Roq of the Eighties reboot
Few FM radio station owners do much with their HD Radio signals — the extra digital signals that are sent adjacent to the regular analog signal and can be received by a special HD Radio tuner. While most FM stations in town feature at least one extra digital channel, only Saul Levine, owner of Go Country 105, actively programs and promotes the formats. In his case the extra channels include oldies (105.1 HD2), Smooth Jazz (105.1 HD3), Classical (105.1 HD4) and even standards (88.1 HD2). Others may have the programming, but outside of this column, you’d never her about it.
Until recently, that is. After CBS Radio stations became Entercom, or Entercom became CBS … or whatever the convoluted merger really was … the one positive that came out of it was digital. Specifically in Los Angeles, KROQ (106.7) and their HD2 signal, which rebooted the Roq of the ‘80s format and bright Freddy Snakeskin and Tami Heide back to the local airwaves.
They don’t do it right, of course … in a bow to the corporate mandate to try to make Radio.Com relevant, they mention it more than the HD2 stream. But it’s a start and it’s great hearing Snakeskin and Heide on the air again.
But that’s not all. The station has also added something that really does promote HD Radio: a concert series called the HD Radio Soundspace Pop Up, which allows fans to see concerts live in an intimate small venue setting, and then allows listeners world-wide to hear the concerts streamed on KROQ HD2 and, yes, radio.Com.
This week it was Bring Me The Horizon live from a “secret place” in Hollywood, hosted by KROQ afternoon personalities Stryker and Kevin Klein. The concert was performed one day before the band’s Wednesday performance at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood. Wednesday is the same day that a 24-hour continual repeat of the “secret” concert could be heard on KROQ HD2 starting at 6 p.m. If you read this early, it may still be available).
Diane Thompson has announced that she will be retiring soon from the afternoon shift on KNX (1070 AM).
Thompson is one of the best in the business, trained at music stations back when the better music stations ran serious newscasts. She won an award for the Best Radio Newscast in California from United Press International in 1984 when she working at KHJ (930 AM); that award may have been what got her the gig at KNX, the station she has called home for 34 years.
To say that she is a pro is to put it mildly. She reports news clearly and concisely, with a voice that commands respect. Her retirement from radio news is a big loss to Southern California but well-deserved after informing for so many years.
One of the best syndicated early talkers has passed away. Bruce Williams, who I remember (correctly, I hope) as one of the late night hosts on TalkNet, died February 9th at his home in Florida; AllAccess.Com reports that he was just nine days shy of his 87th birthday.
It was a different eras of talk radio, one in which actual two-way dialog with callers occurred. As I recall, Williams spoke on any topic but was especially sharp with investment and finance advise, answering questions from callers with a calmness and authority that helped make his show interesting to even a young college freshman like me. His syndicated show ran from 1981 through 2013, though no local station carried the program in recent years.
Toyota recently announced it will be installing SiriusXM-capable radios in its entire lineup beginning with the 2020 model year; the agreement last through 2028. Buyers will receive a 3-month subscription included with the purchase price.
For some reason I thought this was already done deal with most manufacturers; the base radio on my mother’s Chevy Cruz had it standard in 2012, but regardless, more availability is good for SiriusXM. Some estimates say that about 50 percent of those with satellite-capable radios ultimately subscribe. Of course I’ve also heard that up to 100 percent of some statistics are totally made up.