July 29, 2005

KEAR Sale To Infinity Gets FCC Nod

The FCC has approved the sale of KEAR/106.9 from Harold Camping's Family Stations to CBS/Infinity, moving the station one more step toward an expected October format flip.

The KEAR deal is the back end of the "swap" that sent KFRC/610 from Infinity to Family back in April.

The final hurdle in the process of moving KEAR into Infinity's stable is the Oakland Athletics, whose games remain on KFRC/610 until their current season is over. Due to their recent hot streak (and a corresponding cold streak by their division rivals, the Los Angeles Angels of Fullerton), the A's season — originally scheduled to end on Sunday, October 2 — could possibly be extended by several weeks, depending how far the team gets in the playoffs, should they qualify.

Infinity will not take possession of KEAR until the A's season is played out completely, at which time the KEAR call letters will move from 106.9 to 610 (both companies retained the rights to the respective call letters in the deal), and 106.9 will undergo a makeover, including new call letters and a new sound that could include anything from a variation on the much-vaunted "Jack" format to a try at Contemporary Hits (CHR)/Current Top 40.

One of the sidebar conditions to the Infinity/KEAR deal is "the prior or concurrent divestiture of KBAY(FM) ... or KEZR(FM)," according to FCC documents. The FCC has granted its approval of Infinity's assignment of the licenses for KBAY and KEZR to the San Jose Trust (Elliot Evers) pending their sale to NextMedia.

Dots and Dashes — With the loss of its AM simulcast partner this Spring, KFRC-FM failed to gets its customary baseball bump from the A's, remaining at 2.9 for an eleventh place in the recent Arbitron ratings (tied with Berkeley's KBLX/102.9). The loudly heralded "podcast" format on co-owned KYCY/1550 ("KYOUradio") was noticeably absent from the overall 12+ ratings, perhaps signaling that it's time to trash this ill-conceived experiment and make the station over into the new KFRC-AM once baseball season ends.

This newsblurb from All Access (July 29) may be one of my favorite radio newsblurbs ever:

"BRENT TAYLOR joins CENLAR Top 40 KQID/ALEXANDRIA, LA for nights, from swing at EL CHICO'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT! Props to PD RON ROBERTS for discovering talent in non-traditional places."
Meanwhile, somewhere out there in Radioland, an unemployed jock just leaped off a transmitter tower...

July 28, 2005

Coast Turning 92.1 To KKDV

Coast Radio's expected Saturday (July 30) takeover of 92.1 FM from Chase Radio Partners will come with new, but somewhat familiar, call letters.

KKDV 92.1 FMThe station will become KKDV, Diablo Valley's Hometown Station, falling in line with Coast's other 680 Corridor properties, KKIQ/101.7 in Pleasanton and KUIC/95.3 in Vacaville.

KKDV's temporary website has debuted at www.921kkdv.com.

The station had been KABL-FM, operated by Clear Channel under a marketing agreement with Chase. On Tuesday (July 26), KABL ended live programming with the final shows by Jim Lange, Dino Donikian, Clark Reid and Carter B. Smith. The KABL Adult Standards format will continue on 92.1 until midnight tonight, then will continue indefinitely on the Internet at kablradio.com.

KKDV will be patterned after siblings KKIQ and KUIC, playing adult contemporary music along with locally-oriented news, traffic and promotions. Jeff Perry, who has worked at several stations in the Bay Area, will be KKDV's morning man, moving over from weekends and fill-in work at KUIC.

The KKDV call letters had previously been employed in the Bay Area at Bonneville's short-lived 95.7 The Drive (May 2002-August 2003). In fact, the old Drive website, KKDV.com, now defaults to Bonneville's current reworking of that frequency, 95.7 MAX FM, as does its most recent previous version, 957TheBear.com.

Radio Dots & Dashes — Fans of radio's version of The Other White Meat rejoice: The happy hogwash from KPIG made its long-anticipated debut on the Bay Area's 1510 AM frequency on Wednesday afternoon. After just a bit of listening, I can confirm: there ain't nothing else like it on the air around here — and that's a good thing. Welcome, Pig People ... Remix god Matt "The Bratt" Derrick is out at Energy 92.7 (KNGY), where he had been both DJ and Imaging Director for the nascent Beat Of The Bay...

· Add your comments on Coast Radio's new KKDV...

July 26, 2005

Univision To Acquire KBRG, KLOK

Univision Communications will acquire the Southbay's Radio Cumbia (KLOK/1170) and Radio Romantica (KBRG/100.3) from Entravision Holdings in a deal valued at $90 million.

