Welcome to Airchecker
A Social Networking Site For Radio

Welcome to the all new Airchecker experience. A social networking site for radio. We are powered by the people of radio and those who have a great passion to have conversations about radio. As the voice of the Canadian radio industry since 2009. Airchecker has gained a loyal army of followers who say we are the best source for radio. 1000s of radio lovers power your radio news each week via Airchecker. read more >

Matt Cundill: Episode 45: Jesse Modz – Young Broadcaster Of The Year


A few weeks ago, we had J.J. Johnston on the podcast to give us the story and background behind Steve Young and the Alan Waters Young Broadcaster Award. This year the award goes to Jesse Modz from CJAY 92 in Calgary. In this episode, you will get to know Jesse and what it takes to win this award. He is already wise enough to realize that one will always do better with more creativity (and more creative people) around you. Jesse also gives the early picks on who might win the award next year.

This week’s episode is brought to you by NLogic – get your free trial of LENS here – go.nlogic.ca/l/130651/2017-02-02/khtd2

Also take our audience survey here – survey.podtrac.com/start-survey.as…tz&ver=standard

This episode is also brought to you by Promosuite and the new cloud based software Promosuite Next. www.promosuite.com/soundoff




Although this was announced several months ago the application by Rogers to take over CKOT 101.3 and CJDL 107.3 in Tillsonburg, Ontario from the Tillsonburg Broadcasting Company has now appeared on the CRTC site. The total value of the transaction is $4,162,000. Rogers stated that the formats at the two stations will remain intact, however us folks at CRN are predicting that some tweaking could occur that will see KISS 101.3 and COUNTRY 107.3 arriving on the scene.





Even though the CJOR calls are on that transmitter building this is actually the new site for CISL 650 at Nelson Street & Westminster Highway in Richmond. Jim Pattison held on to the site and maintained the equipment after Vancouver’s CJOR 600 (then CKBD) went dark in 2008 hoping to sell it to someone who would get 600 back on the air. In the meantime CISL’s transmitter site had fallen apart and was in an urgent state of disrepair. Owners Newcap leased the old 600 site off Pattison and relocated CISL to it. Obviously a much cheaper way to keep the station on the air.

CRN: CISL 650 Will Be All Sports Come Fall



No real surprise as Rogers needed a station to broadcast the recently acquired rights to the Vancouver Canuck games. They didn’t want to disturb the successful All News format on CKWX 1130 or go through the rigmarole involved with the CRTC by flipping CJAX 96.9 or CKKS 104.9 to a Spoken Word format. This also means that the last English language station still playing music on AM in the market will vanish. Word is SPORTSNET 650 THE FAN will make its debut on September 1st pending CRTC approval..


ROGERS PRESS RELEASE (via CKWX 1130 website):

Susan Knight: The Powerlifting DJ Q103.1


Steve MacNaull -The Daily Courier

There’s only one radio DJ who also happens to have set three world records in powerlifting.

Such is the uniqueness of Susan Knight, the program director and mid-day host at Q103.1 Radio in Kelowna and a force to be reckoned with in the realm of deadlifting, back squats and bench press.

“They just happen to be two completely different pieces of my life,” said Knight with a laugh. “For instance, I only wear a wrestling singlet powerlifting, not to do my radio show (Knight in the Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays).”

Knight has worked for decades as a self-described “free spirit and radio nomad.”

It’s a career that’s seen her voice on the air in at least nine cities, from Fort Erie, Welland, Chatham, Sudbury and London in Ontario to Squamish/Whistler, Victoria, Calgary and Kelowna.

However, Kelowna has been a repeat performance.

She originally worked as a morning host at Sun FM in Kelowna from 2005-11 before heading off to do a three-year stint in Calgary with Up 97.7.

“I’ve had fun and enjoyed every community I’ve worked and lived in,” said Knight. “But Kelowna did draw me back. It’s a special place that I definitely consider home.”

Knight loves radio for how all the pieces fit together.

“I’ve worked in promotions, on air, as a music director and assistant program director,” she said. “It’s great to see the big picture and how it all contributes to the final product that goes out over the airwaves.”

