Radio Waves: May 13, 2016

Fake Roses

Last October I wrote of a segment on The Sound’s Mark in the Morning program in which actors portrayed callers in an an absurd scenario that mocked “candid phone” type segments popular on morning shows throughout the country.

These are segments in which people try to to trap others, such as when a girlfriend has the DJ call her boyfriend to get them to admit on the air to infidelity. As the story unfolds, hilarity ensues as the boyfriend digs a deeper hold until he finally admits his cheating.

Why did The Sound’s Mark Thompson use actors? To make a point: they are all actors. All of them. Everywhere. On every station in America that runs such segments. There is even a service from Premiere Networks that provides said actors, as does the United Stations Radio Network.

The problem is that these calls, if they used “real” people, have always been illegal. The station has to get permission for the participants to be recorded before the recording begins. It’s not enough to get permission later … it must be explicitly given prior to the start of the recording, and no jilted lover or cheating partner would dare give permission to be embarrassed beforehand. Failure to do so can result in huge fines from the FCC, or even cause license renewal problems (apparently one of the new times the FCC actually does much of anything).  This has always been the rule, though it was rarely enforced until the 1990s (meaning yes, Rick Dees’ far more creative Candid Phones were most likely real).

So imagine my surprise when I tuned into KIIS-FM (102.7) the other morning and heard an episode of morning man Ryan Seacrest’s Ryan’s Roses … exactly the type of segment that Thompson mocked. And Roses was almost as absurd as Thompson’s: Seacrest calls girls’s boyfriend, boyfriend claims he has no knowledge of the jewelry found under the couple’s bed, Seacrest pushes, boyfriend admits cheating, girl starts crying, hilarity ensues.

I had assumed after exposing these last October, Roses would be gone. I was wrong. Perhaps in these days of reality television, in which the reality presented is the furthest thing from the truth, all of this is to be expected. Still, I’m surprised that anyone falls for it. Maybe they don’t and I’m the only one who doesn’t “get it.” But like the fake reality cable shows including Bar Rescue and Mystery Diners, I think it’s time to expose the deceit once again.

Love Lost

After 30 years, KROQ’s (106.7 FM) Loveline has left the air. The final show aired April 28th; the news broke on the station’s Kevin and Bean Show when co-host Dr. Drew Pinsky made an appearance on a recent morning.

The program was launched by Jim “Poorman” Trenton along with “Swedish” Egil Aalvik and “Spacin’” Scott Mason in 1983 as a dating and relationship-advice show. Pinsky was added in 1984 to give medical advice … before he was even a doctor; eventually Poorman was forced out of the program he created, to be hosted by Pinsky and a series of co-hosts, most recently Mike Catherwood.


Revenue at Cumulus — owner of KLOS (95.5 FM) and KABC (790 AM) along with 452 other stations across the country — was down and losses increased in the first quarter financial results released earlier this month. For the quarter, revenue fell 0.9 percent to $268.5 million, losses increased 20 percent to $14.4 million. Debt remains at roughly $2.5 billion, and as of closing last Monday, the stock price stood at 38.2 cents per share.

And that was the good news. Apparently revenue was down less than expected.

On the other side, the company still has yet to have a stock value greater than $1 per share since it was warned by NASDAQ, and it risks being delisted on the stock exchange. In response to that problem, the company pulled a fast one and was able to get approval from NASDAQ to move the listing from the exchange’s Global Select Market to the Capital Market, giving it an extra 180 days to reach that $1 mark at least ten days in a row. The move was made May 3rd … the day the stock was supposed to be delisted. If it cannot make the $1 mark in the next 180 days the company will try other charades, including a possible reverse split.

May’s Mornings

The addition of Lisa May to KLOS’s morning Heidi and Frank Show has been a tremendous success, making for a far more interesting and intelligent program. I like the fact that the program pays at least a little respect to informed listeners … and May does a great job adding her voice to the broadcast, taking the show to far greater heights.

She joined the program just shy of a year ago — May 11, 2015 — after many years with Kevin and Bean on KROQ.