Misc San Diego Radio Station News
From Yesterday's North County Times...
There was other big news on the local radio front this week: Three radio stations should soon change hands.
Finest City Broadcasting, a new company headed by former local Clear Channel executive Mike Glickenhaus, is looking to take over management of hip-hop station Jammin Z90, alternative rocker 91X and R&B station Magic 92.5.
Last year, new federal regulations closed a loophole that had allowed Clear Channel to hurtle past the eight-station-per-market limit by running a handful of south-of-the-border stations. As a result, Clear Channel has to reduce its fold to eight stations, including L.A.'s KFI, which has a big audience here. Its only remaining Mexican station is oldies "Kool 99.3," and its fate hasn't been announced.
(The Mexican stations, all Mexican-owned, allow Americans to run them for a fee.)
According to Glickenhaus, it may take several months for the deal to be finalized; no one has announced whether staff members like 91X's veteran morning host Chris Cantore will stick around. The dollar amount of the deal, meanwhile, hasn't been announced, but it could be in the tens of millions.
Glickenhaus, who's been part of the San Diego radio scene since 1980, abruptly left Clear Channel in 2004 under unexplained but much-speculated-about circumstances; according to him, there were "philosophical differences."
If Glickenhaus is smart, he'll make few changes to Z90 and 92.5 and spend more time tinkering with the struggling 91X. And he's just the person to do it: He started working in the sales department of 91X and is credited with helping to turn it into a landmark station with a national reputation.
Broadcast Company of the Americas keeps their promise of expanding into the San Diego market. The station announced this week that Cash 1700 will sign-on in mid-August. Rob Quinn has been named station manager, and Bill Pugh will be the program director. San Diego's own Ray Lucia will be heard live in the market, bringing his financial bucket to the daytime hours. The financial staiton will also carry Bloomberg news service, Market Watch, and possibly Jim Cramer.
The station, with its transmitter in Baja, is in the expanded band, at the high end of the AM dial. AM 1700 will serve to areas: it'll bring financial talk programming with a national and local feel, and also fill in a broadcast gap that The Might 1090 has in East County. XEPRS-AM is stronger in Irvine, than in Alpine. Track east on the 8-freeway, it'll drop off at the exit to Alpine. AM 1700 will essentially have no interference. Since 1990, AM car radios will get the "expanded band" stations.
A broadcasting coup
'It's a dream come true,' says veteran radio exec at helm of divested stations
By Frank Green
August 4, 2005
Mike Glickenhaus is finally taking full control of the radio mike.
The veteran local broadcasting executive who has overseen the operations of numerous area powerhouses for the behemoth Clear Channel chain has emerged from the conglomerate's shadow to lead the Mexican-owned stations 91X, Z90 and Magic 92.5.
RONI GALGANO / Union-Tribune
Mike Glickenhaus, president of Finest City Broadcasting, will be the new operator of 91X, Z90 and Magic 92.5 in a deal with radio chain Clear Channel and the stations' Mexico-based owner, Comunicacion Xersa.
Glickenhaus has formed a new company, Finest City Broadcasters, which is assuming operations of the outlets from Clear Channel in a programming, sales and marketing agreement with Comunicacion Xersa of Mexico.
The move is the result of changes in Federal Communications Commission media-ownership rules that are forcing San Antonio-based Clear Channel to shed its lease agreements south of the border.
"I thought it would be a long shot to be the head of a company (that had a station portfolio), so this is hard to put into words," said Glickenhaus, the former general manager of Clear Channel's San Diego operations. "It's a dream come true."
Glickenhaus, 51, declined to discuss financial details of the deal except to say he will pay a fee to Xersa for programming rights to the venerable station nameplates. Only Mexican nationals can own stations with transmitters in Mexico, but some with properties near the border lease rights to U.S. operators.
Glickenhaus, who said he left Clear Channel last year because of a philosophical spat, likewise declined to say whether money will exchange hands with Clear Channel to assume control of the stations.
Glickenhaus said yesterday that he will have no association with his former company other than as a tenant at Clear Channel's studios in Kearny Mesa. After the deal is completed, Clear Channel will remain the dominant force in San Diego radio.
"It is a total separate relationship," said Glickenhaus, who added that the facility is being remodeled so that Finest City will have its own entrance, lobby and broadcast booths.
Radio observers in San Diego County yesterday hailed the new dial lineup because it will loosen the grip in the region of Clear Channel, which will own or operate eight stations here once the expected regulatory approval for the deal comes within about 90 days.
"We'll have major players right off the bat," said Chris Carmichael, who operates the Internet site SDradio.net.
Alternative rocker 91X will especially benefit from having Glickenhaus back at the helm, Carmichael said. The station has lately seen its ratings erode under intense attack from KBZT/FM 94.9.
91X is "one of Mike's favorites," Carmichael said. "He will make alternative rock fun again."
