Just Another Business

While I am just as sorry as anyone that the likes of Chris Cantore and so many other radio veterans were sent packing, I still don’t see the big surprise of it (“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local,” Cover Story, December 31). The radio business is certainly no different than any other business now experiencing the drastic tumult and disassociation of the current bad economy. Other businesses are “redefining” their sales forces and employees and winnowing personnel, so why shouldn’t radio suffer along with everyone else? In this case, I would say to radio folks: Hunker down, hope you aren’t too expensive a burden to the corporation, and keep a low profile until things start to turn around. God knows the politics involved in surviving the radio snake pit — just be nice to the listeners and no, we are “not stupid.”

The success of 94.9 FM shows that a station can stay in the game and maintain its integrity as well as its employees and play great music! It’s a shame that the radio business has come to this, but it coexists along with every other business out there getting whacked by the economy. About all that is left to say is that old, tired cliché: radio — hang in there!

Gail Powell
via email

Bad News

Would’ve been a possibly good article if it didn’t seem like it was written six months ago without being updated before it was submitted (“Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local,” Cover Story, December 31). Hilary is at 94/9 now and has been for the last few months.

Funny how I saw that cover picture on an album cover at Borders yesterday.

Journalism in the 2000s sucks!!

I’ll try reading a main article there in the next six months and see if it’s improved.

via email

The cover illustration by Tom Cocotos was nonexclusive art that was sold to the Reader for one-time publication rights. — Editor

Radio Rundown

I have a couple of comments on your cover story in the December 31 issue, “Why Local Radio Is No Longer Local.” I would take issue with your terminology there. The author talks about radio, and sometimes what he’s referring to is some Internet setup. As far as I’m concerned, unless it goes through the air and can be picked up free with an aerial, it’s not radio; it’s something else. In other words, radio is from 550 through 1700 kilocycles amplitude modulation, over the air, through an aerial, or it’s from 88 through 108 megacycles frequency modulation, over the air, through an aerial. This other stuff on the Internet, you should not call it radio. It’s not radio. Please don’t call it radio, it’s just confusing. And also this satellite stuff that evidently you have to pay for or stuff you get through a cable, it’s not radio — radio’s through the air, picked up by an aerial, free.

Also, he says something about there are 13 local AM radio stations in San Diego. I rather doubt that. As far as I know, there are only 3 stations that have talk programs: KOGO, 600 kilocycles; KFMB, 760 kilocycles; and KCBQ, 1170 kilocycles; and then that thing at 1700 kilocycles — it’s almost irrelevant; we have four or five radios in the house, and I can only pick it up on one or two because it’s at the far end of the band. There are a few other sports stations, but I’m not aware of any music stations left around here — AM, that is, not FM. There’s KECR; that’s a religious station in El Cajon; that’s at 910 kilocycles AM. There may be a few Mexican stations. There used to be KSDO, which was a good station, 1130; Clear Channel sold it to the Mexicans, and now it’s some sort of a religious station. I don’t think there are 13 AM stations, really, in San Diego.

Name Withheld
via voice mail

Thomas Larson replies: My total of 13 AM radio stations came from the Arbitron ratings data for San Diego as well as ontheradio.net.

They are KOGO 600; KFMB 760; KECR 910; KCEO 1000; KURS 1040; KSDO 1130; KCBQ 1170; KPRZ 1210; KSON 1240; KKSM 1320; KLSD 1360; KFSD 1450; and 1700AM.

The AM stations, besides the talk powerhouses like KOGO and KFMB, include gospel, religious, college, and Spanish formats.

Jesus Goes To Rudford’s

Hey, I remember that party (“Crasher,” December 31)! You and your girlfriend were already there when I arrived. Too bad you two didn’t stay for the bonfire, because that was when more friends of mine showed up. And Thom’s too. We were there till about 4:30 or 5:00 a.m., when we went en masse to Rudford’s for breakfast. Burt, the “oldest marcher in the 2008 Gay Pride parade,” stayed up with us too! He’s such a character. I never thought about it, but you are right, Thom does look like Jesus, without that stupid hat and his glasses.

By the way, the actress I would have play me in a movie of my life would be Natalie Wood, although people constantly tell me I look like Anne Hathaway. Now that I think about it, maybe my attractive girlfriends would have made your lady jealous. She’s cute, but I have been told that I am too. Ciao, Bebe!

via email


I read, transfixed, your article regarding the SDPD, Victor Vega’s thumb, and the Critical Mass ride, held the last Friday of each month, at 7:00 p.m., beginning in Balboa Park (“SDPD — Got an Attitude?” “City Lights,” December 4).

It simply does not surprise me that the SDPD would not cite the man who tried to bite Mr. Vega’s thumb off and succeeded in mutilating it. It does, however, reinforce a terrible perception (truth) about the SDPD and virtually every other official law enforcement agency operating in Southern California and San Diego (county sheriff; local PDs like El Cajon, Carlsbad, etc.; DEA; Border Patrol). They are anti-bicycle, period. In this case, the officers involved abandoned their responsibility and knowingly allowed a criminal to escape prosecution for an assault. It is unfortunately the latest in a series of anti-cyclist actions by law enforcement.


davidtanny Jan. 10, 2009 @ 8:44 p.m.

re: Name Withheld's definition on what radio is

Since the dark cloud of corporate control of terrestrial radio covered most of San Diego, Internet has become radio while AM and FM have become anything but radio.

Since the mid-90s, the definition of what a radio is has changed to mean streaming audio from websites, and that has become the new meaning of radio.

Satellite delivered playlists of music is also called radio.

Podcasts are not, however, radio, but more like shows on demand, but many people are thinking that it's radio.

What is no longer radio, however, are the stuff that comes between the AM frequencies of 540 and 1700 kHz. What it is are mostly right-wing wacko propagation machines in the guise of talk, religion, and news shows. The music played on the AM band tends to be aimed for people in the AARP age group. Generally, younger people think of AM as their grandparent's band, and is not relevant to their lives.

FM is the younger people's parent's band. That band too tends to play music that is controlled by suits in far away places who have no connection with what the general public wants to hear. On the corporate-run stations that's anything but radio, all you get is lite pop rock music aimed at young females, worn out dinosaur rock for what's left of the older listeners, watered-down country and alternative rock, light jazz, adult contemporary that sounds like rock, rock that sounds like adult contemporary, R&B that has anything but house music, and other monotonous ideas.

With younger listeners flocking to radio (Sateliite, Internet, whatever else) and away from merely corrupt AM/FM, the collective numbers for the radio stations continues to fall, with many more stations going below a 1.0, and a sizable portion under a 0.5 rating. As long as radio station decision makers continue to shoot themselves in the foot, the ratings will continue to ebb, advertising dollars fall, and deficits on the rise.

Stations are going dark, asking for donations, cutting back on local talent in favor of cheaper programming, and adding more informercial blocks. In short, radio is out of ideas on what to program to get an audience.

On the Internet, you can find oldies that go far deeper than what The Walrus is daring to do, dance mixes that commercial stations avoids, real comedy that you won't find on the morning talk shows, blues, bluegrass, folk, rock-country, and other genres that go ignored on the AM and FM bands, and so forth.

It makes me wonder why it is worth it for a radio station to keep pushing the same old stuff again and again when the audience doesn't care for it anymore. Get some refreshing talk programming that doesn't slam people and you'll get ratings. Get some music that has a beat, pulse, groove, and a real riff and you'll get some listeners again.

So when will the terrestrial analog streams on the AM and FM bands start acting like radio once again?


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