HAPPY Tuesday BIRTHDAYS
The most comprehensive listing of 6,000 Los Angeles Radio People, spanning the last 50 years, is now available just by clicking on your favorite personality. The listings provide a colorful snapshot of where they came from, where and when they worked, and what they’re doing now. Enjoy!
(Tawn Mastrey, Kathy Kiernan, Michael Castner, Bob Ridzak, Tom Bernstein, “Sweet Dick Whittington, Ed Krovitz, Bert Pegram, Tom Brokaw, Jeff Baugh, and Mancow)
Norm Epstein Excels at Water Color Painting
(March 11, 2014) It would be tough to find someone who doesn’t have a terrific story to tell about Norm Epstein, the veteran broadcaster who was a general manager, sales executive, radio station owner, and the entrepreneur who developed Marketron, a computer reach/frequency system that introduced the world of computers to packaging ratings information for ad agencies.
I had the absolute honor of working for Norm in my early radio career. In the late ‘60s I joined his sales team at XTRA/KOST when it was owned by Gordon McLendon.
Norm is a local boy, born and raised in Los Angeles and a graduate of USC, who never had to leave the market to leave his mark on the broadcast landscape. My love affair with Norm started at a managers’ meeting at McLendon’s 500-acre ranch, Cielo, in Denton, Texas in 1967. As national program director I got to attend the twice-a-year confabs that were held for his seven general managers (you could only own seven stations at the time) in the screening room at Gordon’s ranch. Norm has remained a friend since those days.
It doesn’t take long to realize the trait that puts Norm in a rare category … just how creative he is. Buyers and ad execs remember fondly how after a sales call, Norm would leave a personalized cartoon. He’s a great gin rummy player. He and his wife, Sandra, have three children.
Norm’s latest creative endeavor is water color painting. He started a class just a couple of months ago and he forwarded four of his early paintings.
“I enjoy the creativity and harmony while painting,” said Norm. “I learn something new every week.”
Norm’s story is featured in the first volume of Adventures in Airtime. “Sometimes it is not the end result but rather it is the journey,” Norm reflected. “You finally get to the end and it was the journey that was exciting.”
Hear Ache. Rick Scarry will be on Scandal this Thursday night playing a rich businessman accused of murdering a hooker. Although my character is referred to and pictures of me discussed at various points in the episode, my only real scene in this episode is near the beginning of the show. Hopefully the editor was kind to me….time will tell. I haven't killed a hooker in years, so I don't know why they cast me in this part.”
Darin Services Set. Service for John (Darin) Miller is on Monday 3/17 at 2 pm. St Michael Parish, 1208 11th Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501. Ph 360-754-4667.
Joe McDonnell’s Facebook page from March 8: “Well, Captain Clumsy did it again! And my wife has stepped in to help with a plea for blood donation. I can always depend on my wife to help whenever help is needed. Last Tuesday I mangled my knee in a collision with a metal chair - yep that’s me - and a humongous blood clot formed. I’ve had two major surgeries - last one at 7:30 this morning. But I’m still alive and still have my right leg, which wasn't a certainty by Tuesday night. They thought it might be a recurrence of the flesh-eating disease but thank God it wasn’t. I should be back in action in about a month, in which time Bozo the Coach D'Antoni will take a buyout, go play golf and quit polluting our Lakers! He almost makes Roy Rubin look competent. Or Randy Pfund. And PLEASE donate blood if u can. It probably saved my leg and it has the potential to do so much good for millions of others.” God speed to Joe. He has encountered much in recent years.
“According to the American Bible Society, Las Vegas ranks as one of the least Bible-minded cities. Would a bible-themed casino help change that perception?” (Ira David Sternberg)
“We have our Bridgegate. I’m beginning to wonder if Chris Christie is governor of California. There’s a tiny bridge on Van Owen Street that has been under repair now for longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge.” (Doug McIntyre, KABC)
“Bobby McFerrin, he’s not worried, he’s happy, he’s 64 years old today.” (Gary Bryan, K-EARTH)
"We worked hard with passion on Airplane. But 30 years later to be on the
Dennis Prager Show reminiscing what it was like, I don't think anybody
had a clue that would happen." (Airplane director Jim Abrams guesting
with Dennis Prager, KRLA)
"We worked hard with passion on Airplane. But 30 years later to be on the Dennis Prager Show reminiscing what it was like, I don't think anybody had a clue that would happen." (Airplane director Jim Abrams guesting with Dennis Prager, KRLA)
Anyone lose a cat?
