March 28, 2006

FCC Approves KIQI, KATD Changes

According to this morning's Daily Digest, the FCC has approved construction permits for San Francisco's KIQI/1010 and Pittsburg's KATD/990. Both stations are owned by Arthur Liu's Multicultural Broadcasting and simulcast Spanish-language programming. (KATD is owned by the Multicultural subsidiary Way Broadcasting.)

The KIQI permit allows an increase in the station's daytime power from 10,000 to 35,000 watts. Nighttime power will remain at 500 watts.

The KATD CP allows the station to move its transmitter from Collinsville to a site near Sacramento. KATD's signal, which is being moved ostensibly due to complaints of interference with KIQI — which hadn't been a problem for nearly fifty years — means that Pittsburg, the station's city of license, will be at the far edge of its coverage footprint.

Both construction permits, which were approved on March 23, require that the facility changes must be made within the next 36 months.

March 27, 2006

Krueger "More Than Pleased" With KNBR Settlement

In the wake of Sports Leader KNBR's knee-jerk firing of show host Larry Krueger, producer Tony Rhein and program director Bob Agnew last August comes news today that the station has settled a lawsuit filed by Krueger, according to the Associated Press.

"I'm more than pleased with the way it was settled," said Krueger, who landed on his feet by scoring a weekday gig at top-rated KGO/810 in San Francisco plus weekend work at Sacramento sports powerhouse KHTK/1140.

"I'm very happy about it. It's officially in the rear view," Krueger added in a phone interview with AP.

Using the royal "we," KNBR general manager Tony Salvadore, whose station recently changed hands from Susquehanna to Cumulus (the new owners are merely waiting for the right moment to pick up the keys), told AP, "We don't comment on that."

Krueger, who made comments last August 3 that were blown entirely out of logical proportion when he referred to the malaise that the San Francisco Giants were in, was in turn made a sacrificial lamb — along with Rhein and Agnew — by Salvadore, who may have been concerned about costing KNBR's owners money in the potential sale of the Susquehanna station group. Compounding things was KNBR's minority ownership stake in the Giants.

Krueger had also alleged that Giants executive vice president and chief operating officer Larry Baer — also a part-owner of the club — was responsible for bringing Krueger's comments to the attention of team manager Felipe Alou, which ignited the situation into a full-fledged conflagration. Krueger's allegation was never proved and becomes mute with the settlement, which included a confidentiality agreement that keeps him from disclosing its terms.

Parallel with Krueger's lawsuit, a separate suit filed by Rhein charged Susquehanna Radio, KNBR and Salvadore with — among other things — wrongful termination and defamation. Rhein's suit is still pending, according to the AP.

March 22, 2006

Radio Dots & Dashes (March 22 Edition)

Mike Preston, currently VP of Contemporary Hits programming for CBS Radio in Seattle, has been named VP of programming for All News KCBS/740 and '70s/'80s Hits KFRC/99.7 in San Francisco, according to reports in both All Access and Billboard Radio Monitor.

Preston's role as head of CHR programming for CBS/Seattle gave him the dual title of program director of the company's KISS 106.1 (KBKS), a Top 40 station. Both KCBS and KFRC are also owned by CBS Radio.

Preston had previously worked in the area as Mark Preston at KDON/Salinas and KOKQ/Monterey, as well as KSFM/Sacramento. He moved on to KSDO/San Diego in 1983, and returned to program KWSS/San Jose in 1986. From there, he landed at the legendary WPLJ/New York, then at KBKS in 1997.

While the overwhelming majority of his experience has been in CHR/Top 40, he has also served as station imaging voice for Eighties-formatted stations in Seattle, Philadelphia, Houston, Louisville, Dayton, Jacksonville, Honolulu and Birmingham, according to his bio on "440: Satisfaction." It may be quite interesting to see what he has planned for KCBS and KFRC...

Last December, the FCC deleted the license of Concord's KWUN, which had operated at 1480 kHz. since the early 1960s, due to inactivity. The station's last owners of record were Chester Coleman of American Radio Brokers and Joe Buerry, who had also managed Contra Costa's KKIS a few years back.

On Monday (March 20) came word that Mr. Coleman, who was 62, passed away in his office in San Francisco. He had reportedly been suffering from cancer. A former station engineer, he had owned a variety of stations over the years across the country. He had donated many of his radio-related recordings to the Library of Broadcasting in 1997, mostly relating to programming formats...

World-famous Mike Amatori has produced a CD for KGO's 26th Annual Leukemia Cure-A-Thon — taking place this Friday and Saturday — featuring highlights of Ronn Owens' thirty years on the station.

The CD is available for an $85 pledge, but please be sure to mention on the memo line of your check that you are requesting the CD. Checks should be made made payable to "KGO Cure-A-Thon" and should be mailed to:

Ronn CD
c/o KGO Radio Cure-A-Thon
900 Front Street
San Francisco, Ca 94111

John Roszak, who had been an announcer at Classical KDFC/102.1 before moving to KQED/88.5 in 1974, died on February 13 in San Francisco. He was 57.

Shortly after joining KQED, he was shifted to Channel 9 — the station's television side — as a reporter and producer, working on local shows as well as contributing to PBS programs, including "The McNeil-Lehrer NewsHour." A Milwaukee native and graduate of the University of Chicago, he was most recently in charge of KQED's "This Week In California" news discussion series...

