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KMZT-AM to become KGIL talk

October 15, 2007|Steve Carney | Special to The Times

Saying there's too much bluster and not enough news on the airwaves, radio entrepreneur Saul Levine is launching a news/talk station Oct. 29, replacing classical outlet KMZT-AM (1260). The new KGIL will feature the return of Michael Jackson, the dean of Los Angeles talk-radio hosts, Levine said, and "the theme of the station is going to be the word 'balanced.'

"Anybody who's going to foam at the mouth about Hillary [Clinton] or George [Bush], I'm not going to foster that, and I don't think that's what made America great," Levine said. The preliminary lineup features Jackson, who had a show on KABC-AM from 1966 to 1998 and bounced around other outlets since then, as well as CNN star Larry King, nationally syndicated libertarian host Neal Boortz and radio psychologist Joy Browne.

Coming up against talk stations on both the political right and left, from KFI-AM (640) and KABC-AM (790) to KTLK-AM (1150), KGIL also will take on all-news stations KFWB-AM (980) and KNX-AM (1070).

The station will feature King from 6 to 7 a.m. weekdays and Jackson from 9 to 11 a.m., with a two-hour newsmagazine from the Wall Street Journal in between. News and traffic will air every half-hour. After 7 p.m., the station will switch to adult standards music. It will revert to the KGIL call letters it held from 1947 to 1993, when Levine bought the station.

"We've been looking at this the last 30 to 60 days. We knew we needed to make a change," Levine said, after KMZT, known as "K-Mozart," could muster only dismal ratings after its move from FM to the lower-fidelity AM dial in February.

K-Mozart will remain only on the secondary channel at 105.1 FM, available to listeners with HD radio receivers.

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