New Dawn for Talk Radio?
The writing has been on the wall for a long time: with few exceptions, political talk radio is dead. The problem is, what replaces it?
Joey Reynolds thinks he has the answer. For one hour a week, on both coasts — the program is simulcast on WABC/New York and on KABC (790 AM) Sunday nights at 6:00 Pacific — the former top-40 DJ-turned-talk-host has a program that is the opposite of political. Just a guy talking with friends about whatever they want to discuss. Jokes … cigars … cities … anything. Except politics, unless the political topic is humorous.
Reynolds normally broadcasts his program from the WABC studios, but he was in town for a special “Dream Lunch” of current and former people connected with the radio and records industries. Thus he did the show from KABC’s new studios in Culver City on January 1st, and brought along a few of his friends: Shotgun Tom Kelly (ex-KRTH, 101.1 FM), Ken Levine (television writer and ex-KTNQ, 1020 AM), Freddie Snakeskin (ex-KROQ 106.7 FM), Kerri Kasem (KABC; daughter of Casey); “Magic” Matt Alan (SiriusXM ‘70s channel, podcast, and ex-KIIS-FM) Randy West (voiceover talent and game show announcer) and more.
That’s a lot of guests for an hour show (you might liken it to a phone booth stuffing as done in the 1950s), so most — including me on my own KABC “debut” — were only allowed to say a line or two. Kasem was allowed more time to tell and hear stories about her father; overall, though, it was a fun-filled fast-moving hour.
Beginning this week (December 8th), the program will also stream video on the net as well as on Roku and New York cable television, so you can see the action as it happens, and determine for yourself if the guests truly have a face for radio …
Being that the program, officially called The Late Joey Reynolds Show, is new to the local airwaves, I cannot pass judgement yet. But I do think the idea is sound. Check it out and let me know what you think.
As it turned out, the KABC studio was filled with people connected with podcasting of some sort, in addition to the online availability of Reynolds show. Alan hosts the tremendously politically incorrect Outlaw Radio, available online (outlawradiousa.com) or via iTunes, RealAudio and the VLC media player) which airs live every Saturday afternoon at 3:00. Unfortunately at press time none of the show links were working; I’ve sent a note to Alan to see what’s wrong.
I host a (usually) weekly podcast with Michael Stark from the LA Radio Studios in San Pedro. Focus? Radio, of course. Generally talking about this very column. Find it at http://LARadioWaves.com.
Levine told me he is ready to launch his own podcast as well, coming soon to a computer or smart phone near you. He says it will be an extension of his online blog (kenlevine.blogspot.com).
Considering that Levine has been connected with — as writer or producer — some amazing television shows (M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, and Wings, to name a few) as well as his experience with some amazing radio stations (Ten-Q and San Diego’s B-100), he has a lot to say. And he says it intelligently and humorously. I can’t wait; I’ll have details when the launch is official.
New Station Coming to Town?
Word on the street is that a construction permit has been issued for long dormant AM frequency 1500 … address of the old “Super 15” KBLA and the original location of what would become KROQ … yes, KROQ was originally an AM station.
No word on format plans, but hopefully it will be a music-intensive format in order to attract people back to the AM band. The frequency went “dark” in 1984.