Terrestrial Talk

Classic rock hits of Steve Miller and Journey were snuffed off the air at the Planet (KPLN 103.7-FM) on Tuesday. Industry magazines had said Infinity/CBS, which owns the Planet, would create a nationwide network of FM talk stations called "Free FM."

"When you hear 'Free FM' on the radio, they are talking about me," commented Howard Stern on his show last week. Stern's syndicated program, which had been broadcast locally by the Planet, will move to the satellite-delivered Sirius network at the beginning of next year. The name "Free FM" is a reminder that, unlike Sirius, programs are receivable without a monthly fee.

Jim McInnes, afternoon DJ on the Planet, has been part of local radio since 1974, when he joined KGB. It is unclear what his role will be at Free FM 103.7. His afternoon DJ shift was replaced by ribald sex-talk host Tom Leykis.

The new 103.7 will carry talk all day, Monday through Friday, and classic rock on weekends.

For eight years, San Diego had two classic rock stations: the Planet and Clear Channel--owned KGB. Among listeners aged 25--54, KGB is currently rated number one by Arbitron; the Planet ranks 14th.

FM talk stations can make more money than music stations because they run more commercials per hour than music stations.

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