Radio Waves: September 9, 2022

Seacrest NABs Marconi 

KIIS-FM’s (102.7) Ryan Seacrest is being honored by the National Association of Broadcasters this coming October. During the organization’s Marconi Radio Awards dinner at the NAB show in New York, Seacrest will receive the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his long career both in radio and television.

He’s been the morning man on KIIS-FM since February of 2004 when previous longtime morning man Rick Dees — who held the spot for 23 years  — left the popular station. Some would say forced out, and of course they would be right, but I digress. The program On Air with Ryan Seacrest has been syndicated to other stations in addition to KIIS for most of its life.

In addition to On Air, Seacrest hosts American Top-40; prior to landing at KIIS, he was at Star 98.7 (KYSR, now known as Alt 98.7) in the afternoon, where he did some of his best work. On television, he’s hosted various programs including American Idol, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and the tremendously popular yearly New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, which he first shared with original host Dick Clark until he took over fully after Clark’s death.

His charity work comes through his own foundation, it’s primary initiative being the building of broadcast media centers, named Seacrest Studios, within pediatric hospitals nationwide. This allows patients “to explore the creative realms of radio, television and new media,” according the Ryan Seacrest Foundation website, adding that the Foundation’s aim is to “contribute positively to the healing process for children and their families during their stay by developing these centers to bring an uplifting spirit to the hospital community.”

Battle of the Classics

Saul Levine’s K-Mozart (1260 AM, 105.1 HD2) wants to battle competitor KUSC (91.5 FM) for the heart and soul of classical music listeners throughout Southern California. The most recent addition to his stockpile of ammunition: Dr. Laura Brodian, who as of August 29th is hosting concert programming weekdays from 12 noon to 5 p.m. According to Levine, “Dr. Brodian is one of the most talented hosts in the country.”

That’s not the only time to hear concerts on the station, however, as Nick Tyler presents the Evening Concert at 7 p.m. every weeknight; this program is in its 100th year, according to Levine.

While K-Mozart is not affiliated with UCLA, the studios are located not far from the campus in West Los Angeles. Being that KUSC broadcasts from the USC campus toward the East side of town, Levine is calling it the West-East Battle.

KUSC has a tremendous advantage in the battle, broadcasting 39,000 watts from a location near Mount Wilson … one of the strongest signals in town. K-Mozart, by contrast, has a main signal on the AM dial that is strongest in the San Fernando Valley, though officially the station is licensed to Beverly Hills. Before you totally dismiss the AM signal, however, the reception as far South as San Pedro is adequate during the day, and the HD Am signal in the Valley is superb.

K-Mozart also simulcasts on KKGO’s frequency of 105.1 FM, using a sub-channel of the HD Radio system. You do need a special HD Radio to hear it, but the coverage is quite good. And then there are apps and internet listening with which both stations can be heard.

The signal issues don’t bother Levine. He feels that superior programming with make a difference and he feels that he has it.

Rocking Monday

It appears that Jim Ladd’s freeform rock program on SiriusXM’s Deep Tracks channel (27) has been cut to once live show per week: Mondays 5-9 p.m. Eastern time … meaning 2-6 p.m. locally.

No reason has been given for the cutback from five shows per week … Ladd has been short on details and SiriusXM hasn’t said anything official or otherwise. My own sources have been silent, which makes me wonder if it is related t negotiations. Regardless, fans are upset and have taken to social media to condemn the changes … some threatening to stop their subscriptions.

Ladd, a mainstay on local rock radio for decades is well known for his ability to assemble sets of music with true meaning. He’s been heard exclusively on SiriusXM since January, 2012 after he left KLOS (95.5 FM) the previous October.

And while it may be possible that it was SiriusXM’s decision to make the change, one thing in my mind says it could be Ladd himself: he is 74, after all. Maybe he wants to cut back for his own sake. Regardless, if I hear something I will definitely let you know.