UnivisionThe transaction will help Univision satisfy a Department of Justice decree requiring the company to lower its ownership stake in Entravision. Univision agreed to the stipulation as part of its 2003 acquisition of Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation, and will reduce its ownership in Entravision to 20% as a result of the KBRG/KLOK deal.

Univision is required to reduce its stake to 15% by March 26, 2006, and is expected to pay for the stations by returning shares of Entravision common stock that it currently controls back to the company.

"Our acquisition of KBRG and KLOK accomplishes two important strategic goals for Univision Radio; it will expand our format offerings in the growing
San Francisco/San Jose market and increase the distribution of our popular national AM radio network, RadioCadena," Univision Radio COO Gary Stone said in a prepared statement.

Ray Rodriguez, President and Chief Operating Officer of Univision Communications, added, "We are confident that these stations will benefit from the tremendous cross promotion opportunities provided by Univision's two television stations and four other radio stations in the market."

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2006.

Radio Dots & Dashes — The ins and outs of Infinity's sale of KEZR and KBAY to NextMedia results in the departure of operations manager/program director Jim Murphy, general manager Joe Armao and general sales manager Michael Hobson. I haven't read anything official yet, but John Leathers (ex-KYLD and KDFC) is expected to take over as GM after the NextMedia takeover ...

July 22, 2005

Ratings Shocker! KGO Falls ... Nah, They're Still #1

For the umpteenth consecutive ratings quarter, dating back to Marconi's invention of radio, NewsTalk KGO/810 remains at the top of the heap among all listeners (age 12 and up), according to Arbitron.

KGO NewsTalk 810The Spring 2005 numbers, released by Arbitron on Wednesday, show KGO down slightly —from 6.5 in the Winter book to 6.1 in Spring — but still holding a comfortable lead over #2 KOIT/96.5, which gained .4 over its Winter tally for a solid 4.8.

KMEL/106.1 leapfrogged All News KCBS/740 and Classical KDFC/102.1 into the third slot, also with a .4 gain. KMEL's Clear Channel stablemate, Wild 94.9 (KYLD), made a significant leap into fourth, rising from ninth place to fourth, with a .7 bump to 3.6.

Tying for fifth at 3.5 were KCBS and KSFO/560, while KKSF/103.7 moved up from 2.8 to 3.4 and seventh place. KNBR/680 received its customary Spring baseball bump, up nearly a full point from 2.4 — 14th place in Winter — to 3.3 and eighth place.

KDFC's .9 drop from third place garnered the Bay Area's only fulltime classical music station a ninth-place tie at 3.1 with 98.1 KISS FM (KISQ).

In the Southbay, KGO watched its Winter 7.1 dip to 6.6 in Spring, with hard-charging upstart KSJO/92.3 claiming second place in San Jose with a 5.3. Wild 94.9 climbed back up to a 4.4 and third, followed by KOIT (4.2) and KBAY/100.3 (3.6) to round out the top five.

KRTY/95.3, now the only Country station in the neighborhood, rode a small surge to tie KSFO for sixth place in San Jose at 3.5.

For a complete look at the current ratings, visit All Access (registration required).

Express your opinion about the current ratings...

July 21, 2005

UPDATE: KABL Bowing Out Early

Updating yesterday's news that KABL (92.1 and 1460) will be leaving the air early, the latest scuttlebutt is that "early" has become "earlier" than originally planned.

The latest information — subject to change, of course — is that KABL's last day on the air will be this coming Tuesday (July 26), with the final broadcasts by Jim Lange, Clark Reid and Carter B. Smith on the station.

Expect the new owners, Coast Radio, to get the keys to the 92.1 transmitter on Wednesday.

Radio Dots & DashesThe Financial Times reported today that The Walt Disney Co. has received bids from Emmis, Entercom and Citadel for its radio division (including the owned-and-operated stations, ABC News Radio and ESPN Radio), and is currently ruminating over the offers. The report termed the offers "underwhelming."

July 20, 2005

Jim Lange (and KABL) Saying Farewell

Like sands through an hourglass, time is running out on KABL, available at 92.1 FM and 1460 AM on your radio dial, if you're close enough to either Walnut Creek or Salinas, or on the Internet if you are close enough to a computer.

The new owners of the local 92.1 signal, Coast Radio, will be taking control of the station over the final weekend of July, dooming KABL's Adult Standards format on the local airwaves. Coast also owns Pleasanton's KKIQ/101.7 and Vacaville's KUIC/95.3, with apparent plans to remake 92.1 over in the same style — hometown-focused news and traffic with soft adult contemporary music.

