Airwaves: February 27, 2009
KLSX Gets Back to the Music
At the risk of offending people, I am not not going to jump on the KLSX (97.1 FM) FM Talk love-fest bandwagon that has been traveling throughout the media industry since the station abandoned their format in favor of top-40 music last Friday at 5 PM.
From stories in the Los Angeles Times and radio industry newspapers and blogs to readers of Don Barretts laradio.com, suddenly, it seems everyone is, or was, a fan of the talk format on KLSX.
Yet the reality is that KLSX was operating on borrowed time for years, arguably since it went all talk back in August of 1995. Back then the vast majority of the ratings, the press and the revenue came from one man -- Howard Stern. Outside of his shift no one really cared, and the running joke was that KLSX should just just run repeats of Stern all day. At least in the beginning.
With one of the strongest signals in town, KLSX hovered around a 2 share overall in the Arbitron Ratings for most of its talk tenure, making it the third-rated talk station in town behind KFI (640 AM) and KABC (790 AM). In certain demographics, men 25-54 particularly, the station did quite well. But that was about it. It was never the trendsetter that management wanted us to think. In most peoples minds, KLSX went away when Stern left for satellite radio in January, 2006.
Sterns leaving ironically made the station a bit better because the focus was off of him and on the other hosts, who had to step up to the plate. Many say that Adam Carolla did an excellent job developing an entertaining morning show; Heidi, Frosty and Frank were required reading for my former neighbor, Jill; and Tim Conway, Jr. was at times brilliantly funny. Or so Im told; I rarely found anything worth my time on the station.
But whether it appealed to you or not, it was too little, too late. When Stern left, KLSX lost its star status and people generally just didnt pay that much attention. I can count on one hand the number of letters and e-mails I received regarding KLSX over the past few years, and Id have some fingers left over.
Essentially, KLSX was on life-support. When Bob Moore, the KLSX and CBS manager who launched and loved the format left the company just two weeks ago, the support was pulled. Moore was the only reason CBS still had an FM talk station at all, having pulled them off the air everywhere but Los Angeles. Without him, it was only a matter of time before it was canned.
Of course Moore is now in charge of KLOS (95.5 FM) and KABC (790 AM), and he still loves the format ... want to make some bets?
Replacing talk on KLSX is top-40 based Amp Radio, the first station in years to go directly after top-rated KIIS-FM (102.7). No personalities yet, but they are promised. Right now the station is playing 10,000 songs in a row, which works out to about a month continuous if you figure an average of about 4 minutes per song. Amp Radio had been on KCBS-FMs (93.1) HD-2 digital stream since February 22, 2008 -- almost exactly a year before it arrived on KLSX.
The whole point of last weeks mention of stations changing on or near Valentines Day was to hype a web site dedicated to Pirate Radio KQLZ (now The Sound, 100.3 FM), which fired Scott Shannon and morphed into a dull AOR format after his last show on February 13, 1991. But I forgot to mention any of it. So this week I send you to www.kqlz.com. History, photos, airchecks, you name it; its all part of the Pirate Radio tribute site.
I just wish I could find a recording of Shannon trashing me on the air due to comments written in this column, and when I called in to the show in response. It was great fun, but station management was afraid to send me a copy of the shows ...
Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.
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