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Airwaves: October 6, 2006

He's Back!

Rick Dees was in prime form during his debut last week on KMVN (Movin' 93.9 FM). It was almost as if he had never been off the air and the last two years were a dream.

Of course the music played on Movin' largely represents what Dees was playing during his last few years on KIIS-FM (102.7), so in a way it was kind of like hearing a recording of Dees ... no wonder he sounded so good. Of course, Dees' Weekly Top-40 was still running nationwide (outside of Los Angeles), so it's not like he was out of practice.

Seriously, you could tell he was excited to be back on the air in Los Angeles, and you can be sure he is going to do his best to overtake Ryan Seacrest, who replaced him on KIIS. Whether he can do that remains to be seen, but it should be quite a dogfight.

The weak link on the show is Patty Lopez, who talks a bit too much and doesn't seem to do it well. But Dees has a history of having weak co-hosts -- his last good one was Liz Fulton at KIIS over 20 years ago -- and it doesn't seem to affect his popularity.

The first week was spent welcoming back his listeners ... and little else. But that is to be expected: he's been off the air in town for so long that his listeners want a chance to stop by and say "hi."

My only gripe with the show is his constant hyping that he is going to take the station "from worst to first." KZLA was hardly "worst," having consistently placed in or near the top-20 of all local stations. KZLA was among the top billing country stations in the US as well. Not even close to "worst." But I'll let Dees pretend.

Dees has a lot riding on this, and a lot to prove. In addition to having his sights set on Seacrest, he wants revenge on his old employer Clear Channel for showing him the door. I imagine that his contract gives him a lot of power to control not only what is on his show, but on the station overall. For that reason, Movin' may indeed evolve to be a winner, once they get the music straightened out.

New Country

Rumors abound that a new country station will be coming to Los Angeles. Stations mentioned include KRTH (101.1 FM), KYSR (98.7 FM), and KBIG (104.3 FM). Any truth to the rumors? I've heard nothing even unofficially from anyone, but an argument could be made for any of them as well as a few more. If you hear anything, let me know.

Reel Find

Richard Irwin's features airchecks -- recordings of radio stations from the past -- covering a massive amount of top-40 radio history, and more.

My latest find, found completely by accident, is a disc jockey from the 1970s named Jeff Christie. He spun the tunes on WIXZ/McKeesport, PA and KQV/Pittsburgh, PA, among others. His style, especially on the WIXZ recording, is unmistakable, and set the standard for a young man who would later become better known as ... Rush Limbaugh.

That's right, Rush Limbaugh, the same man who more recently became the most listened to talk personality in America. Hear his early radio efforts courtesy of Reel Radio (a $12/year tax deductible donation is required to hear the recordings. Well worth it in my opinion). Like him or not, you can most certainly hear some of the same style and phrases from those early recordings that he uses today.


Copyright © 2006 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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