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Airwaves: December 7, 2007

Imus to KABC

Don Imus, fired from WFAN/New York and his CBS syndication deal for calling female athletes a bad thing earlier this year is beginning his nationwide comeback. Through the microphones of WABC/New York, Imus will be carried live on our own little KABC (790 AM) beginning Monday, December 10th.

His time slot? Nothing less than the coveted 3 to 5 AM shift.

This is an interesting choice for KABC. 3 to 5 AM isn't even an Arbitron-rated time period, as the ratings company only bothera measuring audience levels between the hours of 6 AM and 12 midnight. So on the surface, it would appear that KABC doesn't really have much faith in Imus' show, and may be little more than a way for owner Citadel to claim a Los Angeles station as it tries to syndicate the show.

It's no secret that Imus' ratings in New York had fallen over the past decade, and I personally believe that his firing from WFAN and CBS had as much to do with that fact as it did with the negative publicity from his comment. However, the publicity Imus received after his firing has propelled him to the top of water-cooler discussions everywhere. His firing may have brought him back.

KABC may want to see how he fits with the station, and Imus could be eventually worked into the morning shift if he gets a good response. I doubt it, but it could be, and since the time-slot he is in isn't rated, it's not a big gamble for the station. For now, KABC programmer Erik Braverman is hyping the fact that Doug McIntyre continues as morning drive-time host.

Merry Christmas, You're Fired

The company that brings you the sounds of the holidays far too long every year via its KOST (103.5 FM) continued its yearly tradition of a random station holiday bloodletting. Ironically, this time it was at KOST itself.

Last week the company passed out holiday pink-slips to morning co-host Kim Amidon as well as longtime personality Mike Sakellarides. They also canned some longtime people from its Airwatch news and traffic service division, including Mike Nolan, Barbara Brooks, Jim Curren, Walt Jackson, Alan LaGreen, Mike Baez and Sharon Reardon.

Now-solo morning host Mark Wallengren will now have a record-setting six hour shift, 6 AM to 12 noon, while afternoon host Bryan Simmons will do the same in the afternoon: 12 noon to 6 PM. A far cry from the days of good radio and three-hour shifts.

Greg Ashlock, head cheese of Clear Channel Los Angeles told Don Barrett of, "Who cares? I care." To which I answer, "Bull." Clear Channel has a long history and a well-deserved reputation for programming radio at its worst. Ashlock doesn't give a damn about radio nor the people he let go. If he really cared he'd fire himself and get someone who can creatively program stations so he wouldn't be losing listeners of all ages to every conceivable alternative media, from iPods to satellite radio.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to stop the Evil Empire; the FCC and Congress long ago sold-out our airwaves to such an extent that owners no longer have to broadcast in the public interest. We'll just have to keep tuning out.


Copyright © 2007 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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