While describing XTRA/FM 91.1 "91X"; XHTZ/FM 90.3 "Z90"; and XHRM/FM 92.5 "Magic 92.5" as strong brands, Glickenhaus said his company is evaluating station personnel and strategies.
Z90, for instance, has had its "rhythmic Top 40" format in place since 1990, while Magic 92.5 began playing old-school rhythm-and-blues in 1997. Social Distortion, the Police and other alt-rock favorites have been mainstays at 91X since 1983.
None of the stations made Arbitron's Top 10 rating results for the spring. 91X drew 2.1 percent of regional listeners, compared with 2.8 percent for rival FM 94.9.
"When you know some stations will be in your future and some will be divested assets, sometimes some marketing investment doesn't occur," said Glickenhaus, referring to Clear Channel's recent management of 91X.
Glickenhaus, who describes himself as a "radio rat," came on the San Diego radio scene in 1980 as an executive at John Lynch's Noble Broadcasting, which owned 91X and another notable outlet, sports-talk XTRA-AM.
When Noble sold its holdings to Jacor in 1996, Glickenhaus subsequently built the company into an 11-station blockbuster led by KGB-FM, KOGO-AM and KIOZ/FM 105.3 ("Rock 105.3").
Glickenhaus said he already has installed two veteran program directors and a vice president of sales at Finest City as the company's three stations begin the operating transition.
"We'll get the right people and build on that," he said.
After the Finest City deal, Clear Channel will still have to find a buyer by September 2006 for the operating rights to XOCL-FM, a Mexico-based oldies station known as Kool 99.3, under the new FCC ownership rules established two years ago.
Before the rule changes, stations broadcasting from Baja California did not count in the U.S. ownership limits.
Those limits allow a single company to own or operate up to eight radio stations in a market, with no more than five stations per band.
While Clear Channel owns only seven U.S. stations that broadcast in San Diego five FM and two AM it was able to increase its presence in the market legally through operating agreements with the four Mexican FM stations.
Goodbye, hello: the art of radio farewells
By: RANDY DOTINGA - For the North County Times
How do you say goodbye? Or more accurately, how do you let other people say goodbye? That's the big question facing radio programmers as three major icons prepare to bid adieu to their bosses and move on to other employers.
On one extreme, there are the genial Jeff Detrow and Jerry Cesak of "Jeff & Jer," the longtime and highly rated stars of the weekday morning show on 100.7 Jack FM and its former incarnation, Star 100.7. Their last day is Aug. 31, and then they'll head across town to rival station My 94.1. It looks like they'll get a chance to say farewell.
And then there's the epitome of classlessness: the nationally syndicated morning host Howard Stern. Heard locally on KPLN/The Planet, he heads to the Sirius satellite radio network in January. Before then, his current bosses may decide to boot him off the air because he's been a world-class jerk.
After all, he's spent the last several months endlessly complaining about the restrictions he faces on terrestrial radio. Stern's also made no secret of his move to Sirius.
"He's already been a program director's worst nightmare ---- the morning man who did an ongoing commercial for the other guys for more than a year," said Sean Ross, a radio analyst with Edison Media Research. "Radio stations generally don't handle personnel changes well on or off the air, but this is one of the reasons why: They don't expect the old staff to be professional about it."
Of course, that leaves listeners in the dark. Anyone who spends a lot of time listening to the radio has probably wondered what happened to their favorite disc jockey or morning host who suddenly went MIA. One day they're there, the next day they're gone, and nobody says a peep about what happened.
If you're a cynical type, you might be thinking, "Criminy, who cares?" But broadcasters often develop intimate relationships with viewers or listeners. If you wake up with someone for years, whether it's Katie Couric or "Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw," you want to know what's going on if they suddenly vanish.
Sometimes, radio personalities do get to say goodbye.
"If they're leaving the market or retiring from the airwaves and I feel that I can trust their good judgment, I would allow a short farewell," said Charlie Quinn, program director at soft-rock station KyXy. (He hasn't had to deal with the issue much, if at all, at KyXy. Its on-air staff has been remarkably stable for years.)
At Jack FM, general manager Tracy Johnson expects Detrow and Cesak will get a chance to say goodbye.
"It is not only appropriate, but I have 100 percent confidence that they will do it professionally and with the right spirit, and that they will respect our station and company enough to not use it as an opportunity to promote where they are going," Johnson said. "In return, we plan to treat them with respect and honor their participation and involvement in the success of our station for the past seven years. We love them and will miss them greatly and are working on plans now to demonstrate that appreciation."
Things get pricklier when disc jockeys have a grudge or two. Dave Van Dyke, a Los Angeles radio consultant and former station boss, recalled a disc jockey in a Dallas station who quit during a shift a few years ago, but not before making a few nasty accusations about management.
There are other horror stories, which may or may not be true.
