Saturday, August 19, 2006

Grieving for Los Angeles

I wanted Rick Dees to have a chance to get back on to the air again, but not like this. Lately I've been lamenting the loss up here of K-HIT 107. I remember the day started calling themselves K-H-I-T 106 point 9 instead, about 13 years ago. The transition was subtle. Since then, they've even dropped the coolest call letters ever in favor of something that doesn't make much sense but fits better with their new "WARM 107" name. Before I had left town, KPLZ 101.5 had become "STAR 101.5" and things changed once again.

I was happy to be back and after being here six months, realized there wasn't two country stations in town, but four. But through it all, I missed KZLA, a really terrific country station in Los Angeles. Two of my co-workers, one Egyptian, one Chinese, nearly always had it tuned in their cars. It seemed like a really popular station. I even had a chance to talk to the morning guy, Peter Tilden, who agreed to leave a voicemail for my wife wishing her a happy birthday. (I had begrudgingly accepted him as the morning DJ. I missed Wendy and Jim for a long time after they left.)

But yesterday morning, without warning either the listeners or the the DJs, the format changed to another homogenous "moving" station. There's one up here. There's often something on that is listenable, but like I said, I have four other country stations available to me. I would be even more upset tonight if I lived in Los Angeles. I hope that another communications conglomerate will step up and recognize that there was a listening audience in KZLA.

They had recently celebrated 20 years and asked the audience what we thought they'd do in the next 20. I wrote in suggesting they take their successful brand to New York and let those poor New Yorkers have access to some great country.

I always said that Seattle had a better variety of radio than Los Angeles. This is just another nail in the coffin. Except KMZT (K-Mozart).. they played movie soundtracks like "Raiders of the Lost Ark".. I haven't heard KING play anything like that.

RIP, KZLA.

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