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Airwaves: April 11, 2008

Digger Clark Passes

Chances are you've never heard of Digger Clark. But you've probably heard his work.

Ingram "Digger" Clark worked behind the scenes as a studio and production engineer for 55 years before he retired from the various incarnations of KIIS AM (1150) and FM (102.7), dating back to the time the station was a stand alone AM called KRKD and broadcast out of the old Arcade Building on Broadway Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.

Clark passed away last Friday night April 4th; the cause was not released, but he had been in declining health over the past year.

David Schwartz of cable television's Game Show Network worked with him at KIIS-FM and said of his passing, "Digger worked at KRKD back when dick jockey Huggy Boy (Dick Hugg) was still a boy! Everybody loved him and we all felt blessed by working with him, knowing him, and loving him like a friend.

Serviced will be held tomorrow in Whittier.

All Bruce

KRBV's (100.3 FM) new owner Bonneville Broadcasting began running an all-Bruce Springsteen format at 12 midnight Tuesday morning as they took control of the station. They probably got the idea from listening to Sirius Satellite Radio, which has had an all-Bruce channel for far too long. But I digress.

It didn't last long, though. By morning the format was new age and seemed to be changing by the hour. Finally, at 10 AM the new format made its debut. And it's a winner.

Called 100.3 The Sound, the station plays what is known in the industry as Adult Album Alternative, the modern version of KNX-FM's (now KCBS-FM) Mellow Rock format of the 1970s. Intelligent music presented intelligently.

Bonneville president Bruce Reese told that The Sound "will be a music station that has absolute respect for music, and feature a broad playlist," from the seminal rock of the 1960s and '70s to the music of today.

Expect new call-letters within a few weeks. No personalities were heard as of press time, but will be hired soon.

Stay tuned ...

Birthday Time

KNX (1070 AM) will celebrate its 40th birthday as an all-news station next Tuesday, April 15th.

It wasn't Los Angeles' first all-news station. That distinction belongs to KABC-FM (now KLOS, 95.5 FM) which ran the format from January 1 to March 11, 1968. It wasn't even the second all-news station; that distinction belongs to KFWB (980 AM) which took on the format the same day KABC-FM dropped it.

But with CBS chairman William Paley impressed with the success of all-news WINS/New York, he wanted KNX to try it. And he gave the station five years to make a "go" of it. Apparently, it worked.

For years KNX was the radio station of record in Los Angeles, with a stellar reputation for quality reporting. That image suffered much as current programmer David Hall messed with the programming, replacing news with features and talk shows. But a recent back to basics approach is currently paying dividends, with ratings finally on the upswing after years of decline.

KNX is one of two clear channel stations in town (the other is KFI 640 AM) -- by definition, not owner -- meaning that no other station is on its frequency in the Western United States. That means its 50,000 watt signal reaches clearly from the transmitters off of 190th Street in Torrance into nine states at night, and farther if the weather is right. Not bad for Los Angeles' oldest radio station.


Copyright © 2008 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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