Friday, July 21, 2006

Lee Abrams

(CNN) -- Lee Abrams, Congress and capitalism played major roles in shaping today's AM and FM dials.

As a consultant in the '70s and '80s, Abrams (with his business partner, Kent Burkhart) devised the "Superstars" album-oriented rock format that many FM stations, once bastions of free-form radio, followed.

The stations became incredibly successful, pushing once-powerful AM music stations to news, talk and sports. (Those AM stations, looking for programming, in turn made stars of syndicated talk-radio hosts.) But they were also slammed by many critics and listeners for marketing a rather homogenized sound.

From there, money and Congress took over. The 1996 Telecommunications Act relaxed limits on radio station ownership and radio companies sometimes bought several stations in the same market. Criticism of corporate radio deepened in the '90s, especially after companies tightened playlists and automated or simulcast functions.

Well before that time, Abrams had moved on. He defends his early work -- "If anything, we saved [FM radio]," he says, noting that free-form stations were too "out there" for many listeners -- but says that terrestrial radio now has "way too much discipline." - How terrestrial radio got here - Jul 20, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Legendary KFML newsman Ed Chatham is working on another KFML-related website called "KFMLNOOZE."

Here's what Ed wrote about KFMLNOOZE:

"The object of this site is to continue to act as the guy next door and let you know of stuff I think may be of interest to you as I did back in 1971 at KFML in Denver. As a newsman I will be featuring video and audio glimpses of some of my favorite individuals out here in the San Francisco Bay area as well as folks I have videotaped over the last 20 years from here to Louisiana and beyond. So kick back, smoke em' if ya got em' and join me as I mosey on down memory lane..."

Please visit:

Monday, July 10, 2006

KPIG Cuts Staff

This just in...

By Brad Kava, 11:20 AM in Brad Kava, Music, Radio

The firings of two KPIG disc jockeys last week may seem like a small thing, but it was front page news in the Santa Cruz Sentinel Saturday---and rightly so.

KPIG-FM (107.5) is one of the nation's last bastions of freeform radio, where music is chosen with some panache and integrity. It was one of the first roots rock music stations in the country and, despite corporate ownership, has maintained some quality in playing serendipitous rock, bluegrass, blues and country.

But bit by bit owner Mapleton Communications, which owns 27 mid-sized stations and has owned the Pig since 2001, has been hacking away at the quality.

First, it dropped its annual summer concert, the "Swine Soiree." Now, it got rid of its overnight DJ's as a cost cutting measure. Never mind that they made $10 an hour, or at most $10,000 a year and the savings don't come near outweighing the loss of real quality radio. Deejays Jessie and Terrence were let go, and afternoon jock Ramblin' Ror was cut from full to part time.

This is one of the last stations to maintain an overnight deejay, but as real radio fans know, that is one of the most important times to hear a live voice, or have someone to call and ask what that great song you just heard was.

"There's no other radio stations from Seattle to Los Angeles that has one," corporate spokesmouth Dale Hendry told the Sentinel.

Remember when owners competed and tried to offer the public something better than the other guy had? Nowadays it seems like the corporate objective is to cut things to the barebones and make as much profit as possible, so you can fly off into the night to your Hawaii pad on your private jet with your $100 million when you sell your "beloved" media property.

Sad days indeed.