Radio Waves: 5/18/18

Finding Sam Hill

When I was young, my father used to ask questions about Sam Hill. “Who the Sam Hill is that?” Or “What the Sam Hill is going on?” My brothers and sisters always wondered who Sam Hill was … asking Who the Sam Hill is Sam Hill?

I thought I found the answer one time while visiting downtown Prescott, Arizona, when I saw a store called Sam Hill’s. But I think the definitive answer comes from the All Access Music Group, AllAccess.Com, a website dedicated to the music and radio industry.

“Sam Hill Ends Midday Duties at KALC (Alice 105.9)/Denver” reads the headline posted last week. The story reads: “ENTERCOM Hot AC KALC (ALICE 105.9)/DENVER, CO MD/midday host SAM HILL is coming off the air to focus on programming Classic Hits sister KQMT. She’ll continue handling music duties for ALICE.

“That leaves an opening for middays on ALICE.” Interested persons are asked to click a link “if you’d like to fill it.”

The mystery is solved.

New Knee

Saul Levine, the amazing independent radio station operator who owns KKGO (105.1 FM) and KSUR (1260 AM) is recovering from knee replacement surgery. I send wishes for a full and fast recovery.

Rumors are running wild that some tweaks will be made to the formats on the secondary HD channels available through KKGO as well as KKJZ (88.1 FM), which Levine operates under contract from the CSULB Foundation. No details yet but I am told that the tweaks should be well-received.


As two of the three largest radio ownership groups, iHeart and Cumulus, make their way through bankruptcy and continue cutting costs, positions and their future viability, the top executives of both companies continue to receive huge amounts of money in regular salary compensation and bonuses.

Bonuses? Yes, bonuses. They can’t run a company to save their lives, but the top executives of both companies received huge bonuses as the companies they run go down the proverbial toilet.

iHeart’s compensation board authorized billions in bonuses for CEO Bob Pittman, COO Richard Bressler, and General Counsel Robert Walls for each quarter of 2018; the CEO of Cumulus, Mary Berner, netted $3.8 million in bonuses last year. All of this made me realize that they really do have the wrong people running those companies … I could run each company into the ground much cheaper.

Bustany Passes

The last living co-creator of American Top-40, Don Bustany, passed away in late April at the age of 90. 

Bustany, along with Tom Rounds, Casey Kasem, and Ron Jacobs, launched American Top-40 on July 4, 1970. Originally airing on just a handful of stations, AT40’s affiliate list eventually grew to hundreds of stations nationwide and around the world. Kasem hosted until 1988 when Shadoe Stevens took over; Stevens hosted until the program was cancelled by its distributor in 1995.

Kasem re-launched the countdown show in 1998; Ryan Seacrest has been hosting the program since 2004.

You can hear recordings of the ‘70s version of AT40 on SiriusXM Satellite Radio Saturdays at 9 a.m., Sundays at 6 a.m. and Sundays at 9 p.m. on Channel 7.