Besides hosting her mid-day show, Knight has also been the acting program director for months. A promotion will see her become the program director permanently on May 1.

Dual duties as an on-air personality and program director allows Knight to have her own four hours of fun daily on the radio, contribute to the overall sound of the station and mentor younger DJs.

Radio has also given Knight the opportunity to volunteer with the station’s Kids Care charity and the Elizabeth Fry Society.

“Elizabeth Fry is a phenomenal organization. But, what they do is dark (helping women, girls and children affected by poverty, homelessness, addiction, mental illness and crime), so it’s hard to talk about and sometimes hard to get donors. But it’s so rewarding when you can and do help.”

Knight is also the centrepiece of the Surfing for Smiles fundraiser that sees her wakesurf behind a boat for nine hours solid on Okanagan Lake, from Vernon to Penticton. This September, when she hits the water, will mark the fundraiser’s third annual gathering.

The first two benefitted the Gospel Mission and Kids Care. This year, she hopes to help raise $10,000 for the Central Okanagan Food Bank’s Basics for Babies program.

In her mid-30s, Knight started training to be able to do a half-Ironman race. As preparations progressed, she became incredibly strong, but her running got slower and slower.

“My trainer suggested I try powerlifting instead of the half-Ironman,” Knight remembers with a chuckle. “I was never fast or agile, so I’m so glad I found a sport where I fit in and can have success. When I talk with kids thinking of getting into powerlifting or just starting powerlifting, I tell them the same thing.”

In the masters class in her weight division, Knight has set world records for bench pressing 170 pounds, deadlifting 385 pounds and 375 pounds in back squat.

“The records are nice and I do enjoy the accolades and competing at an elite level,” she said. “But that’s not why I powerlift. I do it because the only person for me progressing in the sport is me and that’s very satisfying and good for your self confidence.”

Editor’s note: Every week in this space with Top Forty Over 40 we profile a businessperson over the age of 40 who is having a great career and giving back through mentoring and volunteering. The series is presented by BDO Accountants and Consultants, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and The Daily Courier. Nominations are now closed. An event honouring all nominees will be held June 21 at the Delta Grand hote

The Bob And Jazz Show On Power 104 Kelowna Ends


One of Kelowna’s most popular radio stations made a major announcement on Monday morning.

The Bob and Jazz Show on Power 104 will be coming to an end after nearly a decade on the air as the station’s morning show.

The pair’s final show will be on Wednesday morning.

One half of the show, Bob Mills, will remain on the new Power 104 morning show, while the other half, Jasmin Doobay, will take over as the station’s Program Director.

For Doobay, that means more responsibilities, but also a significant change in her work hours.

“I currently get up at 2:30 in the morning to come to work,” Doobay said, admitting that she’s not sure what to expect without the alarm going off in the middle of the night. “I’m really looking forward to have more traditional business hours, but I have no idea what this is going to look like because on weekends I wake up at 5 a.m. still.”

Not only might she be able to sleep in, but Doobay says the more regular hours will let her do a lot more in the community, from helping with fundraisers to emceeing special events to attending concerts around the Okanagan.

Mills will still be doing the early wake ups, however, and joining him on the morning show will be Bob Johnstone.

Photo Credit: FacebookBob Johnstone (L) will be taking over for Jasmin Doobay (R) on the Power 104 morning show.

Johnstone already had a role with the station and was a part of the Q103.1 morning show in the same building until the end of 2016.

The new show, which has plenty of options for creative Bob related names, begins on Monday, May 1st and Doobay is excited about Bob number two joining Mills in the morning.

“He’s a super creative, sports orientated, music aficionado,” Doobay said about Johnstone. “He’s a consummate professional, he’s so good with production, he’s so fast, really good on social media and all the feedback we’ve ever had when we’ve had him on the air is ‘what a nice guy!'”

Veteran broadcaster Russ Byth will also have a hand in the new morning show, writing the news updates for Johnstone to deliver on air.

