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Summer Splash / Radio | AROUND THE DIAL

The Big Vow

What says summer better than a wedding? Try an on-air event joining a pair of KFI-AM hosts.

May 22, 1997|JUDITH MICHAELSON and STEVE HOCHMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Radio surfs the airwaves, mostly oblivious to season. Whether AM or FM, talk or music, English or Spanish, stations tend to stick to format and schedule. This, despite the fact that you're likely to tune in more often in summer--in the car going to a vacation destination, or with radio as your poolside or beach-blanket companion.

Summer's reckoning comes only after the season is over, with the release of the Arbitron quarterly ratings report in October.

Still, bracketed between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, there are music marathons and charity events, off-air concerts, public-radio fund-raising specials, sports and other programming that just happens to air during June, July and August.

Indeed, what says summer better than a wedding?

The wedding--with KFI-AM (640) hosts Maria Sanchez and Phil Hendrie as bride and groom--takes place July 11 from 5 p.m. to midnight. Or as KFI notes in a press release: "Wedding, reception and honeymoon suite live from the Queen Mary" with "various KFI hosts" in attendance.

This is more than a one-night event. Coverage of premarital events, including "bachelor and bachelorette" parties, begins June 7 from 3-6 p.m., during Sanchez's show, when Phil and Maria pick their bed "live" from a mattress store on La Cienega.

Sanchez, who has four children ranging in age from 5 to 11, co-hosts the "Bitchin' With Sanchez and Walker" show with Glynnis Walker weekends from 3-6 p.m. Hendrie, who has never been married, takes calls on weeknights from 9 to midnight.

"Phil and I were taking a power walk," Sanchez says when asked how they decided to go public with their engagement activities. "I said, 'What do you think about involving the station? Do you think there's a promotional aspect?' And he said [he'd] run it past David [Hall, KFI program director]."

"I was so happy that the station decided they would like to run with this," Hendrie chimed in. "If they didn't, it would have been fine with me. I didn't want to do anything that would disrespect Maria or our union."

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Elsewhere this summer:

KPCC-FM (89.3) will air a two-hour National Public Radio special at 9 a.m. on Memorial Day, "Gray Matters: Alcohol, Drugs and the Brain." It will be followed at 10 a.m. by "Gray Matters: Depression and the Brain," hosted by CBS' Mike Wallace. If that sounds too depressing for a holiday, you might want to try "Who's Out There?: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life," 5-8 p.m. on KPCC.

Also on Memorial Day, KPFK-FM (90.7) will present documentaries, readings, music and poetry "commemorating war, celebrating peace and honoring the men and women who helped define the American attitude toward both."

On June 1, from 1-5 p.m., KPFK remembers Beat poet Allen Ginsberg with commentaries, music and, of course, poetry. It has a Grateful Dead special planned for July 4 and will broadcast "Caribbean Fest '97" on July 5.

KCRW-FM (89.9) will hold its seventh annual gourmet festival and fund-raiser known as "Summerday" on June 15, Father's Day, with food, music and auctions at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. Tickets cost $65 for the tasting and $85 gets you the tasting and the auction. The daylong event begins at 11 a.m.

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On commercial music stations, the signs of summer are in those holiday weekend marathons that have been around since Elvis.

KPWR-FM (105.9) presents its "Power Mix" Memorial Day weekend, with 72 hours of live, dance-oriented mixing by the station's crew. KROQ-FM (106.7) will honor the Fourth of July with an all-request weekend.

Topping the marathoners' charts, though, is KLOS-FM (95.5), which starting Friday at 1 p.m. will air its "Rock 'n' Roll From A to Z Tribute." Program director John Duncan says that the special--which will run for two weeks--is designed to feature "all the great rock songs played throughout KLOS' 28-year history, [including] the ones you've forgotten and the artists that you no longer hear on the radio. We're even going to be playing a lot of stuff off vinyl, which is the only way some of this is available, which gives it that old radio feel, with clicks and pops."

KRTH-FM (191.1) is joining with the Variety Club of Southern California, the Children's Charity, to present the fourth annual "Care for Kids" radiothon running from June 6 at 5 a.m. until June 7 at 7 p.m.

Other summer fare from commercial music radio includes remote broadcasts, contests, concerts and movie ticket giveaways.

Off the air, KPWR-FM (105.9) and KROQ-FM (106.7) will have dueling ice cream trucks. The KPWR wagon is already on the streets giving out up to 2,000 free treats every day, while KROQ hits the road next week with a Popsicle van, a tie-in to U2's "PopMart" concert tour, at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum June 21. The van, from the Good Humor company, will be distributing items with appropriate names (a Sunday Bloody Sundae in honor of a classic U2 song, U2-ty Fruity and KROQy Road). Some lucky suckers will have Popsicle wrappers, in the tradition of Willy Wonka, showing that they've won free U2 tickets.

KROQ's popular "Weenie Roast" concert, benefiting several charities, will be held June 14 at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre with a lineup of old favorites and new stars to be announced Wednesday. Irvine Meadows will also be the site for the annual R&B-oriented "Summer Jam" charity show sponsored by KKBT-FM (92.3) on Aug. 10.

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Spanish-language stations KWKW-AM (1330) and KVCA-AM (670) will have extensive sports coverage this summer. KWKW will interrupt its regular fare of Mexican regional music for live broadcasts from Major League Baseball's All-Star game, next month's NBA playoff finals and the championship match of the Mexican soccer league June 1.

KVCA-AM (670), Radio Central America, will cover most of the World Cup qualifying matches involving Costa Rica and El Salvador.

Judith Michaelson is a Times staff writer; Steve Hochman is a freelance writer. Times staff writer Kevin Baxter also contributed to this report.

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