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Airwaves: April 3, 2009

Allen Country

What a treat it was to turn on the car stereo and hear Laurie Allen playing the hits on Go County 105 last Sunday morning. I’ve known Laurie since I was a lowly intern at Magic 106 (now Power 106) in the mid 1980s.

Always a sweetheart, back then Laurie was married to Bruce Vidal, who had a shift on KIIS-FM (102.7) at the same time as she, 6 to 10 PM. That marriage of hsband and wife competition brought some publicity to both stations, and it was a part of a fun rivalry between them -- the mighty, dominant KIIS-FM versus the station that could never quite get it right, Magic 106.

As an intern, I was officially assigned to help produce the afternoon Sonny Melendrez show, but I used to hang around for a while and help out Laurie as well. I have no clue whether or not she got tired of me being there, but I appreciated the chance to work with one of the most talented women in Los Angeles radio.

Interestingly, I don’t remember her staying on when Magic turned into Power 106 in 1986, but the biography of her on the Go Country web site says she was on Power for ten years. Yet the same bio doesn’t mention Magic 106 at all. Weird ... I’ll have to ask her about it. In the meantime, you can hear her randomly on Go Country during weekends and fill-ins. Hopefully we’ll hear more of her soon.

Station Presets

A few weeks ago, Dean Edwards of Torrance write in to ask what others have as station presets, since he lost alternative Indie 103.1 to another format.

In response, Cindy (via e-mail) wrote in to give her presets:

“I’m 41 years old, and I gave up on radio a long time ago. My last “base station” (the station playing when I turn on the car radio) was Indie 103.1. Basically, my presets are now set to bigger stations that might actually play something I want to hear. I wouldn’t even bother with them at all but they are invaluable for flipping through the dial over and over without having ti look down to see where you are.

“I just hot all the buttons first, hit one and roam accordingly ... if I get lost on the dial (since all of the stations sound alike) I hit another button to find my way again.

“From right to left on the dial -- how I always roam -- I have: KROQ (106.7 FM), My FM (104.3), 98-7, KLOS (95.5 FM), KFRG (95.1 FM), and Jack-FM (93.1). KGB/San Diego (101.5 FM) is my current “base station.” It doesn’t come in well but it doesn’t offend me and it sometimes plays something I like when I turn on the radio.

“The idea is to spread them out enough so that you can hit ‘scan’ or ‘search’ and have some idea where you are searching. Remember the good old days when we used to have radio to listen to? As for actually listening to he preset stations, well, they do occasionally still play music. But when I really need tunes, I bring my own.”

Not the most uplifting letter, especially if you’re a programmer. But it should be a wake-up call ... it’s not just teenagers using alternatives to radio. Stations better become relevant to listeners, fast, or they will become ... irrelevant.

More preset letters and e-mails next week.

Leykis Blog

Can’t finish your day right since KLSX (97.1 FM) dropped talk? Former afternoon host Tom Leykis can get you your fix ... he has a blog at Saying what he’d say if he were still on the air, as he describes it. Check it out.


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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