Columns appear in print in the U Entertainment Section of the Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whittier Daily News

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Radio Column July 1, 2007

Listening In

July 1, 2007

By Sandy Wells

Anti-Illegal immigration firebrand Kevin James returns on KRLA

Kevin James is happy to be back on the air in Los Angeles. The former overnight talk host and anti-illegal immigration firebrand was let go from his job at KABC-AM 790 about a month after Marc “Mr. KABC” Germain exited the station to take over afternoon drive on “Progressive Talk” KTLK-AM 1150.

“I’m very satisfied with the way things worked out,” said Kevin. “I was off the air for seven weeks. A lot of people think that is a short time. But there were a lot of things happening in the news. I wasn’t able to comment on them on a daily basis. That was frustrating. The timing was right for me to get another job.”

Kevin is also very happy with the people at KRLA and with his new schedule, weeknights from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The native of Oklahoma developed a large following in the wee hours on KABC. Many stayed up just to hear his latest take on the red hot illegal immigration (he’s against it) debate.

“I am going to stay on immigration. But there are other important issues that affect this city, such as what’s going on at City Hall and crime. And even crime is connected to the illegal immigration in many ways. I find the problem of the local politics fascinating and I like to spend a lot of time on that.”

Kevin says word of mouth across the Internet is helping direct his fans to his new radio home on KRLA. It also doesn’t hurt that he got a plug from fellow talk show host Marc Germain who took the time to inform his KTLK listeners about Kevin’s new radio home on KRLA.

“A lot of my ‘Red Eye Radio’ audience seems to have found me. I find that through my call screeners and I get a lot of emails from people who listened to me on KABC.”

Kevin came to LA in 1988 to work for a large law firm. He then spent three years as an assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles, which provided him an invaluable education on the workings of local government. Following that he litigated a number of high-profile entertainment cases as a private attorney. And after his legal expertise was called upon as a guest on Al Rantel’s show on KABC, he got hooked on radio.

“A lot of people say now that the best journalists are not coming out of journalism school but out of law school,” he explained, adding that an education in law is also excellent training for a talk show host.

Despite the University of Oklahoma’s devotion to his alma mater’s football team – he was a cheerleader there while in college – he feels the strongest ties here in his adopted home.

“I’m so glad I got to stay in Southern California radio. I’ve been here most of my adult life – except for the ten months I spent as the morning host in Oklahoma City. But I’m much more knowledgeable about this area so it’s much better for me to work here as far as the quality of the product.”

Gay-themed station debuts on HD radio

LA’s first gay and lesbian oriented radio station is now broadcasting on HD radio’s channel 104.3-HD2. This is the HD channel for hot adult contemporary music station KBIG-FM 104.3 and is run by Clear Channel Communications.

The Pride Radio channel is featuring mixes from artists such as Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, and Scissor Sisters. “Divas” Whitney Houston, Donna Summer and Janet Jackson are also deemed representative of the new station’s mix. KBIG plays a lot of disco music often associated with the gay clubs of the 70s and 80s, so it is a fitting companion station for people willing to buy an HD radio for their home or car, or are can listen online.

Pride Radio is hosted by personalities Ryan and Caroline, who are being promoted as radio’s equivalent to “Will and Grace.” The two present “Coming Out” listener stories, film reviews, travel, style, health, and celebrity gossip with US Weekly Senior Editor, Albert Lee. Ryan and Caroline will interview gay celebrities and gay icons as well.

“For the first time in LA Radio History, our GLBT Community has a local radio source to turn to for content specific to their entertainment interests,” said Program Director, Dave “Chachi” Denes. “With one of the largest gay communities in the country, I’m certain that Pride Radio LA, with its appealing music and entertainment content, will be well received by not only by our alternative lifestyle listeners but by our community in general.”

You can listen to Pride Radio with any HD Radio receiver at 104.3-2 or online at

Fairness Doctrine debated at Museum of TV and Radio

With many in Congress expressing frustration over the failure to pass reform immigration legislation, some are blaming the power of talk radio. They want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine to life, which they say will enforce the airing of opposing views on the nation's radio stations and thus tame popular conservative talk show hosts.

KPCC-FM 89.3’s Patt Morrison (weekdays, 2p.m.3 p.m.) hosted a discussion of the thorny and complex issue. She was joined by about a dozen people gathered in the small visitor lounge that surrounds the museums handsome glass-enclosed broadcast booth.

