Classical 1260 coming soon
More changes are coming to LA Oldies K-Surf (1260 AM) … oldies will be going away to make room for, well, I guess another form of oldies: 24/7 classical. The change will happen December 1st at 6 a.m. Christmas music will air until then.
Station owner Saul Levine hopes that upgrades in the audio chain and more radios in the market capable of receiving the station’s HD signal will help build an audience for classical music on the AM band, something he tried to do about five years ago.
While I doubt that the analog AM audio will attract many listeners, it is worth noting that he does have a clean signal in areas that receive it. If you happen to be in an area where the signal is strong — not far from the transmitter site in the Valley, for example — and you happen to have an HD Radio tuner, is it even more worth noting that the HD stream from the station is superb… one of the best I have heard. It is the HD that may hook listeners, if they tune in and hear the difference.
To most observers, it may seem strange to drop an oldies format that has had a loyal audience for the past few years. I will say, however, that putting classical music on AM in the year 2020 is exactly the type of thinking that Levine is known for … certainly not the norm for the time. But in doing so he is showing a support and belief in AM radio that is sorely lacking at most stations.
While many companies have not updated equipment for years, Levine has installed a new transmitter. New processing equipment. New towers. And while other companies are gutting their engineering departments, Levine is hiring. “I never lost faith in AM,” he told me recently.
The pop oldies are not going away either: K-Surf LA Oldies will still be available on 105.1 FM’s HD2 stream. Yes, you need an HD Radio to hear it, but the signal from Mount Wilson is strong throughout much of Los Angeles. Even better is listening on a smartphone app, perhaps the future of radio, and I will be reviewing several in an upcoming column. Once you listen on a good app, you won’t want to go back to regular radio again.
Two personalities who spent many years entertaining and informing us have passed on earlier this month: T. Michael Jordan and Mike Lundy.
Jordan’s local radio experience spans the dial from starting in 1967 at KMEN (now KKDD, 1290 AM) . In 1973, he was hired by Rick Carroll as one of the first DJs at the new FM top-40 rocker KKDJ (now KIIS-FM, 102.7); finally in 1976 he was heard playing the hits on Anaheim’s legendary KEZY (now KGBN, 1190 AM).
If you want to hear a sample of Jordan on both KKDJ and KEZY (along with the absolutely cool “Voice of Change KKDJ top-of-the-hour ID) head over to YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/tomntmj.
According to Don Barrett’s LARadio.Com, “In the early 1980s he returned home to Chicago and decided to get out of radio. He eventually landed in Dallas, instituting software training programs for the Tandy Corporation. In 1985 he returned to the Southland for a few years, where he was the MIS Director at the Writers Guild of America. He had been living in Illinois when he died.” Jordan died of lung cancer on November 13 at the age of 77.
News was the focus of Mike Lundy’s long career. First at KFI (640 AM) in 1968, followed by KGBS (now KTNQ, 1020 AM) the same year, KDAY (now KBLA, 1580 AM) in 1972, KFWB (980 AM) in 1977, KGIL (now KSUR, 1260 AM) in 1979, back to KFI in 1982, and KGIL again in 1983, and KFWB again from 2000-2007.
That’s a lot of stations. But Lundy was also active as a station consultant and a program creator for Japanese radio stations. Quite a career; not bad for a 1968 graduate of UCLA holding a degree in Political Science.
Lundy died November 11th at the age of 79 after a long illness.
“We’ve got a lot to talk about” says the website KBLAtalk1580.com.
The teaser is related to Tavis Smiley’s purchase of KBLA from Multicultural Radio Broadcasting in order to launch a new “unapologetically progressive” talk format; KBLA has been airing a Spanish religious format.
No word on the launch date, but the sale price was just over $7 million. Once known as KDAY, the station has a proud history of playing music, and was the first full-time “hip hop” format in the United States, as I recall. Certainly the first in town. One of the great jocks of KDAY’s past is J. J. Johnson (Author of the great read Aircheck: Life in Music Radio), who is still active on Facebook.
Once an aide to former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, Smiley has been a radio and television commentator and talk show host for many years, though not without controversy for allegations of actions behind the microphone, so to speak. His first radio commentaries aired on the late, great KGFJ (now KYPA, 1230 AM) – one minute segments called The Smiley Report in the early 1990s..