Radio Waves: April 5, 2024

Chanley’s replacement(s)

With former SoCal Sound (88.5 FM)  afternoon drive DJ and music director Andy Chanley moving East to the Windy City to take on hosting duties at Triple-A formatted WXRT-FM/Chicago, the time has come for a replacement. Or in this case, replacements.

Enter: Matt Pinfield, who will take on the afternoon drive shift, and current mid-day host Julie Slater, who will add Music Director duties to her daily grind.

Known more for traditional alternative music than Triple-A’s lighter “adult album alternative,” Pinfield has a long history in music, radio, and television. He was a video deejay on MTV and VH1 back when the cable music television channels actually played music, and was Vice President of A&R (artists and repertoire) and Artist Development for Columbia Records.

Since 2021, he’s hosted  a Sunday night (8-10 p.m.)  show on KLOS (95.5 FM) called “New and Approved,” highlighting new music — a show he continues to host now, even with the new SoCal shift. Honors? Oh, yes: in 2022 he was recognized as “International Rock Icon of the Year” at the Global Rock Summit.

Slater has been heard on The late-great Sound 100.3 FM (now KKLQ), Alt-98.7 FM (KYSR) and even did some news reporting at KFI (640 AM). She’s been heard on the SoCal Sound since 2022. 

Both announcements should make for continued success for the award-winning station that broadcasts out of Cal State University Northridge, in combination with Saddleback College. Station General Manager Patrick Osburn told me “(morning man) Nic Harcourt, Julie, and Matt all have history, so it’s a regular family reunion over here!”

The Entertainers

So many observers have put down radio …  they just don’t see a future. Too many commercials, not local enough, little excitement or personality. Often that is true, but there are some stations and shows breaking the modern mold, giving Southern California listeners some real entertainment. Here are a few that I think stand out.

You already know how much I like The Woody Show (mornings) and Booker and Stryker (afternoons) on Alt 98.7. Woody and crew are tremendously popular due in large part to their mostly clean humor and an attitude toward life that closely mirrors my own. Afternoons with Ted Stryker and Chris Booker are a daily must-hear with a show so clean — and fun — that even the kids can listen. 

But they are most definitely not the only ones. A quick recap of some other shows that prove the prediction of radio’s demise is still premature:

Ally (Johnson) and (Kevin) Klein, mornings, are KROQ’s (106.7 FM) alternative to Alt’s Woody. Truth be told, it is a very similar show in nature … clean fun that occasionally gets a little, but just barely, crude. Even the music is similar … consider it safe for high school and older. Unfortunately for KROQ, that’s it … the other shows on KROQ are nothing special due primarily because they are in fact not local but syndicated and simulcast on multiple Audacy-owned stations. Hard to be local when you’re heard in four cities.

Over at KLOS (95.5 FM) you have a morning show that at times borders on raunchy but generally stays on the clever side: Heidi (Hamilton) and Frank (Kramer). This show has been  in town for years; you may remember its genesis on the old FM talker, KLSX (now KNX-FM, 97.1) Afternoons on KLOS are covered as well with Kevin (Ryder) and Sluggo (Doug Roberts).

Wait … weren’t Kevin and Sluggo on KROQ? Yes indeed … back when KROQ was relevant. Like their friends — and my understanding is that they truly are friends — on Alt, tbey are good, clean fun and as great way to end the work day as you drive home.

Of course these examples are not all-encompassing, but they do indicate that some stations and some programmers do indeed try. I personally think Alt does the best, especially considering the numerous local promotions, local concerts, local contests and other local events promoted throughout the broadcast day. The key being the word “local.” Against the odds, Alt programmer Lisa Worden has managed create a station with a local feel within the constraints and reality of modern corporate ownership. For that I tip my hat.

As mentioned in the story on the Mighty 690 a few weeks ago, it wouldn’t even take much to take all stations local, including paying for local talent. Perhaps by highlighting such shows, we all can make a difference.

Here’s where you come in: what local shows, on any station, do you like … and why? Send me your thoughts and I’ll mention the best here.