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Questions and answers, KNX News 97.1 FM

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Indeed, there's no shortage of opinions about Monday’s debut of “KNX News 97-1 FM,” Audacy’s foray into an AM-FM all-news simulcast in Southern California. It's what's available on WBBM-Chicago, KCBS-San Francisco, KMOX-St. Louis, WWL-New Orleans, and other Audacy stations across the country. The launch of the revamped KNX was designed to be a surprise, although some predicted a KNX simulcast over the years, the timing was unexpected. Looking at various social media platforms, there were a number of comments. A sampling: • “It would appear to be a brilliant move from a business and ratings standpoint” • “The inevitable future of spoken word formats. And you can’t argue with the success WTOP, KCBS, WBBM and KYW have had since embracing FM.” • “It will make the news twice as bad…in stereo!” • “Up where I live, KCBS 740 has also been on 106.9 FM for 13 years. Why didn’t KNX do this sooner?” • “Yes, it does sound great, including the new sounder behind your traffic re

The debut of KNX 97.1 FM News

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  It became "the" featured story on the station's daily "In Depth" Monday afternoon program. All-news KNX, which celebrated their centennial in 2020, was adding an FM simulcast and rebranding the station. A recent "KNX In Depth" program interviewing Dan Akroyd. From L to R: Akroyd, Charles Feldman, Mike Simpson Audacy Chair, President and CEO David Field was on the phone. In studio was Jeff Federman , Audacy Southern California Regional President, and Ken Charles , Brand Manager and Program Director, joining hosts Mike Simpson  and Charles Feldman . Indeed, the VIPs were present to launch "KNX News 97-1 FM." Ken Charles, KNX Brand Manager and Program Director “This is a project that is years in the making, not just days or weeks in the making, to get to the right point and the right time to do it…listen, it’s like birthing a baby," said Charles. "I feel like I’m a father and at 3:01 I’m going to pull out the cigars and the champagne

A Thanksgiving tradition

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Perhaps the greatest Thanksgiving moment ever broadcast had to do with radio. Sort of. As every radio aficionado knows, Thanksgiving means the infamous turkey drop episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. It turns out it actually has a non-fiction milieu. Hugh Wilson, creator of the TV show which ran from 1978 – 1982, was interviewed by the Archive of American Television . It was a radio GM whose admission to Wilson inspired the story: Jerry Blum, who was the general manager of WQXI [in Atlanta], told me that he had been fired from a Texas station for throwing turkeys out of a helicopter. I said to Jerry, "You just won me an Emmy. That’s really funny." Richard Sanders as WRKP's Les Nessman There has been dispute about this tale, with some claims the story was embellished (one version stated turkeys were tossed from a pickup truck, not a helicopter). Still, with all due apologies to the turkeys in question (and to any vegetarian or vegan readers), the mere thought of a flying fowl f

A tribute to The Sound and a few short takes

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  Four (4) years ago, I wrote the following piece for LARadio.com about the upcoming demise of 100.3 The Sound (KSWD). I offer it as a tribute to the station many still remember. And mourn. As The Sound prepares to hang up the headphones, I join the many mourning the loss of “Southern California’s Classic Rock.” There are many stations playing good tunes, yet The Sound was different. The music was the soundtrack of my formative years, which likely biases my affection for their playlist. But I found I could leave my radio on 100.3, even sitting through (the relatively short) commercial blocks, and it wasn’t just the records (wow, that word dates me) they played. To many, the repeated lament about the “old days” of radio is likely tiresome. Millennials don’t have fan clubs for their favorite radio DJs – heck, besides morning talent (and even then) I wonder if a millennial can name a current DJ? Still, there are those of us still alive who grew up with our FM receivers (what a novelty i

A post-Orlando edition of short takes

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  Liberty from iHeart?: It’s reported Liberty Media, which purchased $600 million of iHeart Media’s debt for $490 million, is selling their entire stake in the company. The debt was converted to about 6 million shares of iHeart after the company reduced their debt load via bankruptcy. The Colorado-based company is now unloading all of their shares for a reported $150 million. In practical terms, it means Liberty Media, headed by John Malone, has exited the broadcast radio business after only a year, abandoning plans to create a media conglomerate. The company already owns Sirius XM satellite radio (which fully owns the Pandora streaming service) as well as Live Nation Entertainment. Potentially the company had the opportunity to dominate how American audiences accessed live and recorded music. Arguably, the sale means another major media company has decided to drop traditional terrestrial radio.   Dead air: A couple of weeks ago, I received several messages telling me KNX was off

Still another round of short takes

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Staying in the biz:  Former KNX LA City Hall reporter Claudia Peschuitta  is joining Pasadena's KPCC and LAist. She spent 15 years at the Audacy all-news outlet, plus general assignment work for KFWB and west coast correspondent for Fox News Radio.   Recovery ward:   KLOS morning co-host Heidi Hamilton  is recovering from bladder surgery to remove tumors. Heidi's wife Cris offered an update, stating Heidi is doing well but hating having to use a catheter while recovering. Hamilton has been a co-host on KLOS since 2012. She started as the traffic reporter for Jamie White , Frosty Stillwell  and Frank Kramer  on STAR 98.7 (KYSR) in 1998, then joining Stillwell and Kramer on KLSX in 2000. After a stop at KABC, Hamilton has been teamed up with Kramer for KLOS mornings.  It turns out co-host Kramer is also ailing but recovering, both hosts promise to be back on the air in the very near future. A new Angel now in flight:  Sorry to hear of the passing of Jack Angel , the host of "