If you're like me, music on AM radio doesn't always have great appeal because the sound quality isn't up to the FM dial. However, I may have to rethink that attitude.
A recent interview I had with oldies-music expert Scott Shannon was compelling.
"Oldies music we play was originally on the AM band," Shannon said.
The 59-year-old morning host of New York's WBLJ radio also does a 50-station syndicated "True Oldies Network" that runs 24/7, airing most of the day locally on KKAT (AM-860).
"People are just wild about it," he said of the network. "It's a rage."
His syndicated show is on "live delay," meaning most of it is voicetracked ahead of time. He can do the voice work for an hourlong show (with the computer bypassing the music) in as little as six minutes. "I have studio access at my house," he said.
When I mentioned not always being excited about voicetracking, Shannon had a good comeback: "Just because it's recorded doesn't mean it's not interesting to people. I'd rather listen to a lively recorded show than a boring live one."
As a member of both the Radio Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Shannon knows his stuff. "I know the music, and I love it. I study radio and I study music."
About music and radio, he's an expert, he said, but go to any other subject forget it. "It's about the music and not about the personalities. It's for fans of the oldies. You don't have to hear a lot of repetition. I'm confident if you try it (AM-860), you'll like it."
The target audience for the music is 45 and older, but Shannon said he's heard from fans who are much younger. Thanks to the Internet, he said there are fans of the show from as far away as Russia. "They love the fact that I love the music and respect the artists."
Surprisingly, Shannon knows a great deal about Salt Lake radio KODJ, FM-94.1, and about the many radio signals jammed in this market.
He also said that perhaps Utah's most nationally recognized DJ over the years has been Gary "Wooly" Waldron. (This legendary Utah radio personality was on KNAK and KCPX in the 1960s, and he's still on the air today on KRSP, FM-103.5, weekends from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.)
For more information on the True Oldies Network, go to www.trueoldieschannel.com.
• TOP 10 FOR S.L. RADIO Sean Ross, vice president of music and programming for Edison Media Research, has named Salt Lake City as one of the top 10 markets for radio listeners.
Ross ranked Salt Lake at No. 9, based on its "raw tonnage" of total stations, for its presence of alternative radio, for "one of the format's best and most enduring Modern Rockers in KXRK (X96).
"Long the most crowded medium-market: frustrating perhaps for programmers and owners, but great for listeners."
He also noted the market's six country stations, its early Christmas-music airdates, KZHT's prowess, KRCL and more.
Ross' rankings are:
3. San Francisco
4. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
5. New Orleans; 6. Los Angeles
8. Austin, Texas
9. Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is the nation's 31st largest radio market and so this top 10 puts us in the big time. All of these are larger markets, except Louisville.
• RADIO HAPPENINGS "Mr. West" has left the KENZ morning show. He had been on the show since October of 1999. Jimmy Chunga remains as the morning host, with sidekick Cort Johnson.
KSL's annual "Quarters for Christmas" campaign is now in progress. For more than 40 years, it has supplied shoes to children throughout Utah. Donations are sent to the Division of Child and Family Services and Crossroads Urban Center, which facilitates the placement of shoes. Visit www.ksl.com to make a donation or mail KSL Broadcast House, Attn: Jenna Howell, 55 N. 300 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84010.
"Bob and Tom" are coming to Salt Lake City. Hosts of the syndicated morning radio show, airing locally on KBER, will present "Bob and Tom Comedy All-Stars" on Saturday, Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m., at Kingsbury Hall.
KBYU (FM-89.1) will air "A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" live from Historic King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England, on Dec. 24, 8 a.m. with a re-broadcast on Dec. 25, 4 p.m.• KSL RADIO in 1977 A KSL newspaper advertisement from 30 years ago offers this lineup of on-air personalities: Bob Schildmeyer, Rex Campbell, Doug Miller, Doug Raper, Cornelia deBruin, Duane Southwick, Clint Warby, John Dalling and Gaylen Young.