Radio Waves: April 2, 2021

Stryker and Klein make for great mornings

It’s been a while since I wrote about (Ted) Stryker and (Kevin) Klein, who made a name for themselves working together in the afternoon on KROQ (106.7 FM) only to be thrown into the hyper-competitive morning slot … replacing the remnants of the Kevin and Bean Show that ran for over a quarter century.

Not only were they replacing a legendary show, though an injured version since Gene “Bean” Baxter had left Kevin Ryder to do it alone until he and the rest of the team was let go. They also had to launch the morning version of the show during a pandemic in which they had to do it from their individual homes in individual studios – hardly the easiest way to get a vibe going.

The early days of Stryker and Klein mornings were not good. In spite of having a chemistry built up over time in the afternoon, the combined pressure of mornings and the challenges of the pandemic made for a show that sounded overly rehearsed. For all I know it was rehearsed with segments pre-recorded. But over time, they have settled into once again being the great team they are.

The chemistry between the two is perfect. They sound like — and I assume are — good friends. In fact, listening to them is like listening to your own friends talk. Crude? No. Well, usually no. Fun? Yes. And with music thrown in as well.

How does it differ from Alt 98.7 FM’s Woody Show? Much like the days when Kevin and Bean on KROQ were compared with Mark and Brian on KLOS (95.5 FM) , they are very similar. Perhaps fewer regular bits. Slightly different music. Both are tremendously entertaining, and choosing the best can perhaps best be decided by the topics of conversation for the day.

Not that everything is perfect. One bit they do run weekly (Fridays)  is The Stryker Awards, in which they highlight the bloopers of the week as made by the team. What should be one of the best bits of the show turns out to be as grating as fingernails on a chalkboard due to a sound bite played about 100 times too often, ending with “Strikeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” It is an absolute tune-out; the program director truly should destroy the recording and forbid it from ever being played on the station again. It is that annoying. That awful. And it plays about every five seconds during the segment.

That being said, outside of the segment that should be good, it’s among the best morning shows in town right now, one that for the most part you wouldn’t mind your kids overhearing. Give it a shot.

Speaking of KROQ

I want your opinion. For years, I have railed against long commercial breaks. My thinking is that long sets of commercials are a huge tune-out, running long sets lowers the value to advertisers as their ads are lost in a cluster, and if done right, short breaks with well-produced ads won’t (necessarily) be a tune-out. As commercials get more notice, ad rates can go up, bringing in more revenue due to the ads being more effective. Essentially, a win-win-win for the station, advertisers and listeners alike.

KROQ is basically trying my plan. Commercial breaks are no more than two minutes (still 30 seconds to one minute longer than my ideal, but better than the 5-7 minutes often run elsewhere). But one observer told me that the two-minute promise, as it is called, is actually hurting the station.

Why? People are just used to long breaks, so they tune out as soon as ads start. Essentially, listeners need to be retrained, and KROQ is wasting valuable air time promoting the commercial promise rather than other elements of the station: music, personalities, whatever.

While they may be using too much time promoting the promise (you could go with a simple announcement like “now up to 56 minutes of music an hour” or “back to the music faster” as done by stations of the past) but I still believe the idea to be sound. When I listen to KROQ lately, I am not included to hit the button any more … by the time I think of it, the break is over.

What do you think? Do you like longer breaks allowing for more uninterrupted music sets, or are 15-minute music sets with just two minutes of commercials better? Let me know … good thoughts will appear here.

King Concert

Online mellow rocker — available on-line or via smart speakers and phone apps — is featuring another in its continuing series of concerts as originally heard on the old KNX-FM (now Jack-FM).

This time it’s Carole King and friends “recorded live over space and time.” According to the station announcement, “you’ll hear Carole in her prime doing many of her classic songs … just like a front row seat.” It will air on the internet station Saturday, April 10th at 5 p.m. and repeat on Sunday, April 11 at 12 noon. For more information, visit the station website.