"I have heard countless urban legends among industry friends about DJs breaking down, ranting and crying on the air, locking themselves in the studio and playing one song over and over for hours in a final attempt to drive away audiences," said KyXy's Quinn.
Nobody would put any of that past Stern, which explains why there's plenty of rumors that CBS/Infinity, which distributes his show, will pull the plug sometime soon. Then again, he must be bringing plenty of money into Infinity's coffers. Perhaps the head honchos will just cover their ears and let Howard be Howard.
Quickies: Will the entire "Jeff & Jer" crew follow hosts Jeff Detrow and Jerry Cesak to My 94.1? Station executive Jim Richards said there's "no word" on who will make up the new morning show.
For his part, Jack FM's Johnson said he's spoken with sidekicks "Little Tommy" Sablan and Rick Moorten, along with Laura Cain's agent, but doesn't know their plans. They're all signed with the station until Aug. 31.
Meanwhile, Jack 100.7 is preparing to launch an "international" search for a new morning team.
Alternative rocker FM 94.9 is playing a promo that not-so-subtly rips its Clear Channel competitors over the payola scandal in which programmers ---- including one in San Diego ---- allegedly took gifts such as a laptop and a plasma TV in return for airplay: "Around here, the commercials are for sale... but the music is not."
Naughty, naughty! But for local radio types waiting for Clear Channel to take a fall, this kind of slam is awfully nice.
Randy Dotinga likes to rant and cry in locked rooms, even when he hasn't been fired. E-mail him at [email protected].
From the August 15th Union Tribune...
Jagger and Kristi back in a.m. slot
Jagger and Kristi, the morning radio personalities previously at My 94.1 (KMYI), will return to the San Diego airwaves Thursday on Magic 92.5 (XHRM-FM).
A married couple whose real names are Mark and Christine Hanson, Jagger and Kristi have been off the air since March.
Their return was announced Friday by Mike Glickenhaus, president of the radio management company Finest City Broadcasting, which is taking over management of XHRM from Clear Channel Communications.
Jagger and Kristi will be on the air weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. XHRM's musical format is heavy on the classic Motown sound, with a format Glickenhaus describes as "rhythmic oldies."
Finest City is also taking over management of 91X (XTRA-FM, 91.1) and Jammin' Z90 (XHTZ-FM, 90.3). All three are Mexican-owned stations.
Jagger & Kristi return to the airwaves tomorrow morning at Magic 92.5-FM. The morning come alive, starting at 5:30 a.m., according to Mike Glickenhaus of Finest City Broadcasting. The new radio company is making its first moves in the transistion from Clear Channel Broadcasting to FCB. Jagger and Kristi told SDRadio: "We are really excited to get back to work. FCB has put together an amazing group of people so it will be even more fun!" Mike said, "I think they are just what Magic needs. We do have a great plan there that will not be totally rolled out until after it becomes part of Finest City Broadcastiing." Officially, the stations are still being operated by Clear Channel until the various government agencies sign off. Magic is expected to move out of the National City studios and join the rest of FCB's stations on Granite Ridge. (The date for the formal transfer is not yet known.) Stay Tuned
This is the first step in the plan for Finest City in their take over of Magic 92.5, Z90 and 91X. On Tuesday, the morning show staff at the station were let go, as the station prepares to be re-vamped. Missing include Roxy and the Misfitz, with Jamal, Kalvin and Snatch. Roxy and her crew signed on last September. She was previously teamed up (as Delana Bennett), with Greg Cook at Magic 92.5.
Word from the KOGO newsroom is that Dave Mason will officially step in the anchor rolls in the morning. Jeff Prescott is stepping aside from early morning radio. Cliff Albert said that Jeff will be a contributor to the morning news show. Dave is currently mornings at Kool San Diego. The 99.3 FM station is also expected to be spun-off from the Clear Channel family.
For many years Dave Mason has been the go-to guy at Clear Channel. Starting next month he'll still be the "go-to" guy -- this time as the lead anchor at San Diego's First News. Starting September 5, Mason moves down the hall and takes over the morning news on KOGO.
Jeff Prescott, after eight years of morning drive, is going to be able to sleep in past his 3:30 a.m. "normal" wake up call. Cliff Albert, Program Director at the station tells SDRadio: "Dave Mason is going to be a great addition as the new host of San Diego's 1st News on Newsradio 600 KOGO. He is a a guy with lots of experience in radio programming including news-talk and personality formats and is the only guy who can replace a very talented radio host like Jeff Prescott. He is very involved in the community, knows a lot of people in San Diego, is well-liked, loves the news. Meantime, I am working with Jeff on a new project you will be hearing about soon for KOGO. And my many, many thanks to Jeff, who for more than 8-years has been a major force behind keeping KOGO mornings on top!"
Dave will continue as the morning host on KOOL 99.3 until the end of the month -- and then, the station will fade away and become La Preciosa. KOOL's last scheduled day is August 31.
