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KOPE leaves the air

Talk-radio format changes to music

KOPE-FM radio is no longer the talk of the town.

Jacor Communication Inc., the nation's second largest radio company, announced Thursday that it has ceased operations of the Central Point station.

Technicians are preparing to change the station's format and get it back on the air within the week. But it will no longer be talk radio.

It will broadcast as KOOL-103, an all-music format, according to Keith Hollis, general manager of KRWQ, KMED-AM, KZZE and KKJJ radio stations, which also are owned by Jacor. Hollis said the type of music to be featured will be announced later.

This is the final step in a series of changes that have affected KOPE since it was sold in January to Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Jacor.

The format and name change at KOPE will not result in any layoffs.

The only thing that has changed for personnel is that we no longer have a studio in the KOPE building, Hollis said. The studio has moved to Medford.

It is being consolidated with the other stations at the Jacor broadcast center on Avion Drive near Biddle Road, where technicians are installing equipment for the new music format.

In terms of ratings and commercial viability, an FM signal as good as this one is a great opportunity for a music format, Hollis said. Ratings that talk couldn't always get.

Two of KOPE's most popular syndicated personalities, Art Bell and Don Imus, will still be heard in the Rogue Valley on KMED-AM (1440).

Art Bell is the whole reason Premiere Radio bought KOPE, Hollis said. Bell, who lives near Las Vegas, hosts two popular talk shows running from 10 p.m. to — a.m. dealing with UFOs and other unexplained phenomena, and a bit of politics.

He is heard on 425 stations across the country, and his show is now the nation's most popular nighttime talk radio program, said Alan Corbeth, vice president of Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates the show.

Art Bell Coast to Coast and Dreamland are now heard starting at 10 p.m. on KMED-AM. Imus in the Morning joins the KMED lineup Monday.

Two other popular personalities -- Roy Masters and Roger Fredinburg of Talk Radio Network, a network with nationally-syndicated programs operating out of Central Point -- will not be heard on a Jacor-owned station. But that doesn't mean they've been silenced.

Fredinburg has been picked up by a local station. Which station and when he will air will be announced soon, according to Bob Just, vice president of TRN. Masters, head of the Selma-based Foundation of Human Understanding and original founder of KOPE, has not been picked up. But he might be.

They're (Masters and Fredinburg) still in national syndication, Corbeth said. They'll be back.