Sportsnet 650 To Launch Vancouver All-Sports Radio Station This Fall


Vancouver Province

VANCOUVER — One of Canada’s largest and most passionate sports markets is about to get a lot more premium sports content, as Sportsnet will launch a new, all-sports radio station – Sportsnet 650 – in Vancouver this fall.

Rogers Media will acquire the Vancouver AM station CISL subject to approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), and will change the station’s format to all-sports. The transaction is expected to close in summer 2017.

“We are excited to build upon our strong radio brands in the Vancouver market. With Vancouver being such a passionate sports town, there is a strong appetite for all-sports radio that delivers engaging conversation, wide-ranging opinion, and top-tier live sports content,” said Julie Adam, senior vice president of Radio, Rogers Media.

Sportsnet 650 will have year-round top-tier sports content, including Vancouver Canucks and Blue Jays games, plus the MLB post-season. Additional programming details and on-air personalities will be announced in the coming months.

“Vancouver has an incredibly loyal fan base, and this is a natural fit to expand our Sportsnet offering,” said Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet, Rogers Media. “Sportsnet has been strongly committed to the Vancouver community since the network’s inception in 1998 when we first began televising Canucks games.”

Sportsnet 650 marks the third all-sports radio station for Sportsnet, alongside stations Sportsnet 590 The FAN in Toronto and Sportsnet 960 The FAN in Calgary.

The AM 650 station will continue to be broadcast in its current format until Sportsnet 650 radio launches in the fall.

What’s Your Carpool Karaoke?


James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is a feature on his television talk show. You may not know the name of his show (The Late Late Show). And you may never heard of Corden if it weren’t for the feature. It’s a mini-brand that’s taken on a life of it’s own.

Carpool Karaoke is a great feature. But what does that mean for you? And how can you find your Carpool Karaoke?

When constructing a new show, features can make up most of the content. It’s a great way to become familiar and it gives talent a platform to show character so the audience can get to know you.

Features add structure that helps listeners know how to use your show. This helps with consistency while the show develops a relationship with the audience.

Features are a critical tool for air talent, if you choose the right ones and know how to use them.

Features On Your Show

Most shows have at least a couple of features. Do you perform Hollywood News daily? That’s a feature. Or perhaps you have a weekly feature that’s performed on a certain day, like Talk Back Tuesday.

The ability to use features as a tool to entertain is a skill shared by great personalities. We’ve seen dozens of focus groups where listeners get excited when asked about a popular feature.

In dial tests, the audience often responds immediately when the feature comes on. They recognize it, look forward to it and react even before the content begins. They know it’s something they like and expect something good is about to happen.

See the response in this chart? The green line represents those familiar with the show. The positive line rockets to the top as soon as the introduction comes on. That’s a sign of a strong brand.

Dial research results provided by Strategic Solutions Research.

With few exceptions, every show needs features. The question is, how many?

How Many Features Do You Need?

As with most things, the answer to this question varies. There’s no single right or wrong answer.

We’ve had clients that rocket to #1 on the strength of one great feature. It’s the concept of The One Thing.

Now that one feature won’t be the ONLY thing you do any more than James Corden only does Carpool Karaoke. Yet, a single-minded focus to make one feature famous will improve your odds of success.

It’s not about how many, but how strong. We hear show after show that have a lot going on, but nothing has a chance to stick.

So don’t worry about how many features you’ll have. Focus on developing one great one. When it’s established, consider another.

How to Create a Feature

The best way to find a feature for your show is to start with the vision for your brand. Is it to probe relationship issues? Are you experts on pop culture? Start there.

Then, identify your character traits. Are you funny? Edgy? Sentimental? Sincere? Patriotic? These traits factor into possible feature solutions.

Now match your personality to a feature. For example, if you’re all about pop culture, don’t do Hollywood News once or twice a morning. Do it every hour, and build in teases and mini-features in other parts of the hour.

If your character is edgy and always taking risks, prank calls may be right for you.

Love stories about relationships? Second Date Update or Love em Or Leave em may be a fit.

Where to Find Feature Ideas

Check out the library of features here for ideas (membership required).

