It’s more than a little ironic that, according to the Spring 2006 Arbitron radio ratings released yesterday, talk-radio KFI is tied for first place with Univision’s KLVE, which programs music in Spanish. KFI’s afternoon and evening programming is now almost completely dedicated to tirades about illegal immigration, especially “The John and Ken Show,” four drive-time hours of rabble-rousing. It’s the first time an AM station has been in the top slot for nearly 20 years, so I have to assume that screaming about “closing the border” and the alleged perfidy of MEChA is a hit formula. Bummer.
Also, Bud Furillo, R.I.P. The obituaries emphasized his role as sports editor of the Herald-Examiner, nurturing gifted columnists like Allan Malamud and Melvin Durslag, but I got to know of him through his long stint as the lead sports guy on KABC. Can you imagine, a news-talker like KABC devoted three or four hours every afternoon, during drive time no less, to sports? The best show I heard was “The Steam Room” with Bud “The Steamer” Furillo and his partner, usually Tommy Hawkins, but also Geoff Wicher or Rick Talley, which was on the air from about 1979-87.
(Furillo is pictured at right, looking kind of nervous.)
KABC had the Dodgers during that period, so my drives home during baseball season would be all about listening to Bud and Tommy set up that evening’s Dodger game.
Bud’s radio persona was that of an ever-optimistic fan. The Dodgers would win a few games, look like they might be turning a mediocre season around, and there would be Bud, imploring LA: “Are you on the bus? Are you on the bus??” He got me onto that bus many a summer.