Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Michael Jackson to Return to the L.A. Airwaves

After learning last week that one lib talk station has flipped to Spanish – KOKE/1600 in Austin – and another will soon be flipping to sports – KLSD/1360 in San Diego – it was great to learn that the legendary Michael Jackson will be returning to airwaves in Los Angeles. Not the Michael Jackson with the white sequined glove, but the one who had the highest rated local market talk show in the country until Rush Limbaugh led the transformation of talk radio from a mostly local market business into appendage of the Republican Party in the early 1990s.

Jackson will be the only local host on KGIL/1260, which will launch in Los Angeles on October 29. Formerly, KMZT or K-Mozart, the new talker will offer a “balanced” format including syndicated yakkers Larry King, Neal Boortz, and Dr. Joy Browne.

KMZT will move to HD radio.

This is the second “balanced” talk radio station to launch this month. Earlier in the month Bonneville International terminated their deal with the Washington Post and rebranded their talker 3WT/1500-AM and 107.7-FM.

The station, with its slogan “Left. Right. And whatever we want,” is attempting to fill a niche in the Washington market which has been unkind to the talk radio format. The only political talk station that gets ratings is conservative talker WMAL/630. The lib talk station –WWRC/1260 -- has such a bad signal that you can’t hear it when driving in downtown DC! It rarely shows up, in the ratings book and number one lib talker, Randi Rhodes, jumped at the opportunity to become part of the 3WT line-up. Stephanie Miller will follow Rhodes across town to the new talker next month.

In addition to the two lib hosts, 3WT has morning block of local talkers led by the popular Tony Kornheiser and two conservative talkers – Neal Boortz and Bill O’Reilly. They also have sports rights to the Washington Capitals (hockey) and Washington Nationals (baseball.)

While 3WT is well positioned to get ratings, KGIL is going to have tougher time. KMZT has not been showing up in the ratings book and the station’s weak daytime signal and weaker nighttime signal are going to be problems. However, with Jackson, a proven ratings winner, anchoring the program line-up in the morning and afternoon, there is some reason for optimism.

Jackson, a member of the Radio Hall of Fame, was the top talk host on KABC-AM/790 for over 30 years. While his politics are definitely liberal he employs an easy-going non-confrontational style. Jackson has probably interviewed more famous people and politicians than any other talk show host. Since he left, KABC in 1998 the station has gone down-hill, losing the number slot to KFI/640 which has the two best local talk shows in Southern California – The John and Ken and Bill Handel shows.

Radio entrepreneur and KGIL owner Saul Levine is quite optimistic about the new format. Levine contends that there is too much bluster and not enough news on the airwaves.

"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.

Is the emergence of these so-called “balanced” talk radio stations a new trend? It’s too early to tell. But there is no doubt that radio executives will be looking at how 3WT and KGIL do in the coming months.


Anonymous said...

Funny :)
Check out this music blog that wrote some funny stuff on his new album.
And there's also a Chris Rock video where he's talking down on Jackson.

Emacee said...

Apparently some idiot thinks he is funny by pretending to confuse the legendary talk show host with a weird singer.
Michael Jackson is the father of liberal talk and the most successful practitioner of liberal talk - ever.
Too bad the various operators of AAR didn't look to him to see how liberal talk should be done. For over 30 years, Michael Jackson drew listeners - and advertisers - in the most competitive talk radio market in the country, while not dumbing down his show and remaining a class act.
Let's hope KGIL streams the show.

Vigilante said...

Amen to Emacee! The real Michael Jackson has stood up. I'm eversohappy that he still walks his talk among us.

Emacee said...

Here is the audio link for Michael Jackson (12pm-2pm ET):

Emacee said...

I listened to most of Michael's show yesterday. He is still in top form (although the board op'ing on the show was a little rough in spots). Great guests. Calls still a little thin, although the people who did get on the air average IQs 40 points higher than Rush's callers (and 30 points higher than callers to AAR shows).

Republican Richard said...

Even though I am a Conserative, I do like Micheal Jackson. He is one of the very few liberals I like.
What seperates him from other liberals is that he is not rude or disrepectfull like Chirs Bathrooms or Keith Overbite at MSNBC.
Jackson maybe liberal but at least he is not a progrestive liberal.
Even Conseratives have respect for him. After all he is a legen in Talk Radio just like Bob Grant.

Walk Back Micheal.

Anonymous said...

Conserative, Micheal, seperates, disrespectfull, Chirs Bathrooms, progrestive, legen, Walk Back Micheal.
I respect your opinion, Republican Richard...but Holy Moley! - Please have someone double check your spelling...Conservative, Michael, separates, disrespectful, Chris Bathrooms, progressive, legend, and (I'm guessing) Welcome Back, Michael.