Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Random Rantings: KTXL, KQCA addeth news; KCSO taketh away

Welcome back from the Memorial Day weekend. Two weeks out of the country served The Informer well. More on that some other time. Now, what's happening:

The "synergy" between KOVR-13 and KMAX-31 seems to be starting to benefit both sides. Reporters from each station have been showing up on the other's broadcasts, particularly Naj Alukhan (of KMAX) with LIVE shots on KOVR's "Daybreak" newscasts; and KOVR's Diana Penna with health reports on KMAX's "Good Day Sacramento." Trust me, people -- this is not even the start of it. Once the two news teams buddy up in West Sacramento, you're not going to be able to tell much of the difference.

KTXL-40 is now rolling out the promotion for its new "Fox 40 Morning News," which debuts on Monday. The one-hour show will be anchored by Sacramento native Jennifer Parker, who most recently was an anchor and reporter in Seattle. The show airs from 7-8am.

KCSO-33, the Modesto-based Sacramento market Telemundo affiliate, has finally pulled the plug on its "rip-and-read" 6pm local newscast. Not that anyone actually noticed: even though the station is available in about 90% of the market, "Noticiero 33" barely drew flies, much less a rating. The station has a public affairs show Sunday evenings, but no immediate plans to challenge KUVS-19 in the Spanish-language local news market.
Interestingly enough, KCSO is owned by Chester Smith and his partners, who built KUVS and sold it to Univision almost seven years ago. KCSO is the original call-sign of Channel 19.

KQCA-58 is confirming it will expand its 10pm "WB58 News At Ten" to a full hour this fall, although a timetable has not been announced. The move coincides with the end of KOVR-13's 10pm weeknight newscast, which will end near the start of the new fall television season. The station will move its CBS prime time lineup back to the 8-11pm timeslot, bringing it in line with the rest of the CBS network. CBS parent Viacom recently acquired KOVR from Sinclair Broadcasting.

What is Salem going to do with 94.3? Acquired in a multi-market swap with Univision Radio, the station went from near the top of the ratings heap with its Spanish format to complete obscurity as a simulcast of KKFS-105.5 ("The Fish"). Rumblings persist that Salem may be shopping the Jackson-based stick.

First Broadcasting is apparently going to build up BOB (KBDB-92.1) before it sells it. The Dallas-based investment bankers have applied to relocate the station's transmitter, now located near the top of Apple Hill, and double the power to 6,000 watts. Staci Anderson is now programming Bob and its sister, the soon-to-be-Spanish "Flash 103.9" (KXCL).

That's the news for the last couple of weeks...stay tuned.

The Informer


Modesto: Audio Issues Plague KTRB

Pappas owned KTRB-AM 860 is experiencing audio difficulties. The station, which is largely operated from sister station KMPH in Fresno, has been maintaining its carrier with nothing more than a phone line since late last week.
KTRB programs syndicated talk shows and infomercials, and is preparing to move to San Francisco. Station officials were unavailable through the holiday weekend to confirm if the audio issues are related to that move, or due to another technical issue.


MediaWeek Looking At Sacramento

The industry trade publication MEDIAWEEK has a worthwhile read on the state of the Sacramento radio and television market. Read it here: http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/current/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000938306


Sacto: BOB Plays KCRA

92.1 BOB-FM (KBDB Placerville) gets a couple of features on KCRA-3's Memorial Day newscasts. Program Director Staci Anderson discusses the listener response to BOB, which plays a broad spectrum of rock, pop and alternative music from the 1960's through today.

In addition, BOB is featured in the current issue of MEDIAWEEK magazine, which hits the streets today.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


SF: Bonneville Takes 95.7 To The MAX

KZBR-95.7 SF has flipped to its version of "we play anything," under the moniker 95.7 MAX FM.

Using the slogan, "70's, 80's Whatever We Feel Like," the former country outlet known as "The Bear" is promising a diverse artist roster including Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac, Pat Benatar and Genesis.

The station is offering a live audio stream through its website at www.957max.com.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


Random Rantings: Just Plain Strange

The "Less Is More" approach to fewer and shorter commercials at Clear Channel Radio's local stations is having a strange effect. KFBK, which has dominated the market for years with the only local full-time radio news department plus Rush and Tom Sullivan, has been on a steady southbound spiral since the new policy was adopted at the start of the year. True, there hasn't been a major news story of local importance to deal with, but the once monstrous ratings of KFBK have never depended upon tragic events to stay large.

Weird week at First Broadcasting. Caren Berry gets promoted to Station Manager at Flash 103.9; Staci Anderson gets promoted to Program Director of Flash 103.9. All good, and well deserved.
Later that same meeting, both newly ordained executives are told their station is being sold and flipped to Spanish, probably in six months.
Thanks for playing our game. Your raises are over there next to your pink slip and your complimentary nachos. Sorry, jalapenos and job security are extra.

I rant, therefore, I am.

The Informer


Modesto: Collect It, Preserve It, Then Leave

Pappas Telecasting's KTRB-AM 860 Modesto is soliciting listener contributions of broadcast memorabilia from the San Joaquin Valley.

