Radio Waves: 8/9/19

Local Drive in Tucson

As the mega-companies that helped destroy radio go broke — as they should — there are early signs of a radio renaissance. You see it with stations like KLOS (95.5 FM), which earned its highest rating in years almost as soon as it got out of the control of the ever-sinking Cumulus Media. Hopefully the trend will continue.

In Tucson, Arizona, the station making moves is KDRI, which went through a few ownership changes recently before becoming locally owned and operated by Radio Tucson LLC, a company formed by Fletcher McCusker, Jim Arnold, and Bobby Rich.

Wait – Bobby Rich? Wasn’t he on KHJ in the early 1970s and a driving force behind San Diego’s once-legendary B-100 (KFMB-FM, 100.7 FM) in the mid 1970s? Yes to both counts. In addition to partly owning the station, he will serve as the program director.

Called “The Drive,” the station is focussing on attracting listeners aged 45-54 … listeners the owners say have long been neglected by corporate radio that focusses on the age group of 25-40.

It’s essentially an oldies format with live personalities, many of them familiar to the local audience. Rich told Cathalena E. Burch of the Arizona Daily Star that The Drive will present “something that (listeners) will be comfortable with and familiar with and will give them something that they want, which is information and entertainment.”

“It’s not classic rock. It’s not golden oldies. But it’s going to be unique,” McCusker told the paper. “His library right now is 3,000 songs, so you could literally go weeks without hearing the same songs.”

The format launched on August 5th after a short time stunting as “The Worm,” playing only novelty hits such as Weird Al’s “Eat It,” a spoof of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” Music played now includes songs from such varied artists as Ambrosia, Simply Red, The Babys, Donovan, Bob Seger, Sting, and more … music from the 1960s through the 1980s and a bit later. Not perfect for me (I still want to hear good new music) but the concept is appealing … you want to keep listening just to hear what comes next, and much of the time it is a good song you haven’t heard for a long time.

The station broadcasts in Tucson at 107.1 FM, which serves the local area well, and on 830 AM, which can be heard from the Phoenix area all the way to the US/Mexican border. You can hear it online at Tune in and tell me what you think.

Roger Carroll Passes

Roger Carroll, formerly heard on the original KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM), passed away on July 30th. The news was posted by his son, Andrew Rutkin via Facebook.

Carroll, who’s real name was Kolman Carroll Rutkin, started his radio career at the age of 15 on WFMD/Frederick, Maryland. In 1948, he was hired as a staff announcer for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) Radio Network … the youngest announcer in the network’s history … and where he worked for ten years.

1959 brought him to KMPC; I am told he was there continuously until 1979. Along the way he added other duties including announcing for television programs including the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Bonanza, Danny Thomas, and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, among others.

Staying busy to the end, in 2017 he launched an online streaming station called Roger Carroll’s Best Sounds in Town, which is still running at

According to son Andrew, Carroll was 90 years old and surrounded by family when he died. “We’ll all miss him terribly, Andrew wrote. “I’ll especially miss his wealth of stories and his amazing talent for mucking up his computer.”