Mason said about working in America's Finest City: "In 1999, a dream came true-the chance to head west to the most beautiful location in the world, San Diego. First job was APD/Mornings at KJQY. Then, PD/AM at Oldies KOCL. We were shuffled to 99.3-a Mexican signal-and became XHOCL. I also host The Beatles Radio Show on Classic Rock 101.5 KGB.
Unique radio voices get pink slips
By: RANDY DOTINGA - For the North County Times
Radio stations 91X and Jammin' Z90 have been in decline for a while now, thanks to rivals who detected weakness and moved in for the kill.
Alternative-rock station FM 94.9 nabbed much of 91X's audience by playing up the music, playing down annoying chatter and sounding like an independent voice. Z90, meanwhile, lost a bunch of listeners to an aggressive hip-hop competitor called XMOR-FM/Blazin 98.9 FM.
Now, new managers are cleaning house at both stations, firing two prominent members of their on-air staffs.
At Z90, the morning team known as "Roxy & the Mizfits" is out of a job after a year. The team's lead host, "Roxy," is better known as Delana Bennett. Under that name, she co-hosted the morning show "Greg, Delana & Chris" ---- later "Greg & Delana" ---- on sister station Magic 92.5 for several years. She also hosted a couple of shows recently on liberal talk station KLSD.
Bennett will be missed. A self-described trisexual ("I'll try anything") and owner of local radio's most energetic and infectious laugh, she has what every radio personality needs ---- an actual personality, and not the kind that makes you wish for a nice dose of Muzak.
I hope Bennett will remember the advice I gave her years ago after she landed in a giant tub of mayonnaise during a radio stunt: Always wear a condiment!
(Hey, if you had to write a radio column every single week of the year, you'd recycle old jokes too.)
There's no word on Z90's next morning team, as the station goes through what new program director Rick Thomas calls "rebuilding." (Nighttime DJ Tre and midday DJ E Todd are remaining on board.)
Nor is it clear who will replace the other well-known radio personality who's missing in action ---- 91X midday DJ Robin Roth, one of the most recognizable voices on the dial.
If you're a fan of rock radio and under the age of 45, you've almost certainly heard ---- and wondered about ---- the self-assured Roth, whose Goth outfits, distinctive drawl and ice-cool persona make her San Diego's radio woman of mystery.
With a reported 19 years at 91X, she also served as a role model for female DJs, who remain second-class citizens in radioland.
But the head honchos at 91X clearly have something else in mind. In a decision that came as a shock to some San Diego radio types, they sacked Roth earlier this month.
"91X is a station in need of reinvention," said programmer Kevin Stapleford of the new company that's taking over the two stations. "We're reinventing it now, and some difficult decisions have had to be made. Parting ways with a class act like Robin was by far the most difficult."
Other veteran 91X personalities, including morning host Chris Cantore, afternoon host Hilary, and weekend guy Steve West, remain on board, along with newcomer Marty, the enjoyably perky evening DJ.
It's with mixed emotions that I write this letter. Effective Thursday, September 1st, KOOL 99.3 will become "La Preciosa" a new kind of radio station for San Diego and Tijuana.
You'll be hearing about this Wednesday on KOOL 99.3 as we say farewell to our Oldies format, but because you're a Club KOOL member I wanted to tell you first. In some cases, these changes are made and you're never told why. I don't want to disappoint our loyal KOOL 99.3 listeners.
It's been my pleasure to wake you up every morning for more than 5 years, and I truly want to thank all the great friends we've made for staying with us through station name changes and frequency changes. We've worked hard to keep the music of the 60's and 70's alive in San Diego. You've supported the causes we've presented you, and we thank you for that.
Why the change? New FCC ownership rules require us to divest the operating rights of a number of radio stations in the San Diego area. Many of these stations (like KOOL 99.3) are Mexican radio stations. In discussions with several potential new operators, they've asked, in advance of the rights transfer, that we alter the programming to serve the growing Hispanic population in Southern California. Therefore the new format on 99.3 will be Mexican music of the 70's, 80's and 90's "La Preciosa".
What will happen to the KOOL DJ'S? I'll be moving over to AM600 KOGO to be host of "San Diego's First News", mornings from 5-9am. I'll join LaDona Harvey, George Chamberlain, Cal Walker in Sky 600, The 24-Hour KOGO news team and Fox Radio to bring you the events that happened while you slept, and the information you'll need to get you started for the day. We'll have a lot of fun, and keep you informed.
Gary Jeff Walker can be heard on our sister station, WOFX in Cincinnati. Sherry Knight will appear on US 95.7, and Dr. Phil Goode will be dabbling in just about every aspect on and off the air with the Clear Channel cluster.
