Radio Waves: 4/13/18

Flannigan Passes

He only spent a sort time in Los Angeles, but a staple of the post-Drake success of RKO top-40 radio stations has died. John Mack Flannigan spent part of 1975 at KHJ (930 AM) but quickly moved to KFRC/San Francisco where he entertained the Bay Area for years and quickly became one of KFRC’s top personalities.

Airchecks can be found on YouTube and — if you are fortunate enough to have access — on ReelRadio.Com. Flannigan was the epitome of the format’s success. Smooth, quick-witted, solid. It was the talent of the likes of Flannigan that helped make KFRC and KHJ among the most popular music stations in the country.

A member of the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame and National Radio DJ Hall of Fame, Flannigan passed away from congestive heart failure on March 31st.

Bean Update

As mentioned in this paper last week, KROQ (106.7 FM) morning co-host Gene “Bean” Baxter has been off the air for the past few weeks. There is still no update on his condition or when he plans to return. 

In case you missed it, Baxter is on medical leave, leaving the following message on the Kevin and Bean Show Facebook page:

“I am humbled by your well-wishes, thank you. Happy to announce I am still physically the healthiest man alive but am taking time for mental health care. We’ll talk soon!”

Kevin and Bean have been a popular staple of Los Angeles radio mornings for decades.

Alive and Well

Jim Ladd posted on his Facebook page that he is indeed “alive and well”

“Hello to EVERYONE checking in on social media!,” he wrote March 13. “I know you have been wondering where I am so let me say…I will be back on air real soon and will post the date and announce show returning on Deep Tracks same bat-time, same bat-channel”

Imus Walks

Longtime JJ and talk host Don Imus may not have wanted to leave his show — cutbacks at beleaguered Cumulus brought on the demise of his contract — but he actually left on his own terms.

After a monologue that included a recap of his career and thanks to his listeners, he abruptly left the studio, making the station run best-of segments for the last three hours of his four-hour show.


“Old news,” says KFI (640 AM) news director Chris Little. “We reverted to our full bandwidth about 3 years ago when we did away with the in-band on-channel (IBOC) system on KFI.”

Little was referring to a small line in last week’s mention of KFI’s birthday, in which I stated that KFI is still limiting the frequency response of its signal even after dropping the digital HD system.

Impossible, I responded. I don’t hear the splatter of the analog signal onto 630 or 650 AM. And it still doesn’t sound full on my better radios.

Then he reminded me … years ago as a way to “improve AM radio,” a broadcast standards group adopted rules that called for limited analog frequency response of AM stations to help minimize cross-channel interference. 

This limit set by the NRSC – National Radio Systems Committee — limited analog radio to a 10 kHz maximum bandwidth. Still much better than many radios, but a far cry from the old standard that allowed 20 kHz. Of course most AM radio barely pass anything past 4 kHz anyway, which is why most people think AM sounds so bad.

Regardless, I pulled out my GE Super Radio and … Little is right. KFI sounds pretty darn good. A little harsh due to some unrelated processing designed to help the ratings system “hear” the station correctly. But much better than I thought, and I stand corrected.