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KFWB News 980 Goes to Talk, Talk, Talk


Even in a huge media market such as L.A.'s, and even in a town where news can explode in a series of non-related stories, having two all-news radio stations seemed a bit of a luxury. Yet we loved being able to tune to KNX 1070 or KFWB 980 to catch up on headlines and the all-important traffic reports. Over the past decade, as time given to hard news was eaten away by food and computer programs, or sports games, it was still consoling knowing that at any given moment we could tune in from our cars and find out what that large plume of smoke over the Sepulveda Pass meant.

That's changing, though, as KFWB is switching to an all-talk format. Expanding on yesterday's L.A. Observed's brief story, today's L.A. Times reports that the change will take place September 8, when family values wingnut Laura Schlessinger moves from KFI to lead the new yacker lineup at KFWB, keeping her noon-3 p.m. weekday format. KFWB's Web site currently has a nine-word announcement about Schlessinger coming to the station and features a rebranded "News Talk 980" legend underneath the statement. The only other hint that change is afoot is a link to a story on The Wrap.

KFWB and KNX are currently both owned by CBS Radio, but there's always been a discernable difference in style between the two stations, one that goes back long before CBS acquired the former. KFWB was always the more no-nonsense, Joe Friday station of the two. The gruff and voices of reporters such as Pete Demetriou and, until last year, Dirk Morgan, defined KFWB's on-air persona. The difference, KFWB partisans always claimed, could be heard in the broadcasts the two stations made immediately following the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

Whereas KFWB, whose old Hollywood studios at 6230 Yucca St. were a

veritable emergency command center, didn't miss a beat in reporting the

disaster that morning, KNX listeners heard confused voices broadcast

from the engineering booth, with the sound of cassettes being thrashed

about in a presumably darkened studio. And now many news junkies in

L.A. are similarly going to be in the dark after September 8.