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Radio AM to FM: July 22, 2005

New Again

I've lost track of how many times KBIG (104.3 FM) has reinvented itself over the years, but it's happened again. This time, as with many of the past times, there is good and bad with the makeover.

Music's the same. As are the personalities. That's good, for the most part. KBIG's playlist has been fairly decent for a while now, especially since Dave "Chachi" Deneshas been programming the hot adult contemporary station. And the personalities are some of L. A.'s best, at least for a contemporary format.

Jingles are gone. That's bad. It makes the station sound like all the other stations in town with nothing but "imaging voices," and makes the station sound a bit more boring and bland. Of course KBIG desperately needed new jingles, as their old ones were horrendous.

But dropping them instead of getting good ones is a mistake. It's much better to go from a commercial to a quick "shotgun" jingle (remember KHJ, Ten-Q or 1980s KIIS-FM) to the song than it is to have a recording tell you something about the music sweep. Between songs, the imaging totally breaks the momentum.

Thirty minute sweeps are OK, except that means commercial sets are longer. I personally prefer shorter sweeps with no more than one or two commercials per break. That way you really don't notice the stop. Announcing the sweeps is bad; if you have to announce something like that, you must not be doing something right ... listeners should know. Again, I refer to KHJ, Ten Q and KIIS-FM, which just did what they did without wasting time announcing the obvious ("more music" jingles excepted).

Mark Driscoll, the official voice of the station, is gone. That's good. He's just ... not that good. Were it Bobby Ocean, then I would have been disappointed. Chachi says that the air staff will do the announcing themselves. That's good.

So why was there no one on the air this past week? "We decided to give everyone the week off to hit home with more music and highlight the cleaner presentation for this one week," station manager Craig Rossi told's Don Barrett.

Random Thoughts From a Cluttered Mind

From the Odyssey File under "what were they thinking?," Radio Ink Magazinerecognized Clear Channel Chairman Lowry Mays with a Lifetime Leadership Award for his "dedication, commitment and stewardship to the radio industry." Considering what Clear Channel has done to radio, this is obviously tongue-in-cheek. If it's not, it's just sad. Really sad.

My wife Jean's reaction to Jill-FM (92.7 FM), which supposedly plays a format designed specifically to appeal to women? "It's like an iPod playing songs I don't like," she says.

More Blunders

Greg Hardison, who writes, edits and sends out an excellent periodic email Broadcast Band Update, checked in to add to the radio blunders he has witnessed. "So far, I'd have to go back 31 years, when the old KYMS stopped being America's greatest rock station. Exacerbating the trauma was the fact that KROQ AM/FM had left the airwaves just a couple weeks earlier. All of that in July, 1974."

Got more? Send 'em in!


Copyright © 2005 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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