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Airwaves: November 13

Devine Intervention

My car stereo is possessed.

For some reason, at seemingly random times it will change radio stations while I am parked. Actually it changes bands, but it tends to change from whatever I am listening to on AM (usually KFI) to some random station on my FM presets (usually Go Country 105). It’s happened enough times when I get back in my truck after surfing, that I just assumed it was telling me that I’ve already heard enough of Bill Handel and that it’s time for me to get on with my life.

More recently it did something that surprised even me: on a Sunday morning when I stopped for coffee, it changed from American Top-40 on KOLA (99.9 FM) to the Jesus Christ Show on KFI. That’s the first time it has EVER changed from FM to AM. And it did it twice on the same morning.

Devine intervention, or just the German engineers at Blaupunkt playing tricks on me?

Citadel Troubles

Citadel, owner of KABC (790 AM) and KLOS (95.5 FM) disclosed in its recent quarterly filing with the SEC that it is talking with its creditors about the possibility of declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company saw net revenue fall lost 10 percent in the third quarter and says it may not be able to meet its credit obligations in January. This doesn’t mean the days of the company are numbered, but it may mean some stations will be sold in the coming months ... IF they can get enough cash for them.

It’s a tough time for radio -- and all media, for that matter. With a down economy companies are reluctant to spend advertising dollars, and those that do are trying to get better rates. In the case of radio, though, many companies over spent on properties as they bought their way up the ladder of consolidation, and they are finding themselves in a pickle.

Citadel has over $2 billion in debt; As of Monday, the company’s stock was trading for as low as five cents per share due to the bankruptcy fears, a decrease of 60 percent from an already low value seen last week.

KABC Followup

I said last week I am not a betting man. I should be: KABC’s new afternoon financial “show” hosted by Moe Ansari turns out to be an informercial just as Don Barrett of said it was. According to Barrett:

“So what happened Monday? Following the 6 PM newscast yesterday afternoon, KABC aired the following intro to the new financial show: ‘The following program is a paid commercial announcement. The sponsor is responsible for its content, which KABC does not necessarily endorse or support.’”

Van Hook Passes

Longtime sports reporter Rod Van Hook, heard for over three decades on such stations as KFWB (980 AM), KSPN (710 AM) and the original KMPC (also 710 AM) passed away Saturday from complications related to pancreatic cancer. He was 61.

A graduate of Santa Monica High School, Van Hook earned a B.S. degree in English and U. S. History from UCLA. He was considered a true gentleman and a first-rate announcer ... a real pro. Services are pending.


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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