We GET Email …
** John Darin’s Passing
“I felt so stunned about John Darin passing that I didn't have it in me to write anything until just now. I just now stopped kicking myself because when I heard he was sick on the weekend, I booked a flight to Seattle with arrangements to Olympia on Tuesday to see him after calling numerous times and getting a busy signal.
As we both sat in the outer ring surrounding Los Angeles hoping for a gig there someday, we worked together through Al Anthony in the Bakersfield and San Bernardino markets and at separate stations, but we always stayed in touch.
John hired me at KROQ AM 1500 and I hired him when I took over as pd when I changed KIIS to Top 40 and merged it with FM 102.7 for our simulcasted format. He was so connected to guys like Jay Stevens, Charlie Tuna, and a bunch of other heavy hitters. His judgment was always keen. No one ever questioned it. And on-air his voice was just effortless and as smooth as butter. We often wondered why he wasn't a crooner.
When one of us would be out of work we would hire each other. It's true, it's not what you know, but who you know after you reach that certain plateau, no matter what business you are in.
John was a consummate professional. He was inspired and passionate about the business before he was even trained. He shed the announcer stereotype barriers that keep radio people out of voiceover.
He was also a good businessman and an insanely ridiculous punster. He particularly enjoyed the idea of Jay and I taunting each other with inside jokes on the air. Jay and I were each blind in one eye. When would we would handoff on adjacent air shifts, over the intro of the Four Seasons’ My Eyes adored you, we would change the name to ‘My Eye Adored You.’
John and I actually dated the same women. For some reason, neither of us ended up with any of them. Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition. I know that's TMI, but bros is bros right down to the end.
I don't think John had an enemy in the world. My only regret was not accepting his most recent kind ski invitation to Utah.
John, you're in our prayers and you have made us appreciate life even more. The moments we have, finally knowing what it means to be living in the moment. All of our lives are better for having known you and we thank you for being part of all of it. You make us realize how we really are truly all connected.
John, it was wonderful knowing you. Thanks for everything you gave us.
Goodnight, for now. Sincerely and spiritually.” - Don Elliot
** Darin Timeline
“Sorry to read about Johnny Darin. While the article mentioned KBLA from 1989 to 1992, the station was only on the air for 10 painful months under Johnny's direction in 1991. KBLA, broadcasting from the bankrupt FBN TV Studios in Century City, which Darrin also ran and they never sold a single commercial.
In a tragic accident Johnny's only son was hit and killed by an RTD Bus in the 70's. We all wish Johnny well!” - Scott Felten
** Lippincott Remembers Darin
“Another legendary entertainer / broadcaster forges ahead of the rest of us to blaze a new trail. My thoughts are with John Darin and those of is left behind.
Until we meet again.” - Ric Lippincott
** KLRA On-Air Friends
“Johnny Darin and I met when I came to KRLA in 1971. We were friends since then. When Johnny moved to Utah I didn't get to see him as often but we did get together when he visited LA.
John was an extremely talented and a good person. I called him on Friday and was able to visit with him briefly. I'm so thankful I was able to do that.
I will miss him and happy to have been his friend.” – World Famous Tom Murphy
** Re-naming Rights
“Maybe new name for LA Radio People these days: ‘Days of Our lives, General Hospital, Forrest Lawn Inc.’” - Alan L. Gottfried
** Laboe is Sad – You Better Believe it Baby
“Once again LARadio.com is the first place we read about our broadcasting friends. We appreciate you writing about Shotgun Tom Kelly. Art Laboe feels very sad about that, as Shotgun always seemed in robust health. But it just wasn't his time ... you better believe that Baby! Our prayers are with you and your family, Shotgun! Your fans, including us, miss you. Get well soon! Your friends at The Art Laboe Connection.
And on Sunday I was with radio and tv friends, including Jim Walker RF Engineer of KVCR TV 24 and 91.9/fm and shared the news your report of Geoff Edwards passing. Jim was shocked as it was the first he was hearing about his friend he had worked with on the Big Spin. He then passed the news to 10 more friends that hadn't heard the news.
