the day. He left in 1966 and worked at numerous stations including "Super 15" KBLA, KFWB, and KEZY. In 1969 he moved to KGBS where he was eventually paired with Ron Landry; Hudson and Landry was an immensely popular morning show during its run, helping to propel the daytime-only station toward the top of the ratings. The team moved to afternoons at KFI in 1974. After that, the team broke up and Hudson moved to KIEV, XPRS and returned to KRLA for a second and third time before retiring in 1988. He died at the age of 66 in September of 1997.


Copyright © 2004 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

To subscribe to The Daily Breeze, call (310) 540-5511