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Radio-Dispatched

Tom Leykis Planning a Very Marijuana Christmas

As Tom Leykis winds down the end of his first year as a Burbank-based Internet radio show host, he’s decided to start his own Christmas tradition. And as with most on-air things the blower-upper inserts himself into, it’s going to be unconventional and abetted by the fact that he’s no longer constrained by the limits of advertiser-supported terrestrial radio.

During the first hour of his Monday, December 24 broadcast stream, he and his cohorts will smoke a couple of joints. From there, it’s anybody’s guess how the rest of the program, which is set to include some Jean Shepherd storytelling, will go. What’s more, Leykis officially announced today that he has decided to stick with the Internet show for at least another year:

“Since Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics started collecting data on September 10, we have surpassed two million tune-ins and this past week, we had the best week ever for The Tom Leykis Show with over on 176,000 connections,” he said.

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Mass Shooting Takes Sports Out of 710 ESPN Talk Radio Equation

The first two hours of today’s Mason & Ireland broadcast on 710 ESPN AM radio, beginning at noon with Max Kellerman sitting in for John Ireland (who is on the road traveling with the Lakers), was much like the rest of today’s tragically interrupted U.S. sports talk radio slate. The mass shooting of young children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut was suddenly and deservedly the only topic of discussion.

Instead of people calling in to discuss Lakers losing streaks and Angels free agent signings, Steve Mason and Kellerman were fielding calls from people like a SoCal male registered nurse. The caller said that in his experience, it was not so much the quantity of mental health care available that was an issue as much as the quality of treatment. Much of what is available for people who need it, he explained, falls far below what it should be, mainly because of the higher expense of top-notch mental health treatment. This caller also chillingly suggested he has dealt with many perpetrators who were simply “pure evil.”

Ireland called in from Washington, where the Lakers play the Wizards tonight. He addressed the issue of how to talk to kids about what has happened today, and the idea that school security must become more of a consideration for parents when they select the place to send their kids.

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FM Radio Personality Charlie Tuna Swimming Into Fresno AM Waters

His real-name is Art Ferguson. But on the weekend airwaves of K-EARTH 101.1 FM and weekdays via syndication, this 68-year-old radio vet goes by the name of Charlie Tuna.

Starting Monday, December 17, a customized and condensed three-hour version of the syndicated show will be heard weekday mornings on Fresno’s KYNO AM 1430. Per a report by Fresno Bee columnist Rick Bentley, a reminder of how Ferguson got his moniker:

He got his fishy on-air name when he took a job in Oklahoma City. Ferguson was told there had been some sickness at the station and the news man [Chuck Riley] was forced to fill in on the weekend. Because he [Riley] didn’t want to ruin his journalistic credibility, he decided to use the name of the mascot for Starkist Tuna so people wouldn’t know it was him. Ferguson was told the show was such a hit that they wanted him to be the permanent “Charlie Tuna.”

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Madeleine Brand in Talks to Join KCRW (Updated)

At the end of an interesting Los Angeles Magazine story about Madeleine Brand‘s departure from KPCC comes some uplifting news: Brand may soon return to radio. As the mag explains:

She’s… in talks with KCRW to launch a program in the same 9 a.m. slot as [Alex] Cohen and [A] Martínez. “It will be just like The Madeleine Brand Show, but better,” she says with maybe a hint of something beyond enthusiasm in her voice. Because in the well-mannered world of public radio, those are fighting words.

The news isn’t such a shock – just weeks ago KCRW general manager Jennifer Ferro told the Los Angeles Times that the station had an eye on Brand. But for her to return in direct competition with the co-host that was the catalyst for her leaving KPCC, well, that would add an especially delicious chapter to the melodrama of the last few months.

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Hours Before Freeway Accident, KKLA-FM Host Frank Pastore Shared Prophetic Observation

A mind-boggling audio clip has been added to the KKLA-FM website information page for Frank Pastore, the weekday afternoon show host critically injured in a November 19 freeway accident. It was posted at the request of his wife Gina after she told a reporter for the Christian Post that he would want it that way.

Just hours before the 210 freeway accident in Duarte, here’s what Pastore said on his show as he addressed the issue of life after death and secular science’s research into whether humans have souls:

“You guys know I ride a motorcycle, right? At any moment, especially with the idiot people who cross the diamond lane into my lane, without any blinkers – not that I’m angry about it – at any minute, I could be spread all over the 210. But that’s not me, that’s my body parts. And that key distinction undergirds the entire Judeo-Christian world view.”

