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Airwaves: November 27, 2009

Holiday Excess

The sounds of the holidays are upon us already ... and have been for over a week now. KOLA (99.9 FM) won the contest this year, making the changeover the morning of November 19th. KOST (103.5 FM) followed that evening in the middle of “Love Songs on the KOST.”

Technically, I suppose, Sirius and XM satellite radio services got the jump on everyone this year, as they switched over some of their channels as early as the 16th, though three more will go online on December 19th. The channels range -- or will range -- from traditional music from the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s to contemporary favorites, classical carols, country and Radio Hanukkah. Check or for details.

One would think that Christmas or holiday music this early in the season would be a ratings disaster. One would be wrong. Year in and year out, stations making the move -- especially KOST -- see a substantial increase in their ratings. That’s why they do it every year, even if it leaves many listeners scrambling for alternatives when their favorite station temporarily drops their favorite music.

Personally I prefer regular formats spiced with the sounds of the season ... but then I used to get in trouble for delaying the Christmas sales as long as possible when I worked at Sears Surplus Store. Call me a traditionalist, but I tend to think of the Christmas season as being somewhat close to Christmas.

Seymour Retiring

You’ve probably already heard, but just in case, the big news this week is the announced retirement of KCRW’s (89.9 FM) general manager Ruth Seymour.

Her name synonymous with the station she ran, Seymour was at the helm of the popular public radio station for 32 years, and you can be sure, it is her station. As many reports state, she ran it her way. And she built it into the most popular public station in town, at least until relatively recently.

No major changes are expected when a replacement is named, at least for the short term. What happens in the future is up to Seymour’s replacement. I would expect, though, that her replacement will be chosen based on a similar management style as well as a similar outlook on what makes for good public radio. A search for a replacement has begun and is expected to take quite some time.


Reader Jeff Case wrote in this week asking, “Are there any plans for a local station to pick up the Little Steven’s Underground Garage program that used to air on Sunday nights?”

Not as far as I can tell. All is not lost, however, as the show is carried on various stations throughout the United States that stream on the internet; one such station is Mammoth Lakes’ KRHV, available online through sister station KMMT’s website at

Sirius Satellite has an entire channel dedicated to Little Steven, called Underground Garage you can hear it on Channel 25 or via the internet (subscription required).

Mouse Winners

Radio Disney, the live syndicated top-40 radio format for kids heard locally on KDIS (1110 AM) just concluded a contest that helped connect kids to their favorite artists.

Winning an Ultimate Rock Star Flyaway experience was sixth-grade student Brianna Rush from lancaster, PA, who brought along her family and a few friends to Disneyland in Anaheim, where they all got to meet huge Radio Disney stars Selena Gomez and The Scene.

Attending the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles was 11-year old Mara Crawford from Maple Falls, WA. She also had a chance to meet Selena Gomez before the awards show began.

In a weird way, Radio Disney is the last of the traditional pop top-40 stations around, and the personalities, though broadcasting nationwide, do a great job appealing to both kids and adults alike. And KDIS broadcasts in digital HD Radio, so the sound is actually pretty decent.


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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