Back to Wag-Net Main Page

Airwaves: January 3, 2014

Excellence on 1150?

In an apparent nod to Rush Limbaugh -- or perhaps an olive branch offered to the host in exchange for moving his show from its longtime flamethrower signal at KFI (640 AM) to the much lower powered KTLK (1150 AM) -- Clear Channel is changing the call letters of KTLK to KEIB. EIB as in “Excellence in Broadcasting,” the longtime slogan of Limbaugh’s show.

Considering that the official on-air name of the new conservative station at 1150 will be “The Patriot,” the “EIB portion will be secondary. On the other hand, I am an old-school radio fan who personally prefers call-letters and thinks “The Patriot” sounds lame. But I digress.

David Schwartz of cable television’s Game Show Network wrote to ask how many call-letter combinations 1150 has had over the years, and when was the last time the station broke a 1 share in the ratings? The second question is easy -- as with most extremely low-rated AM stations, the last time they earned decent ratings was when the played music.

That’s right ... the “savior” of AM radio, talk radio, really isn’t in most cases. In the case of 1150, the last time the station was over a 1 share (and in fact was about 2.5 as I recall) was during the era of adult standards via Chuck Southcott and “The Music of Your Life” in the early 1980s.

But the list of calls is interesting, and a little confusing (please feel free to correct me). To the best of my knowledge, here is the rundown:

Licensed originally to Inglewood, 1150 signed on in 1927 as KMIC. In 1930 it became KMCS and in 1932 KRKD, to coincide with new owners and a move to the Spring Arcade Building in downtown Los Angeles. KIIS, or “K-double I-S” came on in 1970, the call letters being the closest “letter equivalent” to 115, the station’s shorthand frequency. The name “kiss” would not be used until later.

KPRZ came in 1980, KIIS returned as a simulcast with KIIS-FM in 1985, KXTA in 1997 and finally KTLK in 2005. KEIB’s official launch date is January 2, 2014.
Now ... does all this really matter? Will the new Patriot KEIB make a dent in the ratings? My take: no. Syndicated talk radio just doesn’t cut it ... liberal or conservative. It was tried on KABC (790 AM); KRLA (870 AM), and on the liberal side, KTLK. All were a bust. For KEIB, Limbaugh will do well, as he always does. Sean Hannity who will do 12 noon to 3 p.m. might get a few listeners. but overall, I don’t expect much.

Weather Beat

“Could you please tell me what radio channel used to do ‘Weather with a Beat?’ My older brother, who has since passed, used to listen to this all the time. I can still hear the jazzy tune in my head after all these years.

“The station would play a few beats of music, then silence, while a man would then say, to the beat of the music, "LA, 68" and whether it was Chicago, New York, he would always give it to the beat of the music. I believe it wasn't a piece of music you could buy I think it was just a tune someone wrote for this purpose. But it was the same music all the time.

“I'm not sure it was called Weather with a Beat but I think the name is similar. Since my brother has passed I can't ask him, and I'd sure like to know because it's driving me crazy.  It would have been sometime in the early 60's.” -- Mandy Simpson. Long Beach

I had not heard of that before, so I did a search and found that it was Johnny Magnus who did the bit, indeed called Weather with a Beat, I imagine on KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM). I found this clip, though I don’t know if it is an original or a remake:
Now I wonder if KMET’s (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) Fish Report with a Beat has any roots in Magnus ...


Copyright © 2014 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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