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L.A.'s 2nd Country-Music Station to Join Lineup Sept. 10

August 25, 1994|CLAUDIA PUIG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mirroring a growing national trend, a second country-music station will emerge on the Los Angeles radio dial next month.

Country music last year became the most popular radio format in the United States, but Los Angeles has had only one such station, KZLA-FM (93.9), since KLAC-AM switched to a different format last December.

The new station, which debuts Sept. 10, will simulcast with an existing country outlet, KIKF-FM (94.3), Orange County's top-rated station.

The Los Angeles station, formerly known as KMGX-FM and owned by Buckley Communications, was sold this week to Chagal Communications, which has entered into an agreement allowing Astor Broadcasting, which owns KIKF, to provide its programming.

Both stations are located at 94.3 on the dial and, through this agreement, will synchronize their signals and become one station that will reach listeners from Santa Clarita to San Clemente, said Art Astor, KIKF's owner and general manager.

Officials at KZLA, which ranked 12th in the most recent Arbitron ratings, predicted that the new station will be a boon for the growing number of country-music fans. During 1993, 10 million new listeners tuned in to country stations around the country, according to Simmons Study of Media and Markets.

"Any time a competitive battle opens up in the market, the winner is the people who love country music--the listeners," said R.J. Curtis, KZLA's program director.

KIKF's Astor said that his station, which plays mostly "hot" country artists such as Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Alan Jackson and Reba McEntire, will attempt to differentiate itself from KZLA by having a more "folksy" approach.

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