Radio Waves: October 30, 2020

Music ’til dawn coming to K-SURF

Changes are coming to LA Oldies K-Surf (1260 AM; 105.1HD2) … at least to the AM portion of the simulcast. Beginning Friday, November 13th at 8 p.m., the station will feature Music ’Til Dawn, classical music all night long until 6 a.m.

I am sure you’re already wondering: Classical? On AM? On a station that has been building a small but fiercely loyal audience playing primarily pop and rock from the 1960s and ‘70s?

Station owner Saul Levine explained the thought process to me in a series of emails we exchanged over the past few weeks. Essentially, it comes down to the fact that he loves classical music, he wants to help promote the availability of classical via K-Mozart on 105.1 HD4, and while the audience for oldies on 1260 is as mentioned fiercely loyal, it is still difficult to attract advertisers to the AM band.

So will classical music help that last problem? That’s tough to gauge, but it is certainly possible that a company may want to come in and underwrite an all-night program such as this. And it may indeed help spread the word of K-Mozart, even if it doesn’t permanently attract listeners to the AM band.

If you’re concerned that the great selection of oldies on LA Oldies is going away, it’s not really. You can still hear it on the HD simulcast at 105.1HD2, online, and via apps and smart speakers. And frankly, if you live outside of there San Fernando Valley where the 1260 signal is originated, you’re better off listening using one of those alternative methods anyway. I’ll do a roundup of great radio apps in a future column.

Levine says he is just thinking differently, much as he did in 1959 when he put one of LA’s first FM stations — now Go Country 105 — on the air. No one listened to FM radio back then. Levine must have been crazy to do it, right?

“Although Classical Music is not everyone’s cup of tea there are nearly one million people locally who love it,” he said as he explained that he hopes that having classical on 1260 will help people discover it along with the many other ways to tune in. The AM signal will be, in a sense, a marketing device.

“We have the handicap that not everyone has an HD FM radio but almost everyone has access to (internet) streaming and an app. This is an effort that has rewards. So to enhance the K-Mozart acceptance for a time, the station will be simulcast on 1260 AM every night from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next day.

“We will call it Music Until Dawn … which was a concept that worked for American Airlines a long time ago when it bought time after midnight on AM Stations across the USA for Classical Music.

“K-Mozart has already created excitement with a locally produced Opera program and the wide appeal of On Broadway with Broadway show music everyone loves.”

Sounds crazy, right? Except that it isn’t necessarily. The audience for oldies tends to drop at night … indeed the audience for radio itself drops quite a bit. Yet classical is something that might bring people back. And as an AM fanatic, anything that might bring in a few new listeners (until I can assemble my network of stations) is worth a shot.

Crazy or not, I appreciate the fact that Levine is still giving AM — and commercial classical — a fighting chance. Go Country brings in the real money; Levine programs the other formats more as a public service. He could have sold 1260 years ago, but he didn’t, and his oldies format is superb. His enthusiasm for classical music is also much appreciated, so if he wants to try it on AM, I think it’s fine. And if you do happen to live in the Valley and own an HD Radio, 1260 AM is one of the best-sounding signals I have ever heard. 

Reader Mail

“I loved the CBS Radio Mystery Theater every night at 9:00PM and again at 1:00AM.  What happened to it, and at what station can it be heard?” — Gayle

One of my absolutely favorite radio programs growing up. And I was a top-40 radio guy … I just had to tune in to KNX (1070 AM) every night to hear it. These were highly-respected first-run dramas that were produced by CBS Radio in the 1970s and ‘80s.

They are not available on any station anywhere, to my knowledge at least. But you’re in luck … as I wrote almost a year ago in this very spot, just head over to, and you’ll find a short history of the show, actor biographies and a list of the RMT episodes in which they appeared, information on the show’s writers, a complete episode guide and much more.

Oh, yes … and every episode of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater ever produced. Pleasant dreams, hmmmmmm?