KLOS to celebrate “50th” Birthday
Longtime morning team Mark and Brian to reunite for one afternoon
Don Barrett’s LARadio.Com broke the news last week: as part of its 50th birthday, KLOS (95.5 FM) will feature a reunion broadcast of longtime morning team Mark and Brian on Thursday, April 25th from 3 to 7 p.m.
Apparently neither likes to get up early any more.
Station programmer Keith Cunningham told Barrett that “we’re stoked that Mark and Brian have agreed to get the band back together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of KLOS. If not for the Mark and Brian Show, KLOS may not have reached the 50-year milestone.”
Cunningham told me to expect a lot more as well, adding, “the 25th will be a big day for SoCal radio!” He would not elaborate, but I’d expect a really big celebration all day long.
Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps were the station’s morning stars for a quarter century before they broke up in 2012. Thompson had been doing the show from his home in North Carolina for many years; rumor was that the duo’s relationship was strained and that they had not spoken to each other since they parted ways.
Thompson insisted the rumors were false when he arrived to do mornings at The Sound a few years ago. “We remained friends,” he said, though he admitted they had not remained close due in part because of distance.
Joining them on the 25th will be the show’s longtime sportscaster Todd Donoho and newsman Chuck Moshontz.
The 95.5 FM frequency became KLOS in 1971. How is that 50 years?
Turns out they are counting the format. Kind of. I’ll try to explain.
The station signed on the air in 1941 as KECA-FM, the FM sister to KECA (originally at 1430 AM and what later became known as KABC, 790 AM. Someone will have to update me on this, but my understanding is that Earle C. Anthony was involved in its launch but sold it when he was sold KECA (AM) in 1944 to what became the American Broadcasting Company.
In 1954, 95.5 became KABC-AM, often simulcasting the AM station’s programming, and for a time even ran an all-news format … one of the first in Los Angeles. In 1968 the station changed to a syndicated rock music format called “Love,” hosted by Brother John Rydgren, which was an early version of album or progressive rock, I am told: I have not heard samples. Just a short time later, it dropped syndication for live, local programming. Finally, in late 1971, the KLOS call letters were adopted in order to differentiate and distance the station from its AM sister.
So this is actually the 48th birthday of KLOS. Or the 51st. Maybe the 50th if you want. Or the … I can’t tell. It’s close to 50, though – I suppose that is good enough.
Tom Leykis (www.blowmeuptom.com) sent out messages last week that the owner of KLOS — Cumulus Media — may be close to selling the station to Meruelo Media, owner of Power 106 and KDAY (95.5.FM). One observer told me that “upper management over at Power 106 have been talking about this with their doors open.”
Wishful thinking? Speculation? Turns out Leykis is right. As we were going to press, Meruelo and Cumulus announced that indeed, KLOS will soon be under the Meruelo umbrella, which in addition to Power and KDAY also includes television channels 22 (KWHY-TV) and 63 (KBEH-TV).
Chairman and CEO Alex Meruelo told ramp247.com, “95.5 KLOS is one of the most iconic Rock stations in the world. We are thrilled to add this legendary brand to our Media Division.”
Meruelo Media President Otto Padron added that KLOS will be “a crown piece in a strategically curated L.A.-focused multimedia portfolio,” stating that the company will “take full advantage of our deep local resources to grow the globally recognized KLOS heritage rock brand for generations to come.”
My understanding is that Meruelo is a pretty decent company. This will be interesting to watch develop.
A dispute over payments from the company supplying the programming – the owner says he hasn’t received rental payments in four months — has resulted in sports-formatted XEPRS (The Mighty 1090 AM) having its programming pulled off the air.
The XEPRS signal originates from Mexico but programming has traditionally been tailored to listeners in San Diego or even Los Angeles, as this and other “border blaster” stations blanket the United States with their strong signals. Legendary DJ Wolfman Jack once broadcast from XEPRS, back when programming on AM mattered.
This follows a similar situation with station owner Jaime Bonilla and programming supplier BCA — Broadcast Company of the Americas — that began in December, 2018, resulting in programming for his other stations — Max 105.7 FM and ESPN Sports 1700 AM — pulled off the air for the same reason.