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San Francisco Media Blogger Rich Lieberman Makes Impressive Radio Debut

Over the years, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman has built up an extensive network of local media contacts. That Rolodex and well-earned personal reputation were on full display this past weekend as Lieberman launched a new three-hour Saturday/Sunday call-in radio show on KOMY 1340 AM.

Lieberman’s opening guest was KTVU Channel 2 evening news lead anchor Frank Somerville. The conversation eventually segued to a story the host first broke on his blog - Somerville’s adoption of a black girl:

“I have two daughters, one of whom is adopted… Callie just turned eight, and it is just the greatest thing ever… Every single day, I can look at Callie and think, ‘I made a difference in my own little way.’”

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Frank Sontag Fills In for Critically Injured KKLA-FM Christian Radio Host Frank Pastore

With Christian radio host Frank Pastore hospitalized in critical condition as the result of a motorcycle accident on Monday on the 210 freeway in Duarte, veteran LA radio personality Frank Sontag took over the reins of The Frank Pastore Show Thanksgiving Day. The program airs weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. on Glendale’s KKLA-FM 99.5.

Sontag, for many years the host of Impact on KLOS-FM, re-converted to Christianity in December 2009. He devoted a large portion of the first hour retracing that part of his life and the role played earlier this year by Pastore, a former pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds:

“When I first came to KKLA-FM in April, I proceeded to share [publicly, for the first time] my [conversion] experience in December 2009 [and hearing the voice of God]… My marriage was pushed to the brink, I actually thought I might lose my marriage… As I shared this story [on-air] with Frank, he just looked at me with eyes of love, and I thought, ‘This man genuinely knows the Lord.’”

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Pomona College Radio Alum Spies Another Sign Made by the Mysterious Leo

During a recent University of California Radio Network (UCRN) conference at Pomona College in Claremont, former KSPC 88.7 FM DJ and current radiosurvivor.com editor Jennifer Waits got a great kick out of revisiting her old studio stomping grounds. So much so that she took the tour twice.

Easily the most fascinating aspect of Waits’ drop-by’s is that they afforded her an opportunity to catch sight of yet another example of the handiwork of a mysterious, anonymous artistic benefactor. As she chronicled earlier this fall, dozens of campus radio stations around the country have wound up – often in ways that no one can quite remember – with funky, silver spray-painted cardboard art pieces displaying the outlet’s call letters. Per Waits’ blog post:

KSPC looked largely the same, although some of the technology had been updated. Just this year KSPC was able to move its transmitter and antenna, meaning that the 88.7 FM station now reaches many more listeners in the Los Angeles area. I was also intrigued to see another version of the mysterious radio station call letter sign that I’ve been spotting all over the country (signed, “your friend Leo”).

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Madeleine Brand Speaks

Madeleine Brand hasn’t said much publicly since her abrupt departure from KPCC last September. And that hasn’t changed despite participating in an LA Times profile. Although reporter Deborah Vankin did glean some interesting nuggets from her about what went wrong.

Martinez is indisputably “easy on the ear,” Brand acknowledges, but she met him only twice before he was brought on. “One little tryout and … a get-to-know-ya coffee,” she says.

Brand had input early in the long process of interviewing potential co-hosts — and was excited about certain candidates, including OC Weekly editor in chief Gustavo Arellano and CNN’s Nick Valencia — but was “surprised” when she found out in an email that the station had hired Martinez, who is known as the voice of ESPN Radio‘s “Lakers Line” and “Dodger Talk” on AM 710 but came into the job with little hard-news experience.

“I had no idea what his capabilities were,” she says.

Also interesting: crosstown NPR affiliate KCRW has its eye on Brand. “When she became available, it was the clear and obvious conversation to have,” general manager Jennifer Ferro told the Times. “Madeleine’s really talented and definitely belongs on the radio in Los Angeles — we’re gonna try to make that happen.”

For the First Time Since 1951, Laguna Beach Has a Local Radio Station

There are so many things to love about KX 93.5 (a.k.a. KXRN-FM), a station that officially launched out of studios at 1833 South Coast Highway one week ago.

Although the station is also online, it’s real-world transmitter power is only 50 watts, making it a truly local FM signal. It is owned, according to a report in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, by Laguna Hills’ Shepherd of the Hills Church. And per radio historian Jim Hiliker, it’s the first Laguna-local station since KTED 1520 AM was broadcasting from 1949 to 1951.

Program director Tyler Russell anchors mornings, from 6 to 10 a.m. He is followed by Shawn Whitney (10 a.m.-3 p.m.), Marc “Mookie” Kaczor (3 p.m.-7 p.m) and a volunteer-run slot (7 p.m.-10 p.m.) that is just ramping up this week. The overall musical focus is described as “generational alternative rock.”

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