Radio Waves: 1/12/18

The New 88.5 Finds The Chen

One of the weekend highlights of the former classic rock station The Sound (now religious KKLQ, 100.3 FM) was Mimi Chen’s Peace, Love, and Sunday Mornings, an eclectic musical program that truly harkened back to the days of KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) or even KNX-FM (now KCBS-FM, 93.1). When The Sound found God, her show was without a home. At least for a while. 

The obvious place for her show is the new 88.5 FM, formerly known as KCSN. And that’s exactly where she landed. 

88.5’s facebook page announced on January 5th that “The rumors are true! We are happy to welcome Mimi Chen’s Peace, Love and Sunday Mornings to 88.5 FM starting this Sunday 1-3 p.m.”

OK … Sunday mornings on Sunday afternoon? Perhaps the show needs to change the name to Peace, Love and Sunday Brunch, as one fan (Julie Wysocki) posted on Facebook. For now it’s just Peace, Love and Sunday and started on January 7th. Same show, same vibe. Which is good.

Now all 88.5 has to do is tweak their signal. In spite of a power increase and a simulcast utilizing the same frequency of the former KSBR in Orange County, I can still barely pick up the station at home or in the car. Streaming works, of course, at 

Speaking of Signal Issues

Reader Rick Hamilton of San Pedro has a bone to pick with SiriusXM satellite radio. Namely that the signal has been weak lately. “I was stuck in traffic on the freeway a few weeks ago, and the signal just kept dropping out,” he told me. “It got so bad I couldn’t even listen.”

I’ve noticed the same problem … far  more dead spots than normal. Not so bad that I can’t listen, but I haven’t been stuck in traffic so I quickly travel through the dead spots. I plan to contact their engineering department for an explanation, but before I do, I wanted to ask you: have you been experiencing problems with SiriusXM? If so, send me the location of trouble and I will send a report listing them all. My hunch is that it has to do with un-synchronized land-based signal boosters. If you happen to know which system you are using (Sirius, XM or the newer SiriusXM) that would be helpful.

Radio’s Problems

I’ve been on a clock-radio kick lately: my Boston Horizon Duo-i started having issues, so I set out to find a replacement. Unfortunately I could not, so I bought another Duo-i off of eBay.

But I thought it would be a good idea to check out the other radios in the house, including my younger son’s Horizon Solo which works fine other than a dim clock dial. I figured I’d take the lamp from my broken radio and fix his.

“Don’t bother,” he told me. “I never listen to the radio any more anyway. There’s just nothing on.” His music comes from iTunes on his computer.

My older son? SiriusXM.

Two kids who shun radio completely, both sons of a radio dork who lives and breathes radio. If I didn’t set an example, I  can’t imagine who could. This is anecdotal, but at the same time not a good trend.


KFI (640 AM) was once the second-best sounding AM HD Radio station in town (KNX 1070 AM is still the best). But for reasons very unclear to me at the time, KFI management made the decision to shut off the HD on the AM signal and instead simulcast the signal on a secondary channel of KOST (103.5 FM) using 103.5 HD2.

According to a reliable source, the reason for shutting off the AM HD signal was that one listener complained that they didn’t like the abrupt change that happened when the HD signal wasn’t strong enough, and the radio had to switch to analog.

One listener. Not confirmed, of course, but most likely true … my sources are darn good.

So the rest of us can’t experience KFI in HD because of one listener. Oh, we can listen to the KOST simulcast, but that drops out so often it is virtually unlistenable in the South Bay of LA County. To make matters worse, KFI still broadcasts in narrow band analog, so the station sounds bad even on a good wide-band AM radio. And don’t get me started on the technical tweaks that supposedly help ratings but make the station sound distorted to regular listeners.

Used to be that engineers tried their best to make stations sound good … with the best signal of any station in Western America, perhaps KFI could at least go back to broadcasting wideband AM stereo, if indeed management won’t turn the HD back on.