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Airwaves: November 3, 2006

Satellite Fight

The battle of the exclusive car contracts continues between satellite radio services XM and Sirius.

XM just announced that it signed a long term deal with Porsche beginning now for 2007 model year cars. The radios and service were an option since 2005 in the Cayenne; the new deal puts XM availability across the line. Purchasers of XM-capable radios receive a 3-month complementary subscription.

Of course three months goes by fast. So Sirius worked out a deal with one carmaker to not only place Sirius-capable radios in every one of the automaker's offerings by mid 2007, buyers of the cars will also receive a lifetime subscription. Free. All you have to do is buy a Bentley.

KFI Transmitter Update

It was December, 2004, when a small plane collided with the KFI (640 AM) main transmitter tower in La Mirada, killing the pilot and passenger and causing the tower to collapse. The 760-foot tower had been in place since 1947 and was both a hazard and a reference point for pilots, many of whom used it as a landmark to help find the Fullerton Airport.

KFI has been operating at reduced range from a backup transmitter at the same site ever since.

Now it appears that the station will soon be back at full power. The various authorities recently gave approval for rebuild plans, calling for a height cut of about 100 feet and a special top hat to help make up the difference.

Work is expected to begin in December. Good news for those who live in what are now fringe areas of KFI's coverage, just outside of Los Angeles County. Once the tower is operational and in use, the talk giant should once again be heard throughout much of California during he day, much of the Western United States at night.

No FM Country

By now some observers had expected a local FM station to make the move to country music. Rumored stations included -- for various reasons -- KBIG (104.3 FM), Star 98.7, KRTH (101.1 FM), KFSH (95.9 FM), and KLSX (97.1 FM). None have made the move, though potentially all of them could.

Many rumors have circled around KBIG. Ratings have been slipping, albeit slightly, there is new competition from KMVN (93.9 FM), and morning man Charlie Tuna has done country in the past. However, Clear Channel seems committed to making KBIG work.

On the other hand, Star has never been stellar in the ratings, so it could be vulnerable. KRTH? It has the oldies format to itself, so I doubt it. KFSH is owned by a company that doesn't care if it ever gets ratings, so I have no clue where that rumor came from.

Which leaves KLSX. A station that has been sinking ever since Howard Stern left for satellite. It wouldn't be a new sound for the frequency, which ran country back when it was still called KGBS. And it certainly wouldn't be a new sound for the company that owns it: Owner CBS is the same company that owns KFRG (95.1 FM) in San Bernardino.


Copyright © 2006 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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