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Airwaves: October 9, 2009

From FM to AM

KABC (790 AM) is shaking up the local airwaves once again. Just a short time after replacing popular morning man Doug McIntyre with the also-popular-but-for-a-very-different-reason Peter Tilden, the former KLSX (now KAMP, 97.1 FM) team of Heidi, Frosty and Frank made their KABC debut at 9 AM last Monday.

Make no mistake about it: This isn’t your father’s KABC. And it will be less and less so as time goes on. Programmer David G. Hall and manager Bob Moore promise that they have much more up their sleeves. Yet they have no plans to recreate KLSX’s talk format, they told Don Barrett’s Instead they plan to “create a vibrant, entertaining and compelling local talk station,” they said. “We are here to win and have a great time doing it.”

There was a key word in their statement: local. It’s been a long time since KABC focussed on local hosts. In fact, after Citadel bought the station from Disney a few years ago, management slowly removed most local talent from the roster, the one holdout being McIntyre. KABC had become a shell of its former self -- especially when compared with their pre-Disney glory days under the management of George Green.

Essentially, KABC had become irrelevant. So much so that I partially expected them to drop the talk format completely.

So while success is not guaranteed, KABC really has nothing to lose and a lot to gain. Heidi Hamilton, Frosty Stilwell and Frank Kramer were arguably the best of the former KLSX air staff, and the addition to KABC will attract an audience that has had nowhere to turn in a long time. An audience that may not have tuned to an AM station in a long time, if ever.

I am very curious what will come next.

Long Ride

KFI (640 AM) newswoman Terri-Rae Elmer says she rode her bicycle 170 miles in an effort to raise money to fight Multiple Sclerosis as part of the National MS Society’s Big Bike Ride held last weekend. Between regular donations and a donor who agreed to match donations dollar for dollar, Elmer helped raise more than $30,000 to fight the disease.

Elmer is an integral part of the John and Ken Show, LA’s most popular afternoon talk program. The program helped promote the event and Elmer’s participation; Elmer has ridden in the annual event for a number of years.

Speaking of John and Ken

John Kobylt said I got it all wrong a few weeks ago when I chastised KFI for expanding the hours of John and Ken, as well as Bill Handel, when Dr. Laura Schlessenger left KFI for KFWB (980 AM).

My thinking was that KFI was taking the cheap way out by piling the hours on to existing hosts. “Wrong, said Kobylt. It was our idea,” adding that doing the show is so much fun that he loves being on the extra hour (2 to 7 PM instead of 3 to 7). After listening over the past two weeks, I’ve got to admit he has a point. The show is as fresh and entertaining as ever, even during the last hour.

And I certainly can’t argue with that!


Copyright © 2009 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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