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KTLK adjusts to be more `live and local'

March 03, 2007|Steve Carney | Special to The Times

"Progressive Talk" station KTLK-AM (1150) juggles its lineup starting Monday, further distancing itself from the troubled Air America liberal radio network, and adding the former "Mr. KABC" to weekday afternoons.

A late-night fixture at KABC-AM (790), Marc Germain now moves his show to 3 to 7 p.m. on KTLK, where he'll go by his real name, or simply Mr. K. "He's definitely the biggest horse out there that became available," said Don Martin, KTLK's program director. "He's got a following that wants to hear him."

After a decade at KABC, Germain -- who called himself Mr. KFI at that station from 1992 to 1996 -- left last month in a contract impasse.

The KTLK makeover also brings back to Southland airwaves Bill Press, a former political commentator at numerous local radio and TV outlets. Press, once chairman of the California Democratic Party and co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," will broadcast his Washington, D.C.-based show live from 3 to 6 a.m.

The station is adding Alan Colmes, best known as the liberal half of "Hannity & Colmes" on cable television's Fox News Channel. He started in talk radio in 1979, and his New York-based show will air midnight to 3 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

To make room for Germain, KTLK is moving Air America's Randi Rhodes to weekdays at noon, so now her three-hour show airs live instead of tape-delayed. That pushes Ed Schultz to 7 to 10 p.m. He'll be followed by Rachel Maddow's two-hour program, which moves from 6 p.m.

KTLK drops Air America shows "Politically Direct," "Mark Riley" and "The Young Turks" from the weekday lineup, though Riley will still air Monday mornings. The station is also axing evening shows "Harrison on the Edge" and "Lionel." The syndicated Stephanie Miller show continues weekdays 6 to 9 a.m.

Now only three of the eight shows in KTLK's weekday lineup are from Air America: Thom Hartmann at 9 a.m., Rhodes and Maddow. Though the network created a name-brand for left-leaning talk radio, it has foundered financially since its inception in 2004. New investors took over Air America last month, after the business filed for bankruptcy protection in October.

From the moment KTLK launched in 2005, management has tried to differentiate itself from Air America, offering alternative hosts such as Schultz and Miller, and striving to become more "live and local," a niche Germain helps fill.

"Air America is a partner of ours, of course," Martin said. "I don't care what network you come from, I'm trying to put the best talk shows on."

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