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Radio AM to FM: April 1, 2005

It's All Good

"We hear you," announced Clear Channel's new VP of programming, Anthony C. Earle. "Like you, we are tired of overly-researched formats and stations that all sound like each other. Starting today, I think you will really, really, really like us. Really."

In a move that may shake up the entire industry, Clear Channel is taking a cue from the Los Angeles Unified School District and giving its local stations total control over everything from budgets to programming, with CC's main offices handling nothing but supplies ... just as LAUSD does with their local districts, which in turn gives local schools control of everything from curriculum to textbook purchases.

"It's back to the old days, maybe better," continued Earle. "Our general managers now have full control to do what they want, when they want, with our stations. Our plan here at Clear Channel's corporate office is to sit back and collect the checks."

So, as you might expect, there will be a few changes on CC's Los Angeles-area stations. KFI is expected to drop talk as the failed format that it is and pick up top-40 once again. John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou have been listening to tapes of Lohman and Barkley so that they can recreate the antics of the famous morning team. Kobylt and Chiampou, as they will now be known, will even bring back Light of My Life, one of the Lohman and Barkley's most famous bits.

KIIS-FM will return to its roots as KKDJ once approval for the old call letters is approved, paving the way for the return of 1150 KIIS (AM), which will bring back a light-AC format to the AM band. KBIG and KOST will both take on Beautiful Music; KLAC will return to Country and Western; and KYSR plans to become the premiere classical music station.

Competitors are not standing still on this one. While not making as many changes as Clear Channel, Infinity is spreading Jack to every station in its Los Angeles cluster, and dropping all DJs, announcers and newscasters as the unnecessary elements of radio that they are. NewsJack 1070, for example, will now air nothing but teletype machines, while JackWB 980 will play recordings of news events that happened in the past.

"We've pretty much destroyed news radio in Los Angeles over the past few years, so we believe this is the natural evolution for news radio in Southern California," said Infinity spokesman Jack Jackson.

Other changes in the air? How about KTNQ bringing back the Ten-Q top-40 format, Rick Dees returning to the air as morning man for the new 93/KHJ, and, with the demise of Arrow 93 leaving a gaping hole, the re-launch of album-oriented K-WEST 106?

There is just so much in store for Los Angeles radio. And if you think that these events will not happen, you're right ... it's April Fool's Day, after all!


Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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