Airwaves: January 28, 2011
Jills Mid-life Crisis?
Ive been noticing changes at Jill-FM (92.7 FM), generally for the better -- a more interesting, slightly more daring playlist that makes the station actually listenable.
At the same time they seem to be downplaying its insipid name, giving hope that the station may actually pick up real calls again, or at least a better name ... Jill has been a joke ever since they jumped on the Jack bandwagon almost six years ago after KCBS-FM (93.1) became Jack-FM. Jack and Jill ... get it?
Anyway, the music mix is quite good, though it is almost 100 percent oldies. The new slogan is Southern Californias Widest Variety of Music and the name, with few exceptions, is just 92.7 FM.
Can we expect anything else? It would be nice to have a real local station again complete with local personalities on the frequency. Radio is supposed to be a personal medium, not an iPod. Alas, I doubt that will happen.
Satellites Going Up
Not what subscribers want to hear, but Sirius/XM Satellite Radio is asking for permission to be able to raise rates this Summer, though it has not committed to doing so.
There has been a freeze on rates since the former competitors merged almost three years ago, and the combined company wants the freeze to expire, which it would do automatically July 28th is the FCC does nothing to extend it.
I see some problems if Sirius/XM did indeed try to raise rates. For one, they never brought out the multi-system radios that they promised as part of their original agreement to launch their services, so you still either have Sirius or XM, not both, on any satellite receiver you buy. Tuners capable of receiving both systems were supposed be available by the second generation ... or about nine years ago.
Why is this important? Besides the fact that they broke their original agreement, since the merger they still have not merged billing systems. So while I have a lifetime subscription to Sirius and could obtain a secondary subscription at a discount under their current subscription program, I cant do that since my wifes Enclave has XM. And XM is different, even though the programming is -- with very few exceptions -- the same.
I also question whether a price increase would work, considering that most people I know are already looking into less expensive entertainment choices -- including my wife. That means that a price increase may just drive people away and into more iPods or -- gasp -- traditional radio -- now that we have some decent stations again.
Months ago KFIs (640 AM) programming department replied to my complaint about evening host Tim Conway by assuring me that Conway "works hard to prepare for his show."
If Conway was sitting on the next stool I would leave the bar after enduring his sophomoric observations about current events, inappropriate hyperbole when criticizing Los Angeles, and ignorant attacks on civil rights leader Jesse Jackson's African-American dialect.
Conway's lack of talent required him to change his name to "Tim Conway Jr." so he could ride on the coattails of the understated humor his father so well crafted. Brian Suits, who held the M-F 7-10 p.m. slot prior to Conway, offered keen observations about military and foreign affairs.
It used to be talk-show hosts needed some credentials with which to lay claim to an expertise. Conway's is that he stole his dad's name to ruin his father's legacy. Can you use your clout to get this hateful bum off the air? -- Mark J. Blocker, Long Beach
I searched for Tim Conway, Jr. and name change on the internet and found that it was his father, Tim, who changed his own name from Tom to Tim in order to avoid confusion with another already-established actor/comedian named Tom Conway. You also give me way too much credit ... if I had any real clout, Id be playing hits right now on top-40 93/KHJ.
But I digress. Certainly Conway -- and many other talk hosts -- can drive me crazy with their lack of research on many topics, but the fact is -- Conway is popular, and he is often funny and entertaining. Probably the best thing for you to do it just change the station. Or turn off the radio and do what I do ... listen to top-40 hits on 93/KHJ and others via the wonderful time machine at reelradio.com. (My wife is right ... I do spend too much time living in the past).
Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.
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