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Radio Shakeout

March 23, 1997

Re "The Dance of the Dial" (by Steve Hochman, March 16):

Ron Rodrigues, managing editor of the trade publication Radio and Records, is quoted as saying: "One trend we are noticing [in large markets like L.A.] is more innovation as a result of consolidation." The rest of the article belies this quotation. It points out that there are two "dance" stations, that KROQ and Y107 are nearly identical, that there are three "oldies" stations and that KROQ and KPWR overlap.

This is not innovation. This is not finding a "niche." I have always thought that "niche" meant being where no one else was.

It is the small independent owner who believes in a particular format (try KKGO, for example) that usually succeeds with true niche programming, whereas the manager responsible to a corporate bureaucracy cannot.

JOHN H. UNRATH

Seal Beach

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I struggle with the notion that L.A. radio listeners are currently experiencing the "innovation as a result of consolidation" Ron Rodrigues speaks of when a market as cultured and affluent as L.A. is still served by only one full-time jazz station, one full-time classical station and no quality adult alternative station to replace KSCA.

I disagree with Hochman's view that "this is a healthy time for L.A. radio" and instead agree with the word on the street: L.A. radio sucks.

DAN GRAZIANO

Lake Forest

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The state of radio in L.A. should be, and is, an embarrassment to Los Angeles and Orange counties. Diversity of musical selection during my 45-minute morning commute is virtually nonexistent. Most smaller college communities have at least one radio station capable of putting Los Angeles ("the center of the entertainment world") radio to shame.

PAUL MALKEMUS

Anaheim

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Today, stations are owned by mega-broadcasters who employ armies of consultants with their marketing surveys to produce narrow, rigidly focused formats intended to maximize the numbers but which leave most listeners dissatisfied.

Sure, people can buy their favorite music on tapes and CDs, but part of the fun of radio is never knowing what's coming on next. Then again, the bean counters and consultants of the world never understood the concept of "fun."

Give us an oldies station like KRTH used to be. Give us a country station like KZLA used to be. Give us an "urban" station like KDAY used to be. Give us a classical station like KFAC used to be. Get the picture? (Oh yeah, will someone please bring back Dr. Demento?)

TIMOTHY PABIAN

Panorama City

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How about a new, unique spin on the whole specialization in radio movement? How about putting the music first? That's what made KSCA special: the commitment to the music, first and foremost. Not demographics, not sales, not ratings. Thousands of loyal listeners are clamoring to leave all the other stations behind at the thought of getting the magic of the music back again.

It's amazing that in a market the size of Los Angeles, there isn't a smart business person who recognizes that!

GAYLIN LAUGHLIN

Claremont

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