There are many great radio stations in San Diego, and you might try one of my favorites:
AM 600 KOGO-New home for Mason in the Morning, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Larson and Roger Hedgecock
US 95.7 home of Tony and Kris
101.5 KGB-home of Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw and San Diego's Classic Rock
my 94.1 the New home for The Jeff and Jer Show
It's a pretty exciting future for all of us at KOOL 99.3, and we're looking forward to our new challenges. I hope you'll join me in the morning on Newsradio 600 KOGO.
As always, I'd love to hear from you anytime. [email protected].
I'm going to miss Jeff. I had a chance to chat with him out at the recent KOGO slot tournament at Valley View. The one thing he kept mentioning was how great it will be to not have to get up at 3 am to go to work.
KOGO newsman calls it quits
By: RANDY DOTINGA - For the North County Times
Have you ever wondered how morning radio personalities survive getting up hours before the crack of dawn every day? You could ask Jeff Prescott, the longtime KOGO newsman. But he's finally realized that he just doesn't know the answer either.
This week, Prescott is hanging up his microphone and heading into semiretirement after more than three decades on the San Diego radio dial. He's looking forward to sleeping in ---- that is, getting up after 5 a.m.
"I hate to do this," Prescott said. "This is a great job, but I decided, you know what, I've got to live a little bit here."
It's a shame, because anchoring the morning news seems like the perfect line of work for a guy like the 52-year-old Prescott, who's long been addicted to both news and radio. "I've known I wanted to be in radio since I was a little kid," he said. "My dad was actually a disc jockey in New York and Boston, and I'm definitely sure that's how I got the bug."
He first went into broadcasting around 1970, when he worked at his high school's radio station in Los Angeles. He and the other students even corralled the school's choir into singing their names: "Jeefff Presssscottt!"
Then came college at San Diego's Cal Western and stints at stations in the boonies of central California.
"In the old days you had to do Bakersfield to Fresno to San Diego to San Francisco to be able to get on the air in L.A.," he said. "Itνs not like now when anybody can get on."
But he came to San Diego and stayed, eventually landing at KGB-AM and KGB-FM, which soon developed a unique approach to the news. Gone were the boring stories about City Council meetings and county supervisors. "Our mantra was sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll ---- and UFOs," Prescott recalled.
In other words, he was more likely to report on alien sightings than zoning policy.
"That's where the transition was made in radio from my job as a newsman to a sidekick, an Ed McMahon-type guy for the disc jockey," he said.
Later, while working at alternative rock station 91X, he even got suspended over helping to air a semi-uncensored broadcast of a raunchy routine by alleged comedian Andrew Dice Clay. (Prescott had trouble on that front years before, when he spouted out what's politely called a "barnyard expletive" when he got "Bear Canyon" and "Big Bear" confused while covering a fire for a Thousand Oaks station. Luckily, he didn't get taken to the woodshed.)
On KOGO, though, Prescott has been the epitome of the serious yet friendly news anchor who keeps his opinions to himself.
"They say that total objectivity is impossible, but I was brought up where you had to be as fair as you could and give both sides of the story."
During his tenure, KOGO's morning news has garnered high ratings, often placing it among the three or four most popular AM shows in San Diego. Part of the success may be due to Prescott's rules of radio: "Never sound stupid, never insult your listeners, and God forbid, no dead air."
His calm coverage of breaking news has guided tens of thousands of radio listeners through difficult times, including the 1978 PSA crash and Sept. 11, when he stayed on the air for eight hours, alternating with network coverage. After the second plane hit, he recalled, "I started shaking. I was aware that we were on the verge of something big. I grabbed my arm and said, 'You've got 20 seconds to get yourself together.' "
And he did.
For now, Prescott, who's divorced, plans to spend time at his La Jolla home with his 11-year-old son, Spencer, and contribute occasional commentaries to KOGO's morning news.
"I've got opinions, you just haven't heard them," he said. "There are people I hate out there, and darn it, you'll hear about it."
He'll also worry about the declining state of the news business: "When people believe that 'Entertainment Tonight' is a news program, we as journalists have a problem."
And those 3:30 a.m. wake-up times? They're history, Prescott said.
"I'm going to catch up on 30 years of sleep."
Dave Mason, the morning host at oldies station Kool 99.3, will take over for Prescott on Monday; veteran newswoman LaDona Harvey will be lead anchor, and Phil Farrar will be field anchor/reporter.
As I reported last week, oldies in San Diego are history. Kool 99.3 is scheduled to switch to Spanish-language oldies today.
That's bad news for the station's small fan base, as San Diego joins a growing list of big cities without oldies stations.
Like everyone else, I knew this was coming, but man oh man, I'm so sad. See, it didn't sink in until this morning when I went and pushed the #6 button on my radio and it was Mexican music.
Originally Posted by Itsme
I'm going to miss my oldies so much. 99.3 was my favorite station.
From Yesterday's North County Times Radio Column:
What's going on at R&B station Magic 92.5 and veteran alternative rocker 91X? There's rumors afoot that both stations, under new management, are going to get major makeovers. 91X, in particular, has been scaring longtime fans with talk about how the "end" of the station is coming. Stay tuned.
