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Airwaves: March 16, 2007


It's hard to imagine just how the program director of KROQ (106.7 FM) reacted back in 1976 when he heard Rodney Bingenheimer for the first time. It's even harder to imagine what led him to think to himself, "man, I've got to hire that guy," considering that Bingenheimer has one of the squeakiest, non-radio voices in the industry.

But KROQ of 1976 was a radio station of a different animal, and somehow Bingenheimer fit in absolutely perfectly by being the guy who brought new music to a station ready to be known for playing new music. It was Bingenheimer who first played such bands as the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Cure, Blondie, for example, and many, many more.

Were it not for Bingenheimer, pop band The Bangles may never have made it big, if at all -- he was the first DJ in America to play their music.

So while it is perhaps long overdue, Bingenheimer, whose Rodney on the Roq is heard on KROQ Sunday evening/Monday morning from 12 midnight to 3 AM, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 9th. Considering his influence on the music scene in Southern California, I can't think of a more deserving recipient.

Now if he could just get a better shift ...

More News, More Talk

The suits at CBS Radio finally noticed what everyone else in the world has known for years: ratings for KNX (1070 AM) and KFWB (980 AM) stink. And Vice President of AM Programming David G. Hall, former whiz kid from KFI (640 AM), did nothing to stop the stench.

So effective in late February, Hall was moved to oversee KNX exclusively, and Andy Ludlam was named programmer for KFWB. Ludlam was KFWB news director for the past three years and has been with the station since 1998.

The expectation from the street is that KFWB will super serve their audience with a renewed focus on quality news reporting, while KNX will continue on the road to a news-based talk station. Not talk in the traditional sense, but a combination of news and talk shows with the emphasis remaining on news.

Random Thoughts From a Cluttered Mind

Local programming is out at KMPC (1540 AM), replaced by national shows from Sporting News as the owners look to unload the station along with two others in other parts of the country.

No one is expected to notice.

KFOX (1650 AM) is licensed to the city of Torrance. So why is it that I can barely hear it in San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes? I can pick up low-powered LAX Airport traffic on 530 AM better than KFOX.

Speaking of KFOX: did you know that they are the last analog AM stereo station in Southern California? There must be some award for that.

"HD Radio" is a trademark for Ibiquity's digital broadcasting system. So what does HD stand for? Nothing. As a trademark it can't stand for anything. So much for "high definition."

The experts say that top-40 radio is dead, that demographics in areas such as Los Angeles have changed so much that real top-40 will never again succeed. They say that now. They said that in 1982 as well, right before KIIS-FM (102.7 FM) set records for high ratings. The experts were wrong then and they are wrong now: a hit station well programmed and well-produced would dominate. Now who has the guts to do it?


Copyright © 2007 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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