Jim LangeOn the same sad note, Jim Lange will also be blowing a final farewell kiss to fulltime broadcasting, with plans to bid adieu on Thursday, July 28.

Gentleman Jim began his big-league radio career as the All-Night Mayor at KGO in 1958, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota (Class of 1954, with honors) and after serving as an officer in the Marine Corps. He moved to KSFO in January 1960 and began hosting TV's "The Dating Game" in 1965, which he continued for eleven years while keeping his day job at "The World's Greatest Radio Station."

After working at KMPC in Los Angeles for most of the 1980s, he returned to the Bay Area in 1990, doing middays at Magic 61 (KFRC) for a year before moving to mornings. In 1994, he signed on at KKSJ/San Jose and, in 1997, he began his current run at KABL.

An avid golfer and tireless champion of charitable causes, he'll begin his post-radio life in a familiar role, as host of the third annual Jim Lange Golf Tournament on Monday, August 1, at Rossmoor Golf Course in Walnut Creek, benefiting Hospice & Palliative Care of Contra Costa.

The Bay Area Radio Museum is paying tribute to Jim Lange with two featured online exhibits, which include a classic 1992 interview and an hour-long KSFO broadcast from 1971.

· Add your comments about Jim Lange...

July 19, 2005

95.7 MAX Fingers Web For AM Shift

Brad Kava -- who obviously rates a call from the nice folks at 455 Market Street when news breaks (but I don't ... yeah, I'm being whiney today) -- just blogged that former Live 105 airman Web Fingers will join 95.7 MAX FM (KZBR) as morning dude.

95.7 MAX FMWeb has been working at KROQ/LA and Radio Disney, as well as doing voiceover work for commercials since departing these shores.

Brad quotes Bonneville International/SF vice president Bill Lueth saying, "After a nationwide talent search, we found someone who complements MAX’s originality and unpredictability. Listeners are simply going to have fun listening to Web every morning on MAX."

In spite of me being a bitter, bitter jackass — which is not Brad's fault (I blame my parents) — please feel free to click here to read his blog on Web's hiring.

Radio Dots & Dashes — Further to yesterday's announced sale of KEZR and KBAY to NextMedia, expect John Leathers to be appointed general manager of the San Jose stations. Leathers, who was previously with KYLD, is currently general sales manager at Classical KDFC ... Notes snuck (sneaked?) out of the building by People Who Should Know say that no changes in formats should be expected at either KBAY or KEZR. Changes in personnel? Different subject...

July 18, 2005

$80 Million Puts KEZR, KBAY In NextMedia Portfolio

A bulletin from Radio Business Report moments ago notes that NextMedia Group of Englewood, Colo., will acquire KEZR/106.5 and KBAY/94.5 from CBS/Infinity for $80-million.

NextMediaAccording to their website, NextMedia "operates 65 stations in 15 rated and suburban markets around the country," with outlets in Delaware, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. The acquisition of KEZR and KBAY marks the company's first foray into California.

UPDATE: The official press release on the sale, distributed this afternoon, notes that NextMedia expects to begin operating KEZR and KBAY under a local marketing agreement (LMA) "on or before August 1, 2005, subject to regulatory approval." The sale is expected to close in early 2006.

In the press release, NextMedia President and CEO Steven Dinetz said, "This is an ideal transaction that will enable us to enter our first top-ten metropolitan market. The capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is a rapidly growing city with exceptional demographics, including a population with the highest median household income in the nation. KEZR and KBAY are two well-established music stations serving the 18 to 54 year-old demographic, which are audiences that advertisers covet. ... We look forward to working with the local team that Infinity has assembled to integrate these stations into our portfolio and further increase the value of these assets."

NextMedia announced the sale of eight of its stations — four each in Lubbock, Texas, and Reno, Nev. — in May for $34-million.

· Will (or should) Infinity move the Mix 106.5 Adult Contemporary format to one of its other Bay Area stations?

Adam Carolla Replacing Stern At Live 105?

After starting his show today with a phony one-hour broadcast that had David Lee Roth impersonator Billy Mirra sitting in as his replacement at WXRK/New York, Howard Stern dropped several hints today that the real David Lee Roth will actually be his replacement at the station (and perhaps several others), while mentioning that Adam Carolla will be replacing him in four markets, including Los Angeles and San Diego.

Adam CarollaWhen asked by Robin Quivers whether San Francisco was one of the markets Carolla would be taking over, Stern hesitated, saying, "I don't know. I don't remember ... Maybe."

