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Airwaves: October 1st

Elder Back on KABC

The deal happened so fast listeners were caught off guard, but Larry Elder is back at KABC (790 AM) ... something I thought would never happen.

The Republican-Libertarian Elder has been gone from the KABC airwaves since December, 2008. At the time it appeared that the station was going to go in a different direction, yet no one quite knew what it was.

And for a while it did. In more than one direction, in fact. First it embraced bad syndicated fare, then they seemed poised to go in a lifestyle direction with the addition of Frosty, Heidi and Frank in the late morning slot. Many observers, myself included, thought it was only a matter of time before KABC was a modified version of KLSX (now KAMP, 97.1 FM), from where Frosty, Heidi and Frank came.

But it was not to be. A combination of troubles on the part of owner Citadel, which found itself bleeding money and thus unable to support the promotional budget necessary to make “KLSX AM” work (and the related mandate to keep the cheap syndicated fare on the air) was a stumbling block that could not be overcome.

As good as they were -- keeping in mind that the team was not my style yet were well liked by people whom I respect -- Frosty, Heidi and Frank were essentially square pegs trying to fit a round hole. Or was it round pegs fitting a square hole? Regardless, they just didn’t fit. And to make matters worse, they were essentially left dangling in the wind with little station support and even less in common with any of the other hosts heard on the station.

So it was just a matter of time before they were let go. I am sure they knew it, and to their credit, they kept the high road and acted as if nothing was wrong ... the perfect example of true professionals.

As to Elder, who spent 15 years on the afternoon shift before being let go, when the opportunity came up, he simply couldn’t pass it up. Essentially station management asked if he was interested, and in a matter of days he made the deal.

Fans are pleased.

He’s only been on the station 9 AM to 12 noon for about a week, and the emails have already started coming in. “I am so excited,” said one. “I can finally listen to KABC again,” said another. For KABC it may be just in time. Maybe.

Of course he has some horrible odds to go against. Namely, the hugely popular Rush Limbaugh on the far more powerful KFI (640 AM) during the exact same time slot. Countered KABC programmer Jack Silver, “Rush is syndicated, Larry is local.”

Makes you wonder what other surprises Silver has planned for the station ...

What’s Next

Frosty, Heidi and Frank aren’t just leaving KABC’s airwaves, they’re breaking up. Frosty Stillwell has decided that it is time to move on, leaving Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer as they move 2/3 of the former show to the web ... details as they become available. Heidi and Frank will remain tied to KABC for now in a sales and marketing partnership for their new online endeavor, so fans can still get their fix online with the hope that they will someday return to the airwaves.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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