The evolution of radio, television and now the internet as means of mass communications often reminds us of how rapid the general public embraces new technology. Consider that from the time KHJ debuted it’s now legendary Top 40 format until roughly 1971, KHJ was the single most listened to radio station in Southern California. Fast forward just nine years, and ratings were so low (impacted by FM) that the station changed to Country, then to Oldies, and by 1986, disappeared altogether.
FM radio was king in Los Angeles somewhat earlier than other cities. With stations like KROQ 106.7 and KIIS-FM 102.7 making giant inroads, along with two other album rockers, L.A.’s radio audience abandoned AM to a large degree in the mid 1970s… just ten years after KHJ’s 1965 debut of Bill Drake’s “Boss Radio” captured the whole audience. It would be perhaps, 5 – 7 later before FM took hold to this degree in New York city… but that was due to different tastes and economics but essentially it was the same outcome. By 1980, AM music was done. WABC flipped to AC in 1981, and then talk in 1982 and never looked back.
Why go into details that are mainly well-known facts? Perhaps to illustrate the opening statement. The ‘audience’ for mass communication moves from one thing to another with near lightning speed today. FM radio’s doom was sealed the instant the ink was dry on Telcom ’96, this most everyone agrees upon due to it’s immediate effect on locally run and produced programming due to consolidation. However, by 2000, the internet had grown to the point that somewhat reliable ‘connected’ streams of music were developed through peer to peer sharing and FM’s lock hold on music delivery was done and would have been regardless of the landmark regulation in 1996. Today? Is radio doomed? Given both the history of mass communication and the frequency with which audiences oscillate back and forth between one ‘method’ of transmission and another, its doubtful that radio is done. It’s just more likely that some other form of programming or modulation/service will inhabit those frequencies. Today… KHJ survives as a Spanish language station, the call letters came back years ago. Robert W. Morgan is long passed, but other performers in other ‘radio’ services hold essentially the same type of audience, only larger.
Now, for us “old timers”, here’s a recording that brings back smiles to most. A ‘jock’ from the last heyday of AM radio when popular music was king and it’s presenters were rock stars. Presented for you to enjoy!