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Airwaves: May 24, 2013

KRTH and KTWV Get a New PD

CBS Radio announced last week that Rick Thomas will be taking over programming duties at KRTH (101.1 FM) and KTWV (94.7 FM) when Jhani Kaye leaves for “new opportunities” in June.

Don’t know the name? Neither did I. So I looked him up. It seems he has extensive on-air, consulting and programming experience from San Diego to Honolulu, from where Thomas is moving.

According to Howard Freshman of CBS Radio, Los Angeles, past successes of Thomas include KYLD/San Francisco, KSFM/Sacramento and XHTZ/San Diego. In Honolulu he was in charge of an entire cluster of stations.

Interestingly, though, I can find no instance of programming stations like The Wave or K-Earth. Maybe I just missed it, and it certainly means nothing, but it seems his greatest successes came from programming what is known as “rhythmic oldies” or “rhythmic contemporary” stations.

For instance, XHTZ was once an album rock station until Thomas changed it to “rhythmic top 40, sort of like San Diego’s version of the original Power 106 format that played dance-oriented hits. The same format could be found on KYLD under Thomas’ control. Ditto, KSFM.

In Honolulu the cluster is almost entirely variations of the format, with only one of the three breaking away to play “the rock you live on.”

Again, I might have missed it and it might mean nothing. But something tells me that CBS Los Angeles didn’t hire a guy who programmed Beyonce, Heavy D, Rebel Souljas, Prince and Alicia Keys in my favorite vacation spot to just leave things alone.

My guess? While KRTH is safe for now and may just evolve a bit, the days of The Wave are numbered. Don’t be too surprised if 94.7 becomes LA’s Old School station. Sooner than later.

Mail Bag

“Having recently read your article 'Radio is doomed…' in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, I just wanted to add a comment from a listeners points of view mainly about KRTH (101.1 FM). There several stations I listen to and KRTH is generally one of them. Except on Sunday mornings ... Every Sunday its all, the entire, the complete, the whole nothing but Beatles; why they do this is I do not understand. The Beatles were good but not that good.” -- Chuck KG6SYX, Long Beach

I think it was the now defunct magazine Trouser Press that claimed The Monkeys were more influential than The Beatles, though I’m not sure if it was satire or I’m remembering wrong. Regardless, it seems it’s only you and me that thinks this way. If it didn’t get ratings, you can bet KRTH, KLOS (95.5 FM) and probably a few more wouldn’t run the Beatles programming every week.

“I have been listening to AM radio since the late 1940s, and have been reading your column for several years in the Daily Breeze. Because of my long commutes, I mostly listen to various local AM talk radio shows as they provide traffic reports more often than FM stations. I got into AM DXing in the 1950s, using a long wire antenna strung between the TV antenna on my parents roof and the utility pole in our back yard. The best AM reception, as I recall, was on a Westinghouse clock radio I wish I still had.” -- Gregg Perkins, Rancho Palos Verdes

AM DXing, or long distance AM listening, is a dying art, I am afraid. So much interference and so many syndicated programs at night when such reception is possible make it almost impossible to find anything interesting to hear. But it still can be fun to find that needle in a haystack!


Copyright © 2013 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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