Radio Waves: 5/3/19

Beach Boy Mike Love to be honored by the PPB

The Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters will be honoring Beach Boy Mike Love with its Art Gilmore Lifetime Achievement Award on May 17th at the AirTel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys.

Expected on the dais is John Stamos, who also toured with the Beach Boys over the years and Mark McGrath, lead singer of Sugar Ray and co-host of television’s celebrity news show, Extra.

This one is an interesting choice … to my knowledge, Love never did any radio or television, though his music was played and performed on both. Still, it seems odd that an organization dedicated to those who helped shape radio and television — then and now — is giving a lifetime achievement award to someone who didn’t.

Speaking of the PPB, the group is looking for new members. If you or someone you know has at least 10 years of experience in the broadcasting industry (radio, television, or an allied field) — the years do not have to be consecutive — now is a good time to join … The group is offering a discounted membership rate through the end of May. Go to for more information.

What’s the Hullabaloo?

Former (original) KRLA (now KRDC, 1110 AM) personality Dave “The Hullabalooer” Hull — one of the few thorns in the side of KHJ (930 AM) programmer Ron Jacobs due to his continued success at KRLA in the face of KHJ’s general dominance otherwise — is back on the air. Well sort of.

Hull has been tapped to do a talk show at CRN Digital Radio and can be heard Fridays at 4 p.m. (repeated at 7 and 8 p.m.) on “The Lounge PM” along with host Mike Horn at It’s also available as a podcast available for download at any time. The show is also available to stations nationwide, though to my knowledge there are no local affiliates, so online is the best bet.

In addition to his work at KRLA, Hull worked at numerous other stations including KFI (640 AM), KGBS (now KTNQ, 1020 AM), KHJ  and others. But it was his time at KRLA for which he is most famous. And it is the primary background for most of the stories in his book, “Hullabaloo! The Life and (Mis)Adventures of L.A. Radio Legend Dave Hull.”

All Digital AM

Programming is the main reason AM listenership is at its lowest level since radios became widely available. But there is no denying that technical hurdles are a definite issue. The proliferation of computers, cable boxes, and even LED lights can cause huge problems for reception. AM — Amplitude Modulation — analog signals are easily picked up because of the simple way they are transmitted … but so are the causes of interference. Modern technology has put so much “noise” into the AM band that sometimes the signals are unlistenable.

But that’s analog. What about digital? Yes, indeed, AM signals can be digitized, and it is being done with some success using a hybrid version of HD Radio. The problem with the hybrid system is that the extra digital energy causes interference itself, and it tends to be less robust than the regular analog system.

There is, however, an all-digital version of HD Radio, and it could well be the savior of the band, at least from a technical standpoint. WWFD/Frederick, MD has been broadcasting an all-digital signal since last Summer with general excellent results. The signal can be decoded by any HD radio tuner with an AM band, and tests have gone well. Unlike the hybrid system the all-digital signal allows for better fidelity, greater range, far less interference because it takes less spectrum space, the ability to broadcast extra features such as album art work, and perhaps the ability to receive at long distances at night … a strength (and problem) of AM itself.

While KKFD is broadcasting all-digital AM using special approval, some broadcasters are asking the FCC to allow any station to go all-digital whenever the owner wanted to do so. Yes, the station would lose the ability to be heard on millions of regular analog radios. But — and this is big — the number of HD radios has grown due to its availability in new cars. Some estimates claim 50 percent of new cars sold include the ability to receive HD signals. That’s huge.

The FCC is asking for comments.