Local part-time actor and full-time hair stylist James Dale said last week that one of his customers took her BMW into the dealer just a couple of days ago, asking them to "fix the radio! It's broken!" She was angry because she could no longer dial what had become her favorite radio station, "Sunny 107.9 FM," which featured nostalgic "big band" tunes and crooners from the 1940s - a unique niche no other FM station had been filling.
The woman thought her car radio was broken because, instead of 107.9, she was suddenly receiving the same music as that being broadcast on "KOSY 106.5."It turned out, of course, that it wasn't the radio's fault.
One week ago, Trumper Communications dumped KSNU's format and began simulcasting KOSY on both signals.
Lost in the shuffle was "Show-tune Sunday," a program of Broadway music that was building an audience among the region's theatergoers.
Dale, the show's knowledgable host, was the first person I called last week in an effort to find out for myself why KSNU had vanished.
My wife, too, was pretty upset about the whole thing. When we first stumbled across 107.9 several weeks ago, we reprogrammed the settings on our car radio, and KSNU quickly became our No. 1 station of choice. Instead of the lackluster drone of "adult contemporary" stuff, we were treated to wonderful tunes by Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson and terrific big-band music.
While Dale is none too pleased about losing his own show, he also feels that dropping KSNU's entire "nostalgic" format will be a major disappointment for Wasatch Front listeners.
"Even among many of my younger clients, there seems to be a resurgence in the old standards," Dale said. "Frank Sinatra's death has also built up more interest in these tunes, as well."
It seems to me that the station itself was never marketed properly. I heard about it only through the grapevine from friends in the theater community.
If both KOSY and KSNU's towers are needed for a broader, combined signal, maybe the Sunny format should have been expanded, rather than the other way around. There are at least half a dozen other FM stations in the region that broadcast "soft hits" - but Sunny's big-band sounds were truly unique.
If you'd like to register your own complaints or comments on the situation, call Pat Reedy, vice president and general manager at Trumper Communications, at 262-9797 or write to the company in care of 4001 S. 700 East, Suite 800, Salt Lake City, UT 84107.
I suspect I'm not the only one who would welcome Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller . . . and Jim Dale's "Showtune Sunday" back on the air.
- DON'T BLAME the Theater League of Utah for the recent postponement of "Show Boat," which would've been playing right now at the Capitol Theatre if it hadn't have been yanked by Toronto-based Livent, Inc.
Michael Ovitz, formerly connected to the Disney empire, has taken over Livent and is whacking away at the company's costs. Instead of two touring "Show Boat" companies, there is now only one - meaning that all of the dates for both companies had to be reset.
- THE BROADWAY LINE, established six months ago for New Yorkers and out-of-town theatergoers traveling to NYC, is expanding into a nationwide source for information about not only Broadway shows, but touring productions as well.
According to Ben Pesner, in his Stage Directions column in the July 31 edition of Playbill, the line provides convenient, toll-free information on locations, tickets, curtain times and other data about shows on the Great White Way.
Just dial the Broadway Line at 1-888-411-BWAY (2929). You can choose a show and find out what cities it will be visiting in the next few months. Or you can select a city and access a list of touring Broadway shows coming to that town. The same source also provides information you need to arrange tickets.
The line is co-sponsored by Continental Airlines and The New York Times, with technology provided by Lucent Technologies.
- CLOSER TO HOME, "Miss Saigon" and its helicopter will make a long-delayed landing Aug. 30 at the newly refurbished Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco. The Market Street landmark, built in 1926, was the Bay area's first Cinerama showhouse in the mid-1950s. The 2,203-seat venue's greatly expanded stage is now big enough to accomodate such mammoth touring productions as "Beauty and the Beast," "Ragtime" and "The Lion King." ("Show Boat" closed in mid-June.)
Meanwhile, "The Phantom of the Opera" continues its long-run engagement at the slighly smaller Curren (1,665 seats).
For ticket information on San Francisco shows, call 1-415-776-1999 or Bass ticket outlets at 1-510-762-2277.
- VARIETY'S "LEGIT" section had a story recently about a new, pared-down version of "Sunset Boulevard" hitting the road soon.
According to Scott Zeiger of Pace Theatricals (in an article by Chris Jones), "People are not going to see a five-ton mansion levitating before their eyes. They'll see the music, book, lyrics and star performances that make up the heart of this show."
For the revamped tour, Petula Clark, who drew raves for her performances in the show in London, has signed on as Norma Desmond.