Each has execution details and many have audio examples to help you. You’ll also find features sorted by category such as music, relationships, kids, etc.

And, check out or Top 10 recommended features. You might find your Carpool Karaoke.

If you’d like to learn how to develop great features for your brand, come to my webinar “How to Make Features and Benchmarks Your Best Friend”. It’s Tuesday May 2 at 1pm eastern time. For details and to reserve your space, click here.

Moncton Artist Bringing Back Sounds Of Former Sackville Radio-Canada Towers


A Moncton artist has brought back to life the sounds of the 13 CBC Radio-Canada International shortwave towers that once stood in Sackville, N.B. on the Tantramar Marsh.

“It’s kind of like you’re conjuring ghosts of radio towers,” explained the artist Amanda Dawn Christie on Shift N.B.
Requiem For Radio: Full Quiet Flutter

The experimental sound art project Requiem For Radio: Full Quiet Flutter involves a scale model of the original towers, but a large model — about 16-metres wide, six-metres deep and five-metres tall.

Christie said the towers have red lights resembling the originals. They are made from pipes with four copper pads on each tower.

She added that when someone touches one of the copper pads, a wireless signal is sent to a computer, which then sends a sound file back to that tower of the actual, recorded sound the original tower made when it was operational. The sound is transmitted through a speaker on the model tower.

Requiem for Radio : Full Quiet Flutter
View from the side. Tech testing cable craziness. Will be tidier for show. pic.twitter.com/POItvZO6o4
— @magnet_mountain

Christie recorded the towers’ sounds when they were still standing.

RCI towers near Sackville coming down

But the model towers are more than something to be gazed upon and admired. They are musical instruments that Christie and two other musicians will be playing at one-hour performances on May 26 and 27 at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in Moncton. The performances will also be broadcast on radio stations in Moncton, Montreal and New York.

“We’re going to compose the work based on the structure of a classical requiem, or mass for the dead,” she said.

Playing the towers will also have corresponding images of the actual tower during the performance. The performance will also involve a cello with a bow made from the bone of a cow that once roamed near the towers.

“It’s kind of magical,” she said.

Christie’s fascination with the towers also inspired her to create a documentary.

The towers stood for 67 years until budget cuts ended their service. The towers started coming down in March 2014.

The Stuph File Program – Episode #0401


Welcome to the latest edition of the Stuph File Program.

For a program list of the items included and all their accompanying links in this one hour show, you can find the information on my website in the Stuph File Program section, or just follow this link to #0401.

To download the podcast, right click here and select “Save Link As”

Featured in this episode:

  • Andrew Fazekas, science writer — Life on Jupiter & Saturn moons
  • Jack Newton, co-founder, Arizona Sky Village
  • Frank Kermit, relationship coach — Undateables

Click logo for iTunes podcast subscription If you have any comments or suggestions, or items for the mailbag, feel free to click on the “Comments” link below to add your thoughts.

Has Spotify Killed The Radio Student D.J.?


Streaming services have brought democracy to music, but at the expense of student-run radio.

By Isabella Waldron, Scripps College

From iTunes to Spotify, students have access to a seemingly infinite music catalogue at the click of a button, but does this mean that independent college radio channels are going to fall through the cracks?

I, for one, am hopeful that campus stations are progressing with the times, and will continue to offer a venue for unique music to listeners.

Being a D.J. on a college radio show offers opportunities to form a community and to create an individual voice on campus. College radio stations allow students to come together with shared interests on campus, both physically and intangibly. Whether the station be recorded in a dingy, grey basement on a table covered with emptied potato chip bags, or in a beautiful student center overlooking campus, having a space to connect with peers over a love of music is an incredible addition to the college experience. One spoken-word lover meets a punk-rock aficionado, and the rest is history!

For a one-hour slot, student D.J.’s are free to play their favorite songs, bring on interesting guests and talk about issues that matter to the campus and to them. Deciding what kind of show to be—whether it’s alternative, rap, oldies or gospel music—depends on the individual D.J.’s. Students have the opportunity to play what they love, giving listeners a chance to break away from the same Top-40 songs that pound through the car radio in a monotonous cycle.

