Radio Waves: 10/13/17

Reiling Tribute

Joe Reiling started his Los Angeles radio tenure in 1977 when he was hired by KLOS (95.5 FM) in 1977. In 1981 he launched the station’s long-running “KLOS Local Music Show” (later called “Local Licks”) that played unsigned acts. He left for KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) in 1982; to moved KNX-FM (now KCBS-FM 93.1) in for a time in 1983; and returned to the Los Angeles airwaves on KLSX (now KAMP, 97.1 FM) from 1988-1990.

He worked for Armed Forces Radio, produced shows for airline in-flight entertainment systems, taught at a broadcast school, worked as a voice-over artist, and more. It is very likely that you either heard him directly or heard the product of his work over the past 40 years he has been living and working in Los Angeles.

Reiling passed away October 7th after a decade of health problems.

Michael Stark led off a series of personal memories as part of a tribute to Reiling on Don Barrett’s LARadio.Com, telling Barrett:

“The one thread you will see in all the memories you receive about Joe will be that he was one of the sweetest guys on the planet. Always making people smile. Always positive. 

“Even in the face of health issues and an industry that had begun discarding voices that didn’t fit the corporate profile, Joe never let those elements get him down. The last time I saw him, he struggled up my studio’s stairs to record a demo tape. 

“He still wanted to be part of it, as all of us old school radio geeks want. His voice was strong but his spirit was stronger. Rest In Peace, Joe.”

Come to Jesus

The Sound (100.3 FM) may be on the way out to make room  for a cheap syndicated Christian pop music format (because everyone knows that The Fish at 95.9 FM is setting the world on fire and people are clamoring for another similar outlet. Or, um, not), but programmer Dave Beasing and the on-air staff are planning to go out with a bang. 

The playlist is opening up a bit, special on-air features are planned, and soon the station will play a classic rock A to Z feature, with no idea how far it will get because no one knows the exact date the new owners will take over. Best guess: some time between late October and mid November.

But the best part are the new on-air promos. Such as “We’re rockin’ until Jesus comes.” Or playing classic rock “because Jesus would want it that way.”

It’s too bad the new owners don’t care about actually having listeners. Bonneville Broadcasting — owned by Mormons — launched The Sound. You’d think a Christian owner could keep it going.


Lost in all the news of The Sound going away is the fact that there are some great things going on at some other LA-area stations, even if they do not play the same music. Last week I spoke of KCSN (88.5 FM). I can’t let another week go by without mentioning KLOS.

Under the direction of programmer Keith Cunningham who finally got some real freedom when station owner Cumulus finally fired former CEO Lew Dickey, KLOS has evolved into a station that matters again.

No, it isn’t The Sound. While KLOS does play classic rock, some current music gets mixed in as well. It also features programs that harken back to FM radio’s earlier rock days. Such as:

Jonesy’s Jukebox, weekdays Noon to 2 p.m. Hosted by the Sex Pistol’s Steve Jones, the program plays whatever Jones wants to play. New, old, whatever he wants. 

Whiplash, hosted by Full Metal Jackie, Sundays 9-11 p.m. Heavy Metal on KLOS? You better believe it. Including interviews with past and present Metal stars.

Breakfast with the Beatles, Sundays 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Chris Carter knows everything there is to know about the Beatles and has an extensive collection of rare recordings. His passion comes through in every show.

The interesting thing to me is that KLOS has broken away from being thought of as “only” a classic rock station to the point where it could theoretically go in any direction. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a current-intensive rock station that plays music from all rock and roll genres … like KLOS, KMET, and even KROQ (106.7 FM) once did? 

Regardless, I have to give KLOS props. It may not have (lately) won the ratings battle against The Sound, the reality is that it hasn’t been competing against The Sound directly for quite some time. KLOS may indeed be the station to watch over the next few years.