|This looks like a job for -- no, not Superman. He is, after all, nothing more than the alter ego for a mild mannered print reporter. This task would seem to require a brash broadcasting super hero. Someone like Rick Dees.
Actually, it IS Rick Dees, stepping into that morning drive time slot at 93.9 AM, the dial position KZLA has occupied for the last 25 years. And it is still there. Only now parent company Emmis Communications is calling the station Movin' 93.9 with rhythmic contemporary music replacing the country format.
Under other circumstances that might be considered a logical move, one backed by recent Arbitron ratings surveys. They reveal, for example, that Los Angeles listeners appeared to have been tuning to everything but KZLA. And Inland country music fans seem to have ignored that Burbank-based outlet entirely, turning instead to KFRG-FM (95.1), Colton, so ardently it has consistently remained among the top three stations in the western San Bernardino/Riverside market.
But does this mean there is only room for just a few country specialists on the radio bands? The reaction to the KZLA change seems to challenge that thinking, suggesting there were more followers out there than many might have suspected. And they are not at all happy about what has happened, issuing protests that have been taking the forms of letters, advertisements and computer messages.
The question now, though, is how many listeners will be moving to movin'? Especially since it has jumped into a crowded field dominated by some notably powerful rivals?
And that's where Rick Dees comes in. The one-time glamour boy of KIIS-FM (102.7) certainly brings a name, recognition and reputation to his new station. And there was a time -- 20 years of it -- when he definitely ruled Southern California's morning airwaves, giving his employers a loyal audience that remained close to their programming all day, an audience that has yet to accept Ryan Seacrest as his successor.
But the best of those days were set in the '80s and current Dees biographies reveal he is now in a 50-something category. So, can he continue to draw the 18-49 demographic that will make up the majority of his new station's listeners?
There is still a hunt for answers to those questions. Still, if there is anyone capable of handling that task it could be the personable Dees who can be as appealing off the air as he is on, a talent who was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Meanwhile, it may be worth noting that Dees has come full cycle by moving into a former country station that has gone pop. One of his first Southern California radio gigs was a morning show at the old KHJ, a Top-40 Los Angeles station. He left when it changed format -- to country music.
KCRW-FM (89.9) will turn to its Web site's all music stream Monday. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., it will broadcast programming normally heard only on KCRWMusic.com.
Other station highlights during the week will include Persephone's Bees performing on "Morning Becomes Eclectic" at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Hugh Whitemore's "Pack of Lies" is "The Play's the Thing" production scheduled for 10 p.m. Saturday on KPCC-FM (89.3). Set during the Cold War, it deals with a family recruited by the British intelligence agency to keep watch on neighbors and personal friends.
Julian Sands, David Selby, Rosalind Ayres and Martin Jarvis have the principal roles.
"Chuck Cecil's Swingin' Years" looks back to 1946 for its "Vintage Year" segment Saturday. It comes up at 6:30 a.m. during the 6-9 a.m. broadcast on KUOR-FM (89.1) and KKJZ-FM (88.1).
Selections and artists will include "I Can't Begin to Tell You," Bing Crosby; "Oh, What It Seemed to Be," Frankie Carle; "To Each His Own," Eddie Howard; "Five Minutes More," Frank Sinatra and "The Old Lamplighter," Sammy Kaye.