The Stern show is heard weekday mornings on KITS/105.3 (Live 105) in the Bay Area.

Stern continues to press for a September release from his contract with CBS/Infinity in advance of his January 2006 move to Sirius satellite radio. Rumors that this might actually take place gained momentum with today's hints by Stern and whispers from within Infinity that the company might find selling advertising spots easier going into next year without basing ad prices on Stern's ratings in Fall.

Currently the co-host (with Dr. Drew Pinsky) of the syndicated "Loveline" radio program, Carolla broke into broadcasting at The World Famous KROQ in Los Angeles as the boxing instructor for Jimmy The Sports Guy (Jimmy Kimmel) on the station's Kevin & Bean morning show. He has gone on to co-host "The Man Show" with Kimmel on Comedy Central (1999-2003), and also created "Crank Yankers" for the network.

Beginning August 8, he will host "Too Late With Adam Carolla" on Comedy Central, a late-night show that "will include opening comments, an interview with a single celebrity guest, live phone calls from viewers and pre-taped interviews with Carolla and real people on the street," according to a press release from the network. How this might impact Carolla getting up early for a sunrise radio shift is open to discussion.

"Loveline" is currently broadcast on Live 105 weeknights from 10 p.m. to midnight.

Radio Dots & Dashes — Does anybody find it the least bit creepy that KCBS/740 continues to run the Armstrong Painting ads featuring the late Howard Fine a month after his passing? ... The simulcast of KPIG on 1510 here in the Bay Area will start next Monday (July 25) ... Don Geronimo will return to the syndicated Don & Mike Show on August 1, following the death of his wife (and frequent show guest) Freda Sorce...

KGO's Rich Walcoff will host the Raiders pre- and post-game shows beginning this season on sister station KSFO/560 ... Is there a reason that KCBS reporter and weekend anchor Janice Wright sounds so bored (or is it just blasé) reporting the news? ... As blathered about previously on this page, progressive talker KRXA/540 over in the Monterey Bay area — piloted by longtime local radio star Peter B. Collins — will reportedly make its debut as the flagship of the fledgling Radio Free America network this Thursday (July 21)...

The more I listen to those wonderful old 1260/KYA clips and jingles on the Bay Area Radio Museum website and on Norman Davis' RadioThrills.com, the more I get to thinking that Bonneville could do well by converting the AM side of their KOIT simulcast to Oldies and applying to the FCC for the restoration of those classic KYA calls. The FCC previously frowned on reissuing original three-digit calls, but they made an exception for the beloved 93/KHJ down in Smogville...

· What do you think of Carolla replacing Stern?

July 12, 2005

Four Bay Stations Tabbed As Marconi Finalists

San Francisco Sportstalker KNBR/680 in San Francisco has been named as one of four finalists for a Marconi Award in the Legendary Station category by the National Association of Broadcasters.

NAB Marconi Radio AwardsThree other Bay Area stations — KOIT, KDFC and KBLX — were also named as finalists for Marconis in their respective formats.

KNBR, owned by Susquehanna Radio, was nominated for legendary station status along with KFI/Los Angeles, KSL/Salt Lake City, WIBC/Indianapolis and WMMR/Philadelphia. KNBR debuted in San Francisco as KPO in 1922 (it became KNBC in 1947 and KNBR in 1962) and was the flagship station for the NBC radio network on the West Coast for many years, serving a key role during World War II as a hub for news and information. It is the seventh-oldest commercial radio station still operating in California, and one of the oldest in the nation.

KOIT/96.5 & 1260 was nominated as AC Station of the Year, joining WALK/Long Island, N.Y., WBEB/Philadelphia, WLHT/Grand Rapids, Mich., and WZID/Manchester, N.H., as finalists for the award. KDFC/102.1 was selected with KFUO/St. Louis, WCPE/Wake Forest, N.C., WFMR/Milwaukee and WRR/Dallas in the Classical Station of the Year category.

KOIT and KDFC are part of the San Francisco Radio Group of Bonneville International.

The Quiet Storm, KBLX/102.9, was selected as an Urban Station of the Year finalist with WBLS/New York, WERQ/Baltimore, WRKS/New York and WTLC/Indianapolis. KBLX is owned by Urban Radio III.

The Marconi Awards winners will be announced on September 22 as part of the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia.

Radio Dots & Dashes — Fans of the Don & Mike Show (heard throughout the Bay Area via KHTK/1140 from Sacramento) were shocked on Monday to hear about the death of Freda Sorce, wife of co-host Don Geronimo (nom de radieux of Michael Sorce), in an automobile accident on Sunday. Freda Sorce, a regular participant in the program and much loved by show listeners (also known as the "Littlebrains"), was 50 years old...

