Friday, February 20, 2009

The Economy Killed The Radio Star - Blow Me Up, Tom!

The Economy Killed The Radio Star

When I was writing my 2009 dead pool list I would not have put a radio format on it. Not more than two months into this year and I'm already seeing the death of radio. It's bad enough that tonight has the last Late Night with Conan airing. Another piece of my daily life going away, but to lose 97.1 FM so it could be turned into another Top 40's station? Say it aint' so! The Tom Leykis Show has been a daily indulgence that I will no longer have at hand and that's a sad fact.

I can understand Indie 103.1 going under. They were claiming to be indie but that has no market appeal. You have small ratings at best on it. Over in public radio you had the big change in Jason Bentley being the new music director at KCRW was a bit of a change up, but it's business as usual... if you can really call public radio a "business". This format change strikes deep.

When I was young I first heard Tom Leykis on KFI. My mother would have it on in the afternoon after Dr Laura Schlessinger. Back then he was the liberal counter to Rush. He vehemently spoke out against Los Angeles corrupt politicians and leaders and did a fair amount of hell-raising cover a multitude of topics. I think it was because of that exposure that I was more into the news and what was going on around me. I read more than the comic section of the paper to be informed and for fun. KFI eventually laid him off around 1992.

His next gig in Southern California radio was with 97.1FM. He's been around in this current state of the show since 1994 with the big shake up around 1997 transforming the show into what many dislike. For what many consider tasteless, I would consider a breath of fresh air. His material has always been entertaining. A lot of his topics are male targeted and wrongly pegged as some sort of anti-feminist speech. He'd be the first one to tell you that he's all for equality in the sex. He constantly was the voice of reason.

God damn Top 40's format!

Rumors were floating around on Wednesday that the show was flipping format and then franklin avenue broke out with the press release for the upcoming AMP FM station promo.

CBS RADIO Diversifies Programming Offerings In Los Angeles With Debut Of Top 40 Radio Station Targeting Young Adults

Amp Radio Experience To Feature Most Popular Current Artists, Interactive Website, Ability to Create Artist Specific Online Radio Stations, Mobile Applications And More

On Friday, Feb. 20 at 5:00PM, PT, Los Angeles listeners, and hundreds of thousands more across the country, will be introduced to CBS RADIO's newest radio station, 97.1 AMP RADIO. Playing "All the Hits," AMP RADIO will combine the power of its on-air position with myriad online and digital applications creating a full 360 degree audio and visual experience for young adults.
The fate of Los Angeles Talk Radio was sealed in that it was now going to be some lame top 40's station targeting the 18-49 Woman demographic. Which is odd since Tom Leykis was number 1 in attracting the 25-55 male demographic for afternoon drive. Number 1! So this isn't a move to put out of misery a dying dog. This show was doing gang busters in getting the demographics. It also was heard around the nation with 22 affiliates across the country.

CBS radio really did a business choice here that I was surprised about. They're basically handing radio over to Clear Channel, and that would be a bigger monopoly than they always preached satellite radio would be. So why change the format? In this tough economic time the cost to run a talk radio station just didn't add up. Especially when you can pretty much fill up an Ipod shuffle worth of music, not hire a DJ, producers, engineers and screeners and let it run with the occasional prerecorded voice over every twenty minutes to keep you grounded. At the end of the day it just comes down that CBS wants to target those female listeners like they did with Jack FM. It's a sad reality, but it's true.

Tom Leykis had something to offer everyone. I don't care if you get offended by him, it's more than likely because it's grounded into some truth. Yes, he was arrogant in saying it. But he had something for everyone. In the last six months or so Tom changed his format up a bit to talk less about how women screw men out of child support and all that and went back to his KFI sort of material. In some weeks the only time he even mentioned anything about sex or relationship sort of "advice" was during the two hours on Thursday during his Leykis 101 class. Leaving the rest of the week to be all about current affair, political and financial advice that was more than welcome.

And when a multi-millionaire who owns two homes, one in the Hollywood Hills and another in Santa Barbara wants to give you financial advice, you listen and you listen well. I don't care if you hated his stance on issues, he is brilliant when it comes to making your money last. He came from a poor home in Brooklyn and he made himself all that money by hard work, sweat and sacrifice. You'd be wise to listen to him when he had something to say on the subject.

