Ladies, if he can’t appreciate your fruit jokes, you need to let that mango.


13 Years Ago Today

“Rush Limbaugh May Have Run His Course!” – Bill Handel 

(October 20, 2008)Rush Limbaugh may have run his course,” said Bill Handel yesterday at a talk radio seminar, “Talk Radio Town Hall” at the American Jewish University (AJU) in Bel-Air. “His numbers in the last few years are steadily dropping, even in the diary world. KFI was built on Rush Limbaugh. He was the station. The only reason any of us are here is because we followed in his footsteps. [But] Rush is now the weakest part of KFI.”

Bill was invited by the AJU to participate on a panel to discuss not only the upcoming election but a myriad of other issues facing the country, including the Fairness Doctrine, health care, Progressive Radio, the Iraqi War, illegal immigration, and the candidates. 

The panel was severely lopsided politically, but in reality it matched the political views of the AJU audience. The seminar was admirably hosted by veteran LARP Bill Moran. Joining Handel on the panel was KTLK’s Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann. The lone conservative voice was Alan Stock, a talk radio host from KXNT (NewsRadio 840) in Las Vegas. Moran asked the audience how many had yet to make up their minds on who they were going to vote for in the upcoming election. Not one hand went up. How many were going to vote for McCain – Palin? Only one hand went up, comedian and former talk show host Marty Ingles. The rest loudly cheered for Barack Obama. Handel quipped, “What a surprise, an audience of Jews voting Democratic.” 

Much praise was given to Rush Limbaugh for carving out the world of talk radio. Handel thinks Rush may have lost his listeners when “he became a shill for the Republican party.” Stephanie added: “I thought I was the only one all those years wondering, ‘Is he on drugs?’”

Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s success was brought up. “What made her all of a sudden explode?” asked Bill rhetorically. “There’s just no way to ever figure that out. It was like being at the right place at the right time.” Bill said if there is talent required for the radio, “how do you explain Ryan Seacrest?” (Backstage prior to the seminar: moderator Bill Moran, Las Vegas' Alan Stock, KTLK's Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann, and KFI's Bill Handel)

Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller complained that the playing field is not level when it comes to liberal talk programming, or even stations carrying progressive talk shows. Rush Limbaugh is on over 600 stations, while progressive stations around the country total 60. “In the last ratings book in Los Angeles,” said Hartman, “I beat Bill O’Reilly two to one.” Handel added: “Nobody in Los Angeles listens to Bill O’Reilly.” 

Hartmann gave credit to Limbaugh for the transformation in Talk Radio. “Limbaugh essentially invented this thing called conservative Talk Radio. He’s a brilliant guy. He’s a very competent radio guy. He actually has a very coherent world, but not one that I agree with. He’s not just some guy blowing smoke. He was successful. Having been a program director, I’m telling you this business is the most risk-aversive business in the world. No program director says, ‘I’m going to put on the next star.’ Instead, they say ‘who can I put on where I won’t get fired?’ In the third year of the Limbaugh Show, he had become so successful because they did it right and he had a good product. By the third year or so program directors were saying, ‘no one ever got fired for putting Limbaugh on the air.’ And so a lot of stations put him on the air.” 

“Three years ago liberal Talk Radio came along,” said Hartmann. “I think we’re at that same point on the curve where the industry is accepting liberal Talk Radio. Once a program director says, ‘No one has ever been fired for putting on Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann,’ the same thing will happen.” 

Handel said everyone owed a debt of gratitude to Rush. “He took the old model of Talk Radio, which was the Michael Jackson model – and God bless Michael Jackson who was the best at what he did in the world of never offending, the puff ball, always being the moderator, and never making your view known – and turned it on its ear and became an aggressive, in-your-face talk radio host. The public was clamoring for this.” 

More on the AJU seminar in tomorrow’s column.

LA Engineering World Rocked. John Paoli, chief engineer at KFI, passed away yesterday. The L.A. engineering world was shocked at the sudden death of Paoli and emails circulated with the news all day. It is guesstimated by his colleagues that John was around 50 years of age.

John was recently in the headlines and his photo was on the cover of LARadio.com for his role in overseeing the recent erection of a new 50,000 watt tower. (John is standing on the left with Terry Grieger, head of engineering for Clear Channel)

"The loss of John Paoli is a devastating loss for me as it is for the entire LA Radio community," emailed Don Bastida, vp. While he was the chief engineer at KFI, he was also the Chief Engineer for AirWatch and part of our 'Team AirWatch.' We spent many overnights and weekends working in the AirWatch studios fixing equipment or building new broadcast positions. He was a genuine man, personable, and friendly, with many funny stories of radio past. When he would call to discuss what we were going to fix next, it would be 20 or 30 minutes before we could get off of the phone."

Bastida continued: "We shared a special bond in that we were both from Marin County. He went to Marin Catholic High School, and I went to Terra Linda High School. Once we discovered this, just a few years ago, we would bet each year on the MC/TL football game. The bet was only a dollar and neither of us ever paid when we lost, but it did give us bragging rights for a year. His recent honor of being named one of Radio Ink’s Engineers of the Year, and his accomplishment in the completion of rebuilding the KFI tower were not only special to him, but also made us proud to be associated with him. When the phone conversation was over he would always say the same thing: 'Be Well.' Be well John Paoli, we will miss you."