Thank you for always sharing news of our friends and keeping us informed.” - Joanna L. Morones
** Step Aside Scioscia
“I once told Mike Scioscia to step aside just a little as he was nailed one time by Jack Clark of the Cardinals and you could feel the hit up in the booth. Mike just calmly replied I grew up knowing that's part of catching and you stand your ground.” – Jack Naimo
** Geoff Edwards/Connection to Kennedy Assassination
“Years ago, when I was with RKO General, Geoff Edwards joined KHJ. Right away, the tragedy in Dallas happened and Geoff was on a plane to Dallas. I had met Geoff and he was very friendly and not in the least pretentious. When Geoff returned from Dallas where he had been a first-hand observer of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, he said to me let's have a cup of coffee and we went next door to Nickodell's. Geoff described in detail to me his observations and what happened in Dallas - there was no security to speak of and there seemed to be mass confusion.
Geoff was very bright and had a great sense of humor and he wasn't at KHJ very long. We would see each other from time to time. He was very likable. He liked people and they liked him. After he got into tv, we lost touch and we rarely saw each other over the ensuing years. But I remember him well - a terrific person.” – Bob Fox
** Edwards Up for Family Feud
“TV Media Insights has an obituary which details Geoff Edwards’ game show career. He was tapped to be the original host of Family Feud but was committed to another production company and NBC so Richard Dawson became host.
I’ll bet Edwards wouldn’t have kissed all the female contestants the way Dawson did!” – Steve Thompson
John Darin, Versatile Veteran of Many Formats in LA Radio, Dies at 74
(March 10, 2014) John Darin (Miller), an L.A. radio veteran both in front of the mic as well as pd duties across the dial, has died at the age of 74. The veteran of KRLA, KDAY, KROQ, KNAC, KGOE, KNX, KGIL, KJOI, and KBLA had just been diagnosed last month with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Born John Christian Miller in Rapid City, South Dakota, he grew up in Ventura. When he was a youth John watched a broadcast, which led him to tell the dj, “when I grow up, I want to be a disc jockey.” In response, the dj said, “you can't do both!”
Johnny Darin arrived at KRLA in December of 1968 from KGB-San Diego via earlier stops at KACY-Oxnard and KMEN-San Bernardino, serving as music director at the latter. At KRLA, he started as a production man. He would then become the character Filbert E. Yarborough (Bill Drake's name at KYA-San Francisco) on Dave Hull's morning drive show. Within a few months, Johnnie had his own show in late 1968 then a year later became program director. “It all happened very quickly,” recalled John
1972 was a busy year for John. He started a decade of programs for Armed Forces Radio. He also served as the original pd at the ambitious, albeit ultimately unsuccessful KROQ/AM. After “the Roq,” John went to San Francisco to be gm of KSOL and orchestrated a Disco format.
In 1975, he returned to the Southland and spent a summer month at KNAC before becoming pd of KGOE in Thousand Oaks for six months. John’s father would give him prophetic advice about the “dj business,” telling him to prepare for a life after being a jock.
John began to make a transition into the world of business reporting on Channel 22 while doing business reports on KNX and playing music on KGIL. In the mid-1980s, John was an anchor on KCOP/Channel 13, field reporter on KHJ/Channel 9 and did reports for cable news.
John and Chuck Ashman produced audio, video and websites for clients on nine major airlines under the banner “Flight Talk Network.” He has been reporting business news on American Airlines’ audio channel for years. John helped launch KBLA as a full-time Business station in 1989 when realtor Fred Sands bought the station.
After leaving the day-to-day radio grind, John would eventually operate a full-service ad agency specializing in infomercials (many of which he hosted) and industrial video work. “There is life after radio if you are creative, ambitious...and DESPERATE,” John said when interviewed for Los Angeles Radio People.
You can view John’s LA tv work at: http://talentmg.com/actors/john-darin/ and look at Demo 2.
