Sunday night passed without any 'oldies but goodies' spun on LA's 92.3 FM radio station. No love zone dedications could be heard. Art Laboe's familiar, iconic Hall of Fame voice didn't soothe through speakers to his faithful, multi-generational audience. In another sudden format flip, Real 92.3 took over the frequency leaving Laboe and Old School music without a home in Los Angeles.
And listeners are really pissed. Some are even calling for a boycott of the new station. Others are signing an online petition demanding the return of Hot 92.3FM radio personalities and its playlist.
The change came early Friday morning. Real 92.3 FM kicked off its debut of mainstream hip-hop and R&B playing “10,000 joints in a row” commercial-free. iHeartMedia's Doc Wynter is the new program director and promises big things.
“The all-new Real 92.3 will be LA's new home for REAL Hip Hop and R&B –it's what LA listeners have been waiting for,” he said in a press statement. Too bad the Weekly heard the same boring corporate hip-hop song playing on Real 92.3 and Power 106 at the same time while cruising around over the weekend. Oh joy!
Cindy Garcia started a Change.org petition begging to differ with Wynter. “There are several stations in Los Angeles that dominate the crowd The Real 92.3 aims to target,” it reads. “Let's show iHeart Radio and Doc Wynter that Los Angeles wants their old school music back on the air. Our days with Jimmy Reyes, Josefa, Rene, Art Laboe, and the rest of the crew, were robbed from Angelenos.”
The petition is steady at more than 3 thousand signatures since beginning on Friday. A boycott flyer states that the new owners “think that Old School and Chicano Music are irrelevant to their demographics” in asking people to join the tune out.
Laboe is still syndicated six nights a week in other markets, but Los Angeles is where the legend cemented his lore. And the Weekly got excited that his Hot 92.3 presented Chicano Soul Legends concert finally made its way to the Honda Center this year with other Old School shows seeming primed to set up shop there.
“Being a part of the Hot 92.3 programming for so many years afforded The Art Laboe Connection the opportunity to work with some of the best and most talented industry professionals,” Laboe says with class in a press release. “We wish the best of luck to the new format and to all those that were let go to make way for Real 92.3.” The station had been home for Laboe's show since 1997 when it was Jammin Oldies 100.3 FM. Three years later the frequency switched places with 92.3 FM.
His office acknowledges the response of dedicated fans. “The outpouring of emotions from our listeners has been tremendous and speaks to the power of music and Art's connection with his audience,” adds Joanna Morones of Dart Entertainment.
The 89-year-old host wants to keep going and is exploring options with iHeartMedia and other radio stations to return to LA airwaves. It probably won't happen before Valentine's Day this weekend. For all the ladies and fellas in LA/OC/IE, you're going to have to get your special song requests streamed online at KOKO94.com or hope to pick up San Diego's Magic 92.5 FM signal!
The extra effort to get Laboe to blow a stationless VDay kiss just makes it all the more meaningful. Be sure to tell your hynas that!
Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!