"That's John sitting down during a 2006 a tour of the KLAC transmitter site east of downtown," emailed Scott Fybush, king of the towers. "I only had the pleasure of meeting John in person once, during that 2006 visit, but we had frequent email exchanges, especially in recent months as the new KFI tower took shape. He took an immense amount of pride, well-justified, in shepherding that complicated project to completion - not just the tower itself, but little details like the repainting of the
transmitter building, which he transformed from ugly gray concrete to a palette of browns, reds and oranges drawn from the Art Deco tilework around the old main entrance."

Fybush hopes that Clear Channel will dedicate the new KFI tower to John's memory. (Photo: left to right, Paul Sakrison
[then of KFWB/KNX, now KLAA], Burt Weiner and Mike Tosch [then KMPC 1540, now KDIS 710]. "As I recall, they were looking at a spectrum analyzer to see how KLAC's HD Radio signal was performing," wrote Fybush)

 

When John received the Engineer of the Year Award from Radio Business Report, the event program included the following on John: "John Paoli has proven to be a tremendous asset to the Clear Channel Los Angeles engineering team, rebuilding the KFI tower that was destroyed by an airplane in 2004. He managed all reconstruction logistics, including legal and regulatory requirements. 

 

"Here is a picture I took of John during the NRSC proof on December 8, 2006," emailed Burt Weiner of Broadcast Technical Services. "The NRSC site is in Plaza De La Raza, near the KLAC transmitter.  John came over to visit prior to our traditional 'NRSC lunch' at Phillipes. At one point I noticed that John was just relaxing and watching the ducks in the lake. That's when I snapped this photo of him. I'm thankful I did."

"It is safe to say the entire Los Angeles broadcast engineering community is profoundly shocked and deeply saddened by this news," emailed Richard Rudman, vice chairman of the California EAS State Emergency Communications Committee. "What can be said by me at this point is that John was able to see through the rebuilding of the KFI tower and the restoration of the KFI 640 signal to its rightful place as an important information resource to our region during major emergencies. While by no means the only such source, KFI's legacy coverage was sorely missed while it was impaired. KFI is now again a full and powerful part of the Los Angeles County Emergency Alert System (EAS) Local Emergency Communications Committee (LECC) Plan. I was Chair of the LECC until 2002 when I asked John to take over. Along with all he had to do for KFI, he was an able leader for the LECC, working closely with Los Angeles County Emergency Management on any number of problems facing EAS. In my current role as the Vice Chair for the State EAS Committee, we are about to plan a renewed effort to improve EAS in Los Angeles County starting this coming week. I feel certain that my colleagues and the licensees they represent will join me in dedicating our renewed efforts to improve emergency public information to John's memory."

"Remind me never to open my email while on-the-air," wrote Jim Duncan this morning. "I am writing this as I attempt to do a morning show on Dial Global’s Mainstream format. When I got this morning's LA Radio headlines and saw the story that my long time friend John Paoli had passed away Sunday: I cried. I played softball for 25 year in LA city leagues as a catcher and John was an umpire for about that long. He used to stop by my studio and we loved to talk baseball and we wondered if he worked one of the games I caught. We laughed wondering if he ever threw me out of a game from a home plate call he made I might have disagreed with."

Duncan continued: "John knew I was personal friends with professional umpire Joe West. [I produced Joe’s first Country album.] John always wanted to meet Joe. A few weeks ago, after John finished all the hard work helping to erect the fallen KFI tower, I had it set. Joe was going to be in town for a 3 game Dodger series and I setup a surprise lunch after Joe did a scheduled in-studio appearance with KLAC’s Loose Cannons. Unfortunately, Joe hurt his leg in Arizona and never made it to the west coast. I told John of the surprise-to-be and he smiled that great smile of his and said: 'There’s always next year.' Sadly, 'next year' for John, Joe and Jim will never come. Rest In Peace my gentle friend."

"John was a hellava cook," emailed Alan Ross, anchor/producer at AirWatch America. "Wow, his creations were always a delightful treat. Rest easy John, you're surrounded by LOVE. Our sympathies out to his wife." 



Another LARP joins the Passing Parade


ANGEL, Jack: KMPC, 1968-70; KFI, 1970-76; KIIS, 1972. Jack hosted "Night Flight" at KMPC. He died October 19, 2021, at the age of 90.

After years as a dj, his legacy was established in the world of voieover. Best known for the Transformers franchise includes several key characters from the original G1 cartoon such as: Omega Supreme, Ultra Magnus, Smokescreen, Astrotrain, Breakdown, Ramjet, Cyclonus, a Sweep and some other support characters of the show. Besides Transformers, he had a prolific career being part of other classic franchises like Voltron, Spider-Man: The Animated Series, G.I. Joe and more.

Jack was the voice of "Teddy" in Steven Spielberg's A.I.

He left KFI when the station attempted a bold, albeit ultimately unsuccessful all-Comedy format.



 
For over 26 years, LARadio has tracked thousands of personalities
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For 25 years LARadio chronicled the news of Southern California radio and the personalities who populated it. Alan Oda was editor for much of that time. With the closing of LARadio he opened a weekly blog, mostly about radio at ayodaradio.blogspot.com After 25 years, LARadio came to an end in  2020.

Read the final column by clicking the curtain.

Ladies of LARP Calendar in 2007


Early LARadio was dominated by men. In the 70s women began to find an important place - on and off-air - in creating the rich history of LARadio. In 2007, we saluted the women in LARadio with a calendar that included the names of the LARP who were having birthdays that month. Calendar was sponsored by Mt. Wilson Broadcasting. You can access it at this link.



 

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Last modified: October 19, 2021