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POP EYE

February 07, 1988|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

AND WHILE WE'RE ON THAT SUBJECT: Who cares if Guy Kemp maybe is the world's worst deejay. There's still some good news at KMPC-FM, which recently dumped its "Niche 29" oldies pop programming format in favor of a more cutting-edge rock format. More specifically, the New FM 102 has stopped playing Fleetwood Mac every 15 minutes and has opened up its playlist to Bourgeois Tagg, Depeche Mode, Tonio K., the Bodeans and Gene Loves Jezebel.

KMPC-FM program director Sam Bellamy was reluctant to discuss the corporate maneuvering behind the decision, no doubt because the station has hired its own on-air personnel, but is still under contract to Transtar Inc., a satellite broadcasting network which had originally supplied most of KMPC's programming. However, she acknowledged: "We weren't getting particularly enthusiastic feedback from our listeners. So we decided to go with our guts and our ears--and get rid of all the research."

In an era where most rock radio is timid and formulaic--and geared toward playing easily-digestable, brand-name oldies--it's refreshing to hear a programmer who's still trying to challenge her audience. "I think rock is just as exciting in 1988 as it was in 1968 or 1978," said Bellamy, who relys heavily on input from music director J. J. Jackson.

"But what's missing is a good rock station that appeals to people over 25, too. Most programmers are afraid to venture out of this comfort zone--they're afraid that people over 25 only want to hear the classics. But just because you turn 25--or 35--doesn't mean you can't get off on Flesh for Lulu just as much as the Eagles."

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