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that The Walt Disney Co. is considering a complicated transaction that would result in the spin-off of the company's owned-and-operated radio stations and the ABC radio network. Analysts quoted by WSJ believe Disney's radio properties may be worth about $3 billion, and noted that interested buyers might include Citadel, Entercom and Emmis. Disney owns KGO, KSFO and KMKY in the Bay Area...

Today's broadcast actions from the FCC includes a mention that the license for KSAN/107.7's Mill Valley booster transmitter has been cancelled and its callsign, KSAN-FM2, was deleted at the request of licensee Susquehanna Radio. KSAN-FM1, the station's Pleasanton booster, remains active...

Susquehanna, which is rumored to be entertaining offers to sell its radio group, has had its (take a deep breath) FCC Application For Minor Modification To A Construction Permit Application reinstated for KTCT, which is known, bewilderingly, as KNBR/1050 for reasons I ain't never going to understand. The construction permit application, which was first filed in 1996 and was dismissed by the FCC in January, seeks to allow KTCT, which is licensed to San Mateo (where it once did business as KOFY), to increase its nighttime power from 10,000 watts to 50,000 watts from its Hayward transmitting plant. The Petition for Reconsideration was granted and the application was reinstated by the FCC on July 5.

· Your comments on today's topics...

July 08, 2005

Wild Picks Strawberry In The Morning

After weeks of speculation regarding who would replace the fired Doghouse morning show at Wild 94.9 (KYLD), the station has decided to move evening host Strawberry to the sunrise shift starting Monday (July 11) at 6 a.m.

StrawberryThe most persistent rumor from inside The Bay Area's Party Station pointed toward Strawberry, although former Wild morning mammal Mancow (currently syndicated out of Chicago) and the syndicated Playhouse team (out of Portland) were also grist for the mill.

Strawberry, a product of the San Jose State University school of broadcasting, began his radio career interning at Hot 97.7 (KHQT) in the Southbay before moving up to Wild 94.9 as ringleader of the "Strawberry and The Bumrush" program.

DJ Fay Carmona will co-host with Strawberry on the new show, which will be produced by New York radio exile Rick Del Gado, who was fired in February from Hot 97 (WQHT) in the Big Apple following the broadcast of an ill-conceived parody song for tsunami relief. Del Gado had been a producer for WNEW/New York's Opie & Anthony show, which was terminated after airing a couple having sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

What do you think of Wild's choice?

Photo courtesy of onevo1ce.com.

July 06, 2005

Energy 92.7 Program Director Exits

Chris Shebel has departed Energy 92.7 (KNGY) as program director. No replacement has been named for Shebel at this time.

Chris ShebelPrior to joining the San Francisco-based dance music station, Shebel had successfully programmed Chicago's Energy 92.7/5, which had solid ratings success before the station was sold in 2003 and changed formats. He later programmed Adult Hits WRMF in West Palm Beach, Fla., and also consulted Energy Arizona (KNRJ) in Phoenix.

In the 1980s, Shebel was a popular disc jockey at Chicago's famed WLS. He has also jocked in Providence, R.I., New York and Phoenix, and was operations manager for Clear Channel's station group in Raleigh, N.C.

Shebel had joined Energy 92.7 in October 2004 and shepherded the station's transition from The Beat (KBTB). Speculation on the radio message boards is that Shebel had been brought to the Bay Area by station owner Flying Bear Media to roll out the dance hits format on a temporary basis before making a planned exit.

Discuss Energy 92.7's future...

Photograph courtesy of EnergyChicago.com.

July 01, 2005

How To Lose Weight (1982 Edition)

In the process of editing a May 1982 recording from KSFX (103.7 FM) as it made its transition from rock to the news-talk fraternal twin of KGO (810 AM), I came across the following commercial spot:

Ayds Diet Candy Spot (:30)

Ayds Diet CandyIt's rather innocuous, but it's amazing how the meaning of a simple term (such as "aids") can change in the span of a few years. Ayds (the diet candy), manufactured by the Carlay Company, had been around for decades, once coming under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission in 1944 for its claim that it could amazingly "curb the appetite for fattening food" and help its users to "lose up to 10 pounds in 5 days, without dieting or exercising."

AIDS (the disease) was first reported in the United States in 1981, only one year before this commercial spot was produced, and just a short time before the acronym for the disease would replace the brand name of the diet candy in popular vernacular.