As for his much controversial Leykis 101 segment was harsher than it really sounded. All the advice given on that was pretty much common sense and based on logic. If it was brutal in any way, it's just because it was honest.

The purpose of dating is for sex?
Well... duh. As nice as it is to watch a movie or try some new place to eat is, you can do that with friends and not have to spend money for the other person.

Don't spend more than $40 on a date?
It's only logic. If they like you because you spend $100 on them but not when you only spend $20 on them.... well, they're with you for the sole reason of getting monetary value out of you. Not to mention that they'll

Three date rule - No sex by date three and it's done with
Like baseball, it's three strikes and you're out. If there's no sexual chemistry by date three then you really do need to stop dating them because you're just their friend who's buying them outings.

The Professor is in

This was all common sense. He always suggested men stay safe and hell, all this advice was great for women to know what guys are thinking. It's rooted in on common sense. And if that was too much to an extreme his range was one that he would go the complete opposite and talk about how women in abusive relationships should leave at once.

His show also captured a killer. One disgruntled female caller called in and confessed to killer the father of her child because he didn't pay for child support. See, now Tom always says that you should pay whatever you are legally suppose to. But this lady came out and confessed to a murder of over ten years. From Flash Friday to Ask the Atheist to the very talked about ways he took people out (JFK, African Tribal, Lacy Peterson, etc.) there wasn't a moment that wasn't entertaining of the show.

Leykis has also been doing a Wine and Spirits show called The Tasting Room for about two years now. It is all about the good stuff to drink. As an advocate of good wine and good spirits. If you were ever turned off by the sex topics, the tasting room was for you. It was beyond informative and offered many many helpful advice about what to drink, how to get it cheap and how to enjoy the good life. Oddly enough before the tasting room came about I started drinking more and more wine. So the topics on there really helped me in so many ways.

It seems that Tom Leykis has been there every step of me growing up and being who I am. A well informed individual. I often get told that I'm up to date with just about all the current events on what's happening. That I soak information up and I thank The Tom Leykis show in all its different forms has been there shaping me to who I am. 21 years later I'm face with a situation I have been faced before. No more Tom Leykis on the radio.... at least for a short time. I'm positive that he'll still be around. Book potential and all.

My only regret is that I didn't go out to a wine event a couple months back at The Foundry that Tom was hosting. A pairing of wine and meals.. But that's not too bad. I'm fully expecting one trip to the Santa Barbara wine country to run across his path when he's in a local market picking up supplies for his ranch and I'll thank him for all that he has done for me growing up and all that I'm sure he'll continue to do to me as being a major influence on my life. I would say that he's up there in influencial to me as Hunter S. Thompson or Tony Bourdain.

He told the OC Register this:

Tom Leykis reflected Thursday on his role as the last talk voice to be heard on 97.1 FM before it switches at 5 p.m. Friday to AMP Radio, a Top 40 hit music format that has been described as "fun, up-tempo and hip."

"I have no regrets," he said in a phone interview. "I have nothing bad to say. There is no good scandal here."

Leykis, 52, said he started on KLSX Labor Day weekend in 1997. He found out Feb. 12 that Feb. 20 would be his last day there. "I was not surprised. It had been a rumor for some time. CBS has been pretty generous to me. I am financially well off," he said.

"I'm broadcaster. This is what we do. To say you are looking for the next opportunity is like saying you are looking for a relationship. I don't look for relationships. They find me. If you think I am polishing up on my résumé and putting it up on, the answer is no.

"I don't owe anybody anything. CBS has been remarkable – way different than Howard Neal and David G. Hall at KFI. KLSX has such a history and has had a great run – they wanted me to be the last voice heard on the station," he said.

I like that. He's not going to look for another gig or put his resume on, he'll let them come to him. With the #1 show in males 25-55, it shouldn't be a surprise to see him pop up in some shape or form in the next year or so. It's going to be tough to not have Tom on my daily commute. I have about 20 gigs of his old shows to keep me company on my Ipod though. It'll be the best of whenever I need it.

Say goodbye L.A. Talk Radio...

And with that....... Blow me up Tom!

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