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Airwaves: September 2, 2011

KOST cuts Simmons

By all accounts, Bryan Simmons had a darn good run at KOST (103.5 FM). After perfecting his craft in Sacramento, Simmons was selected as a member of the very first air staff when the decision was made to drop Beautiful Music in favor of soft rock in 1982. Other than a time in 2001 when he was let go as part of owner Clear Channel’s attempt to cut debt, Simmons has been with the station continually; in 2001 he moved to sister KBIG (104.3 FM) before moving back to KOST a few months later.

This time it is supposedly KOST going in a ”new direction,” with Simmons contract expiring as the station changes course. No explanation of what this alleged new direction is; Los Angeles cluster manager Greg Ashlock telling Don Barrett’s LARadio.Com that timing prevented discussion of the change.

Want my opinion? KOST is going in the direction of “cheap.” They’ve been running without a full-time midday position for a while, their air shifts are marathons -- five hours or more -- and I believe that management feels that they can get away without actual live and local personalities. Don’t be surprised if KOST turns into a soft-rock personality-less jukebox running on the cheap so that Clear Channel can try to get their massive debt problem under control.

Of course I may be wrong, but I doubt it. Regardless, Kari Steel moves over from KBIG to first co-host with Mark Wallengren on the morning show while Kristen Cruz is on maternity leave. Upon Cruz’ return, Steel will -- finally -- be the full-time mid day (11 AM to 3 PM) host. And what of Simmon’s afternoon drive slot? No word yet, but I bet it will be the modern version of automation called voice tracking where someone in another city records their voice on a computer to be played back locally.

Honoring Radio

Mark your calendars: Friday, September 16th is the day the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters will honor KFI’s (640 AM) Bill Handel, KOST’s Mark Wallengren, KRTH’s (101.1 FM) Charlie Tuna, KTWV’s (94/7 FM) Keri Tombazian and KABC’s (790 AM) Larry Elder, as well as Los Angeles radio legends Gary Owens, Wink Martindale and “Sweet Dick” Whittington at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City - 12833 Ventura Boulevard. The luncheon begins at 12 noon.

And if that weren’t enough, television’s Monty Hall will be honored as he is inducted into the Diamond Circle.

The Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters is a nonprofit organization whose membership is made up of people who have been in broadcasting or a qualified related industry for at least 20 years. Normally the luncheons are open only to members, but this time they are allowing the general public to take part, as long as they have a connection in some way with the radio industry (according to luncheon organizer Chuck Southcott, you qualify as a reader of this column). You have to move quickly, though, as orders are due by Wednesday, September 7th and tickets must be ordered by mail. If you are interested, check out or call Southcott at 818-368-4938.

Latin Rock

KCSN (88.5 FM) has added a new program to their lineup. Heard every Thursday from 9 to 10 PM, The Latin Alternative is a syndicated public radio program showcasing Latin rock, funk and electronic music. Now in its third year of syndication, the show made its KCSN debut on September 1st.


Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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