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Airwaves: January 2, 2009

Family First

Michael Martin, VP of programming for Clear Channel in Los Angeles and PD of KYSR (98.7 FM) has decided not to return to his job in 2009.

“Yes, I have resigned,” he wrote in a post on “I made the decision to resign when I realized that, in the past year, I saw my son a little over 80 days out of 365.” Martin’s family remained in the Bay Area of California while he worked in Los Angeles. “It’s a great team in Los Angeles, and I’ll miss them dearly, but I miss my son more.”

Expect an announcement soon on his next gig. My guess is that, while he is leaving Clear Channel Los Angeles, Clear Channel itself won’t let him get away completely.

Music on AM

Speaking of the Bay Area, CBS is trying music on AM again in San Francisco as KYCY (1550 AM) adopts the legendary KFRC call letters and takes on an oldies format programmed by Scott Shannon, who once programmed Pirate Radio here in Los Angeles. The change took place yesterday (January 1st).

Which begs the question: does CBS have any such plans for their AM properties here? I doubt it, but you never know. Two news stations (KNX 1070 AM and KFWB 980 AM) have been proven hard to support.


I haven’t made predictions for the new year in quite some time. And I won’t really do so this year either, except to say it will probably be a roller-coaster ride for some stations.

Vulnerable formats include KLSX (97.1 FM), KNX, KFWB, KMVN (93.9 FM) and perhaps even KTWV (94.7 FM) among a handful of others. With new PD David G. Hall, even venerable KABC (790 AM) will shift at least slightly. So what do I expect?

I expect that KLSX won’t last the year. CBS may be dumb enough to try news on FM, but it won’t work. Either KNX or KFWB will switch to talk, or more accurately news/talk a la KGO/San Francisco.

Movin' 93.9, on the other hand, is up in the air. Right now it can’t decide what it wants to be: dance, oldies, whatever. Yet that makes it a somewhat interesting format in an odd way. Perhaps if they added some current hits, added some real talent to their DJ lineup and did some real promotions, they could earn some respect. I’d call it a recreation of the 1980s version of KIIS-FM ... the dominant station of that decade ... led again by the talented Rick Dees. I’d listen to that. Maybe I should apply to become PD.

Letter Bag

“First of all, thank you for another year's worth of your radio column in the newspaper.

“Secondly, thank you for your review of Sony's HD Radio tuner. I asked Santa for one and he listened. I wanted to get HD radio for the KRTH HD-2 '50s - '60s broadcast. Sounds great to hear songs that the main KRTH forgot years ago. Since you have your ear on the pulse of the LA radio scene, any chance of any other station jumping on the HD radio bandwagon with 50's doo-wop (KOLA maybe??)?” -- Mike Reynolds, Redondo Beach.

I’m surprised that KOLA has not done this yet, to be honest. I think it is a no-brainer for KOLA, whose Inland Empire flame-thrower signal is as strong as many locals in much of Los Angeles County. I’ll send out feelers and see what happens ... Maybe this letter will help spark the thought-process.


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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