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Airwaves: April 15, 2011

Handel Back in the Saddle

(Note: after this was written but before it was published, Handel resumed his broadcasts from the studios of KFI).

KFI (640 AM) morning man Bill Handel is back on the air following heart surgery in mid March.

Handel took some time off for the surgery on March 17th to replace an aortic valve; during that time Bill Carroll filled in while the rest of the Handel crew maintained their posts. The surgery was described by his wife Marjorie as “textbook perfect.”

Less than two weeks after the surgery, Handel was back on the air on a part-time basis, broadcasting from a studio described on a KFI Facebook page as in “a secret, undisclosed, covert location.” My understanding is that the studio is in his house. Regardless, though he is still broadcasting from his kitchen, he’s back on for the full duration of his shift. An amazing feat, if you asked me.

Handel is one of Southern California’s most popular morning show, and has dominated the talk scene for years. Obviously much of it has to do with Handel himself, but the rest of the crew -- Gary Hoffman, Rich Marotta and Michelle Cube -- are an amazing team that are in perfect harmony with each other. Even when I try to avoid talk radio, I always end up going back. I guess it’s an addiction.


It sure was nice hearing Armstrong and Getty in place of John and Ken last Thursday and Friday afternoon. Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty normally broadcast to the San Francisco and Stockton area, but the filled in last week when John and Ken were off for two days.

Why nice? While I have long been a fan of John and Ken, their schtick is getting tiresome. Focussing on one issue -- bashing unions as the solution to what ails California and using misleading information regarding teachers and Los Angeles Unified in particular -- has burnt their show. They need to get back to reading the full newspaper for their pre-show research as they did in the past.

Retro Phone

Last week I spent some time discussing some of the different HD radios as one way to hear the oldies and standards that were once heard on KGIL (1260 AM). This week I want to mention another alternative: your smartphone or iPod touch.

Numerous apps are available for smartphones such as the iPhone and the iPod Touch, including one StreamS (reviewed here last month). Eventually station owner Mount Wilson Broadcasters will release its own app for the iphone, but right now StreamS works pretty darn well.

In fact, it may be the easiest way to pick up the station, and if you have a way to connect it to your car stereo -- and a data plan that won’t drain your bank account while you drive -- is in my opinion the best option. Not only does it sound great, you can play it anywhere - on your home stereo, in your car, through headphones, and as was done when much of the music was new, through the built-in speaker as if you were holding a transistor radio.

Near a computer? Go to and click the “listen now” box. A player will open and your favorite music will stream out of the speakers, sounding better than it ever did on KGIL itself.


Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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