Life has a way of coming full circle when you've lived as long as Art Laboe. Back in 1991, his “Sunday Special” show hit the airwaves with “oldies but goodies” dedications on Riverside's KGGI 99.1 FM. The two parted ways in 2012, but by that time the show was syndicated in several cities, including on Hot 92.3 FM in Los Angeles.
After being format flipped out of L.A. last month, the radio legend returned to the Inland Empire last Sunday night on the brand new Old School 104.7 FM.
Not only will the station host the six-hour long “Sunday Special,” but it's also picking up “The Art Laboe Connection” Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight. The hall of fame host broke the news to his loyal fans on Facebook, declaring Old School 104.3 FM as “our new home in the I.E.”
The station definitely saw an opportunity with Laboe and Old School music when calls for petitions and boycotts howled after iHeartRadio flipped 92.3 FM in L.A. to hip-hop (and allegedly R&B, too). Point Broadcast's Brian Davis basically admitted as much to Radio Insight last month.
“We are very excited for the opportunity to bring Old School 104.7 to the Inland Empire,” he says. “Being that this format has been recently vacated in Southern California, and not addressed locally in the Inland Empire for years, it leaves an opportunity to super-serve the community with something many people are passionate about.”
Hot 92.3 FM's signal reached the I.E. and filled the void for Laboe lovers there when KGGI no longer carried his show. Old School's 104.7 FM transmission from Redlands isn't quite as powerful coming into this writer's radio in Anaheim with some static.
Change.org petition organizer Cindy Garcia still counts the recent moves as victories along with the nearly 16,000 signatures she's collected. She acknowledges them as partial though. “Los Angeles and the OC have yet to fill that void,” Garcia writes in an update. “Our work is not over.” Details of future protests are promised to come.
In the meantime, L.A. and OC's loss is the Inland Empire's gain.