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Radio AM to FM: June 25, 2004

Star Appeal

Veteran LA album rock personality Jim Ladd is among 32 people who will receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

Ladd has been a fixture on the Los Angeles airwaves since arriving at the former KNAC/Long Beach in 1967. In addition to KNAC, Ladd has been heard on KLOS, KMET, KLSX and KMPC-FM/KEDG; he currently hosts evenings on KLOS.

In addition to his pioneering freeform/AOR radio career, in which he prides himself on setting moods and sending messages through specially selected music sets, Ladd is also an author, telling the story -- or what he remembers of it, anyway -- of the beginnings of FM rock radio.

Press Problems

The press release announcing Ladd's upcoming star came from the fine folks at ABC radio, who are so afraid of competition they refused to name non-ABC stations that don't even exist any more. KNAC was "a small station in Long Beach;" KMET was " another station where he was given more creative control over his free form rock and roll music style."

For the record, KNAC is now spanish music KBUE (105.5 FM), while KMET is mellow rock/light jazz KTWV (94.7 FM). ABC needs to lighten up a bit, or get used to being the butt of jokes right here.

Trouble in Air America

A June 21st story in the Wall Street Journal chronicles the problems liberal talk network Air America has faced already and will face in the future.

It essentially boils down to finances built on a house of cards. By the time the network launched on March 31st, it was already essentially out of money. Highlights:

• Several employees, including former Los Angeles market manager Bob Visotcky, still have not been reimbursed for attending the launch party held at Manhattan's Maritime Hotel. That party, by the way, cost $70,000.

• Many of the company's investors and executives thought the company had more than $30 million in the bank; the truth was it had raised only $6 million, and it was $2 million in debt within six weeks of launch.

• Host Randi Rhodes found out that her staff wasn't being paid and ended up paying them herself.

• Host Al Franken, who had negotiated a salary package worth more than $1 million per year apparently went unpaid.

Just goes to show you what happens when you let a vision get in the way of a solid business plan.

Play Thing

Tomorrow from 10 pm - midnight on KPCC (89.3 FM), The Play's the Thing will air M Butterfly by David Henry Hwang, starring John Lithgow, B.D. Wong, David Dukes, and Kathryn Layng. Inspired by an actual espionage scandal, the production tells the story of a French diplomat who discovers the startling truth about his Chinese mistress.

If you miss the show on KPCC, you can find it on the web: The Play's the Thing is streamed live on the KPCC website ( for one week following each broadcast so that people worldwide can hear the show.


Copyright © 2004 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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