Friday, May 12, 2017



This past Wednesday (5/10) we reported on two new FM stations that broadcast from the residence of the station’s founders [link]. One of these stations, 97.5 KBUU-LP a/k/a Radio Malibu, raised reader Aaron Read’s eyebrows because of the opulence of the set-up. 

Aaron wrote:

FWIW, I believe Radio Malibu couldn't join NPR not because KPCC or KCRW, but because NPR requires a minimum number of five full-time staff from an affiliate station.

Also, that's a studio in his spare bedroom???? WOW. Those wooden wall baffles are usually a sign of Russ Berger Design Group, and he's not cheap! It looks rilly, rilly nice but I wonder how an LPFM could afford that.


I am glad that Aaron brought this up. It appears as if Radio Malibu is more about personal vanity than public service. The founder, Hans Laetz, obviously has plenty of money to spend on his hobby. But, I am not certain if this is what the advocates of LPFM had in mind when they created it.

The non-profit corporation that owns KBUU consists of Laetz and his family. Is this arrangement sustainable? Probably not. Radio Malibu doesn’t seem to have many ties to community it serves.  So, when Laetz passes on, the fate of KBUU is uncertain.

Aaron is correct that NPR requires a five-person pay staff for affiliation but I have seens this qualification waived if NPR rilly, rilly wants to be on in a specific area. It is more likely that NPR did not want to “take away Malibu” from KCRW or KPCC.


Reader Tim Campbell shared his thoughts about our post last June entitled The Incredible True Story of NBC’S 24/7 Radio News Channel [link]. The story was about NBC’s failed attempt at a nationally syndicated news format in the 1970s called NIS – the News & Information Service.   

Campbell wrote:

I remember NIS in Norfolk over WKLX 1350 (later rebranded WNIS migrated to 790 AM) and retained all news format after demise of NIS. I was a teen who was obsessed with radio under the hood stuff. Was always taken back why it failed to catch on ‘till I read this article.

For its time, I thought it was top notch NBC quality. The fact NBC O & O’s never bought in was definately a bad omen from corporate. It needed some big powerhouses (WMAQ, WNBC, WRC, KNBC, KPRC, KSD affiliates to help).


I am glad we could provide the full story. Campbell is correct when he points out that when NBC’s own stations passed on NIS, it was a sign of the lack of a market for NIS. it would prove to be a fatal flaw. If NIS had hung on for a while the outcome could have been different.  By the early 1980s satellite delivery was cheap, 24/7 networks like Transtar and Satellite Music Network were gaining new affiliates everyday and NPR had yet embrace modern programming techniques.


Tammy Terwelp, GM of KRCC

An anonymous reader commented on recent programming changes KRCC, Colorado Springs [link]:

I used to love KRCC, tuned in the other morning to almost surreal, monotone, NPR news-drivel, completely encompassing the entire daytime format. Sorry but I’m just not into it.


Back in the 1930s, Nielsen rolled out its first incarnation of an electronic radio listening measurement device called The Nielsen Audimeter.

The Audimeter differed from the current “Portable People Meter” (PPM) system in several ways.

It wasn’t “portable,” it tabulated what station the radio was tuned to, not what people were hearing, and required the respondent to have another piece of furniture in their home.

Listening was recorded on a ticker-tape that the respondent needed to change daily.  

The Audimeter proved to be so cumbersome it quickly faded away.

1 comment:

  1. Error of fact one: that is not our studio. Our studio is a BEDROOM. There is a BED in it, over in the corner behind the rack, which dampens echoes. At Christmas, we put a kid in it. Where I went to law school, we call that "reckless disregard for the truth".

    Error of fact two: personal vanity. There are 16 volunteers who all work on KBUU-FM.

    Error of fact three: "plenty of money." KBU was designed to operate without a studio, with donated relay points and transmitter site.
    We have zero fixed costs. Licensing and other recurring costs are less than $10,000 and community underwriting pay for that. No one is paid.

    Error of fact four: "The non-profit corporation that owns KBUU consists of Laetz and his family" That would be a violation of FCC regulations and is not true. Laetz and four members of the community sit on the board of directors, including the publisher of The Malibu Times, the mayor, a local businessman and the director of the Malibu Film Society (this is an industry town). This is reckless disregard for the truth.

    Error of fact five: "Radio Malibu doesn’t seem to have many ties to community it serves." We have 759 people on our FB page. We have 3,163 people getting our daily newscast ("Malibu's Only Local Daily News") via email. We have 875 Twitter followers. Our newscasts are posted on the front page of the local newspaper's website ( The GM of the station is a reporter who has been in Malibu for 20+ years, has served on city commissions, and still works as a reporter (today's front page byline: Our websites are a beehive of questions and comments on local news.

    Error of fact six: "when Laetz passes on, the fate of KBUU is uncertain." The corporation has a succession plan. You did not contact the company to learn this. This is reckless disregard for the truth.

    Error of fact seven: rilly is spelled really. Really.

    I do not know who the hell you are to sit in 612 and promulgate inaccurate and damaging news about something you have not even done basic reporting on. Shame on you.