Student-run radio allows for creativity and innovation in music. Whatever the genre, listening to the shows of your friends and strangers is bound to introduce you to new music that you might not know of otherwise.  Student radio’s independent format allows for a level of spontaneity that is unique. Even Spotify, which has a large collection of independent music, seems to lag behind college radio in regaling listeners with music from up-and-coming artists, far away from the chart toppers.

That’s not to say that D.J.’s are completely exempt from any rules. Although autonomy is one of the founding principles of college radio, schools maintain some guidelines. My favorite freshman D.J. at Hamilton College, Johnny, told me that the college only allows explicit music after 10 p.m. Over at Kenyon College, songs can’t have swear words until after 11 p.m., and then comes free game.

In some college radio stations, what time slot you get depends on seniority, whereas in other stations, sign-up depends solely on availability. Students who have been around in the scene longer have more choice in what time slot they get. Some prefer the early-morning hours, because real people are actually tuning in. Others prefer the 5-8 p.m. time slot to catch evening studiers who want to be distracted, and then, there are those that let loose after 10 p.m.  The time slot is a secondary thought to the excitement that comes from having a venue to share true passions through radio.

The question remains, though: Are people actually listening? In the 90s, college radio channels had a fairly significant impact on the larger music scene, contributing to the discovery of bands such as Vampire Weekend. Now, college radio appears to be less of a contributing factor to the music scene, with only 9 percent of people in the 12-24 age range using AM/FM radio to keep up with music, according to a 2016 survey.

Some schools who used to have large broadcasting centers have now turned the centers over to larger companies, such as NPR, due to economic costs and not enough listeners. Other schools have updated to the live streaming favored by so many millennials—an easier format for students to listen to at a moment’s notice after they see one of their friends promoting their 12 a.m. radio hour on Facebook or Twitter.

The aforementioned survey also revealed that the percentage of people who listen to online radio has been steadily increasing in the last few years. Perhaps with college radio’s transition toward an online format, more people will be tuning in. Online radio also allows for worldwide viewership, so although listenership might be smaller, the music can reach a broader audience.

Listenership also depends heavily upon student advertisement, because in order to tune in, listeners must either have a car, or stream online, and the vast majority fall into the second category. The need for self-advertisement might push students outside of their comfort zone, while also teaching valuable lessons about marketing to a set of peers.

Student D.J.’s also need to develop a strong sense of collaboration in developing a radio “aesthetic,” often in duos or teams. For instance, Kenyon freshman and radio D.J. Natalie Berger says that she and her partner have different music tastes, but find a way to make it work.

“He likes more electronic sounds like Shlohmo and co., and I listen to more indie rock and R&B/hip-hop, but I think there’s really nice overlap between the two. So it’s all about finding transitions between the songs. We normally just riff off one another when we introduce the music—maybe there’s a story behind one of the songs we’re about to play and we’ll share it. The show turns into a conversation between [my friend] and me in relation to music,” she says.

Despite the decreases in people who listen to radio, college radio stations remain an integral part of many students’ college experience. With student-run radio comes independence, community and a killer playlist to add to your collection.



Radio DJ Starting Fight Against Cyberbullying


By Sandy Hodson Chronicle Augusta

Devalle Townsend isn’t overly sensitive. He can shrug off someone making fun of his dreadlocks or his radio program, but what happened after he and his fiancee posted his marriage proposal online was too much.

Someone used a fake website to accuse him and his fiancee of being HIV-positive and spreading the disease to others in the Augusta-Aiken area. It quickly went viral.

“This was just crazy,” said Townsend, who has about 5,000 followers on Facebook. He’s been bullied before, “But this right here isn’t opinion.” It’s slander, it’s libel and it’s false, he said.

It’s not a joke to Townsend or his fiancee. The accusation is the first thing that pops up in a Google search of his name. People are accusing him of a crime – knowingly exposing others to a sexually transmitted disease.

