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Half of Mark and Brian Coming to The Sound in February

It was almost two years in the making, but it finally happened. Dave Beasing, programmer of The Sound (100.3 FM) was (with the help of general manager Peter Burton) able to convince Mark Thompson -- aka “Mark” of Mark and Brian fame -- to return to radio. He’ll be paired with Andy Chanley in the morning shift beginning some time in February. Current morning man Joe Benson will take over Chanley’s mid-day shift at that time as well.

Mark in the Morning (I sincerely hope they come up with a better name for the show by the time it hits the airwaves) will air 6-10 every weekday morning, promising, according to the press release, “a rich mix of music and fun conversation, celebrity interviews, comedy, and the type of spontaneous moments that happen naturally when Mark Thompson and a radio microphone are in close proximity.”
I know what you’re thinking. It’s either “I can’t wait to hear him.” Or “I hate that he’s coming because I like hearing music.”

And I understand both sides. Mark and Brian (Phelps) were a staple in Los Angeles for a quarter century on KLOS (95.5 FM). They were very popular. But they played almost no music, which gave competitors like The Sound itself, ironically, a chance to gain listeners by playing the songs that KLOS to this day still does not in the morning.

Which begs the question: Why do this? The Sound is currently the top-rated classic rock station in town ... why startle the audience by turning off the morning music?

One thing is being left out, though: Who says music won’t be part of the morning? Beasing says that music will indeed be part of the morning show, though he did not get specific. My hunch is that Chanley -- a music expert -- will handle those duties while also acting as a sidekick. At least I hope so.

Some of the most entertaining morning shows have been a combination of music and entertainment. Lohman and Barkley, London and Engelman, Robert W Morgan and the like graced the airwaves of Los Angeles in the past. Currently Kevin and Bean on KROQ (106.7 FM) are music intensive AND have entertaining talk. In my opinion, music helps make the bits better, since they are a transition and buffer. Frankly, I’ve never cared much for most all-talk morning shows.

Plus, Beasing is not stupid. If listeners want music, he’ll give it to them. In the meantime, he freely admits that in a year he’ll either be thought of as a genius or a moron.

I’m just wondering what confusion will result from the fact that another Mark Thompson can be heard on KFI (640 AM) afternoons 1-3 p.m. as half of Thompson and Espinoza?

Sounds of the Season

Ken Borgers and David Grudt are once again presenting Sounds of the Season on Borgers’ internet tribute to the original KNOB (now KLAX, 97.9 FM). You can find it at

It’s a 36-hour program that starts at noon on Christmas Eve. A highlight of the annual program is a reading of the classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by the late, great LA Jazz DJ Chuck Niles, to be heard this year six times: noon and 6 p.m. December 24th; and at midnight, 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. December 25th.

Then on December 31st, hear A Big Band New Years Eve from 4 p.m. to 1 p.m. This program features recording of Big Band concerts including Duke Ellington and many more. harkens back to Sleepy Stein’s KNOB/Long Beach, playing straight-ahead jazz 24 hours a day. Stein was the owner of the original KNOB, launched in 1957 with 320 watts at its original frequency of 103.1 FM. One year later, he was able to increase power just a bit ... to 79,000 watts ... by moving to 97.9. He sold the station in 1966.


Copyright © 2014 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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