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Airwaves: June 18, 2010

I Heart Radio

As the Everclear song says, “You could hear the music on the AM radio.”

The lyrics are in reference to the days when AM was the popular band to hear music; more specifically, it harkens back to the days when you could carry a portable AM transistor radio with you ... speaker often held up to your ear ... and listen to your favorite music.

Technology coming full circle, with a free, easy download called I Heart Radio, you can turn your iPod Touch or iPhone into a transistor radio. It also works on your home computer or iPad.

This is really a neat application. It is distributed by Clear Channel and therefore receives only Clear Channel radio stations. But you can hear all the local CC stations -- KLAC, KFI, KTLK, KOST, KBIG, KIIS-FM, Hot 92.3, and 98.7 FM in Los Angeles; KGGI and The Toad in Riverside -- or search by city to find any Clear Channel-owned station anywhere in the United States.

You’ll also find the stations heard on the digital HD streams that normally require an HD radio.

Sound quality is excellent. You can’t tell when you use it portably ... the built-in speaker is about as good (or maybe worse) than the real transistor radios of the past. Listen through headphones or connect it to a decent amplified speaker system or home stereo, and you’ve got some seriously good sound.

Each city has a traffic report channel so you can plan your trips ahead of time.

Since I don’t own an iPhone -- yet -- I have no clue how much data you would use if you listened to the “radio” this way in your car using the cell network, but I could see this and similar apps being a serious threat to satellite radio and perhaps HD radio itself as more people start using so-called smart phones. It took me just a minute to get going with my iPod Touch at home, and as I said, the sound quality was great.

Get more information at

No One’s Home

While testing the I Heart Radio application I had a chance to hear a weather report on KOST ... which consisted of a weather jingle, a music bed and and KOST jingle -- nice new, upbeat jingle package, by the way ... I like it a lot. What was missing was the actual weather report.

While Clear Channel obviously spent a lot of time and money on the radio app, they need to spend more on the stations themselves, such as on-air talent at night instead of acting as a huge music player. A live DJ in the studio would have been able to give a report; since no one is in the KOST studios at night, I’m not sure who was supposed to do it. Maybe they should hire me. I work cheap.

Letter Bag

“Do you know of a source for copies of the Lohman and Barkley radio program? My friends and I really enjoyed listening to them years ago, and it would be fun to rekindle some fond memories by hearing excerpts of their broadcasts,” -- Terry, via email

The popular KFWB and KFI duo, known for their legendary Light of My Life soap opera spoof among their other antics, can be found in a few places. One source is (small donation required), which has five segments from KFI and three from KFWB. California Aircheck ( sells tapes and CDs with the team; while most of the recordings are mixed with other personalities, if you ask nicely I bet owner George Junak will assemble a special edition for you with only Lohman and Barkley. A Google search turned up some other sources as well.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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