Is Disney “faking” an FM?
There are specific rules for identifying broadcast stations. Officially, station identification must consist of the station’s call letters immediately followed by the community or communities specified in its license as the station’s location. This must be done once per hour as close to the top of the hour as possible.
So count me as confused when listening to KRDC (1110 AM) lately. The once-proud KRLA is now Radio Disney Country with one of the strangest sets of IDs I have ever heard. Yes, sets. As in three as I heard on Monday.
The first was “KRDC AM and FM.” The second was “KRDC Pasadena.” The third was “KRDC 99.1 FM and 1110 AM.” Only the second is truly legal, but it appears that the multiple IDs are designed to mislead listeners into thinking that there is an FM station involved. Except there isn’t, at least in the traditional sense.
The FM station simulcasting KRDC’s AM signal is a translator, or very low-powered FM transmitter designed specifically to bring a station into an area not well covered by the main signal. In this case it is officially called K256CX and broadcasts — or did broadcast — from Irwindale on 99.1 FM after station owner Disney/ABC moved it from Beaumont. Rumor is that it is off the air due to interference complaints from KGGI/Riverside, which also broadcasts at 99.1 FM.
But considering that the translator in no way makes for an AM-FM simulcast combo in the traditional sense, what are they doing?
My hunch is syndication. If Disney wanted to syndicate the format to stations owned by others, it would carry more status if it was available on a Los Angeles FM station. Since it isn’t, they are faking it, so to speak, to make it seem more popular than it is. Again this is just a hunch, but I cannot think of any other reason for the multiple misleading IDs, and the press-releases offered touting the format being available on FM in Los Angeles. Which it isn’t, outside of a small area of Irwindale.
What about Pop Disney?
The old kid top-40 format heard on 1110 AM when it was called KDIS is still around. You just need a digital HD Radio tuned to KRTH (101.1 FM) HD2. Whether that remains as Entercom takes control of CBS Radio — current owner of KRTH — remains to be seen.
The transformer explosion that wreaked havoc with electricity throughout much of the Los Angeles area last Sunday knocked the Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters stations — KSUR (1260 AM, 105.1 HD2), Go Country (KKGO, 105.1 FM), K-Mozart (105.1 HD2) and Unforgettable (105.1 HD3) off the air. Well, partially off the air … the transmitters were up, they just had nothing to broadcast with the studios dark. Said owner Saul Levine “our backup generator failed … looks like we need a new one!”
Interestingly, the signal for KKJZ (88.1 FM) — which uses the same studio complex as KKGO and KSUR — was not down. Levine explained that the signal was able to be routed to the Long Beach transmitter using battery packs.
Also interestingly, the coverage of the outage was mixed at best. KNX (1070 AM) reported on the transformer problem and the outages throughout the city, but never put the two together nor explained why a problem in Northridge would cause an outage in Westwood or Pacific Palisades. Most likely that is due to it happening on a Sunday … cutbacks at CBS have left the all news station with a skeleton crew on weekends.