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Radio AM to FM: March 26, 2004

Putnam Comes Back. Again!

This coming Monday marks the return of George Putnam to the semi-local airwaves. This time it's on Ontario's KSPA (1510 AM), as well as on various cable companies via the Cable Radio Network (CRN) and the internet at The show will air Monday through Friday from Noon to 2 PM.

Putnam is a legend on the Los Angeles television airwaves. Once the anchor for the Channel 5 News (and supposedly part of the inspiration for the character of Ted Baxter on the popular '70s sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show), he became famous for not only telling you the news but what you should think about the news. A friend of mine who moved to Los Angeles from Minnesota in the 1960s first thought the news program was a comedy.

More recently he has been host to a small but fiercely loyal talk radio audience who can't get enough of his no-holds-barred commentaries over the airwaves of KIEV/KRLA (870 AM) and KPLS (830 AM). He left KPLS when the station dropped talk for Spanish programming.


First it was Chuck Niles, popular (and expert) jazz host on KJAZ (88.1 FM), who died on March 15th at the age of 76 due to complications from a stroke. Then it was J. J. Jackson, longtime Los Angeles album-rock radio personality who later became an MTV "Video Jock" back when the new music network actually played music videos. Jackson dies March 17th at the age of 62 from an apparent heart attack.

Both personalities were well-known in their musical fields of expertise, and both will be remembered as genuinely loving their trade, making their listeners part of their own musical clubs.

Indecent Proposal

No one ever heard of Sandra Tsing Loh until she got fired from KCRW (89.9 FM) for uttering the "f word" on a taped commentary that she expected her producers to edit.

Since the firing, Roh has been portrayed as a victim in the press, and has been asked to return to KCRW ... it was all a mix up, according to station manager Ruth Seymour. Roh turned down the offer because she would feel uncomfortable working there after her firing.

Let me get this straight: She would be uncomfortable dropping off her tape of the week in time for her producers to edit out the bad words? Hmm.

Now rumors of television shows are being thrown around ... all because of an "indecent" word being uttered by a commentator that no one ever really knew prior to the incident. Only in America. Or on NPR.

Letter of the Week

From reader J. G. of Torrance; no reply is needed ...

I was looking for a traffic report so I turned to KNX 1070. You know, the station I used to listen to before they decided that news is so important that they can't spare even an hour for drama. Well, not breaking news, they don't have that, it's too dangerous, but, um, well, news. Imagine my disgust to hear that instead of news - or traffic reports, or even drama hour - they fill their Sunday morning (8 am to noon) with Melinda Lee's cooking show and, apparently, their Sunday afternoons with Jeff Levy's computer show. No offense to Ms. Lee or Mr. Levy, but what's up with that? They deprive us of Dragnet and yet find time for this non-news fluff? KFWB was never any better, and they maintained that today by having some ball game instead of, say, news. So now LA has no news station? Okay, no English-language news station? I'll have to resurrect my high school Spanish if I want to get a traffic report? How about I go on-line, and radio goes away?


Copyright © 2004 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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