Radio AM to FM: February 18, 2005
KRTH Goes Hollywood
Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton once had visions of replacing Rick Dees on KIIS-FM. As early evening host on KIIS, Hamilton had a combination of professionalism, showmanship and ego that proved wildly successful on the early evening shift he held from 1987 to 1994.
But that Dees slot was just too tempting. So he left KIIS for San Bernardino's KGGI in order to groom his own morning show. He worked, waiting patiently for Dees to either be forced out or retire. Unfortunately for Hamilton, he was about 10 years ahead of his time; Dees wouldn't be forced out until 1994. In the interim, the morning crew of KGGI started having growing pains, and they split up. Hamilton left Southern California for New York's WKTU in 1996.
'KTU loved Hamilton, and he soon moved up from evenings in the Big Apple to morning drive. Morning drive in the nation's number one radio market. A dream come true. Until an "overzealous act of loyalty," according to his former agent David Katz, caused a bit of a problem: Hamilton rigged a station contest and gave away a Cancun vacation to his publicist's husband.
Oops. Hamilton found himself off the air from 'KTU, escorted from the premises by armed guards, according to some published reports, though his syndicated top-30 countdown show continued unabated.
But that was then. Enter: KRTH, which has become a shell of itself under the destruction, er, direction of programmer Jay Coffee.
KRTH desperately needs someone or something to stop the flood of listeners leaving "the greatest hits on earth" behind. Playing the same burnt songs over and over just isn't the draw it once was. So, last week the station announced that Hollywood Hamilton himself would be the new morning man starting Monday. Paired up with his former producer, Dr. George Brothers.
It should be quite a show. Overzealous loyalty aside, there is a reason Hamilton did well on KIIS-FM, KGGI and WKTU, as well as an earlier gig on New York's Z-100: he's good. Really good. He actually could have replaced Dees on KIIS ... had Dees' ratings not held up forever. Like Dees, Hamilton has -- or at least had -- clever, clean humor good for the whole family. Sort of like a Johnny Carson of the radio.
Of course Hamilton will be hindered somewhat by the KRTH music format, which takes to heart the title of the Four Tops hit record, "The Same Old Song." Played over and over again. Perhaps this will be a good time for Coffee to bring back the oldies-based Hot Adult Contemporary format that was such a great part of Los Angeles radio of the early 1980s. I doubt anyone at KRTH has the guts to try that again, unfortunately.
In any event, I'm looking forward to his KRTH debut. It should be quite a show.
It was 18 years ago this week that the Valentine's Day Massacre brought an end to the legendary KMET and launched the all new 94.7, The Wave.
In celebration, the station presented an anniversary party at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa last night hosted by the morning team of Dave Koz and Pat Prescott.
Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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