Los Angeles and Orange County Country Music Lovers Speak Out About Their Local Radio Station

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Los Angeles country music listeners tell radio insiders why they want a local station again. Ipods, MP3 players and satellite stations will never be the Family that KZLA FM created.

It only takes one little spark to get any former KZLA listener to tell you why they want their local country station back. It doesn't matter to them what the experts in the radio industry have to say about satellite radio, MP3 players or even Ipods. As far as they are concerned, none of that matters. Their local country station was their family. What it boils down to is the feeling of community that people like Brian Douglas, Peter Tilden and Whitney Allen created on the air daily.

When KZLA flipped formats, Los Angeles and many parts of Orange County were left without a country music station. News articles have appeared in newspapers, websites, and radio industry magazines which state KZLA listeners could easily switch over to getting their music through satellite stations or download their CDs to their Ipods, instead of bringing back a new local station.

KZLA listeners are not buying that argument. They clearly state the reason they listened to the station is because of the community it created, the ability to find out what is happening on a local level, but mostly because of the people they listened to day in and day out.

After speaking to hundreds of former KZLA listeners, most have a story about how Brian, or one of the others personalities, helped them through some hard time in their life or shared in the joy of something great. The on-air talent encouraged their listeners to participate in the charities they are passionate about and promoted listeners to become a part of the community.

It was more than just getting information on local concert sales (which Los Angeles and Orange County is the second biggest market in the United States, and clearly had some record sales for such events). It was more than the artists coming into the studio and singing their newest hit solo on personal level which made the listening experience more intimate. It was a lot more than hearing what the top 20 songs were each week.

Remarkable people like Brian Douglas, Whitney Allen, Peter Tilden, Ashley Paige, brought more to the KZLA-nation than just the country music they spun. They made their listeners a family. Something country music alone ever could do. Together, these extraordinary people touched their lives every day with their honesty, love and passion for what they do.

When KZLA went off the air August 17, 2006, the listeners immediately created the website countryboards.com. Those members, using their screen names have something they want to share with the industry in hopes they will get a better understanding of what was lost that day and why a local radio station is really what they want back.

HillbillyRockstar states, "I like the DJs telling me about the great car they just got or about why they are playing the next song. They are playing it because someone from a neighboring city has dedicated it to her dad in Iraq. It makes it personal."

Arrooh wants to points out that, "Country speaks about life. There is nothing like it. I love the kind of D.J.s that usually goes with the Country Music, devoted and loving people. I don't want to just hear music only. They are caring people who have heart."

"They are my friends," declares Countrykitten.. "Whenever I was having a bad day I could email Whitney or Brian while they were on the air. The next thing I knew I heard some crazy comment about me that made me laugh. There was not other place on earth I could get that kind of a response. No even other radio stations. I heard them do that for many others too throughout the day. They can't do that with satellite radio. It's not an intimate format."

"I want a local station back!" shouts Crazycowgirl. "I miss the stories that the DJ's would tell about different artists and especially who is coming in concert. Mostly it's the DJ's I miss; their laughter; the seriousness if something happened; and meeting them in person. They were our family!"

AG has a great testimonial when speaking about what KZLA meant to him, "I have family members who lived in New Orleans and it touched me deeply to see how fast my country station reacted to the tragedy. Listeners asked KZLA how they could help and everyone at the station responded. They wanted to fill up one truck and send donations to the hit areas. Instead they filled trucks and trucks of donations. Even the DJs were packing boxes for shipping. That meant the world to me."

Another member, Patrice agrees and adds, "Country music relates to our lives today and keeps us going through the rough times as we all have shared with 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the war still raging on in Iraq. KZLA was known for doing a lot of good things for America. The DJ's volunteered their own personal time.…. I miss all the DJ's cause they made you laugh, cry and got you through the day.

"KZLA's staff was active in the community, supporting local charities, area businesses such as local country hang outs, supporting new local bands, as well as a one-stop-shop for news on CD releases and concerts for country artists. I miss my favorite music on the radio. I miss the great people (Brian, Whitney, Paul and Buzz). I want my country music radio back, and I want It now," declares Kgoddess.

Fran Koerner, known as Frangelica on the board feels the same way as many others, "I want to have a local country music station back so I can drive to work with one less stressor. My life is better with music I enjoy, music that makes my heart glad. I want to be comfortable in the knowledge that while I listen to that music, I am a little bit in touch with people and events that affect my world. I need to have country music on my radio."

Ronscountrygirl talks about the charities that KZLA did for the local community, "When our country was attacked on 9/11, KZLA and the DJ's dug in and started several charity drives in our communities. We showed up by the thousands and filled up truck after truck. I saw the same thing happen for Hurricane Katrina. We were the KZLA family, and we banded together helping with whatever we could. Peter Tilden did his concerts and motorcycle rides for Tilden's Children. These local charities all help children in our community. KZLA wasn't just a country music station that we loved, it was a family and all of us who tuned in every day, became part of that family."

The fan's love and devotion to their radio personalities is eloquently stated by Sandi, known as SadEyes on the board, "I want a familiar voice to wake me up and put me to sleep at night, to make me laugh and sometimes make me cry. I want that friend who is with me day in and day out. I want my friends back on the airwaves. I miss Brian's crazy trivia and classic country, Whitney's Tuesday test drive showcasing new songs and Friday fire playing upbeat songs to bring in the weekend, Ashley's tips for living, Peter's morning wake up call, and 5 things to make you smarter than your friends."

Because of the radio personalities, the country music station in Los Angeles and Orange County cannot be replaced by satellite or an Ipod. It is clear that those formats are too impersonal for the country music listener.

The listeners are serious about their music. They are making sure that everyone in the radio industry is very aware of how they feel by sending out hundred of letters and emails daily. T-Shirts have been created stating "We Want Our Country Music Back." They have started circulating a petition. They also have a ribbon campaign which Nashville artists have joined. Plus, they vow to back advertisers who support a new country music station. Many former KZLA listeners vow to follow their radio personalities wherever they end up.

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