The May 29 broadcast marked the twenty year anniversary of the doctrine’s demise at the hands of President Ronald Reagan, who vetoed Congress’ attempt to restore it after a court ruling struck it down. For 38 years before that the doctrine had mandated that broadcasters offer equal time for the expression of opposing views expressed on a station’s airwaves. The practical effect of this was that broadcasters avoided controversy, partly out for fear of losing their broadcast license at renewal time. At the same time, radio and TV operators were at pains to prove to the government that they were serving the public interest by providing news coverage of their coverage area and broadcasting programs about community issues.

(L-R, KPCC's Patt Morrison, KABC's Doug McIntyre, Simon Wilkie from USC. Photo By Sandy Wells)

That ended in 1987. Ironically, at that time many conservatives feared that the dominence of the liberal media would further marginalize their political views. But the effect was just the opposite. Since then conservative firebrands such as Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity, have blazed new trails on the AM band and caused some to wonder since if the whole thing wasn’t some conservative plot to obliterate liberalism and the Democratic Party. And local news budgets have been slashed since license renewal has become a perfunctory, “rubber stamp” process.

Joining her inside the little studio was Doug McIntyre, morning talk show host from KABC-AM 790 and Simon Wilkie, Director of the Center for Communications Law and Policy at the USC School of Law. On the phone, was KTLK-AM 1150 mid-morning host Thom Hartmann, who is based in Portland, Ore. and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who wants to restore some semblance of the Fairness Doctrine.

Sanders weighed in saying that the most significant development is concentration of media ownership. He said the public should not be fooled by the apparent abundance of cable, satellite and media outlets. He says most are held by a small number of owners who all share the same interests.

“What is the responsibility of the owner to the people? Right now it's to make as much money as possible.”

Hartmann said that when he worked as a news director thirty years ago, everyone understood that news was there to serve the public and that broadcasters underwrote its costs in return for the privilege of having a broadcast license granted to them by the government.

McIntyre said restoring the Fairness Doctrine would stifle public debate and amount to government censorship of political discourse. He also doesn’t buy the underlying premise of the Fairness Doctrine, which is that since the broadcast spectrum is limited, it must be regulated.

“Technology has changed the landscape,” added McIntrye. “With podcasting and XM and Sirius, a thousand other ways of broadcasting, why are we applying these ‘putting the genie back in the bottle’ standards to terrestrial radio when in fact we’re sharing a smaller and smaller amount of the audience with all these alternatives?”

“Let the public decide what they want to hear, said McIntrye.

Sanders countered that the rise of the conservatives on talk radio is no accident, and that while he doesn’t deny that people like Rush Limbaugh are very talented, they are basically there to say the things the owners of the media conglomerates want said “and that they are saying things that their advertisers are sympathetic to.”

You can hear the full broadcast by going to and clicking on the Patt Morrison show icon.


Burkey said...

Patt Morrison's lovefest with Condi Rice convinced me not to support that station anymore. I literally couldn't believe what I was hearing, nor that KPCC wrote on the interview page that Rice is "labeled" a war criminal by "some."

You wouldn't have known that from the interview, however. It was as if Condi were a rock star and Patt a groupie. There was not one question, not one comment, not one single thing to acknowledge what we, as taxpayers, received from Ms. Rice in her days as a public servant, from the lie that "no one could have foreseen airplanes being flown into buildings" to her threat of a "mushroom cloud" to envelop us all.

I'll resist posting any more comments, Mr. Wells, but I saw that you have a blog and felt I had to take a peek. ;D

Burkey said...

As to Mr. MacIntyre's question "why" bring back the FD with all these "alternatives"---

That would be a fair argument if satellite radio were free. It would be a fair argument if there were actual alternatives that have equal reach with terrestrial airwaves, into automobiles and terrestrial radios.

But for most people, in most cars, right now here today, and for this century so far, the media concentration spoken of by Hartmann and Sanders ensures that when Mr. Delivery Guy gets in his truck to do his rounds that day, with very few exceptions, what he can tune in is terrestrial radio.

Cost is an issue. Internet does not broadcast in cars unless that car is equipped with the latest & has the price tag to match. The future is the future, and we're not there yet, regardless of the gadgets that the more economically advantaged are playing with right now.

It is also possible, and in my opinion likely, that the alternative media has developed to the extent it has because the overwhelmingly "conservative" media has alienated listeners, forcing them to both create and discover new programming. (Also, it's my opinion that "conservative" is a misnomer when applied to the pols who claim it. "Conservative" administrations have huge-ified our government from Reagan on, all the while claiming to be for "small government.")