“I had no way to fight back,” said Townsend, who is known as “Flocko” on his radio program on WIIZ-FM (97.9). So he took an HIV test and posted it online. He also paid Facebook to keep the video up.

Townsend said Facebook needs to create some kind of filtering to remove cyberbullying, fake news, murders and assaults.

According to its policies on Community Standards, Facebook can immediately take something down if its perceives copyright infringement, nudity and sexual activity, and cyberbullying. When Facebook receives a complaint, it is reviewed and can be removed, but not necessarily. The company’s position is that it doesn’t tolerate bullying and harassment targeting private individuals. A public figure is protected from what Facebook staff determines is “credible threat” or hate speech.

Townsent said he wants Facebook to do more filtering and to make all users register with their real identities so they will be responsible for their posts, “to make people think before they post,” he said.

“Enough is enough,” Townsend said.

His attorney, Titus Nichols, said that whoever posted the original content probably thinks it’s funny. But Townsend is taking up the cause to help end fake websites and ask Facebook to filter out destructive content. “All it takes is one person to believe this,” Nichols said.

It can affect business, relationships, reputation and even children. What if he was the kind of person to try to harm the person suspected of starting the post? Townsend asked. What if his children were in grade school or high school and their classmates saw the posts? What if his fiancee didn’t trust him or his boss didn’t want such negative attention associated with the post?

Facebook has faced plenty of recent criticism after the posted slaying of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. in Cleveland on Easter Sunday. The post was viewed by more than a million people in the two hours it remained on the Facebook site.

With so many people getting their news from Facebook, the company needs to be more responsible, Townsend said. He wants to join with others affected by cyberbullying to petition the company to take a proactive role in filtering posts. Filterfacebook.com is coming soon, he said.


Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226

Op-Ed: Local Radio Personality Reminisces Of Days Before De-Regulation


San Francisco – With the emergence of Sirius satellite radio, music channels on cable TV and now personalized radio via streaming Internet services, the days of traditional radio broadcasting are just about over.

At least that’s how one former San Francisco radio personality, Tommy Saunders sees it.
A familiar voice that had filled the airwaves of local Bay Area stations like KYA, KSFX, KSFO and KOIT for 43 years, Saunders took some time to chat with this reporter while on assignment for the Richmond Review. He talked about his days as a radio announcer, talk show host and rock DJ.

“My best memories are of the 1960s and the radio scene as it was then,” he said. “Some really good times, never to return, and of course a lot of it had to do with being young and foolish, as they say.”
Saunders arrived in San Francisco in 1962 having just turned 21, from the town of Kenmore, not far Buffalo New York. It was certainly the most exciting time in his career, he noted. “When I was offered a job here at KYA I couldn’t refuse, I jumped at the chance. And, then once here I found it impossible to leave, he said. It’s still beautiful around the Bay Area, despite the many changes.”
Saunders pointed out ”Really when you think about it, radio jobs are like most other jobs, the same formats no matter where you live.. it’s the place that makes a difference. I was always mindful of that. Why live in Peoria when you can live here? Unless you’re from Peoria….”
Saunders also noted how insecure and unstable the radio business was and still is today. “Over time as a station is sold or traded, and it happens a lot, a new boss arrives with many of this old buddies from out of town who he thinks he can trust and who hopefully will ask for less money so the boss can get rid of the high-paid talent.”

“I shouldn’t complain because that’s how I got here myself, along with many others. That happened all the time, unless the station has a talent so popular they can’t afford to lose him or her. Like a Don Sherwood let’s say, for example, who was San Francisco’s only irreplaceable DJ. And even Sherwood had his problems… some of them were his own making.”

As Saunders tells it, Sherwood was said to have told one of the new DJs at KSFO long ago who asked him for tips: ‘I got some advice for you, kid. Heard your show…(pause)….RENT, Don’t buy!’ That’s what Sherwood said (according to Saunders). “Sounds nasty,” added Saunders, “but it was actually good advice.”

Pointing out just how mercurial radio could be, KYA for example (as mentioned by Wikipedia) had 14 owners and over four different call-signs in 85 years. Saunders confessed, “I was not a big fan of hard rock or the top 40 formats of KYA and KEWB. But I loved the middle of the road ‘Great American Songbook’ stations, the easy-listening stations.”

