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John Summers talks about KLUV exit

Posted 4:34pm on Friday, Apr. 25, 2014

John Summers, the longest-running DJ at CBS Radio’s classic-hits station KLUV/98.7 FM, has left after 19 years with the station. Come Monday, Summers and fellow KLUV personality Jim Zippo will be part of the air staff for “Good Time Oldies,” a syndicated format owned by Cumulus’ Westwood One.

But Summers’ departure from his 2-7 p.m. shift wasn’t voluntary (Zippo remains with the station). There was a possibility of Summers staying on part time, but he said he and the station couldn’t come to terms.

“I’m not angry,” he said. “We parted on friendly terms. But it’s going to be emotionally hard. I can’t even listen to the radio station. But this too shall pass.”

The afternoon gig is now in the hands and voice of Blake Powers, who moves over from his nighttime gig at CBS sibling KVIL/103.7 FM. No replacement has been named for Powers’ KVIL shift yet; part-time hosts will fill in until a permanent host is named. Ron Harrell, director of music programming for CBS Radio Dallas, said via email that the change doesn’t have anything to do with Summers’ new gig.

But Summers, who announced his last KLUV afternoon shift on Facebook, says it wasn’t his choice to leave.

“I know on my Facebook page ... it looked like I was leaving because I got this job and I had to decide which one I wanted,” Summers says. “[But] I got the Westwood One gig to kind of have a little extra income on the side, and I got [CBS’] permission to do it first, so I did it.” (Summers adds that he’s stunned by the support he’s received from the post, which at this writing has generated more than 100 comments.)

During the past several years, KLUV has transitioned from an oldies station to a classic-hits station, with a greater concentration on ’70s music with some ’60s and ’80s thrown in -- not a surprising move, when you consider the station’s target 25-to-54 demographic.

Good Time Oldies” doesn’t sound too different, although the playlist is a little broader; Westwood One’s website describes it as featuring “the golden era of pop, rock, and soul: hit music of the '60s and '70s with a healthy portion of ‘oh-wow’ songs from other decades.”

Core artists include the Beatles and the Stones, Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, and soul classics such as Stevie Wonder and the Temptations. Although no artist that started in the ’50s is listed among the core artists, Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock and the Champs’ Tequila are included in a “sample hour” playlist on the Westwood One site. The sample hour also includes one ’80s song, Kenny Loggins’ Footloose.

Kevan Browning, who has a long history in DFW radio, will also be on the “Good Time Oldies” staff along with Zippo and Summers, who doesn’t entirely see himself as an oldies jock (but then that all depends on how you define “oldies”).

“Truth be told, I would peg myself as more of an ’80s-type jock,” the 30-year broadcasting vet says. “My big time in Top 40 radio was in the ’80s and early ’90s. But I’ve been doing classic hits for so long, I’ve been pigeonholed in that format, I guess. But I’ve done country, I’ve done AAA, I’ve done a lot of other things. But [KLUV] has definitely been the gig of my life.”

As of now, Good Time Oldies doesn’t have a DFW affiliate. But its affiliate list is growing. And you may be able to hear Summers on it soon, at least online.

“I thought we were only going to start with 12 stations,” Summers says. “We’ve got 38. And hopefully 80 to 100 by June. Will one of them be in Dallas-Fort Worth? I don’t know. People have speculated, but I don’t think so. ... But I hope that at some point I’ll be able to tell everybody which of the affiliates streams, and they can log on to that radio station’s website.”

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