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Airwaves: January 15, 2010

Packing Suits

Tonight is the last night for the Bryan Suits evening show on KFI (640 AM), marking the end of a two-year run. Replacing him is Tim Conway, Jr., who has been doing fill-in work on KFI since leaving KLSX (now Amp Radio, 97.1 FM) due to its format change to top-40.

Suits replaced John Zeigler in January of 2008 and quickly became a popular fixture on the station. Combining a deep knowledge of issues with a bit of sarcasm and satire, he was a good fit for KFI. A decorated veteran awarded a Purple Heart for combat wounds received in Iraq and Bosnia, Suits is leaving the popular talk station to return with his family to Seattle and an undisclosed “project.” He will continue his weekend program, The Dark Secret Place, heard Sundays at 2 PM.

Conway will most likely not bring the depth of understanding that we are used to with Suits -- he at times seems to proudly use ignorance as part of his schtick -- but he has proven himself to be a good host in his own right. Expect more comedy at night than serious issues, at least at first, though Conway certainly is capable of intelligent discussion when he so desires. I’ve liked him for a long time and find he seems better on KFI than he ever was on KLSX.

Less Talk

KFWB (980 AM), which dropped fulltime news in September for a newstalk format (emphasis on the talk), has moved back to news a bit.

The station has dropped the syndicated Rodger Hedgecock afternoon program and replaced it with Maggie McKay and Michael Shappee, who together will co-anchor an afternoon news block from 4 to 7 PM. And if you happened to miss Dr. Laura Schlessenger’s first hour of the day, that 12 noon to 1 PM hour will be repeated from 3 to 4 PM.

Kaye’s Wave

KRTH (101.1 FM) programmer Jhani Kaye has added the duties of programming sister station KTWV (The Wave 94.7 FM) to his repertoire. This of course has opened the floodgates of rumorville, primarily that The Wave will soon go head to head against Kaye’s former programming stomping grounds of KOST (103.5 FM).

Management, of course, denies it. Yet comments from Kaye to give some credence to the rumor, stating, “I am here to help KTWV continue to build on the Smooth AC heritage and evolve it further.”

Smooth AC means smooth adult contemporary. Not smooth jazz, as the station has called itself until recently. In fact, suddenly there is no mention of smooth jazz at all on the station’s website, All references to “jazz” were replaced with “adult contemporary” soon after Kaye accepted the programming post. Coincidence? I think not. KOST is known in the industry as “light AC.” In my opinion, The Wave’s days are numbered.

The timing is somewhat ironic, considering it was almost exactly 23 years ago -- Valentines Day, 1987 -- when management killed off the legendary KMET to launch what was then a hideous new-age lava-lamp format, complete with mini vignettes and no on-air personalities. The format eventually evolved into a solid jazzy contemporary format that was quite listenable ... and popular ... but Los Angeles is one of the few remaining cities with such a station, and rumors of its demise here have been floating for the past two years. This time its time may indeed be up.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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