I was really sad to read the news that KFWB, the "give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world" radio station, is dropping the news format and going to talk. I guess this is yet another sign of the times that the fat days of yesteryear are over; KFWB 980 and KNX 1070 are both owned by CBS radio but somehow had managed to coexist as virtual rivals in the Los Angeles Market.
I heard about this first with a tweet from LAObserved and got a real look at what's to come with this ad on KFWB's own Website.
LaObserved's Kevin Roderick quotes the Orange County Register reporter Gary Lycan:
Local news from across Southern California
"More details were still to be announced. Local news with Phil Hulett and Penny Griego will be 6-9 a.m. daily. A local news-talk show will air at 3 p.m., followed by [Pennsylvania-based] political commentator Michael Smerconish 6-9 p.m. nightly." Dr. Laura will move over from KFI. The 9 a.m. to noon slot will be filled by Laura Ingraham — so yet another right-wing AM radio outlet for Southern California?
Some history: KFWB went all-news in 1967. Before that it was a top 40 rock station.
So I went to the OC Register's story for a little more info, but didn't find too much more. The Dr. Laura move to KFWB will leave a space on KFI 640, two hours of which will be filled by Bill Handel, who will continue to do his morning show, "Handel in the morning," and very likely the weekend show he tapes during the week, "Handel on the Law," which is nationally syndicated and where he got his start in 1989. I guess KFI will turn into "All Handel, All the Time..."
The OC Register story tackles that KNX/KFWB competitive conundrum:
KFWB was for years a head-to-head competitor with KNX/1070 AM. When the two stations came under the same CBS ownership, KFWB evolved into a format most recently focusing on Hollywood news, but its ratings declined while KNX gained ground with its traditional news reporting.
And they did some reporting, back in the day. I have borrowed a few pictures from the website, KFWB "Hollywood Boulevard Gang" which is a website for the station's "Old Timers," including this one of Andy Park, one of the originals on KFWB when it hit the air in the all-news format.
Also check out the picture of the KFWB news unit -- a sensible sedan -- at the SLA shootout.
I love seeing these old pictures -- so many of them, on this website remind me of my first few jobs, running around town in a sedan just like that one gathering news for a news radio station. So many of the pictures have these guys smoking cigarettes and pipes in the newsroom, which was loud from all the police scanners, manual typewriters being hammered on and the teletype news wires zinging away in the background. And forget about hearing yourself think; those radio types are LOUD! A roomful of bellowing radio voices barking into phones, while a broadcast booth seals you off from that world so you can follow your "hotclock" of news (local news, then weather, then sports, then business, then California/national headlines, then a feature kicker story if there's time before you start it all again ... and all timed to the second.)
Times have changed, and I'm glad to see people don't smoke in newsrooms anymore, and computers are so much better than teletypes and typewriters. But this is a change that, again, makes me sad. Times are tough. News IS expensive. And yes, talk is cheap.