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Airwaves: January 11, 2008

Mister Nothing

Marc Germain has been relieved of duties at KTLK (1150 AM).
A mainstay on Los Angeles radio since 1993, first on KFI 640 AM (as Mr. KFI on the Ask Mr. KFI program) and later on KABC (790 AM), where he became Mr. KABC for a decade. He had been at KTLK since March of last year.

On KFI and KABC, Germain's claim to fame was that he had no screeners and placed calls on the air cold. People would call in to ask almost anything, and it made for a fascinating, if bazaar, show. When he moved to KTLK, he settled a bit, becoming a bit more politically-oriented to fit the station's liberal programming slant. According to some observers, that may have been his undoing.

For it seems that while he does tend to lean liberal on numerous issues, he is no match for the other hosts on the station. Indeed, when he made his debut on KTLK, there were some who voiced the opinion that he just wasn't liberal enough for the station.

Personally, I'm not buying it. I believe the main reason was that KTLK is owned by Clear Channel, which is desperately cutting costs at all stations everywhere it can. That KTLK essentially earns no ratings doesn't help the cause -- I would not be surprised if KTLK doesn't make it through 2008. In the meantime, Germain's afternoon slot was given over to guest hosts and will eventually be filled with much cheaper syndicated programming.

Germain left a thank you message to his fans on his website, stating additionally, "I'm looking now to find a new home for the show in Los Angeles. I have lived here all of my life, and have consistently been one of the top performers when doing my no topics, no screeners format.

Where can he go? Think more than talk stations. I could easily see him taking an evening shift on a music station, just as others have done in the past. Remember Hilly Rose or Larry King on 50,000-watt powerhouse KFI ... before they were a talk station?

No Caffeine on XM?

Starbucks and XM have agreed to terminate their marketing deal, which gave XM exposure at Starbucks coffeehouses and Starbucks a channel on XM, currently called Starbucks XM Cafe.

The channel will continue for a time but is expected to be dropped in the near future. It's kind of a fun channel, with light rock alternative music interspersed with the sound of coffee cups clinking on saucers. Sirius has a coffeehouse channel as well, but without the clinking.

Geographically Challenged

At least three readers sent a note to me mentioning standards music on KSPA (1510 AM) "The Spa." Said Rennie Gronos in an e-mail, "'The Spa' does a good job of playing Sinatra and others ... except when they have those 'live to be 1000 years old with the prolongo juicer' infomercials!"

Rennie also mentioned another great way to hear standards: KJUL/Las Vegas streams their programming on the internet ( KJUL is a very high-quality station that is well worth being in your internet bookmark file.


Copyright © 2008 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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