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A radio station goes silent

By Michael Sanders
On May 4, 2012

  The Bay Area was saddened recently by the sale of radio station KBLX.
  I have been getting a lot of feedback from long-time listeners and it is not good. Many are upset about the firing of long time morning DJ Kevin Brown, who was let go by the new owners of the station,, which purchased the station for $25 million, and took over the day-to-day radio duties on May 1.
  The Time Broker Agreement group finalized the deal before announcing the drastic changes being made to the station. KBLX has been a Bay Area radio fixture since Sept. 23, 1916. The station's first location was on Adeline Street in Berkeley with the call letters KRE.
  After numerous changes over the years the owners finally settled in as KBLX in 1986. In 1990 the call letters were switched to KBFN, but after a short time the station ID went back to KBLX. The historical station at one time broadcast from the legendary Berkeley landmark The Claremont Hotel. KBLX has been a prominent memory in the lives of Bay Area natives and now we are losing history once more.
  Why is this happening?
  It's the same reason we are lacking local record stores and movie theatres that stand mostly empty--except for Tuesdays and Fridays when movies are only five dollars all day.
  It is Internet radio.
  Since the powerful resurgence of Internet radio stations like Pandora, Sirius, and Heart, many feel that the commercial-free services and instant connection to preferred artists cuts out the middleman--radio stations like KBLX and KMEL.
  " We are at war, war with stations all over the county because we are doing a lot of the things that radio listeners have asked for since the beginning of listening," Pandora Internet CEO Tim Westergren said. "I am just doing my job and keeping my business going but radio stations make it seem as if I am the devil. I am just making an honest living."
  As a die-hard radio listener, I sure hope that something can get resolved so people aren't unexpectedly losing their jobs like Kevin Brown and others.
  Note: Comedian Steve Harvey will take the mornings over beginning May 7.
Michael Sanders is a Tower Staff Writer. E-mail him at 

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