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Airwaves: January 30, 2009

Laughlin Leaves CBS

After just over five months, Roy Laughlin has left is position as Senior VP and co-manager of CBS Radio’s Los Angeles station group. What is not known is who made the ultimate decision, but my guess is that the decision was not his.

Laughlin is well-known as a longtime manager with competitor Clear Channel, though immediately preceding his CBS tenure he was with Magic Broadcasting. Much was made of his move to CBS in August, with CBS Radio President Dan Mason exclaiming to anyone who would listen the Laughlin “knows the radio business from the ground up.”

Immediately, Laughlin set out to prove he doesn’t. He fired the guy who saved KFWB (890 AM), Andy Ludlum, for example, and promoted the guy who destroyed both KFWB and sister station KNX (1070 AM), David Hall. Infomercials were brought in to fill KFWB’s weekends.

In an email sent to CBS Radio/Los Angeles employees, Mason said, “It is with regret that I inform you that Roy Laughlin will be stepping down from his position,” adding, “Roy has brought much to the table in the few short months he has been with us and many of his ideas and strategies will benefit us long into the future.”

Personally, I think something isn’t right. I don’t know what it is, but there has to be more to the story. Did Laughlin feel stifled, or was he a bad match for CBS? Did Hall’s leaving for KABC (790 AM) after Laughlin made so much of him at KNX and KFWB have anything to do with it? I think you will be hearing more about this as the shakeout continues.

KLOS not Wilde

Rita Wilde is out of the programming position she has held at KLOS (95.5 FM) for what seems like forever. In radio terms, it was: a full decade in programming, 25 years total with the station.

Like Laughlin, I don’t think Wilde was necessarily the catalyst for her departure. “I have absolutely no regrets about my devotion to the station,” she told Don Barrett’s “I leave with my head held high and with my dignity and integrity intact, and thankful for all the opportunities I have been offered. I have nothing but respect for my colleagues and the KLOS listeners who have consistently shown their devotion to this radio station.”

Again, this one doesn’t sit right. Without any knowledge at all, I believe the move may be a cost-cutter for the station, as owner Citadel continues to try to get its finances in order. Replacing Wilde is Bob Buchmann, who comes to Los Angeles from New York’s classic rock station, WAQX-FM, also known as Q104.3.

Interesting choice. Normally, East Coast transplants don’t fare well in Los Angeles, though there are some exceptions. The fallout from this change will be interesting to watch. I expect that KLOS will be a totally different station by the year’s end.

More Indie

Speaking of fallout, I neglected to mention one excellent source of Indie Rock in last week’s column: KCRW (98.3 FM). KCRW has actually been an indie outlet during parts of the day for a long time, including Morning Becomes Eclectic, weekdays 9 AM to noon. Check out the entire music lineup at


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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