Back to Wag-Net Main Page

Airwaves: March 4, 2011

Red-Eye Anniversary

While Doug McIntyre had many fans when he was waking up Los Angeles as the morning host on KABC (790 AM), I always thought he was at his best at night, or more accurately, overnight, as he was when he hosted the overnight Red Eye Radio Show for the same station until October , 2004.

It seems that many people agree. After McIntyre left KABC’s morning show in 2009 due to what many observers insist was cost-cutting by station owner Citadel, he re-launched Red-Eye Radio, this time as a syndicated program heard nationwide. And as the show celebrates its first birthday (officially February 8th) it received a nice birthday present: the announcement that the program is the top-rated program in its time slot both in New York and Los Angeles.

Here it is found on -- somewhat interestingly -- KABC, syndicated in part by Citadel, Sundays through Thursdays from 10 PM to 3 AM, Friday/Saturdays from 10 PM to 1 AM and Saturday/Sundays from midnight to 2 AM.

Unlike Coast to Coast AM, which airs on KFI (640 AM) at roughly the same time and focusses on conspiracies and extra-terrestrials (and is entertaining in its own right), Red Eye is more open issues with McIntyre’s wonderful sense of humor lighting the way. I liken it to the old Talk-Net programs hosted by such people as Bruce Williams ... a companion to help you stay awake through long nights.

More Consolidation?

Speaking of Citadel, it seems that the company, which just recently emerged from bankruptcy protection, is in talks to be acquired by Cumulus Media. The combined company would own 570 stations in 120 markets across the United States.

Which is just what we need: another huge radio company sucking the life out of the industry. Great, just great. And I say that even with the assumption that Cumulus cannot possibly run stations worse than Citadel. The problem is, we don’t need more consolidation. We need more spin-offs. Corporate Radio (Clear Channel, CBS, Citadel, Cumulus) is one of the reasons radio is suffering. Or THE reason, in my opinion.

Waving to KMET

A letter from reader David Boothby asking if it would be possible for a station in Los Angeles to buy the KMET call-letters from a small AM station in Banning, California and re-launch the real KMET brought out some memories, good and bad.
To answer the question directly, yes, it would be possible. No, it probably won’t happen. Today’s corporate radio world is too structured and predictable for a station like KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) to be given a chance to grow. Heck, even the original KMET wasn’t given that support in its waning days.

But the memories: it was Valentine’s Day, 1987 when the Mighty Met became the Lava Lamp, or what was the hideous launch of The Wave, complete with little vignettes of people talking about the new station on air ... like a bad reality show for radio. The programming eventually got better, but to me it seems a bit sad when The Wave has now been on the air longer than was KMET itself.

Radio Reaction

Quite a few people have written in commenting about KKGO’s (105.1 FM) 52nd birthday. I think Angel Hernandez of West Covina summed up my own feelings perfectly, when after commenting on the celebration wrote, “Listening to the radio was the iPods of my generation, except that I never felt alone or isolated. We felt intimately connected through the airwaves.”

THAT, in two sentences, is why I love radio. There is a connection to the personality that can never be duplicated in any other medium. Even those stations in the past that were “bigger than life” had personalities that you invited into your home, your bedroom ... your life ... on a daily basis. Your best friends that you never met. You just can’t find that connection anywhere else.


Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

To subscribe to The Daily Breeze, call (310) 540-5511