KZHT (FM-94.9) has a new morning show that features two new arrivals to the Wasatch Front - Rich Summers and Paul Cramer.Summers, also the station's program director, came to "Hot 94.9" from Idaho Falls. He has seven years on-air experiences as a morning personality. Cramer came to Utah from Pittsburgh's WXVX/WXXP where he served as a program director and morning deejay.
KZHT's new morning show includes the usual music and information, and it is unusual in that it features parodies of some of the station's biggest hits.
"We're too serious about the radio business," Summers said. "But we never take ourselves too seriously."
- LONGEST MORNING MAN - He's the Utah king of morning radio on the AM dial. He's been here so long - 20 years this July - that he's publicly perceived as a permanent Utah radio fixture who most listeners (and radio editors) simply take for granted. Tom Barberi of KALL (AM-910) is Utah's own radio version of Johnny Carson.
Barberi started at KALL in 1971. Since that time, so many local radio personalities have come and gone at other stations that it would almost take a book to list them all.
As noted in last week's "Radio Dial" article, there's KISN's "Fisher & Todd," who've been around since 1986. There's also "Jon & Dan" (KLZX) who have been together for about a decade, spread between two stations. Such long-running shows are a rarity, and these two teams are among the longest on Utah's FM dial, but "The Tom Barberi Show" (erroneously not mentioned in last week's article) probably deserves the title of the longest continuous Wasatch Front morning radio show - period.
How do you overlook Barberi? You certainly don't overlook him as a personality, but you can overlook him in terms of a morning team, even though he has been paired up with Mike Runge for more than 16 years (minus about a year's leave of absence that Runge took).
Not only are Barberi and Runge on AM radio, a struggling broadcasting species where listeners specifically tune in to find certain personalities and programs (in contrast, most FM listeners simply turn on the radio without much specific thought on formats, personalities or shows), but Barberi and Runge are virtually the Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon of Utah radio.
Runge, despite his versatility and his honorary title as "the busiest radio person in Salt Lake," is overwhelmed by Barberi's strong presence. When turning on the "Tonight" show on TV, viewers expect to sometimes see McMahon, but Carson's public image is so powerful that he steals away most of McMahon's co-host billing. So it is with Barberi and Runge.
"I can't believe 20 years have elapsed," Barberi said recently in reference to his longevity at KALL. He also stressed that KALL radio has retained its full-service radio format - intact - for decades, making it the longest surviving, unchanged radio station along the Wasatch Front.
Barberi's two-decade presence at KALL is also a rarity in any U.S. radio market. Possibly only Bob Steele, Boston, has remained at the same radio station continuously as long or longer than Barberi.
Rumors have been circulating recently that Barberi may soon be simulcasting his morning show on FM. AM & FM would definitely be a more suitable home for Utah's morning radio grandmaster. Barberi said that this simulcast or FM switch may actually happen someday but that it is speculation at this point.
- KLCY (FM-94.1) - Michael O'Brien, the station's program director and morning personality, has been honored as the 1991 "Adult Contemporary Program Director of the Year" by Gavin Report, a trade magazine.
O'Brien, a 30-year broadcasting veteran, was voted to receive the honor in a vote of radio stations throughout the country. He has received numerous awards during his career, including being honored as People Magazine's Top 10 Personalities of 1979.
- KKAT (FM-101.9) Tracy Chapman is organizing "The Golf Crisis 1," a four-man scramble golf tournament to be held May 19 at Park City's Park Meadows Golf Course.
The exclusive event is open only to full-time radio employees along the Wasatch Front. More information is available from Chapman at KKAT, 533-0102.
- ON THE AIR - Once in a while, I visit on-air radio shows to better understand how they operate and to get a look at things that you obviously can't see from just listening to the radio. I'm scheduled to visit the "Jon & Dan" show Friday morning, March 1, on KLZX (FM-93.3) radio.
How short is Jon's hair? What's Dan's new hair style? What kind of clothes do Jon & Dan wear on the air? Does "Mr. Twister" really like to fish? Perhaps I can better answer such intriguing questions after my visit.
- KBYU (FM-89.1) - The station will spotlight the Wagner Festival Feb. 25-27. KBYU station manager Walter Rudolph and announcer/
producer Mark Sheldon will report on their visit last summer to Germany and the festival.
Sheldon will air interviews and reports on Wagner on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 25-26, at 8:30 a.m., and a commentary by Rudolph will precede the Wednesday night opera series on Feb. 27.