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Airwaves: February 20, 2009

The Valentine’s Day Massacre.

This term is usually used in reference to the day when KMET dropped rock for “new age,” but it can easily be applied to a handful of other stations. I have no idea why, but this time of year seems to be the season of change for radio formats.

I had forgotten about this until I realized that, after a period of no major (approximately, at least) Valentine’s Day changes, we had one again this year with the demise of Indie 103 in last January. Indie joins a growing list of stations that played an important part of local radio yet met their demise on or near the day of romance:

February 15, 1983: Orange County top-40 KEZY drops music for news.

January 31, 1986: RKO, under the advisement of Walter Sabo, who destroyed both KHJ and San Francisco’s KFRC, drops top-40 and the call letters to become ‘50s oriented KRTH (AM).

February 14, 1987: legendary rocker KMET becomes Yuppy-Jazz The Wave.

If you don’t mind moving forward a month, it was on March 15, 1982 when KGB/San Diego dropped top-40 for news and became KCNN for a short time.

I bring you this information because it proves one thing: I am a radio nut. And it gives you some interesting trivia to try out on your friends tonight ...

On the Other Hand

This time of year does bring some good things. Great things, in fact. I find many great things at, Uncle Ricky’s Top-40 Radio Repository, which began its 14th year on the net just two weeks ago.

New for their new year is ReelRadio’s Aircheck Channel, a test-drive demonstration of restored and uncut airchecks, recordings of classic top-40 radio stations and personalities. As I write this I am listening to Dick Sainte on WCFL/Chicago from 1973. Later it will be someone else on another station.

Normally, ReelRadio requires a subscription to hear the thousands of recordings, but the test drive is free. Check it out, and consider joining the many people who subscribe and support the archives.

By the way, ReelRadio is more proof that I am a radio nut. My wife Jean bought me my first modem 14 years ago just so I could listen to these airchecks .. and leave her alone.

Saving Satellite Radio

Late last week the good money was on Sirius/XM declaring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, or being gobbled up by EchoStar, owner of the Dish Network. To the rescue, it seems, is Liberty Media, which plans to invest several hundred millions into the Satcaster and eventually control about half the company.

That’s good news for subscribers as well as current Sirius management. It seems current investors were planning to call for the ouster of all upper managers had they actually declared bankruptcy.

KFWB Angels

“All news” KFWB (980 AM) will begin carrying Angels baseball games this season, starting with the home opener on April 6th. Interestingly, published reports hint that broadcasts will continue on KLAA (830 AM) as well.


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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