Radio Waves: June 23, 2023

Where’s My Oldies?

I received more than a few emails regarding the loss of the LA Oldies (aka K-SURF) stream. While the station can still be heard over the airwaves if you have an HD radio and are able to clearly tune in 105.1 HD4, many listeners used the internet or smartphone apps to listen, and that’s what had been turned off due to the costs involved. The financial burden for streaming rights has been an issue for many stations, especially in smaller markets and niche formats.

Station owner Saul Levine knew that people liked the station and listened through the stream, but he didn’t realize just how many. And it caught him somewhat off guard when he started receiving calls and emails from around the world asking what happened.

“I was amazed at the response and the size of the audience,” he told me in early June. “We are reviewing the potential to bring it back, especially if we can cover the costs to stream it.”

Then, last week, the good news: “K-SURF is making its way back on the air,” Levine told me. “The outpouring of excitement for the format surprised me. K-SURF is truly America’s Oldies station.”

It is taking time to get things going, but it will be back, he says, with an even better experience on the apps. That’s music to many ears.

Legend Sold

The original KRLA (now KRDC, 1110 AM) has been sold. Unfortunately not to anyone who will play top-40 or oldies as I would have done. Perhaps bring back some of the magic that once propelled the station to the top of the ratings in the 1960s or even as HitRadio 11 in the 1970s.

Disney sold its last remaining radio property to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa for $5 million. Calvary also owns KWVE/San Clemente (107.9 FM) … Southern California’s other Wave (K-Wave), not to be confused with KTWV (94.7 FM – The Wave).

Not that I expect anyone to confuse K-Wave with The Wave, but it is interesting that both stations serve much of the same area. 

I am a little surprised that Calvary bought KRDC as they already own a very powerful FM station, while KRDC’s signal is hampered with an odd transmitting pattern that seems to send much of the signal over the ocean. Perhaps they have plans to put some money into refurbishing the transmitter site. 

Nominating Class of ’23

The Museum of Broadcast Communications — part of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago — received over 2500 suggestions for new inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame. In the end they whittled the list down to 24 candidates.

Among the nominees is our own John and Ken (currently heard 1-4 p.m. on KFI 640 AM), former local talk host Larry Elder, and Shadoe Stevens (KRLA, KMET, KROQ). You may also remember Stevens as Fred Rated, the “spokesman” for the now defunct Federated Group, and the voice of also defunct University Stereo among his popular voiceover work.

The full list, in alphabetical order by first name — for whatever reason — as presented on the website 

Bert Weiss, Bob Rivers, Charles Laquidara, Dyana Williams, Gerry House, Jaime Jarrin, John & Ken, John DeBella, Johnny Magic, Kevin Matthews, Kid Leo (Lawrence Travagliante), Larry Elder, Laurie DeYoung, Lee Harris, Rev. Louise Williams Bishop, Mark Simone, Mary McCoy, Matt Siegel, Mojo in the Morning, Monica May, Nina Totenberg, Pat St. John, Shadoe Stevens, and Shelley “The Playboy” Stewart.

Voting among 800 specially selected industry insiders will run through the end of the month; this year’s inductees will be announced on July 24th.


Just a few comments from recent columns …

“I read your column this morning and I sure agree with you regarding KABC. The station could be so much, but it has just become plain awful lately. The presentation is just terrible.

“I would hate to see one of the last stations to leave talk radio. I disagree with you in that it should be converted to music. Don’t we have enough music stations already?” — Mike Skibba

Not on AM … and that is a concern for me. Some owners are turning in licenses because the land they sit on is worth more than the station itself. Not enough listeners (and those that do listen are old like me or older, so advertisers don’t want them) because there is too much political talk, sports, etc. … there needs ti be something that attracts younger listeners before the band disappears completely, perhaps as soon as one more generation.

“I used to listen to KABC all day but not anymore.  It is all politics and especially LA politics and I live in the OC. I would LOVE to find an oldies station (50’s 60’s 70’s) and see John Phillips on TV or on another stronger station. He is the only one I listen to now. — Lin Akins