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'Provo Girl' adds fizz to 'Rock 99'

Say goodbye to "The Chinaman" and hello to "Provo Girl."

KURR radio (FM-99.1/99.5) has a new personality — the "Provo Girl," a k a Alise Ingrid Liepnieks — though she's already well-known as the spokesmodel for Utah Brewers Cooperative's Provo Girl pilsner.

Trey Barber, producer of KURR's "Rock" morning program, confirmed that Mark Britton, alias "The Chinaman," has left the show to pursue other opportunities. He worked at the station for more than 14 months.

Liepnieks joined Jaxon as a guest host a few weeks ago, and now she's a regular co-host. They're on the air weekdays from 5:30-10 a.m. ("Chopper Dick" is the show's traffic reporter, and Brad Stone does sports.)

KURR has gone through a succession of morning-show hosts over the past couple of years. In 2000, the station teamed Mick Martin, "Jamailyn" and "The Chinaman," and then in September it paired Jaxon and "The Chinaman."

However, the station has yet to recapture the rating's magic of the "Mick and Allen" show, which aired from 1996-2000. In the latest Arbitron ratings, the morning show ranks fifth among male listeners ages 25-49.

"The Chinaman" stint began as an experiment for "Rock 99," and it didn't attract enough listeners. The addition of the "Provo Girl" is a new attempt to boost ratings.

Barber said the station has received a lot of interest since the addition of "Provo Girl," who began as a regular this week. The station plans to use her for a special morning show appearance on St. Patrick's Day and on all future remotes as well.

Personally, I'd like to hear Liepnieks talk more and Jaxon talk less. Hopefully, she'll converse more as she feels more comfortable with radio. The show also needs to play at least a couple of more songs an hour. As it is now, the show only has about three songs per hour, at least during the 7-8 a.m. period.

Barber said the show is striving to play more music, and it does air more during the latter half of the show than the first.

ANOTHER CRYSTAL AWARD? KSL radio (AM-1160) has been nominated for a Crystal Radio Award for the fifth time in 12 years. The honor, by the National Association of Broadcasters, recognizes radio-station efforts to improve the quality of life in their communities.

KSL is one of 40 finalists nationwide and the only one from Utah. Ten stations will be selected for the award at the NAB convention in Las Vegas on April 8.

Each year, the station holds a radiothon for Primary Children's Medical Center and collects Quarters for Christmas, among other community events. KSL won the Crystal Award in 1999. It was also a finalist for the award in 2001, 1996 and 1991.

In addition, Bonneville International Corp., parent company of KSL, has seven other stations among the other 40 finalists for the Crystal Award — more than any other broadcast group — KDFC (San Francisco), KOIT (San Francisco), WGMS (Washington, D.C.), WVRV (St. Louis), WDRV (Chicago), WLUP (Chicago) and WWZZ (Washington, D.C.).

PACKED RATINGS — The ink is hardly dry on the last Arbitron ratings book, and now new estimates for early 2003 are out. Although the top three stations remain the same — KSFI, KSL-AM and KUBL, the newest ratings show how the rest of the pack is separated only by fractions. KSFI leads with an 8.6 percent audience share for ages 12-plus, followed by KSL at 7.4 and KUBL at 5.1. The next 11 stations are only separated by 0.8 percent. KQMB, KODJ, KRSP, KXRK, KZHT, KNRS, KBEE, KBER, KOSY, KSOP and KMGD follow between the 3.2 and 4 percent range.

These extremely close separations have narrowed in recent years and may eventually escalate the ratings war in Salt Lake area radio.

RADIO HAPPENINGS — KQMB, "Star 102.7" and its morning show, "Fisher & Laura," is sponsoring "Utah Armed Forces Care Packages." The station is asking listeners to help assemble packages of paperback books, letters from schoolchildren, soccer balls, videos and board games for military personnel. Some 800 pounds of goods have been gathered so far. Additional materials may be brought to the Airwaves Cafe, 515 S. 700 East. Star 102.7 is also holding its second-annual "Polar Bear Plunge" Saturday, March 15, at noon at the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center, 5624 S. 4800 West. Participants will jump into the ice-cold pool.

— KRCL (FM-90.9) is planning a yet-to-be named new program to air 8:30-10:30 p.m. on Thursdays beginning March 20. Spike, from Tuesday Global Gumbo, will host the new show, which will consist of trip hop, acid jazz, funk and electronica.

"Local Imposters," with Renee and Dawn has now moved to the 8:30-10:30 p.m. Wednesday slot, and "La Planeta," with Noah and Jonathan, has moved from Thursdays to Tuesdays from 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m.

— KBEE is giving away a Disneyland trip for a family of four each weekday through most of March.