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Airwaves: February 6, 2009

Ludlum Returns to KFWB ... and adds KNX

It almost seems that story after story in Radioland is negative: layoffs, pay cuts, lowered ad revenue ... the list goes on an on. Yet just when things seem to get worse and worse, some good news comes around to put a little cheer into what at times can be a depressing industry.

This time the news is great. Andy Ludlum, removed from his position of programmer for KFWB (980 AM) by then-boss Roy Laughlin, has been rehired by the CBS station. Further, in addition to his duties at KFWB, he will also wear the programming hat for sister station KNX (1070 AM).

It’s a weird, twisted chain of events that caused Ludlum to be removed from and then returned to the programming position in which he excelled. First he was fired because his replacement was awful. That’s right: Laughlin’s statement when he gave then-KNX programmer David Hall the PD position over both KFWB and KNX, actually made reference to the fact that Hall made so many mistakes in the past that he had to be good now.

Yet in a relatively short period of time, Hall left for the programming spot at KABC (790 AM), and Laughlin left management at CBS Radio. Almost like magic, Ludlum was back. And that is a good thing.

Why? Against the odds, Ludlum brought respect back to KFWB. He knows the station and knows how to make it shine as best it can under the limitations of being a CBS station. Under his watch, KFWB not only gained the respect of listeners, it also won the respect of peers, winning numerous Golden Mikes for news reporting and coverage. Hopefully with the right support, he can take both all news stations to the best they can be.

More Good News

And the good news continues with the announcement that Bob Moore has resigned from CBS Radio management, where he oversaw KROQ (106.7 FM), KCBS-FM (93.1), KTWV (94.7 FM), KNX, KFWB, KLSX (97.1 FM) and KRTH (101.1 FM). Moore was elevated to the position of “Super General manager” when CBS stopped having one GM for every station or two; previously he had been GM of just KLSX well as the original KRLA (1110 AM) back when the oldies station was co-owned with KLSX.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know numerous people think the world of Moore. Comments sent to Don Barrett’s talk of Moore being “kind, smart, and supportive.” His stations often are included in lists of the top-billing local stations. But I am not an employee of his, nor do I give a damn about his station’s ad revenue or lack of it. I see him from the listener side, and that side of me sees things a bit differently. Money is important in broadcasting, but it is not the only thing.

Moore destroyed the original KRLA. he wanted to take it talk years before he finally did, but the audience was too dedicated. So he did as much as he could to bring it down as a music station: bad programmers, no promotions, you name it. Moron-Talk on KLSX was also his idea ... you may recall Kato Kaelin, Susan Olsen and Mother Love starring on the launch of the format years ago. That was Moore’s work. Even superstar morning man Howard Stern made fun of it.

So no, I am not unhappy to see Moore gone. Of course when he announces where he is going -- perhaps by the time you read this -- I may not feel as happy. For now, though, I’m as high on life as a kite.


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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