Saunders got to know just about everyone in local radio and TV at the time. Radio personalities Gene Nelson, Gary Mora, Sam Van Zandt, Russ Syracuse, Tom Donahue and Hap Harper were his contemporaries. They often gather from time to time, especially for commemorative events.

Today at age 75 Saunders is happily retired with his long-time companion Vivian, and glad to be out of the business. “My shoulders went down two inches when I got out of that racket…. I couldn’t get a decent radio job today anyway, and without a lot of luck I might have wound up selling Lotto tickets at the corner liquor store long ago.”

While many may see the digital revolution as positive for audio media, Saunders is not so sure. “Lots of us old-timers miss the companionship of real radio personalities who are almost totally absent now, and the little mom-and-pop stations that weren’t afraid to take chances in their programming, versus the syndicated corporate-owned stations we have here in San Francisco now who live by focus groups and what other stations do, rather than realize they’re supposed to serve our community, not ignore it.”

“They’re dull and repetitive… almost unlistenable. Women in radio have had especially bad luck… with the loss of so many good jobs. When I started in the business there were unfortunately almost no women on the air. Today they’re on radio but often pre-recorded but not able to say anything interesting or funny in 10 seconds, it’s all cut and dry. Today,” said

Saunders, “I listen only to five stations — all FM! And four of them are noncommercial… which are: KQED, KALW, KPFA,KDFC, and KCBS-FM; but the latter only for weather. With all the changes it’s like everything else in town — totally changed, but still a little intriguing, you know? AM radio sadly is almost dead and in its grave,” Saunders lamented, “as you can tell by the lack of listenership. I regret that.”

Saunders was able to stay in the business — by maintaining friendships and contacts. “There was lots of work back then,” he said. Yet, by the 1980s, more change.

“Rock music took over completely,” he said, and stations like KABL died. When Saunders talks of rock music;p taking over, he means the more recent stuff. “Not the classic. I am talking about the formula Top 40 programing that made all of the stations sound alike,” he said.

Saunders witnessed unprecedented change during his tenure in radio. In the 1970s FM brought in new listeners. But with the Reagan administration’s deregulation of media in the 1980s, local radio got taken over by corporate interests. “So I have a little different spin on what happened,” he said. Automation, pre-recorded formats and syndicated programming became the norm.

Speaking on behalf of the California Historical Radio Society and Museum, founder David F. Jackson noted, “what Tommy said is pretty much what happened. It used to be a local personality could make a good living being a radio announcer and DJ but not now. It all started to change in the 1980s and of course with the Digital Revolution, the days of radio was we knew it were fading fast.”

Saunders knew all too well the days of local radio personalities like Gene Nelson of KYA and KSFO and Bill Moen of KABL were ending. He could see it coming. “With all the changes in media today, frankly I do not miss it,” Saunders said.

Even so, Tommy Saunders feels fortunate and blessed to have been on the air when it was fun, and hopes he brought some happiness to the Bay Area listeners when he could.

To learn more about the history of local radio in the San Francisco Bay Area visit the California Historical Radio Society and Museum web site.

iHeartRadio Parent Warns It May Not Survive Another Year


Station operator is saddled with $20 billion of debt it took on with a $24 billion 2008 leveraged buyout by private-equity firms.

iHeartMedia Inc., the biggest operator of radio stations in the U.S. and headed by Bob Pittman of MTV fame, plans to include language in its next quarterly report warning investors that it may not survive another year.

The company IHRT, -4.84% , which owns iHeartRadio and billboard advertising company Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings CCO, -0.85% said it continues to expect cash flow to be negative and is uncertain as to whether it will be able to refinance or extend the maturities of some of its borrowings, according to a regulatory filing.

The company has almost $350 million of debt coming due this year, part of a massive $20 billion debt load it took on as part of a $24 billion leveraged buyout of then Clear Channel Communications Inc. by private-equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2008. It has another $8.3 billion of debt coming due in 2019.

