Hunger for News Propels KCRW Subscription Drive

by Claudia Peschiutta

KCRW-FM (89.9) raised a record $1.8 million during its annual winter subscription drive that ended last week. The tally for the Santa Monica station comes just weeks after Pasadena's KPCC-FM (89.3) set a record by bringing in nearly $1 million.

"Every year you make the line in the air higher and higher," said KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour. "As you recognize that it's a great accomplishment, you always wonder, 'How do you top it?'"

The recession, along with the outpouring of Sept. 11-related donations, have hurt many organizations that depend on public support. But public radio stations that provide news and talk programming, such as KCRW and KPCC, may have done well because of an increased appetite for news.

"When an event happens like 9/11 or when there is a conflict like what happened in Afghanistan then I think people recognize the value and the importance of public radio," said Bill Davis, president and chief executive of Southern California Public Radio, parent of KPCC.

"It usually takes about three years to move somebody from a first-time listener to a core listener to a contributor and I think that what you have during these sorts of times is a compressed cycle," he said.

Seymour also attributed the rise in donations to KCRW's music programming "at a time when most stations are playing the same 40 songs" as well as its growing online audience.

La Opinion Goes Gray

La Opinion has joined with the American Association of Retired Persons now officially called AARP in developing a quarterly magazine for Latinos 50 and older.

Editors and reporters at the local Spanish-language daily are providing content for Segunda Juventud, which means "second youth."

The first issue of the bilingual magazine recently went out to 250,000 AARP members in L.A., New York, Miami and in Texas and Puerto Rico. AARP Publications plans to double the circulation for the second issue.

While the relationship is now limited to editorial content, La Opinion and AARP Publications are considering extending the partnership to other areas, including advertising sales. Officials would not disclose the financial figures for the deal.

Hendrie Won't Leave Radio

Despite signing a deal with NBC Studios to develop a primetime television series, Phil Hendrie said last week he has no plans to stop doing his L.A.-based radio show, known for the large cast of characters played by the host himself. "The Phil Hendrie Show," syndicated on 89 radio stations through Premiere Radio Networks of Sherman Oaks, airs locally on KFI-AM (640).

"My livelihood is radio. Television is not my choice as a career," Hendrie said.

The talk show host said he accepted NBC's offer because the company was the first to "actually have an idea." NBC asked him to write a script for a show that gives Hendrie a chance to do what he enjoys develop characters.

In announcing the deal earlier this month, NBC Studios President Ted Harbert described the talk-show host as "a genius when it comes to creating characters." Hendrie said he would work with a television writer to create a comedy series. He did not know when the pilot might be developed.

This is not Hendrie's first brush with television. He appeared in the pilot for a show called "North Hollywood" that never made it to air.

Fox Sports Deal

L.A.-based Fox Sports International has joined with two other firms to form Fox Pan American Sports LLC in a move to boost its U.S. Spanish-language sports cable network.

Fox Sports International, a sports programming and production unit of Fox Cable Networks Group, formed the joint venture with Liberty Media of Englewood, Colo. and Dallas-based Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc.

Liberty Media holds interests in several cable networks and international video distribution businesses. A buyout firm with holdings in manufacturing, real estate and other industries, HTMF holds the programming rights to several sporting events through its Pan-American Sports Holdings investments.

Fox Sports World Espanol, which has 4.6 million subscribers in the U.S., will gain access to more sports programming through Fox Pan American, which will offer Copa Libertadores soccer and other sports to cable viewers throughout North, Central and South America.

Fox Pan American will have headquarters in L.A. for its North American operations and in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for its Central and South American operations.

Fox parent company News Corp. said last week it was writing down the value of its Major League Baseball, Nascar and National Football League contracts by a total of $909 million due to a soft sports advertising market.

In Other News... was honored as the Best Overall U.S. Newspaper Online Service by Editor & Publisher magazine...Fleishman-Hillard partner Steve Sugerman left the public relations firm to open one of his own in Westwood. Sugerman Communications Group Inc. will focus on government and media relations. Sugerman served as deputy mayor to former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan.

Univision Communications Inc. named Jorge Delgado president and general manager of its L.A. stations KMEX-TV (Channel 34) and KFTR-TV (Channel 46). Delgado most recently was president of the TeleFutura Station Group. KMEX general manager Augustine Martinez has become Univision's eastern regional vice president and will serve as general manager of three stations in Cleveland and Philadelphia. He will also oversee the general managers of several TeleFutura stations on the East Coast.

Staff reporter Claudia Peschiutta can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 229 or at

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