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Friday, May 27, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Kxrx Begins A Slow Fade As Top Djs Bid Farewell

The seven-year era of feisty, personality-oriented album-rock station KXRX-FM (96.5) effectively ended today with the farewell and retrospective broadcasts of morning jocks Robin Erickson and John Maynard and afternoon DJ Mike West.

As regular readers know, The X is being sold by Shamrock Broadcasting to Alliance Broadcasting and the feds are expected to approve the deal in a couple of weeks.

Since Alliance is likely to change KXRX's format and start from scratch, DJs are beginning the legal process of closing out their contracts with Shamrock and taking accrued vacation time.

You'll hear Marty Riemer and Scott Vanderpool in the morning next week. But for how long? As personalities leave the station in search of other opportunities, the once-flaming X is likely to burn into embers before a switch to country music.

Or maybe it will be ragtime. That's a format no one here has tried, and Alliance isn't saying what will happen.

So what's next for the talented KXRX air staff?

There are few firm plans. But it would be surprising if the ex-Xers - longtime Seattleites all - faded away. In a volatile radio market, listen for them to set some other frequency on fire. Roy Otis is sure to make rude noises on the air again.

Re-Joyce: Resurfacing on Monday will be Joyce Taylor, former anchor at KING-TV (Channel 5) who has been working behind the scenes at KIRO-TV (Channel 7) since last fall. The clause in her KING contract that kept her off competitors' airwaves has expired.

Taylor will co-anchor the noon and 6:30 p.m. newscasts at KIRO. She joins Gary Justice at noon and Steve Raible at 6:30. This is the last piece of the puzzle KIRO news director Bill Lord has been assembling to rebuild the No. 3-rated station.

Karen Shomo, who has been the interim noon co-anchor since Monica Hart left TV last October, moves to full-time reporting.

Margaret Larson steps away from the 6:30 newscast and gets more time to put her toddler son to bed between the 5 p.m and 11 p.m. shows.

fX of business: For all the interesting niche channels local cable companies don't have room for, you might be wondering why we need another unfocused entertainment choice like fX, the cable spinoff of the Fox network that launches on various dates next month on TCI and Viacom systems.

"Dynasty," "Hart to Hart," "Fantasy Island," "Wonder Woman," "Family Affair" - this is fX, and its programming is keeping '90s television off our cable systems.

Instead of adding Court TV or the Sci-Fi Channel or E! or ESPN2

or the Food Channel, and instead of restoring to full-time status The Weather Channel, C-SPAN, BET or Univision, TCI and Viacom are adding another limp rerun channel.

They have to.

Like everything else in commercial broadcasting, fX is a business brainchild. Its launch is mixed up with complicated agreements over retransmission consent, through which broadcast stations such as Fox affiliate KCPQ-TV (Channel 13) get compensation from cable companies for using their broadcast signals on cable.

In this case the compensation is a precious channel on cable systems - which means more ad inventory for Fox to sell.

There will be some original programming upon fX's launch, and Fox pledges it will not be another USA-like rerun channel. Plans call for Fox-network retreads plus specials and movies unique to fX.

About the time fX might be worth watching, cable systems hereabouts will be rebuilt and channel capacity won't be a problem. Meanwhile, we are stuck in the '60s and '70s - technologically and culturally.

Speaking of fX, there you will find New York-bound Seattleite Jeff Probst, who has hosted "The Home and Garden Show" on KIRO-TV (Channel 7), among other roles at the station. He will be one of five fX "hosts."

Coming home: After a long search, KOMO-TV (Channel 4) this week named a co-anchor for its weekday "Morning Express" newscast. Jim Snyder joins Lynn Espinoza, weather forecaster George Siegal and traffic spotter-pilot Ted Potter beginning June 13.

Snyder comes from KVBC-TV in Las Vegas. But he grew up in Western Washington and worked at KNDU-TV in Kennewick and at KCWT-TV in Wenatchee.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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