It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a year since The Sound (now KKLQ, 100.3 FM) left the airwaves for good. November 16th was the day, at 1 p.m.
Posts on The Sound LA Radio Family page of Facebook paid tribute to the station, including a video post of the final minutes of the station as it dropped classic rock due to the station’s sale to a satellite-syndicated religious format.
Of course it didn’t have to be this way, but radio is a business … and a poorly-run one at that. Regardless, what struck me as I watched the video and read the posts from fans and former listeners was how much love the station had.
The very idea that a station that doesn’t even exist any more has a Facebook fan page that is more active than many — perhaps all — stations currently on the air is striking. And proof that Entercom made a huge mistake by not keeping the station alive.
It’s funny that certain months stick out as months of bad decisions in radio. February, for example, is the month that the Mighty Met KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) was killed off in 1987 by its own programmer Frank Cody, who was too ignorant to understand the potential KMET still had. It was also the month that KEZY (now KGBN, 1190 AM) dropped music for news one year earlier. Both of those changes were either on or the week prior to Valentine’s Day.
November has its bad history too. In addition to letting go of The Sound, it is the month that KHJ (930 AM) dropped a still successful top-40 format for country — a move that proved to be devastating to the station’s success. 1986 was the year; country lasted about two years but the ratings never came back.
It is also the month in 1998 that KABC’s (790 AM) Michael Jackson was shown the door. There are some who will argue that something had to be done … that Jackson and other programs at the time were suffering in the ratings due to relative newcomer KFI (640 AM) dominating the talk market, but facts are facts: KABC never recovered from changes that began back then, and the station now finds itself so low in the ratings that they would probably be better off dropping talk altogether.
The Three Rs
The response to the addition of Dick Clark’s Rock Roll and Remember to K-SURF (1260 AM, 105.1HD2) has been extremely positive, according to station owner Saul Levine.
The program, hosted by popular radio and television personality Dick Clark, who passed away in April of 2012, was originally heard on radio stations across the country from 1982-2004. It airs on K-SURF Sunday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
“Listeners are very excited about the program,” Levine told me. Posts and reposts on Facebook bare that out.
Waze to Listen to iHeart
The iHeart Radio app on smart phones now interfaces with the Waze navigation app, so listeners can control their iHeart music streams — including pause, skip and adding songs — right inside of Waze as they are navigating. Likewise, if one is using the iHeart app, Waze directions can be seen on banners at the top of the screen (though I thought that was something already available).
I’d test it but I personally hate the iHeart app. Too intrusive and too complicated.
Running on Empty
Speaking of iHeart, what do you get when you run the company into the ground? A bonus, at least if executives of iHeart get their way.
It’s an interesting concept – if a company has good leaders, you want to make sure they don’t jump ship as it struggles through bankruptcy reorganization. But when the people in charge caused the problems, it seems kind of stupid, if you asked me.
Current — and admittedly former — iHeart management caused the problems the company now faces. If to were up to me, iHeart would be forced to sell all but 50 stations to pay down debt. And upper management? Gone. Banished. Banned from ever running a radio station ever.
Instead, iHeart is asking the court to allow up to $33 million in payments to 11 upper executives to keep them from leaving for better opportunities.
I’ll help here: there are no better opportunities. No way could CEO Robert Pittman, for example, get a better deal, at least in radio. He already received $14 million last year leading the company into bankruptcy. Who else would pay that much? Entercom? Too cheap. Cumulus? Too broke. There is no one else. His company, ironically, destroyed any chance of moving to a better gig.
Of course he’ll probably get the bonus. It always works that way.