In promos airing on the 50kw Talk Station (which is largely operated from Fresno), KTRB is asking for clippings, recordings or other historic pieces of the area's pioneering broadcasters and stations. Chester Smith, who wrote the book on local television broadcasting in Modesto and continues to operate Telemundo affiliate KCSO-LP-33 from there, gets a nice mention.

Once gathered, Pappas will establish the collection for public viewing at an as-yet undetermined location.

Interestingly, for as much as it is part of that city's broadcasting legacy, KTRB is preparing to leave Modesto. Pappas plans to relocate the station to San Francisco, perhaps as soon as this fall. It will be replaced by a new 40kw station, KPMP-AM 840. It, say Pappas executives, will be operated from Modesto.


SF: Class Move

Lost among the week's other happenings was one of the classiest moves in recent memory. When Family Stations took over legendary KFRC-AM 610 last week, station manager Matt Tuter spoke the first words of the "Sound Of The New Life" format aired on "The Big 610." In his remarks he included special thanks, among them a brief but warm tribute to one of KFRC's heritage, recently stilled, voices: "Dr. Donald Rose, we all miss you...very much."


Weather Plus On Air, On Line

KCRA-3 Sacramento has formally rolled out its new "Weather Plus" digital weather service. The channel provides non-stop local and regional weather presented in graphic form, plus constantly updated live doppler radar images and local forecasts from KCRA's Sacramento Weather Center.

The station has rebranded its forecasting team of Mark Finan, Dirk Verdoorn, Patty Souza and Eileen Javora as "KCRA 3 WeatherPlus Meteorologists" and applied the WeatherPlus brand to all its weather reporting and special coverages. Also, the station now displays each forecasters AMS (American Meteorological Society) certification seal during weather presentations.

"WeatherPlus" can be viewed over-the-air by digital television receivers only on KCRA-DT channel 35-2; and on-line through theKCRAchannel.com website.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Happy Anniversary, You're Fired -- In About Six Months

Wednesday night, Flash 103.9 celebrates its first anniversary by throwing a Rick Springfield concert and giving away a shiny-red 2005 Ford Mustang.
Thursday morning, the station tweaks its sound with new "imaging" -- the interstitials that air between songs -- conceived by PD Staci "Chicks Who Rock" Anderson.
Thursday afternoon, First Broadcasting announces that Flash is going away.
First has sold KXCL-FM to Amador Bustos' eponymous independent Spanish broadcasting company for $23 million. Bustos formerly owned KXCL's sister station, now known as KBDB-Bob 92.1, which First will retain and continue to operate from the Commerce Circle building which Bustos has owned for years.
For the few hearty souls who remain at Flash 103.9, it is perhaps NOT the end of the line. There is rumor and speculation that the team that holds down the 80's format could be retained to staff "Bob," which just launched its "we play anything" format in late March.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Rumor-Mania Running Wild

Message boards and tongues are wagging with late news that Flash 103.9 (KXCL-FM Lincoln), long rumored to be a takeover target, has been sold by First Broadcasting of Dallas to the owner of its studio building in Sacramento, (Amador) Bustos Media.

More to come as we hear...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Fox Sports Radio Segues to Overnights on KHTK

After six years as a founding affiliate of Sporting News Radio, Sacramento's KHTK-1140 has left the Chicago-based sports-talk network in favor of Los Angeles-based Fox Sports Radio.

KHTK will air overnight shows with Jorge Sedano and Steve Czaban on weekdays, with radio highlights of FSN's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" and other talk programming on weekends during the midnight-5am time period.

J.T. The Brick, a longtime Fox Sports Radio personality, was displaced from his 9-11pm show on KHTK last month with the debut of local talent Tim Montemayor's "Monty 'Til Midnight".


Goodnight, Kings

Sacramento Kings fans are mourning the earliest exit from the Playoffs in seven seasons of their team. The Kings were bounced 4-1 in their series with Seattle, the final loss coming Tuesday night -- a 122-118 thriller at Key Arena.

Conspicuous by his absense on the KXTV-10 Maloof-produced telecast was sideline reporter and radio fill-in man Jim Kozimor. Sources have no explanation for Koz's absence last night, after two nights of radio work substituting for Gary Gerould. Koz is scheduled to host "Kings Talk" tonight and call the Sacramento Monarchs first WNBA preseason game Friday night, both on KHTK-1140.


Where Are They Now?

For those who wonder, we asked: Whatever Happened To...

Steve Garland: The former KXOA/KXCL Program Director, unceremoniously dumped in the January bloodletting at First Broadcasting, has made the transition to Account Manager at Clear Channel's KGBY (Y92).

Chris Rice: former sidekick of Whitey Gleason in the latter days of "The Rise Guys" at KRXQ is rocking middays at KTBZ in Houston.


Random Rantings: R.I.P. KFRC

My thoughts...

Infinity did the inevitable this week, taking the music off KFRC-AM for the last time. It sold KFRC-AM to Family Stations, the Oakland-based religious broadcaster that still runs taped sermons by dead preachers. The FCC forced the move after Infinity parent Viacom announced its intention to buy KOVR-13 in Sacramento, creating a duopoly and a cluster of six radio stations in Sacramento. Add the two big signal AM's Infinity owns in San Francisco (KFRC and KCBS-740), and the feds figured there was too much Viacom juice in the Capital City.

