North East RadioWatch: August 20, 1998

Non-Compete -- The Battle Continues

by Scott Fybush

Finally this week, "NERW On The Road" made a highly unexpected weekend visit to San Francisco, and here's what we noticed during our 36 hours or so in the Bay Area:

The ARS/CBS/Jacor frequency shuffle continues to work its way through the system. The KOME calls that long graced 98.5 in San Jose stayed with CBS when the station went to Jacor, and are now being warehoused on 1470 in Sacramento. Meantime, 98.5 has taken the KUFX calls that used to be at 104.9 Fremont, having moved there last year from 94.5 Gilroy. "K-FOX" is simulcasting on 98.5 and 104.9 for now -- well, sort of. The two stations run parallel in morning and afternoon drive, but at other times they're actually obeying FCC non-simulcast rules and running a 24-hour tape delay at the 104.9 spot (now legally KLDZ). A new format is expected at KLDZ shortly. Jacor's KSJO (92.3 San Jose) is going area-wide, with the addition of an East Bay simulcast on 92.1 KZWC Walnut Creek, and soon a San Francisco simulcast on 92.7 KZSF Alameda. The KZSF calls have moved to the former KKSJ (1370 San Jose).

On the X-band, it's KDIA now for the 1640 in Vallejo, which puts a nice strong signal into the South Bay. The longtime home of the KDIA calls, 1310 in Oakland, is now Radio Disney's KMKY. On 1650, we heard KKTR Costa Mesa, "K-Traffic" with 24-hour traffic reports for the 24-hour traffic jam they call Southern California. And at 1660, Utah checked in with Brigham City and KXOL, the X-band simulcast of KSOS (800)'s oldies format. No sign, alas, of some of the new Oregon and Washington X-banders we'd hoped to hear -- but back home, we ARE hearing Iowa on 1700, KBGG Des Moines, with business talk that's migrated up the dial from now-defunct KKSO 1390.

We love the Bay Area noncomm scene, and especially enjoyed nighttime music offerings on San Francisco's KALW (91.7) and Sunday morning folk on KFJC (89.7 Los Altos Hills).

KKHI (1510 San Rafael) has built its new 4-tower directional array on a (very big) warehouse rooftop in the East Bay, and its new 8000-watt daytime signal gets out far enough to the south to pose a real challenge to adjacent-channel KSJX (1500 San Jose) in areas like Palo Alto.

Good listens: We liked the classic soul format on KISQ (98.1 San Francisco), had fun with the classic rock on the reborn KSAN (107.7 San Mateo), and always enjoy the AAA offerings of KFOG (104.5 San Francisco and KFFG 97.7 Los Altos). CBS' newly-acquired KEZR (106.5 San Jose) is taking its "Mix" moniker seriously -- from logo to format, it's a near-duplicate of WBMX in Boston. The CHR that's now on 95.7 in San Francisco (KZQZ) seemed a bit bland, and still a bit disconcerting after all those years when classical KKHI occupied that spot on the dial.

That's about it for this week; see you next Thursday!

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