From this morning's Union Tribune:
91X is expanding its horizons
September 16, 2005
Don't let 91X's DJ-free format and nostalgia-fueled playlist scare you. When the alternative-rock mainstay wraps up its "A to Z" music retrospective Monday afternoon, 91X will be reborn as ... 91X.
Inspired by a 22-year musical heritage that has included everyone from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers to System of a Down, the new/old 91X plans to expand its horizons beyond what is traditionally considered alternative rock.
"When people call or e-mail to ask me what's going on, I've been saying, 'If you liked 91X in the past, you will be very happy with what we're doing,' " said Kevin Stapleford, vice president of programming for Finest City Broadcasting, the San Diego-based company that took the 91X reins from Clear Channel Communications in July.
The on-air staff also will be a mix of old and new, with Chris Cantore returning to his morning shift and Hilary taking middays. Former 91X-er Marco Collins returns to take on the music-director and afternoon-drive duties, and new creative director Stephen Kallao takes the night shift. Smilin' Marty can still be heard on weekends.
"There is a feeling here that 91X is not about being an alternative station; it's a brand name unto itself," Stapleford said. "We will be incorporating a very open, very irreverent, very fun mind-set. If you remember 91X from back in the day, you know what we're talking about."
Sports radio station in Spanish, ESPN Deportes, launches in S.D.
By Hiram Soto
October 15, 2005
Local radio continued to connect with Latino listeners this month with the launching of XESDD 1030 AM ESPN Deportes, the first Spanish-language sports radio station in San Diego County. The station is broadcasting play-by-play coverage of the Major League Baseball postseason, including the World Series.
ESPN Deportes, part of a Spanish-language radio network recently created by ABC Radio Networks, also has the rights to broadcast games of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Lakers and the Mexican football powerhouse Guadalajara Chivas.
"There isn't another station (in the county) that broadcasts those games," said José Carvajal, sales manager for Pacific Spanish Network, a group of local stations that includes XESS 620 AM La Tremenda.
Carvajal said the station also has plans to air games by the Mexican national soccer team and is in talks to cover Monday night NFL games.
ESPN Deportes began transmitting Oct. 3, a few months after KLNV 106.5 FM La Nueva became the first Spanish-language station to top the Arbitron ratings in San Diego.
These milestones are part of the unprecedented growth in Spanish-language radio across the nation, with Latino stations registering major gains in ratings, even in largely English-speaking markets.
ESPN Deportes also will offer sports programs, including one hosted by star commentator Jorge Ramos. It also will broadcast the morning show "ESPN al Despertar," for those who like sports with their breakfast.
These programs originate in Los Angeles and Miami, although the station can include as much as six hours of local programming. Currently, the station is airing three hours of nonsports news covering the San Diego/Tijuana region. Carvajal said they are planning to use the remaining three for coverage of soccer leagues in the county.
The station, however, will not air Chargers and Padres games, which are broadcast on 1420 XEXX AM and 860 AM, respectively.
The station is the second effort launched by the sports network in this region. In August, the company began local distribution of ESPN Deportes, a monthly sports magazine.
Both projects are part of a larger effort to reach Latino fans. This includes ESPN Deportes on television, which features a Spanish-language version of the popular "SportsCenter" program and ESPNDeportes.com.
103.7 Planet FM became the talk of radio fans last Friday -- when Todd Little announced his departure from KPLN. The move is believed to mark a format change at the classic rock station in the near future.
In January, Howard Stern leaves the FM airwaves from satellite radio, and it is thought that Infinity will end the talk about a format move. It is expected that Talk FM will make its debut then.
Todd's departure only starts more talk about what the talk direction will be. Infinity's radio big sister station in LA, and a new convert in San Francisco, coupled with San Diego, would give the group three of the biggest markets in the west coast. Adam Carolla knows he will take over in Los Angeles, and he is expected to be on board in San Diego and San Francisco. He is best known for his work with Jimmy Kimmel on The Man Show on Comedy Central.
Meanwhile, back at 103.7, its music as usual, until the official announcement from the station.
From San Diego Radio Net.....
Then, there's the impending format change that has 103.7 quaking: Planet FM's days may be numbered as a classic rock outlet.
What is known: Todd Little has left the program director's chair -- and office. So Cindy Pace,Jim McInnes, awesome Mike Dawson, and overnigher Tony Martin. They continue to do what they do best: Play some good rock and roll, give the station personality, and then wait for the next moves by Infinity Radio. For them, it is really a Stay Tuned kind of item. What ever direction KPLN is going, there was much speculation in the trade papers yesterday -- and much talk about the talk. 1037freefm.com was registered by the owners in July, however on Tuesday, Infinity CEO Joel Hollander said the group was "protecting some URLs and other things a while ago and there’s nothing there - - don’t worry about it.” That being said, it is hard to ignore a 22-station "network" with the moniker "Free FM" that was being floated out there in speculation land.