Not that it really matters, because KFRC-AM was nothing more than a place to stick A's baseball for the last few years (it remains on AM 610, in between dirges). But its another piece of radio history shoved in a drawer, all in the name of progress and consolidation.

Dr. Don Rose would, I suspect, not be pleased.

Until next time...

The Informer



Walnut Creek-based nostalgia FM KABL-92.1, programmed and managed by Clear Channel, has been sold by Chase Media Partners to Contra Costa County Radio for $7 million. The transaction, under the legal name Coast Radio Company, will bring KABL into the home of AC formatted KKIQ-101.7 Livermore and KUIC-95.3 Vacaville.


Fresno: KMJ Leads; B95 Surging

Fresno's latest Arbitron radio ratings show that Winter was the hottest season of the year for CHR/Urban hybrid KBOS (B95). The Clear Channel station increased its audience share by 40% in the survey of listeners 12 years and older, released Tuesday.

Infinity Talk powerhouse KMJ continues to dominate, holding its overall #1 ranking in the winter period. Former rival KMPH, which flipped to urban contemporary music on April 1, notched a dead last finish in its final book as a news/talk station.

The 12+ rankings:

1. KMJ-580 (Infinity-News/Talk)
2. KBOS-94.9 (Clear Channel-Urban CHR)
3. KJFX-95.7 (Mondosphere-Classic Rock)
4. KSKS-93.7 (Infinity-Country)
5. KWYE-101.1 (Infinity-Modern AC)
6 (tie). KALZ-102.7 (Clear Channel-Hot AC)
6 (tie). KFSO-92.9 (Clear Channel-Spanish Oldies)
6 (tie). KOND-92.1 (Univision-Regional Mexican)
9. KMGV-97.9 (Infinity-R&B Oldies)
10.KSEQ-97.1 (Buckley-Rhythmic Top 40)


Sacto: Ratings Revelations

The latest ratings show a mixed bag for perennial radio powerhouses in Sacramento. While CC's KFBK-1530 continued to dominate in the overall Winter survey, its ratings took another stiff shot in the all-important 25-54 race. Infinity's KYMX skyrocketed to a fourth place finish overall with a #2 position in the demos, while country sister KNCI continued to slide to #5 in the 12+ race and out of the top 5 in 25-54 listeners.

Overall 12+ ratings, according to Arbitron:
1. KFBK-1530 (CC-News/Talk)
2. KSSJ-94.7 (Entercom-Smooth Jazz)
3. KSFM-102.5 (Infinity-Urban)
4. KYMX-96.1 (Infinity-Adult Contemporary)
5. KNCI 105.1 (Infinity-Country)
6. KSEG-96.9 (Entercom-Classic Rock)
7. KHYL-101.1 (CC-Urban/Oldies)
8. KBMB-103.5 (Entravision-Urban)
9. KRXQ-98.5 (Entravision-Rock)
10 (tie). KHTK-1140 (Infinity-Sports)
10 (tie). KSTE-650 (CC-Talk)

Notable winners and losers in the overall ratings race: Infinity's Modern AC KZZO (100.5 The Zone) increased its overall share by almost a third; CC's KGBY (Y92.5) saw its overall numbers dip slightly with its more aggressive AC format (but did rise in 25-54 listeners); 80's formatted KXCL (Flash 103.9) sank to an all-time low overall rating, tying with Stockton Spanish station KSTN (La Poderosa 107.3). And First Broadcasting's KBDB (Bob 92.1), having flipped formats during the ratings period, found itself dead last among Sacramento's english language stations.


Sacto: Birthday Flash

Even though it launched April 1, 2004, KXCL "Flash 103.9" celebrates its first anniversary tonight (5/4) with a concert by 80's soap star-turned-singer Rick Springfield. Tickets were still available as of early Wednesday for the 7:30pm show at the Radisson Hotel, and can be had through the station website at www.flash1039.com.

When launched with great fanfare, Flash gave away $10K in a "Name The 80s Station" contest at its introductory concert on March 31, 2004. Since then, and following great ratings success, cutbacks have reduced the staff of the station by almost half. Only Program Director Staci Anderson and PM Driver Keith Brooks remain from the original Flash crew.

Flash recently relocated its transmitter to Newcastle and reduced power to 6kw from its original 25kw. KXCL came to life as the FM sister of KUBA-AM Yuba City.


Sacto: KOVR Acquisition Complete

Viacom officially owns KOVR-13 Stockton-Sacramento, pairing it up with KMAX-31 Sacramento. Bruno Cohen, who took over KMAX last year, now serves as General Manager for both duopoly properties. Viacom will infuse an estimated $7 million into the KOVR plant in West Sacramento, moving KMAX and its 140 employees from the longtime home of Channel 31 off Highway 160. Plans call for the stations to acquire a helicopter, doppler radar and a complete digital infrastructure upgrade. No word on how the stations' joint news operation will function.


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