Radio AM to FM: January 28, 2005
What's the Frequency, CC?
Just after press time last week, Clear Channel Los Angeles announced what most everyone thought they would announce: the angry liberals of the syndicated Air America Radio are indeed coming back to Los Angeles.
Beginning February 3rd, as part of the swap that places MOR/Standards n Mexico's XTRA (690 AM) and sports on KLAC (570 AM), Air America and other syndicated programming from the Jones Network will be found on the new KTLK (1150 AM), K-Talk.
Interestingly, rather than creating a new call combination, Clear Channel moved KTLK away from it's Santa Barbara "progressive talk" station; prior to that KTLK could be found in Boulder, Colorado.
Also interestingly, former comedian Al Franken will be up against Rush Limbaugh on KFI. Limbaugh has dominated talk radio in in much of the country since his show went national; Franken hates his guts. Should at least make for some good story ideas.
The jury is still out on what to expect in the ratings. Air America has done relatively well in many cities such as San Diego, which is far more conservative than Los Angeles. Yet San Francisco -- the liberal mecca of California -- has not seen as much success. Further, as Los Angeles is home to numerous liberal-leaning public stations including KCRW, KLON, KUSC, KPPC and the leftist KPFK, it's not as if there were a void of such programming. And public radio fans are extremely loyal.
For the past few weeks, MOR/standards can be heard on 620 AM. A station with no name, no call-letter identification and no history.
Turns out the station is one of the new high-powered stations out of Mexico, playing a US-syndicated format that was once found on KLAC. According to information I read on radio-info.com, a storm knocked another station off the air, and the standards format moved due to some format bumping between frequencies.
Is it permanent? Doubtful. But you never know.
Michael Powell, head of the FCC for just over four years, announced that he is stepping down from his post in March.
Personally, I am not a fan of Powell and the current FCC. I firmly believe that the FCC and Congess is what has led to the worst-programmed radio stations in the history of broadcasting, stations that are so far astray of their commitment to public service that the very future of broadcast radio is now in jeopardy.
Powell was nominated to the Commission in 1997 by former President Clinton; President Bush named him as chairman in 2001.
Under Powell's leadership, the media giants got bigger, programming in turn got less interesting, and digital technologies that are still unproven were turned into broadcast standards.
Then again, it wasn't Powell who started the chain of events leading to the sorry state of radio today, and I'm sure his successor will be no better. Or worse.
Expect the next head to be a current Commissioner.
Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
To subscribe to The Daily Breeze, call (310) 540-5511