Hilly Rose passes
My grandmother listened to Hilly Rose for years on various radio stations; her enthusiasm for his show made me a fan too. I found his programs informative, educational, and entertaining … one of the best of the first generation of talk shows as heard in Los Angeles.
Rose passed away December 27th of natural causes. He was 91.
Prior to his many years in Los Angeles, Rose perfected his craft in San Francisco at KCBS, KGO and KNEW; he was also heard (and seen) on Bay-area television station KTVU Channel 2.
Locally he was heard on KABC (790 AM) beginning in 1970. In 1972 he moved to KFI (640 AM) where he stayed until he left in 1979 for KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM). 1982 brought him back to KABC for a couple years; he retired in 1984.
KFI is the station I remember carrying his show. Being on in the late evening hours game him incredible reach: KFI is among the most powerful stations in the United States, and reaches much of the country at night. Rose effectively had a nationwide show with calls coming in from many of the contiguous 48 states.
One of his claims to fame is pushing support for the Jarvis-Gann initiative, better known as Proposition 13. Rose, talk host friend Ray Breim, and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner were early supporters of the proposition, and helped get people to talk about it.
Two years ago I mentioned Rose in this column; he reached out to me explaining his decision to retire.
“Thank you for remembering my name out of so many talk show hosts of the 70’s and 80’s,” he said. “I quit KABC in 1986 because I saw the great axe coming.
“I started doing talk shows at KCBS in San Francisco in 1963; that is 23 years of discussing the same subjects repeatedly.
“I must point out that 52 years later we are still endlessly discussing abortion, immigration. race, crime, war (Vietnam, now middle-east), immigrants taking jobs from citizens … the list goes on and on. Nothing is resolved, indeed in most cases the situation gets worse.
“I got tired of discussing the same things over and over again, and went into the specialty of paranormal. At least there was always something new to talk about (with the exception of Roswell). That eventually led me into doing the Art Bell Coast to Coast AM show on over 600 radio stations.
“I finally quit radio last year  after 52 wonderful years in broadcasting. Yes, the outlook is dreadful, but with all the new mediums available today, surely someone with “that certain fresh touch” will emerge. They always do.”
The last full ratings book for The Sound (now K-Love KKLQ, 100.3 FM) was quite impressive: the November ratings for all listeners aged 6 and over was 2.8, up more than half a point from October’s 2.2 and almost a point above September’s 2.0. The real news came from the demographic of Men aged 35-64, where the station’s numbers jumped s high they were a very close 2nd in the city. Nielsen rules prevent me from quoting exact numbers, but the increase from September was almost double in that demo between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
I think the time may be ripe for a new approach for The Sound. Here’s my plan:
Develop programs using The Sound DJs and make them available as podcasts … but also market the package as a ready-to-air format for digital HD stations nationwide. Advertising can be split between national and local ads (if they want) kind of like cable TV does with some programming.
This would keep the format going and viable until a local station is found, takes the format into what some consider radio’s future, and adds the enticing bottom floor of HD signals actually being listened to by normal people. I believe The Sound could help sell HD radios, and ultimately could help make HD truly a success.
THEN we buy back 100.3 (and for me KHJ 930 AM so I can program top-40) and we are all set …
By the way, the December ratings just released had the Sound still running for 14-1/2 of the 28 rated days. Those 14 days were among the highest ratings the station ever had. Yet the overall results for December had 100.3 at a mere 1.2 share. If the new format crashed that far already, imagine how the new station will look with a full month.
Relying on listener support rather than ads, K-Love owners don’t truly care about ratings. But having few listeners may make donations hard to fetch. Just sayin’ …