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Airwaves: December 30, 2011

Saavedra Sticks a Fork in it

KFI (640 AM) Marketing Director Neil Saavedra spends most of his time, well, marketing the station. Working in the background but helping to make KFI what it is: the talk radio juggernaut that leaves competitors in the dust. His only on-air gig isn’t under his own name, although it is one of the most interesting and entertaining weekend programs heard anywhere. Saavedra is Jesus Christ on The Jesus Christ Show, heard Sunday mornings on the station from 6 to 9 AM.

Finally, after over 15 years behind the mike and in front of it playing (quite convincingly) Jesus, he will have a chance to be himself on his own show. Called The Fork Report, it debuts January 7th and will air every Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 PM.

Fork report? Absolutely. It’s a food show hosted by a self-proclaimed “food geek,” and will feature interviews with local chefs, reports on new products and kitchen gadgets, and reviews on local restaurants. All things edible, it seems, though I would have called it “To Serve Man” just because I am weird (recall The Twilight Zone ... “It’s a cookbook!”)

“People who love food will love this show,” said Saavedra in an email. “People who don’t love food, well, who cares what they think?”

If you’re a regular listener to the Bill Handel morning show, you’ll hear samples of the program’s content during the normal weekday morning broadcasts as well. Interestingly, that’s how The Jesus Christ Show began ... as a segment on Handel’s show. Somewhat ironic considering Handel is Jewish.

Schedule Set

KABC (790 AM) has set their schedule; outside of Doug McIntyre’s return to mornings, it offers few (or is it no?) surprises.

Starting January 3rd as already announced, Mcintyre and Terri-Rae Elmer take on mornings 5 to 9 AM. John Phillips, said to be “the youngest major-market talk show host in the country” by KABC programmer Jack Silver, 9 AM to 12 noon. The syndicated Sean Hannity comes on at noon, followed by Larry Elder from 3 to 6 PM, syndicated Mark Levin 6 to 9 PM, Peter Tilden 9 PM to 12 midnight, and McIntyre’s former show Red Eye Radio all night long, midnight to 5 AM.

Missing? Don Imus, who is currently heard 3 to 5 AM. Not added, as others had speculated, Geraldo Rivera. At least not yet. Rumor has the Phillips show for three hours each day only until January 27th ... beginning January 30th, it is supposedly to be cut to one hour, followed by two hours of a "mystery host." Some think his name will indeed begin with a "G."

Is this a better schedule than what is on now? Absolutely. I agree with most of your emails as well as with Silver that Elder in the afternoon is a better choice for the Sage from South Central, for example. Is it enough to reverse the ratings free fall KABC has experienced for the last decade? Hardly. I expect to speak with Silver this week and hopefully get to the bottom of why the station’s owners refuse to even try to take on talk leader KFI.

Year-End Festivities

One would think that this would be a column filled with information on special year-end programming. One would be wrong.

“We don’t do that any more,” said one programmer. Seems odd to hear until you remember your own habits. Do you spend much time actively listening to the radio on New Year’s Eve? “I’d rather do my specials when people are actually paying attention,” said the anonymous programmer. So outside of KFSH (95.9 FM) Lara Scott’s live broadcast from Irvine’s Orange County Great Park Saturday from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, there isn’t much happening on the local radio waves.

SiriusXM, on the other hand, will offer comedy concerts, live musical concerts, special performances, celebrity countdowns and live DJ sets on various channels -- including a special New Year’s Eve music channel, New Year’s Nation Channel 3 (launching at 12 noon Saturday).

For all the details, head over to


Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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