Radio Waves: 8/30/19

Stryker and Klein a winning combo for afternoons

You tell me yours; I’ll tell you mine … last week I mentioned I had a new favorite afternoon radio show, and that I bet you’d not figure out what it is.

Apparently you knew. The very first email I received nailed it, or at least the writer has the same mindset.

“My new favorite afternoon show is Stryker and Klein on KROQ (106.7 FM) in LA. What is yours?” Asked Cindi Curti, adding, “They are so funny. It makes my afternoon commute more bearable.”

Ted Stryker has been with KROQ since 1999. Kevin Klein had been sitting in with Stryker since Summer, 2018 and had been there on a permanent basis since last January. In May of 2019, the station announced officially that Stryker and Klein would thereafter be the name of the afternoon show.

It’s an interesting pairing to say the least. Both hosts had successful radio careers; Stryker has always been a great talent at KROQ and Klein had been a morning host in San Francisco when he was selected to host mornings in San Diego. 

A controversial tweet sent out by Klein before his debut may have been the best move of his life: it caused such an outrage that the station decided to ditch the show, and the station went all-sports (i.e. ratings death) as was already expected. Had Klein not sent that tweet, he might have been stuck hosting mornings on an all-sports station. Few things in life are worse than trying to do a morning show on a station with fewer listeners than KABC (790 AM).

But I digress. Stryker and Klein are … great. Entertaining, intelligent, funny. Interestingly, I can’t tell you any of their “bits,” I, like Curti, just find them a nice break that makes my afternoons that much more pleasant.

It’s nice that a station — and a music station at that — actually allows some personality in afternoon drive, in this case 2-6 p.m. It used to be the norm, but is increasingly rare, and I have to say that it is a nice change of pace.

The Rhythm of Southern California

There aren’t a lot of recordings — that I know of at least — of KHJ’s (930 AM) last stance … the era wherein program director Chuck Martin pulled off the Hollywood Miracle and brought KHJ’s ratings up to the highest they had been in years. He did it by creating new jingles, new promotions, and even a partially new high-energy staff led by LA newcomer, Rick Dees, who Martin hired out ion Memphis.

I want more … but if you want to hear a great sample of the era, and to show just how good KHJ was right before the RKO suits pulled the plug on the top-40 format, go to In this recording, you can hear the vastly under-rated Charlie Fox sounding about as good as it gets. He makes KHJ bigger than life, tied to the Hollywood scene. It’s worth checking out if for no other reason to remind yourself that AM music radio was once a force so strong that it could win even in 1980. Or now, in my opinion.


“Recently the Cincinnati Reds gave away 20,000 AM radios to attendees of a home game,” writes reader Andy Ooms of Redondo Beach, “in recognition of an anniversary of the very long-standing association of the Reds with WLW, the AM flagship carrier of play-by-play for over 100 network stations. So AM is kind of alive somewhere.

“However, although I know how to go to the internet and find a way to buy new AM radios, how do other people do it? I don’t see radios on display in retail establishments like Walmart, Costco, and department stores.”

That IS a problem. I do believe that small radios are still available at the drug store chains like the ones that used to be known as Sav-On and Thrifty (am I dating myself too much here?). But I’m not sure – I have not looked myself in a while. I do know that Amazon has quite a few.

But smart speakers may make it unnecessary in a sense. And those same speakers, since they are streaming from the internet, give AM stations even more parity than HD Radio – in most cases sound quality is absolutely identical. The technical question that I honestly don’t know: how many listeners can a station have, versus how many can tune in on a radio over the air?