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Airwaves: December 10

The Coffee’s Gone

I should have waited a couple weeks.

Just two weeks ago I mentioned that Jay Coffee was the new morning many at Go Country 105, Coffey is o-u-t. And he says he has no idea why, telling Don Barrett of LARadio.Com “what happened is just unexplainable, certainly in my career.”

It’s not like Coffee was an unknown entity. While exact dates seem to elude his resume, he started his first gig in Los Angeles back in 1977 at K-100, later to be known by its call-letters, KIQQ (now KSWD, 100.3 FM), when it was consulted by the legendary Bill Drake. Coffey outlasted Drake and stayed on in afternoon drive for eight years. After that it was off to KHJ (930 AM) for a few months, followed by a transfer to sister KRTH (101.1 FM) for 20 years.

As I said, not an unknown entity.

I suppose what was unknown is how he would relate to the Go Country audience, or more precisely how the audience would take to him. Certainly he has no history in the format ... but neither do many others on Go Country, and they do quite well. Yet his tenure on the station lasted a record -- for shortness -- five weeks.

The whole thing makes me question the consultants to the station. You know consultants ... as the legendary Robert W. Morgan once told me, consultants are like people who can tell you 99 different ways to make love, but have never actually been with a woman.

In this case, for someone to be chosen to be morning man on a major Los Angeles full-city signal and then released within five weeks is just ... strange. There must be more to this than meets the eye.

Seacrest - In

Ryan Seacrest, who was rumored to be leaving radio when his current contract ran out, signed a new agreement recently keeping him on as host of the top-rated KIIS-FM (102.7) morning show, a syndicated afternoon show, and American Top-40. The deal also gives him some new opportunities including the possibility of a music publishing company as a joint venture with Clear Channel Communications, as well as other on- and off-air ventures.

The deal is reportedly worth $60 million over three years.

What’s interesting about the deal is how little Clear Channel really gets out of it. Sure, they have a star who promotes himself well both on radio and television. But the problem with Clear Channel stations is that they all sound so canned, due to their reliance on syndicated fare, voicetracking -- where talent in one market might be found pretending to be local in numerous markets through prerecorded transcriptions -- and the like.

Clear Channel is the definition of bad programming, in fact, due to this over reliance on being non-local. Nothing against Seacrest, but I think the company would have been better off spending $50 million of that reported contract developing and nurturing local talent at all their stations so that local radio could be, well, local again.

If all they have to offer is Seacrest and voicetracking, I might as well stick with Sirius/XM and my iPods.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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