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Airwaves: July 29, 2011

Sound Moves

Two big announcements involving The Sound (KSWD, 100.3 FM). First is the addition of Sheri Donovan to the morning show. Donovan has been working weekends and fill-ins at The Sound since 2009, and is having a blast working with her new co-host Larry Morgan. Morgan seems to like the pairing as well, telling the trades, “(Donovan is) smart, and she takes music seriously.”

Sound afternoon drive personality Julie Slater is expanding her duties ... at KCSN (88.5 FM). Slater is hosting a new Saturday night (9 to 11 PM) program called “Out on a Limb” that will feature artists new and old that haven’t gotten their fair share of airtime elsewhere. KCSN programmer Sky Daniels said that Sound programmer Dave Beasing is a “class act” for letting the Cal State Northridge station “borrow” Slater for the gig. I agree totally.

Operation: Help

Veteran Los Angeles radio programmer Chuck Southcott is joining forces with former KFI personality Larry Vanderveen, and KABC (790 AM) talk host Larry Elder to raise money for Operation Homefront Southern California.

Vanderveen and Southcott are the names behind The Broadcast Cause Council, and they approached Elder recently about hosting an on-air radio mini-thon. Elder didn’t need much convincing, nor did KABC management, which allowed the Council to take over the entire Elder show (9 AM to 12 noon) on Thursday, August 12th.

Operation Homefront Southern California provides emergency financial and other support to families of enlisted military personnel, according to the Southcott. Often these enlisted men and women are among the lowest paid people in the military, and their families can face financial hardship. The organization also honors and supports wounded warriors of any rank.

Net proceeds raised by the Council go directly to Operation Homefront. For more information, go to

Digital Update

Radio Shack has every one of their house brand HD Radio units on clearance, if they are still in stock. This includes both iPod Touch/iPhone dongles and the Auvio tuner (which, if you can still find one at the clearance price of $30 is a steal).

This means that Radio Shack is essentially out of the HD Radio business. A shame, since the Shack was one of the early supporters. It doesn’t mean that the technology is dead, but it certainly isn’t flourishing. You can still buy car stereos with HD Radio at various retail stores and on such online stores as Crutchfield.Com. Best Buy still carries a few portable products in their stores and online as well.

What went wrong? Two words: marketing and content. HD Radio -- a system of sending digital audio via traditional airwaves that promises improved fidelity and more listening choices -- still rarely offers much in the way of content. Locally, Saul Levine offers things you can’t hear elsewhere -- classical and adult standards -- via HD Radio secondary channels tied to Go Country 105. But he is the exception. All too often the secondary channels are essentially the same as the main channel ... where is the content that listeners will search out, as when FM was in its infancy?

And the marketing was even worse than the content. You can tell the commercials for HD Radio were done by people who don’t know the magic of radio. Can you remember even one? They have been running for over five years.

Beautiful Podcast

Remember “Beautiful Music,” the string versions of popular songs once heard in department stores, elevators and locally on the old KPOL, as well as KBIG (104.3 FM) and KOST (103.5 FM) before the latter two changed to soft rock in the 1980s?

It’s back. Reader Don Ward, who in the past helped program the music heard on various stations in town, convinced one of his friends, Richard Swafford, to put three decades of Beautiful Music and Easy Listening records on the internet. Most of the recordings are from the programming that was once heard on KJOI (now KYSR, 98.7 FM). Multiple streams are available ... go to and let me know what you think.


Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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