Not related to the impending change at San Diego's 103.7, Infinity's parent has pushed the splitting of the media company forward.
Stay Tuned as the Planet Turns.
FM 96.5 still No. 1 with local listeners
By Karla Peterson
San Diego Union Tribune
October 20, 2005
San Diegans are still enjoying their peaceful easy listening, sending the soft-rocking KyXy/FM 96.5 to the top of the Arbitron radio ratings chart for the second quarter in a row. The station drew 4.6 percent of the estimated local audience of 2.4 million over the summer listening period, enough to keep KyXy in the No. 1 spot for listeners ages 12 and up.
News was mixed at KFMB/FM 100.7, where the April 6 switch to the free-for-all Jack FM format doesn't appear to have hit the radio jackpot. The station dipped a bit from drawing 3.1 percent of the audience in the spring to 3.0 in the summer, both of which were drops from last winter, when the station drew 3.6 percent of the audience.
The big winners for the summer period were San Diego's country stations, with the simulcasting KSON-FM/KSOQ-FM jumping to second place from sixth place, and KUSS/FM 95.7 moving to a fifth-place tie with classic rock stalwart KGB/FM 101.5 from an 11th-place tie. Also making a nice jump was the head-banging Rock 105.3, which was up from 2.2 percent in spring to 3.0 in the summer, bringing it to a tie for ninth place from 13th place.
The oldies station KOOL/XOCL-FM made a leap from 1.7 percent in spring to 2.4 in the summer. Ironically, the station switched to Spanish-language favorites last month.
The surprise loser was longtime ratings' champion KOGO/AM 600. The talk-radio station dropped to sixth place for the summer listening period from second place in the spring ratings period.
"I'm thinking it had a lot of competition from the Mighty 1090's Padres baseball (broadcasts), as well as from the country stations," said Web publisher David Tanny of sandiegoradionews.com. "I guess people wanted relief from the news of the day."
Bob Bolinger, vice president and market manager for Clear Channel San Diego, agreed that baseball – and the season – may have been the culprit.
"Summer can be a tough book, particularly with the influence of baseball," Bolinger said of the Clear Channel-owned talk-radio station. "Nothing is different on the radio station."
Behind KyXy, the Top 10 stations for the Summer of 2005 were: KSON-FM/KSOQ-FM (4.1, country); Channel 93.3 (3.9, Top 40) tied with KiFM/FM 98.1 (3.9, smooth jazz); "La Nueva"/KLNV 106.5 FM (3.7, ranchera/banda); KGB/FM 101.5 (3.6, classic rock) tied with KUSS/FM 95.7 (3.6, country); KOGO/AM 600 (3.4, news talk); My 94.1/KMYI 94.1 FM (3.3, adult hits) tied with XHRM/FM 92.5 (3.3, R&B); KFMB/AM 760 (3.2, news talk); Jack FM/KFMB 100.7 FM (3.0, hits mix) tied with Rock 105.3/KIOZ FM (3.0, hard rock); and Z-90/XHTZ FM (2.9 hip hop).
From today's North County Times:
Local programmer Diana Laird, the poster girl for alleged payola in the radio industry, is no longer with the company.
Laird, as you recall, had been in charge of San Diego radio station Channel 933. Her abrasive personality hardly made her the most popular radio boss with employees, but Clear Channel clearly thought she was effective. That is until last summer, when the New York attorney general issued a report accusing her and others of taking goodies in exchange for radio airplay.
According to the report, Laird allegedly allowed Sony BMG's Epic Records to bribe her in November 2002 with a 32-inch plasma TV worth $3,325. A record company executive allegedly disguised the gift as a contest prize for a Channel 933 "winner" who was actually a friend of Laird's.
At the time, Clear Channel declined to comment about her status but said it has "zero tolerance" for illegal activities. (Radio station bribes, known as "payola," are against the law.)
Apparently, Laird herself never answered the allegations publicly.
A few months passed. And then last week, Clear Channel announced that it had sacked two programmers. The Radio & Records industry journal identified Laird as one of them.
The Planet 103.7 is now FREE FM - Talk Radio
103.7 FM undergoes a costume change
By: RANDY DOTINGA - For the North County Times
For fans of classic rock, it was much more of a trick than a treat. Less than a week before Halloween, 103.7 FM/The Planet gave itself an extreme makeover and turned itself into a talk station.
Yes, a talk station. As if there aren't already enough know-it-alls yammering away on the radio dial. But wait ---- there's a difference.
The hosts won't be political-oriented gasbags like those who make AM talk radio so popular. Instead, the programmers behind the newly named 103.7/Free FM ---- and nine sister Infinity stations across the United States ---- are embracing edgy hosts in an attempt to attract a young, hip and heavy-spending audience.