“Management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended March 31, 2017, will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued,” the company said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

iHeart’s most active bonds, the 9.00% notes that mature in March of 2021, traded down 2 points to 75 cents on the dollar on Friday, according to MarketAxess. Its 6.875% notes due in June of 2018 were trading at 69 cents on the dollar.

Moody’s Investors Service said an exchange offer in March, in which iHeart swapped $476 million of senior unsecured notes due 2018 for senior secured priority guarantee notes due 2021, was a continuation of iHeart’s distressed exchange.

As for its stock, shares on Friday fell 3%.

The rating agency had revised the outlook on iHeart’s ratings to negative from stable in December, suggesting it might further downgrade its already deep into junk Caa2 rating in the medium term. Moody’s said at the time it expected iHeart would be forced into a debt restructuring in the next year.

The company attempted in April to persuade its creditors to accept a series of exchange offers that would allow it to refinance more than $14 billion of term loans and other debt, offering new debt, equity and ownership in Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings. After its lenders failed to take up that offer, the company extended the deadline to late April.

Wagoner On Radio: Wilde Has Staying Power At The Sound


By Richard Wagoner, LA Daily News

Rita Wilde has signed another multiyear contract with The Sound (KSWD, 100.3 FM), which, along with the recent similar news for Joe Benson, hopefully means the station will survive the merger (see below for more on that).

Wilde started her radio career at KEZY/Anaheim (now KGBN, 1190 AM) during their “1190 Rock days” in 1978 under programmer Dave Forman, working through her tenure alongside such legends as Shana, Steve Downs, Rick Shaw, Dr. Timothy Leary, Strawberry Jan, Mark Denis and others: “So many great people,” she told me.

“I had been interning in the building for a couple of years,” she explained, answering phones for the FM, which at the time was automated. “Dave asked me to make him a tape, and he put me on the air the following weekend.”

It was promoted as “Kick A– Rock and Roll … a rockin’ AM station playing FM rock on the AM dial.”

I remember it fondly. The first time I heard The Plimsouls, I heard them on KEZY. But I digress.

In 1982, Wilde moved in to KLOS (95.5 FM) and has been at The Sound since 2011.

“The Sound is the kind of radio I love, so I’m thrilled to be here,” Wilde said.

Reflecting on her career, she commented “I am blessed and grateful.”

Hear her nightly Monday through Friday, 7 p.m. to midnight on The Sound.

Entercom president and Chief Executive Officer David Field sent an email to employees (interestingly addressed as “Entercom Users”) giving an update on the planned merger between Entercom and CBS Radio. The letter was also filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to keep investors updated as well.

“We have been hard at work, making significant progress towards our transformational merger,” Field wrote. “We are working with various government agencies on deal approval, and we are engaging with the CBS corporate team along with a team of expert merger integration advisers to ensure that we achieve as close to a seamless transition as possible when we close.”

The merger is expected to be consummated sometime in the second half of next year.

“As an organization that fundamentally believes there is nothing more important than the people on our team, our first order of business upon making the announcement was to hit the road to meet and introduce ourselves to the CBS Radio staffs,” he said. “Since early February, we have traveled across the country to virtually every one of the CBS markets. It is with great pride that we have shared the Entercom story and expressed our enthusiasm for the opportunities that lie ahead for the entire organization.”

I am most certainly not a fan of huge radio companies at all. The likes of Clear Channel (now iHeart), Cumulus and even CBS itself have stolen the soul from radio and have put a viable formerly creative industry on life support. But Entercom does seem to be a different breed, and as it is a merger rather than a buyout, the company should be on sound financial footing. Hopefully this may help push some money into promotions and programming.

Locally the combined company will — or may, depending on whether regulations change under President Trump — need to divest one station. In response, Entercom announced that it will place two stations into a trust for potential sale: KCBS-FM (93.1) and The Sound. Until the merger is finalized, both companies will operate as completely separate entities.

Richard Wagoner is a San Pedro freelance columnist covering radio in Southern California. Email rwagoner@cox.net.