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When talk radio started at KMOX (St. Louis) in the mid-1960s, many predicted it wouldn't last. Today, almost three decades later, it is breathing new life into AM radio.

A talk-radio battle is raging in Salt Lake City now, primarily between KCNR (AM-1320), KALL-AM (910) and KTKK (alias "K-Talk," AM-630). The winners of this war will likely be radio listeners. Some believe talk radio is America's last true bastion for free speech.Here's an update on local talk radio:

- KCNR, owned by Citadel Broadcasting Co., is committed to providing 24 hours of continuous talk radio each day. It named Mills Crenshaw program director last month; Crenshaw also will continue doing his 3-6 p.m. weekday show.

AM-1320 has also hired Don Harwell, a black conservative, to do a new talk show under the stage name of "Don Porsche." The show airs Saturdays and Sundays from noon-3 p.m. Harwell is being billed by the station as the "Samurai of the Airways."

The station broadcasts Mike Reagan's syndicated show from 7-10 p.m. weekdays.

KCNR has Joe Redburn at 10 a.m., Martin Davies from noon until 3 p.m. and has the Paul Harvey broadcast rights for this market at 7 a.m., noon and 5 p.m.

- KTKK started "The Tom Leykis Show" (weekdays, 4-8 p.m.), from Westwood One Entertainment, on May 30.

- KALL still offers Tom Barberi live each weekday morning and Rush Limbaugh, the current kingpin of national talk radio, at 10 a.m. He's followed by some strong satellite talk programs.

- KCPW (FM-88.3) - Because of a large number of listener requests, on Monday, June 13, at 11 a.m. the station will rebroadcast the "Talk of the Nation" show that featured a one-hour look at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This National Public Radio show was originally carried nationwide to hundreds of public radio stations.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the church's Council of the Twelve, was on the program - via a telephone link in Salt Lake City - and he answered listener questions.

Also on the show were Jan Shipps, history professor and author of "Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition," and Elbert Peck, publisher and editor of Sunstone magazine.

The show presented in-depth information on the church and overall showed it in a positive light. It also seemed effective to have an official church representative on the program.

- KUER (FM-90.1) is sponsoring the "Used Vinyl" record sale, Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Eccles Broadcast Center, 101 Wasatch Drive on the University of Utah campus. Records will sell for $2 each. Money raised will benefit KUER.

- "Rabbit Ears Radio" is a new, weekly family radio show that premieres at 6 p.m. on KUER Sunday, June 12. Hosted each week by actor Mel Gibson, the 30-minute show will feature the best-loved stories in literature.

- National Public Radio's news magazine "Morning Edition" will dedicate the week of June 13-17 to special health-care reform coverage as part of NPR's "Critical Decision: Health Care Reform in America" project. Each weekday morning, from 5-9, KUER will carry the series.

- KBZN (alias "The FM-97.9) will feature Great Barrier of the album "Between Real & Imaginary" fame, Sunday, June 12, 8-10 a.m. on the "Musical Starstreams" show. Later in the day, (7 p.m.-midnight) "Jazz Trax" will have Ronny Jordan, who did "The Antidote" album.

- Here's a schedule of the station's "10 O'Clock CD" show in the coming week:

Monday, June 13: a new CD release; Tuesday, June 14: Roberto Perera, "Passions, Illusions and Fantasies"; Wednesday, June 15: Russ Freeman, "Nocturnal Playground"; Thursday, June 16: "The Private Music of Patrick O'Hearn"; Friday, June 17: "The Jazz-masters."

- RADIO HAPPENINGS - KSFI is sponsoring its annual "Zoola-Moola" day at Hogle Zoo on June 11. Two-for-one zoo admission is available with a lid or cap from a Cream O'Weber product. The station's current slogan is "Utah's home for continuous soft hits.". . . KMGR offers "Teen Talk" every Wednesday from 6-7 p.m. . . .

"Kerry and Bill" on KXRK were on their annual trip to London this past week. The DJs called in with some live reports. For example, Wednesday they called from the Tate Gallery and reported they had seen David Bowie. . . .

Is she live or on tape? Robin Morales is very busy as news director on KUMT and also co-host with Tom Bock on KMXB. On Tuesday, Morales was on both simultaneously. She did the news on FM-105.7 while staging her "Flash or Trash" quiz on sister station FM-107.5. One segment was taped, but which one? . . . A listener had to guess "Star Wars" as the answer to the KUTQ movie sound Monday morning to win CD prizes. McCormick's co-host, Richard Cano, was on vacation earlier in the week. . . .

One of the latest contests on KLZX is a trip to Hawaii. The station's annual "Livestock" concert is July 30 at the Utah State Fairpark. Tickets go on sale starting June 10. . . . "Handy and Hayes" on KBER staged a campaign Monday to find a home for a collie dog that would otherwise have to be destroyed. . . .

"Fisher and Todd" on KISN-FM took calls from listeners Monday that required detective skills. On Tuesday, the DJs discussed fanatical husbands with TV remote controls and continued to solicit entries for their laziest husband contest. . . .

"The thrill of new country, without the agony of the geeks" is newest promotional slogan on KSOP. . . . Tom Barberi on KALL-AM discussed the old Billy Beer craze Monday, and Tuesday he asked specific questions about President Clinton's health-care reform plan. . . . "Mark and Danny" on KDYL gave away $112 in a contest Tuesday. . . . "The Wakeup Club" on KVRI gave away lots of Michael Bolton tickets this week. . . .

"The Good Guys" (Gary and Scotty) on KKAT are sometimes the bad guys when they make a "Funny Phone Call." For example, on Monday, impersonating state officials, they played a hoax on a new certified public accountant who had finally passed his test. The DJs told him convincingly his test was graded wrong and so he didn't really pass. He believed the call was genuine, but the DJs finally confessed to the prank and that his sister had set it up. . . .

Sunday is "KRCL Day in the Park," from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. in Liberty Park . . . Len Allen on KLO, Utah's veteran DJ with 46 years on the air, gave listeners tips on making great hamburgers Wednesday.