In the morning, Howard Stern is still on the air but not for much longer; he'll soon head to satellite radio. TV and radio performer Adam Carolla ---- I still can't manage to call him a "comedian" ---- will replace him on Free FM.
"Frosty, Heidi & Jeff" and Tom Leykis hold court in the late morning and afternoon, while the one-of-a-kind Phil Hendrie arrives at 8 p.m. All these hosts are based in L.A.
Frosty & Co. don't have a high profile, but shock-jock Leykis has been making waves for years.
According to the online encyclopedia wikipedia.com, which is usually reliable, Leykis likes to announce the names of prominent rape victims (classy!) and recently created a sound effect poking fun at a Washington state man who died while sharing an intimate moment with a horse.
He's also known for "Flash Fridays," in which he urges women to flash their breasts to men on the freeway. (On the bright side, his addition to the San Diego radio scene might spice up local commutes.)
By contrast, Hendrie, also based in L.A., is one of the true treasures of modern radio, a master at creating characters so real that their bizarre ravings drive clueless callers up the wall.
If you're looking for local talk show hosts on Free FM, there aren't any, which makes it different from the other major talk stations locally. Being on FM is another big difference.
Why put talk on FM? After all, AM is perfect for talk, and FM ---- with that stereo business ---- is great for music. The problem is that the talk shows on AM radio tend to be most popular among older people.
"For listeners of a certain (young) age, AM isn't a factor," said Sean Ross, a radio analyst with Edison Media Research. "If their other listening is on FM, why shouldn't talk be?"
And what about the name "Free FM"? To me, it seems like a gibe at satellite radio, which costs money. But Ross thinks there's a bit more to it.
"The name works on a variety of levels, also emphasizing that radio is still experimenting with new and innovative things, as well as invoking the old 'Radio Free San Diego' slogans that FM rock used in its early days," Ross said. "And 'free' is a word with virtually no negatives."
And what of the disc jockeys who worked at the station formerly known as The Planet? The station ---- whose call letters are changing from KPLN to KSCF ---- is still playing classic rock on the weekend, but the DJs appear to be out of jobs.
91X, 94/9 rivalry heats up
By: RANDY DOTINGA - For the North County Times
It's hard to find bitter competition in the media these days. There aren't many two-newspaper towns anymore, so publishers and editors don't spend much time ragging on each other. You never hear the talking heads on CNN complaining about how pitiful MSNBC is. And in the radio world, stations often play nice with each other because they're owned by the same company.
So it's refreshing that San Diego has at least one good, old-fashioned radio rivalry. It's between 91X and FM 94/9, two alternative rock stations ---- one a venerable old-timer, the other a Johnny-Rotten-come-lately ---- that don't mind getting into it with each other.
Since it appeared on the scene a few years ago, FM 94/9 has been winning the war by wooing listeners away from disc jockey antics and disrespectful treatment of the music (such as hosts yammering over songs). FM 94/9 on-air hosts keep chatter to the minimum, unless they're talking about artists and songs or interviewing singers.
91X couldn't keep up. But now it's under new management, and programmers are promising to bring the 22-year-old station back to life. Their strategy? If you can't beat 'em, become something else. In essence, 91X is trying to become the anti-94/9 ---- more fun, less high-and-mighty about the tunes.
"We really don't take ourselves that seriously," said Kevin Stapleford, new vice president of programming. "If music was all there was, in this day and age especially, people could stick to their iPods and that's it."
Stapleford and Mike Glickenhaus, president of the company that's planning to take over the management of 91X, aren't any strangers to the station. Both played crucial roles in helping the station get started in the 1980s and remain a major player in the 1990s.
Stapleford left in 1996, while Glickenhaus rose up the Clear Channel corporate ladder before leaving in 2004.
Besides making 91X more enjoyable to listen to, the programmers want to bring back more spontaneity, something that's been missing from a lot of local stations for years. Since the late 1990s, many stations have tried to save money by eliminating live programming at night, on the weekend and, in some cases, during weekday afternoons.
"It was shocking to me to come in on a weekend and walk down this long hall of on-air studios, and there's nobody there," Stapleford said. (91X is still housed at Clear Channel headquarters.)
Now, 91X is live almost all the time, except very late at night. "You're hearing listeners on the air, you're hearing the jocks (disc jockeys) interact with listeners again," Stapleford said. "It's part of the overall vibe."
91X is also tinkering with its music mix, adding some songs and going deeper into albums by artists like Oingo Boingo.
Are they shaking in their boots at FM 94/9? Naw. "When you look at it from a pure programming standpoint, there isn't a whole lot to react to (at 91X). The product isn't that different than before," said general manager Darrel Goodin.
And what of 91X listeners who aren't as big on music as their 94/9 counterparts? "I guess that there's an element out there that's less emotionally involved," Goodin said. "Perhaps they just want something a little more mindless."