Ira Fistell, the KABC-AM (790) talk-show host who was fired Wednesday after 15 years, says he bears no ill will toward the station.
“I don’t have any animosity,” he said in a telephone interview. “I know this is the nature of the business. . . . (But) I was somewhat surprised and sorry for the audience that’s so loyal and has been so wonderful. The audience is the real loser.”
Fistell declined to make further public comment on his dismissal. He said that he has no immediate plans for what he will do next.
The focus of Fistell’s 9 p.m.-to-midnight program was on history, politics and current events. He will be replaced Monday by Dennis Prager, whose show will mix politics, morality and religious and philosophical issues. Prager has been hosting a weekend show at KABC and will continue doing so until a replacement is found, said KABC general manager George Green.
Meanwhile, KABC confirmed that its weekday lineup will change significantly Aug. 17. It will drop “Sportstalk,” the afternoon show hosted by Steve Edwards, although it will continue to carry Dodgers baseball games.
Edwards will move to 1-3 p.m., where he will host a talk program dealing with issues and entertainment. Peter Tilden will move into the 3-7 p.m. slot, hosting what station officials describe as a morning drive-time style show. Listeners who have been used to sports during that time will still get a taste of it as Tilden will take daily calls from Times sports columnist Mike Downey between 5 and 7 p.m.
Psychologist David Viscott will move his advice show to the evenings, from 7-9 p.m.
The intent of the station’s realignment of personalities is to broaden KABC’s audience, especially among people in the 25-54 age group.
“Obviously the changes are directed at widening the audience participation,” Green said. “We know that there are literally millions who have never tuned into an AM station. They are just confirmed FM’ers who are embarrassed to turn to AM because they think that’s for their mothers and grandmothers. This is an opportunity for any of those people who have never tuned in to a good AM station to get, during afternoon drive, the kind of entertainment they are accustomed to on morning drive.”