Back to Wag-Net Main Page

Airwaves: January 27, 2012

Geraldo Rivera Coming After All

That sound you hear is not just the wind. It is the collective sigh of relief from competitors of KABC (790 AM) due to the former talk leader’s decision to add Geraldo Rivera to the lineup. KABC obviously has no intention of fully competing in the talk arena.

Too bad, too, since the man who turned out to be the late morning interim host, John Phillips, had the potential to actually make some noise, so to speak. He’s calm, articulate and a decent alternative to KFI’s (640 AM) Rush Limbaugh. Perhaps one of the few who showed a potential for ratings growth.

Phillips will stay on for the 9-10 AM hour, making for a more fractured lineup overall on KABC and filling in time between Doug McIntyre and Rivera. Rivera will be heard 10 AM to 12 noon.

Rivera’s program will originate from the New York studios of KABC sister station WABC. Nothing quite live being live and local from New York. For now it is a separate program from what he is doing for the local WABC audience, but my guess is that eventually the program will be a full syndication deal. KABC owner Cumulus Media loves syndicated shows because they have the best elements of modern radio all wrapped up in one package: they are cheap, they cost less than local personalities, and they are inexpensive. Did I mention that they are also cheap?

Award-Winning Radio

The Radio and Television News Association of Southern California (RTNA) announced the 2011 Golden Mike Awards last week at their 62nd annual awards dinner held in Universal City last week. Eight radio stations -- some you may not have ever heard of -- won awards.

KCDZ/Twentynine Palms (107.7 FM) and KVTA/Ventura (1520 AM) each claimed one Golden Mike; KABC and KFI, two each; KFWB (980 AM), three; KNX (1070 AM) and KCLU/Ventura-Santa Barbara (1340 AM, 88.3 and 102.3 FM), six each; and the big winner, KPCC (89.3 FM) won nine.

Best News Broadcast over 15 Minutes went to KNX, while KFI (Division A) and KVTA (Division B) claimed Best News Broadcast Under 15 Minutes.


Reader and former broadcaster Jim Hilliker is an amazing source of information on the history of Southern California radio broadcasting. I have been trying to convince him to put together a book which he says is planned for ... sometime. I know the feeling.

This week he sent me a list of significant anniversaries for local radio, including stations celebrating 90 year birthdays (or more) in 2012. Included among them:

KHJ (930 AM) began broadcasting on April 13, 1922 and has had only three different sets of call letters: KHJ, KRTH-AM, KKHJ and a return to KHJ in 2000. The station once used the slogan “Kindness, Happiness and Joy” representing their calls, but that was just marketing ... the FCC assigned call letters randomly at the time they went on the air.

KFI went on the air three days later, April 16, 1922. Only one set of call letters since that inaugural broadcast, though (like most other AM stations in town) they did move frequencies over the early years. KFI has been at 640 since May 15, 1923 and had previously been found at 750 and 833.

KNX has been using their current call letters since May 1, 1922 but went on the air as KGC the previous December 8th. Does this make KNX the oldest continually-running station in Los Angeles? Depends on the rules, I suppose, including whether or not amateur status counts. KNX has an edge here as well ... playing music as ham radio station 6ADZ beginning in 1920.

As an aside, early AM stations had little power compared to nowadays -- often as little as a few watts. Yet they could be heard long distances -- across the entire country at times -- because there was so little interference from other stations and modern day electronics and other sources.

For those too young to know that AM is a radio band that people can listen to, the reason no FM stations are listed above is that FM broadcasting did not begin until quite a few years later. Some of the early FM stations include KRTH (also known as KHJ-FM and K45LA) which launched in August, 1941; KLOS (aka KECA), December, 1947; and KSCA (which began life as KUTE) in March of 1952. The award for the FM station owned and operated the longest by the same owner goes to KKGO, which launched in February, 1959 by its current owner, Saul Levine.


Copyright © 2012 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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