5 January 2003
And now, the news
Radio station KOMA has been vending oldies for some time now, both on FM and on AM. It's not purely a simulcast: the AM breaks away for five minutes of CBS news at the top of the hour, something the FM listeners presumably don't want. (The AM also carries Bill O'Reilly's Radio Factor weekdays.) None of this presents a problem, except that the AM breakaway is abrupt; if there happens to be a song playing, too bad. And five minutes later, when the FM simulcast is restored, it's just as abrupt.
Now when I was growing up, some actual thought was put into how to segue into the news. Most of my listening in the early-to-middle-Sixties was straight Top 40 stuff, informed (this being South Carolina) by heavy R&B influences, and what was usually chosen as a suitable Last Song of the Segment was something with a fairly ornate outro that could be talked over during its last couple of seconds. The archetype, I'd say, might be "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonful, which gathers its forces for one final blast of electrified ferocity before settling into a quick fade. Cold endings usually did not work well in this context.
None of this matters particularly in 2003, I suppose. And the FM facility probably draws four or five times the listeners of the AM outlet at least within the market area. But KOMA pumps out 50,000 watts due west and north. With much of the AM band given over to talkers and sports, it's one of the few actual music stations you can pick up in the middle of nowhere at four in the morning, and I suspect someone else, hundreds of miles away, is just as annoyed by this station's sloppy practices as I am.