Radio Waves: 1/17/20

Imus passes

Don Imus was never a big deal here in Los Angeles, even though his syndicated show was available for a time on a few stations including KLAC (570 AM), the original KRLA (now KRDC, 1110 AM) and KABC (790 AM). For whatever reason he never clicked with Southern California’s radio audience, in spite in spite of being a local boy – he was born in Riverside.

But he most certainly was in New York. When my friend Andrew Holt worked in radio near the East Coast, he would talk about Imus and his show as it was heard on WNBC. One of the funniest people on the radio, I think he said about the i-man. This was in the pre-political days.

Imus passed away on December 27th.

Imus’ first radio job was in 1968 at a station in Palmdale, California. KUTY (1470 AM) still exists, though it now plays regional Mexican music instead of the top-40 sounds it played when Imus worked there. 

Just three years later, Imus was hired for mornings on WNBC — also a top-40 station at the time. He was a master of “hitting the post” — talking through the intro of a song up until the exact time the singing starts.

The early days were not political, but evolved into a politically-centered show over the years, especially after 1988. I’ve heard Imus do a spot-on imitation of our own Robert W. Morgan as heard here during the Boss Radio days of KHJ (930 AM). Except for one year in Cleveland, Imus was at WNBC (and WNBC’s replacement WFAN) — syndicated starting in 1993 — until early 2007 when he made disparaging comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

I did not realize that he personally met with the team to apologize, something done, I am told, not to save his job but to “save this soul.” The Rutgers coach, C. Vivian Stringer, accepted the apology and even offered condolences to his family after his death.

Late 2007 brought his to the airwaves once more, this time via syndication from his base at WABC/New York. This lasted until 2018 when he retired.

Short Takes

Country band Little Big Town is hosting the mid-day (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. shift on Go Country (KKGO, 105.1 FM) through the end of January. They’ll talk about their favorite artists and songs as well as give personal stories from their lives and career. Their new album “Nightfall” will hit the streets on January 17.

Rush Limbaugh has signed a new deal with Premiere Radio Networks giving his show four more years of syndication. At least we think it’s four more years; neither Limbaugh nor Premiere has given a specific term, but President Trump, whom Limbaugh supports, mentioned the specific term at a rally in Miami recently.

I mentioned it at least a year ago, maybe two, that Alt 98.7 (KYSR, 98.7 FM) was still calling itself “LA’s New Alternative.” And they’re still doing it. How long does one get to go before it is no longer “new?” The station has been playing an alternative music format since September, 2007.

Lemos Named Interim GM

Chuy From LaPuente (aka Danny Lemos) was named interim General Manager of Long-Beach low-power station KLBP (99.1 FM). He will oversee the launch f new studios expected to open in February, and a transition to live broadcasting from the recorded programming currently heard.

Lemos was a major part of the Rick Dees morning program on KIIS-FM (102.7) in the 1980s and ‘90s. His Chuy character was among the most popular characters on the show. He also worked various positions at KIIS-FM, KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) and stations in San Jose and San Francisco. 

Currently, he is the student media coordinator for 22 West Media, which includes 22 West Radio (88.1 FM HD3), formerly known as K-Beach out of Long Beach State University. That work, and his morning show on 22-West (heard from 9-10 a.m.) will continue.