L.A. radio has had more than its share of hits recently and not the good kind. Layoffs have been rampant and format changes sometimes sudden and stunning.
FIRINGS ABOUNDED: Stations across Los Angeles cut staff in 2008 as they tried to manage falling advertising revenue. Clear Channel Communications Inc. (which owns eight local stations), Citadel Broadcasting Corp. (KABC-AM 790 and KLOS-FM 95.5) and CBS Radio Inc. (KNX-AM 1070, KFWB-AM 980, KCBS-FM 93.1, among others) all handed out pink slips to dozens of employees. Among the casualties: Popular L.A. radio talk show host Marc Germain, who hosted an evening drive show at Clear Channel-owned KTLK AM (1150).
DEATH OF INDIE: KDLD/KDLE-FM (103.1), known as Indie 103, generated plenty of buzz with its edgy alternative format when it launched in late 2003. But ratings for the Entravision Communications Corp.-owned station were low, and Entravision pulled the plug in mid-January. Renamed El Gato, 103.1 now broadcasts Spanish-language programming; Indie moved to the Internet but without its marquee show, "Jonesy's Jukebox."
NPR CUTS: Faced with a rising budget deficit and declining corporate underwriting, National Public Radio Inc. laid off 33 people at Culver City-based NPR West, including the teams that produced "Day to Day" and "News and Notes." Ellen Weis, NPR's senior vice president for news, said NPR West's roughly 30 remaining employees would continue to co-produce "Morning Edition."
SPORTS SHUFFLE: After airing L.A. Lakers games for three decades, KLAC-AM (570) was outbid for the 2009-10 rights by KSPN-AM (710), the local ESPN affiliate. KLAC picked up rights to broadcast L.A. Galaxy games.
FAREWELL TO CUCUY: Renan Almendarez Coello, known as El Cucuy or The Boogeyman on his morning radio show on KLAX-FM (97.9), left the station after seeing his ratings slide. Coello's exit provides an opportunity for other Spanish-language hosts, such as Eddie Sotelo, known as Piolin (Tweety Bird) on Univision Communication Inc.'s KSCA-FM (101.9).
OZOMATLI EXPERIMENT: In August, alternative music station KYSR-FM (98.7) made a bit of a splash when it gave the six members of Spanish-English band Ozomatli a weekday morning show. A homegrown band, Ozomatli has a large local following. But after two months, the program was off the air. KYSR didn't specify why the show ended.
NEW SOUND: Out with the blues, in with "The Sound." Bonneville International Inc. changed KRBV FM (100.3) a rhythm and blues station to KSWD "The Sound," playing a mix of classic and current rock hits. Radio One Inc. sold KRBV to Bonneville in March for $138 million.
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