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Airwaves: September 10, 2010

The Return of KRLA

Remember the original KRLA (now KDIS, 1110 AM)? The popular top-40 station in the 1960s that evolved through album rock and an oldies/pop hybrid to eventually become one of the the great local oldies stations before being brought down by bad management?

Well, it’s back. Sort of. On television.

Here’s what happened. A reader sent me an email asking about his digital television reception problems. As part of my investigation, I scanned all the channels on my digital television set. Suddenly I find a station on Channel 8 that I wasn’t expecting.

I was expecting Channel 8 from San Diego, since that’s what I used to find in that spot: the San Diego CBS affiliate, at least when the weather was good. What I got was a variety if programming available on the various sub-channels. What really caught my attention was an audio-only oldies channel on 8.5 that my television told me was KRLA.

KRLA? I did a double take. Yes, KRLA. Not the same KRLA we all know and love, the one with Johnny Hayes, The Real Don Steele, Mike Wagner, Huggy Boy, Art Laboe and other legends who graced the 1110 airwaves. And being named “Kings Rock Los Angeles” rather than “K-Radio Los Angeles” separates it even more, I suppose.

But the music mix revives the spirit of the Big 11-10 and will be a hit with many who have been searching for a musical format that centers on the 1950s. Yes, 1950s, with a few ‘40s and a lot of ‘60s mixed in as well. Musically, I suppose you could say, it’s what KRLA may just have evolved into had previous owners believed in the format. The station’s published playlist includes over 1000 songs.

No personalities, though. And terrible -- make that horrendous -- audio processing sometimes, though usually it sounds fine. If the owners of this KRLA give this time and let it build, it could grow into a great thing.

The station is a sub channel of low-power digital station KFLA, which broadcasts with an effective power of about 300 watts from Mount Wilson. This means it is hard to get in some areas, and the signal may come and go throughout the day if you receive a weak signal. Try it, though, and if you do get it, I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Losing Benny ... Again

Growing up, my favorite comedian was Jack Benny. More recently, I had the pleasure and privilege of seeing Mr. Benny in person. No, not the real Benny, but an amazingly accurate impression done by actor Eddie Carroll.

I recently found out that Carroll passed away earlier this year at the age of 76.

Carroll had been doing a one-man show -- a tribute -- to Benny for 15 years, and it was nothing short of amazing. His impression was so spot-on that even Rochester would have been fooled. The show chronicled the life of Benny, from vaudeville through radio and into television. Carroll also performed recreations of Benny’s radio shows at SPERDVAC conventions, the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy.

Reader Request

Loraine Engquist of Sun City Center, Florida was visiting her daughter in Los Angeles recently and sent this message: “Can you help me track down something from the old Dick Whittinghill show? He used to play a series of recordings about the signs of the Zodiac. Each one was about a different sign, and they were hilarious. Are there any recordings or scripts available?”

I have searched the internet to no avail, and no one I have asked seems to know. So I’m putting this out in the column ... if anyone can help Loraine, please send me an email or call the newspaper and let me know.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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