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Airwaves: June 11, 2010

Yes, KFI IS Good

“The same songs played over and over? My iPod can do that.”

That comes from a KFI (640 AM) promo liner that runs periodically before the beginning of the hourly newscasts on the “more stimulating” talk station.

While it’s just an advertising promo for the station, it is a factual statement that sums up why KFI does so well in the ratings -- you just can’t get what KFI does anywhere else, including weekends.

Case in point: Leo Laporte, who does a technology program airing Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM to 2 PM. Not just a computer show, Laporte covers everything in consumer electronics from high-definition televisions to cell phones. And he does it in a way that is both helpful to callers with questions and entertaining to listeners.

He never puts people down, and admits when he doesn’t know an answer ... in the rare cases he doesn’t know an answer, often going to his online chat board for more information to solve perplexing problems. He’s also a Macintosh fan, though he is an expert on all computer operating systems.

Another case in point: Jesus Christ. Heard Sundays from 6 to 9 AM, “Jesus,” in the form of Neil Saavadra, is a thoroughly entertaining host who looks at life through the eyes of someone who respects religion -- Christianity in particular but all religions in general -- and arguably does a better job teaching religion and morals than most programs on so-called religious stations.

My only problem with the Jesus Christ Show is that it conflicts with the classic 1970s recordings of American Top-40 on KOLA (99.9 FM).

So next time you find yourself bored with the same songs over and over -- ironically as heard on KFI’s sister stations in Los Angeles such as KIIS-FM (102.7), KBIG (103.5 FM) and KBIG (104.3 FM), check out some of the great weekend programming on KFI.

Advertising 101

Radio doesn’t advertise much any more.

Time was when stations would advertise in newspapers and on television to promote the station, let people know about new contests, or help launch a new format. I still remember the new top-40 K-WEST (now KPWR, 105.9 FM) announcing where people can find the great morning team of London and Engelman, and other commercials such as the KABC (790 AM) night custodian stepping up to the microphone and becoming the voices of every personality on the station.

KFI used to run their top-30 list of songs in local newspapers as well as running television ads, KHJ (930 AM), the original KRLA (now KDIS, 1110 AM) and the Mighty 690 (XTRA) placed their hit music lists in record stores across the county to attract and keep listeners.

Now it seems that stations use nothing but billboards and bus boards, which do little to grab new listeners and were originally designed simply to put a station’s call-letters in the minds of Arbitron diary holders.

This is an interesting situation because radio knows how advertising works ... stations sell the same type of ads to other companies that they no longer use themselves. makes you wonder if that’s why so many stations get lost in the crowd.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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