12/27/87-KKMO swoops in as KIXI changes format

VICTOR STREDICKE – December 27, 1987 – Two radio stations “just about” switched formats at year’s end. The new owners of KIXI, 880 kHz., dumped the familiar big-band music format in favor of a younger-age oldies format. KKMO, 1360 kHz., Tacoma, scooped up the big bands faster than you can dial Pennsylvania 6-5000. Obviously, significant business decisions were involved.
Sunbelt Communications, licensee of KGMI and now KIXI, has a supplementary business, Transtar, that supplies music to radio stations across the country. Transtar packages a blend of ’50s, ’60s and ’70s music under the title “AM Only.” But KIXI’s automation package is from Satellite Music Network, a competitor. Much of the music is the same, but “AM Only” seems to have 50 percent fewer ’50s favorites and 30 percent more “currents.”
So, out with the old, in with the not-so old.
Big-band fans in south King County, at least, can tune in the old KIXI’s “Music You Remember” under its real brand name, “Stardust.” KKMO previously used SMN’s “Old Gold.” Jim Baine, KKMO owner, said he had secured an option on SMN’s “Stardust” if KIXI ever gave it up. (Since he knew long ago that KIXI was headed for a sale, he speculated a change was likely.)
Baine said listener response was great the first week.
Baine has dropped plans to broadcast Tacoma Tigers baseball in the spring, and he will be clearing up “the clutter” _ programs that can be removed. He won’t break up Sunday religion programs, however, since some of those relationships date back to 1935.

While music is the basic ingredient in satellite-distributed music packages, the success of some of these services rests on the skill of the disc jockey, in Chicago or wherever, pretending to be your next-door-neighbor. The regular listener will first note such terms as “evening, morning, afternoon” have limited use. The joke is all a satellite-supplied disc jockey can say is “it’s 10 minutes to the hour” and “how about that weather?” since the remarks are heard in many climes and time zones.

Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times (1964-1989). --- View other articles by Victor Stredicke

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