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Airwaves: January 16, 2015

One More Time ...

After years of trying unsuccessfully to attract an audience worthy of mentioning, KABC (790 AM) -- the onetime king of talk locally and nationally -- is making some changes. Beginning January 20th, the station will feature two new shows and move one of the current programs to a new time slot.

The first of the new hosts is a household name to some television viewers. Cristina Perez has been on local television stations with her court-oriented programs Justice for All (KCAL Channel 9), Cristina’s Court (Fox Channel 11) and La Corte de Familia (Telemundo Channel 52). Her KABC show, called Judge Cristina Live @9 will air weekdays 9 a.m. to 12 noon and focus on topical news throughout the region.

The second new program I’ve already mentioned in a previous column. Dr. Drew Midday live with Mike Catherwood will air weekdays from noon the 3 p.m. and feature the Dr. Drew Pinsky and show partner “Phycho” Mike giving thoughts on the news of the day and according to a station spokesman, give “comprehensive insights on a broad range of topics.” Of course, those topics will most likely be medical or human-behavior oriented given Pinsky’s background as a physician and host of KROQ’s (106.7 FM) dating/sex program, Love Line.

Moving to the coveted 3 to 6 p.m. afternoon drive slot is former Mid Day LA hosts John Phillips and Jillian Barberie. The move changes the name of the show to The Drive Home, but the program content -- as well as the hosts -- will remain the same.

Also remaining the same are the other programs on the station, including Doug McIntyre in the morning, Mark Levin and Peter Tilden back to back at night, and Red-Eye Radio overnights until 5 a.m.

My take? I doubt that Cristina Perez will do much. I always thought the television judge shows were on the air because they were cheap schlock trying to live on the reputation of the old “People’s Court,” and hardly the basis for a radio station to make a comeback. I’m not sure why KABC management thinks this will be better than Bryan Suits, who will no longer be with the station.

I’m split on Dr. Drew. He is well-known, does a good program on KROQ, and could be interesting. I think it’s too close to call, but he has the potential to do something, especially since KFI (640 AM) has its weakest program on at the same time.

Levin will continue to take the station down, as will Peter Tilden, who has his talents totally wasted on his current program that seems to be a way to hock advertiser goods more than being a respectable program. Personally, I’d move Tilden to 6 p.m., tell him to run wild, and figure out a way to get rid of Levin. Nothing personal, nor am I giving an opinion about his politics. But his ratings are low enough that KABC should just shut off the transmitter for three hours. Six if you count Tilden’s wasted talent program ...

Then there’s the paid programs that KABC runs all weekend long. Programs that bring in money, but keep ratings down ... way down. So my gut feeling on KABC is ... flat. They have the potential to do something. This is not the way. Something tells me that programmer Drew Hayes is being held back.

Savage Nation

I know I will get at least one inquiry about syndicated host Michael Savage, and it is an interesting question - why doesn’t KABC carry “The Godfather of talk radio” when he is on numerous Cumulus stations across the country? Cumulus, of course, also owns KABC.

Well, it appears Savage is not the powerhouse he claims to be. I don’t have the resent numbers, but an article from last year on NewsBusters.Org by Jeffrey Lord showed that where Savage replaced other hosts on stations across the country, ratings declined. As much as 50 percent in New York; 59 percent in Chicago. No, I don’t see Savage making a comeback here after failing to attract an audience in Los Angeles years ago.

Host Your Own Show

Always thought you could do a better job than the current host? Even if that host is Tom Leykis, who moved his program to the internet (

With a starting bid of $9.99 and an end time of Friday January 16 at 9:23 p.m., Leykis wants to give you a chance to prove it. If you read this in time and want to give it a shot, head over to and place a bid. All profits go to the show.

“As the producers of this show, our hope is that, by doing this, we'll find the next fresh talk show talent and that we would want to actually use you as a fill-in some time after this appearance,” Leykis wrote on the eBay auction page. “But for that, you'd have to be really, really good, and frankly, we have our doubts.”


Copyright © 2015 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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