From Our Full Circle File: Nearly a hundred years ago, Charles David "Doc" Herrold founded a little experimental radio station and school of engineering in the Garden City Bank Building in downtown San Jose. That rudimentary station, which became licensed as KQW in the 1920s, was later purchased by CBS, moved to San Francisco, and renamed KCBS back in the 1940s. Now comes word that KCBS will move its Southbay news bureau to the Knight-Ridder Building at 50 West San Fernando Street in San Jose. Full circle? The K-R Building occupies the site were the Garden City Bank Building once stood. Staffers chancing upon the ghost of Doc Herrold in the halls and back rooms are advised to pay due respect...

With Darian O'Toole out and Turi Ryder in for what is being publicly referred to as a mere seat-filling role (we'll see) at FreeFM 106.9 (KIFR), Jimmy Baron of Atlanta's Alternative Rocker 99X (WNNX) has been brought in for a series of auditions — three so far, according to details published in the blog.

March 09, 2006

Susqy SF Stations In Cumulus Fold

Although the keys haven't reportedly been handed over yet, Susquehanna Broadcasting's quintet of Bay Area radio stations — KNBR/680, KTCT/1050, KSAN/107.7, KFOG/104.5 and KFFG/97.7 — is now the property of Cumulus Media Partners (CMP).

The FCC approved the transfer last Friday (March 3). The information appeared in the FCC's Daily Digest yesterday and today.

Meanwhile, Citadel Broadcasting, as part of the complicated merger deal with the Walt Disney Company, has begun the process of filing with the FCC to transfer its stations from its existing shareholders to "the shareholders of Walt Disney Company & Citadel Broadcasting Corp."

The first stations involved in the filing, which were reported in the March 7 Daily Digest, included Citadel's KESP/970 ("ESPN 970"), KHKK/104.1 ("The Hawk"), KHOP/95.1 and KATM/103.3 ("Kat Kountry"), each of which is based in Modesto.

KGO/810 and KSFO/560 are the Disney/ABC stations in San Francisco that will go into the combined Citadel/Disney radio offshoot.

March 06, 2006

Report: Free FM Shows Darian The Door

Second-hand gossip from a reliable source let me know this morning that Darian O'Toole has been let go by FreeFM 106.9 (KIFR), where she has been midday talker since the station debuted late last October.

Turi Ryder, who had formerly worked at KPIX-FM and KFRC locally, has been brought in to fill the spot for the past week in Darian's absence. Initial reports on the air were that Darian was "under the weather."

Meanwhile, all references to Darian have been erased from Free FM's website, which now shows "Free FM Programming" in the 10 a.m. position.

UPDATE: I've had the opportunity to hear a recording of Darian's last show on FreeFM 106.9 — all twenty-five minutes of it — from February 24. It was truly and honestly embarrassing to listen to, and I'm surprised that no one stepped in to check on her earlier.

Radio Dots & DashesRex MCNeill (ex-KATD and X-100) is back on San Francisco radio, doing traffic and fill-in shifts at Max FM 95.7. His first task: teaching Bobby Ocean how to make coffee in the Bonneville/SF break room ... Oh, did I forget to mention that Bobby Ocean is doing fill work at KOIT, and covered for vacationing PM Driver Laurie Sanders last week? Remember: you heard it here last...

Speaking of KATD/990, the venerable East Contra Costa County station — licensed to Pittsburg, with transmitter in lovely Collinsville — may be planning to boost its power from 5,000 watts to 10,000, and to aim its signal in a more Sacramento-ish direction; this according to a post in ba.broadcast. Since KATD's owner, Multicultural Broadcasting, also owns San Francisco's KIQI/1010 and duplicates programming on both stations, the move makes sense. Sort of. Doesn't it?...

And, to bring the whole thing full circle, both Rex MCNeill and Bobby Ocean worked at 990 AM in Pittsburg during their minor-league careers — Osh (as Radio Ray Farrell) back in the mid-1960s when the station was known as KKIS, and Tee Rex more recently in its KATD iteration...

Came across Buddy Hatton a few days ago. The popular former radio personality is now a filmmaker and resides with his wife and five children in Bali, where he heads Buddy Hatton Productions. Buddy hosted a show on the old KSAN/1450 as a teenager, then — as Clyde Hatton — was a DJ on the Bay Area's first Top 40 station, KOBY/1550, back in the late 1950s. After a highly successful run as a TV personality in Canada in the 1960s, he returned to San Francisco at KSFO, KNEW and Magic 61 (KFRC), while building his film company...

Bay Area sportscasting legend Lon Simmons was inducted into the Glendale Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in Burbank this past Saturday night (March 4), along with his lifelong friend, classmate and sidekick in the Giants broadcast booth, Bill Thompson. Simmons and Thompson were sports stars at the Southern California school, and were later reunited on KSFO, where Thompson shared the mike with Simmons and Russ Hodges. (You can hear the trio in action on the Bay Area Radio Museum website.) Simmons, 82, who is enjoying his retirement in Hawaii, came back to Burbank to receive the honor on behalf of himself and Thompson, who passed away in 2003.