KFI(640) radio, which has struggled to find a successful and consistent format, will begin a mix of talk and music on Monday featuring some of radio's best known personalities.
The key changes include expanding psychologist Toni Grant's program to four hours and moving it to 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (she's now on 6-8 p.m.), and adding to the lineup popular "Talknet" host Bruce Williams (who remains on KGIL as well) and the sports-oriented Bob Costas (formerly on KMPC). Jim Bohannon, who often substitutes for Larry King, moves his weekend talk show to Saturday evenings.
KFI's recent acquisition of Los Angeles Raiders football broadcasts will result in several new programs, including a weeknight sports talk show, "Raider Sports Magazine," debuting in late July.
KFI station manager Ken Kohl said Wednesday that the changes are result of months of audience research and testing. "We wanted to avoid the kind of gut-level programming changes that have plagued the station for years," he said. "In the old days, it was 'Let's try this, or let's try that.' There was no consistency and listeners never knew what to expect when they tuned in.
"We spent a lot of time checking these changes before implementing them. We want to become a full service station--talk, music, news, sports, weather--all backed with superstar personalities."
Despite the increase in talk, music will continue to "be the glue that holds the KFI format together," Kohl said. "The formats of Gary Owens and Al Lohman in the morning and Geoff Edwards in the afternoon remain exactly as they are."
In a most unusual development, the Williams "Talknet" show will be heard on both KFI and KGIL (1260), where it will begin an hour earlier and continue in its present 6-9 p.m. slot. KGIL program director Mike Lundy said Wednesday his station lacks exclusive rights in the market to Williams.
"KFI's powerful signal will impact us as well as stations carrying Bruce Williams in Ventura and San Bernardino," Lundy said. "We'll just have to see if listeners want to hear him live or in a rerun an hour later."
The new weekday KFI lineup that begins Monday: Gary Owens and Al Lohman from 5:30-10 a.m.; Toni Grant from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Geoff Edwards from 3-7 p.m.; Bruce Williams from 7-10 p.m.; Larry King live from 10 p.m.- midnight, with King's entire five-hour show repeated at midnight.
Bohannon will be heard Saturdays from 8 p.m.-midnight, and Costas on Sundays from 6-8 p.m., starting the weekend of April 16-17.