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Airwaves: February 22. 2008

Readers Write Back

Apparently the column last week on Clear Channel, among other topics, struck a nerve. I had barely gotten up when the e-mails started coming in. Sample letters:

"I was surprised that someone would dare say what a lot of us feel. You have given a new voice to us who remember radio for its entertainment value, not something to shock, arouse, influence and control us. Thank God for people like Charlie Tuna." -- Dave Perry, San Dimas

"Just read your article in the Inland Valley Bulletin and I could not agree more. Our family has owned and operated a local musical instrument store for over 47 years and had used radio on a local level since the 1970s. But with all the buyouts, (a good ad rate) is no longer available since you are dealing with a few big companies owning all the stations. These current conditions have driven us away from that media; when a station is owned locally they are more in touch with listeners and local advertisers' needs. Let's fix this!" -- Steve Capalbo, La Habra Music Center

This is an aspect that doesn't get much attention, but is very true: local businesses are essentially pushed out of radio advertising due to lack of localness and a desire on the part of station salesmen to take the easy way out and sell only national accounts. Related: many formerly local stations don't even have a mail drop in their city of license, let alone a studio.

"Bravo with your calling Clear Channel what it is. Too much money in the wrong hands is ruining this nation." -- James Purcell (city withheld)

"You hit the nail on the head with your story today, how rotten radio is!" -- Claude Duval, North Hills

Not all of the letters were related to Clear Channel. Jim West of Torrance wrote in with another example of possible radio interference:

"My friend and I took our wives to lunch at the Olive Garden restaurant in Torrance. When we got into our cars, the keyless keys would not work. We wondered if this was a coincidence that our batteries were dead. Our regular keys worked and we were able to drive away; a few blocks later in a parking lot both my wife's and my keyless keys worked perfectly. We were wondering if we were in the Torrance Airport line of sight or what ... we have a Bermuda Triangle in Torrance."

I've been thinking about it; I'm not sure the airport uses anything that would be that strong in that direction. Similarly, you were near the KNX transmitters, but still far enough away that I doubt they could be the cause. Now I'm wondering about cell phone towers, or maybe even police or fire department communications. Does anyone know what frequencies those keyless fobs run at?

My Dodge Dakota had similar problems ... but slowly came to realize that when the door would not unlock (with the transmitter), the forest of cellphone towers played a roll. So from my experience, there is another Bermuds Triangle of high level microwaves in my own neighborhood, between Alhambra and San Gabriel. The stuff is known as "electronic smog," and there is a controversy over the associated health consequences" -- James Sullivan, Alhambra

My father did research on such things at North American Aviation. I remember him telling me of potential problems from electromagnetic waves years ago.

And finally, from a few weeks ago: "Thank you so much for telling us about the website for the music of KJUL. love the music, and have it on all the time through the internet now." -- Carol White, La Verne

You're very welcome. In case anyone else missed it, the music is standards, and the website is

Reader Requests

Long ago, reader Margaret Boyd -- now living in Canada -- wrote asking for help in locating recordings of a radios series called "Night Watch" by Peter Lee, where he narrated a short mystery. One person said they had some recordings, but at the time I had lost contact with Ms. Boyd. So if anyone still has information on how to find "Night Watch," please let me know.

Reader Margot Brunswick found herself with some 16-inch diameter 33-1/3 RPM records from the Armed Forces Radio Service, and wants to know if anyone is interested.

The titles, perhaps from the Korean War, include "Command Performance," "Longines Symphonette, The World's Most Honored Music," "Harry James," "Bing Crosby, John Scott & the Charioteers," and quite a few more. If you are interested, let me know and I'll forward your contact information to Margot.


Copyright © 2008 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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