Hear Ache. Hal Douglas, one of the most gifted trailer and promo voiceover actors, died last week. He did all the voices for A&E Biography and was ‘Jack the Trailer Guy’ in the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedian …KCRW is having a heavy presence at the annual SXSW festival this week. Today will be hosted by Chris Douridas with the rest of the week hosted by Raul Campos, Jason Bentley andAnne Litt … David Cruz made his first appearance with Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Espinosa at KFI. David’s been doing news after losing his afternoon drive show at 1150 AM. The three reminisced about being former tv colleagues. “David was a great reporter,” said Elizabeth, “and we’re lucky to have him.”
Jack Roberts Dies. Longtime radio executive and personality Jack Roberts died late Friday, March 7 in Los Angeles, following a long illness. Roberts was 62. Roberts was most recently working at CRN Digital Talk Radio.
During his extensive career in broadcasting, Roberts worked as an on-air personality, producer, program director, and general manager. He most recently served as executive producer for CRN’s programming, including What’s Cookin’ Today.
“Jack truly understood and loved radio,” said CRN Digital Talk Radio’s ceo/president Michael J. Horn. “He became an instant, caring friend to everyone he encountered. Not only has radio lost such a special person, but so has the world.”
Roberts was born on May 8, 1951 in Massachusetts. A graduate of Boston College, he worked with some of the nation’s top celebrity broadcasters and air talent. For more than 25 years, he booked for markets including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Providence, and Hartford.
“There wasn’t a guest or celebrity Jackie didn’t think he could get,” Horn said, “And he almost always booked them.”
Shotgun Update. Yesterday morning, Shotgun Tom Kelly was up and doing some walking following his quadruple bypass heart surgery on Saturday. He is recovering in Grossmont Hospital in El Cajon.
Silent Project. Kaci Christian is dedicating 2014 to listening better. And to do that she is not speaking for a year. (You can scroll down to recent columns and click January 2014 to read why she has undertaken this project)
"My six-week exploration of Australia ranks ‘A.’ for AWESOME,” emailed Kaci “I also spent six beautiful nights in Bali, Indonesia, just a two-hour flight from Darwin, NT Australia. I had so many incredible experiences and expanded my relationships by meeting generous, kind and fantastic folks –all without saying a word. I’m six weeks into my year-long vow of silence as I travel the world learning to listen differently. Now that I’m home in Southern California, I’ll be able to update the blog posts at www.theSILENTproject.com and hopefully figure out how to upload photos to Facebook from my iPad without having Flash.”
“What kind of egg did the bad chicken lay? A devil egg.” (Dude, character on Gary Bryan morning show, K-EARTH)
“At one point during the evening that Rita Wilson [Mrs. Tom Hanks] was hosting, she said something like, ‘It’s too bad that LA doesn’t have a Country station.’ A lot of people in the audience shouted, ‘Go Country.’” (Larry Morgan, KKGO)
“You don’t have to take any advice from a guy on the radio.” (Dennis Miller, KRLA)
“11% of Americans think HTML is an STD.” (Christian Wheel, KFWB, Let’s Talk Tech)
Sky High. Thursday, March 6, wasn’t just another day in the life of KCSN’s pd Sky Daniels. Upon arriving at the radio station, there was a message that Paul McCartney wanted to speak with him. The message turned into a surprise interview with McCartney that included the music legend’s thanks to the station for regularly playing songs from his latest album, New, his thoughts on The Beatles’ 50th anniversary and more.
“Paul’s call was so thoughtful, I found myself fighting back tears,” Daniels said. “He told us how his friends all loved the station. They told him that KCSN was playing a number of songs from New and he simply wanted to say thanks.”
We GET Email …
** Passing of John Darin
“I called Jay Stevens with the news that John Darin died. He is as devastated as I am.
Jay was music director at KRLA while Johnnie was program director. We’re talking about a memorial of some kind in the near future for Johnnie. I’ll keep you in the loop on this, believe me!
Jay and I agree that Johnnie played a pivotal role in our careers. I never would have landed a job at KRLA/1110 without his support and encouragement. Later our relationship evolved into a great friendship.
I can never forget his wicked sense of humor and understanding of current events. We had lunch occasionally, reminisced about the old days, and kept up to date.
I will miss him terribly.” – Cam Currier (My God, life goes fast!!)
Doug Cox, former pd at
1110/KRLA, was "touched by the news." Photo: John Darin,
William F. Williams, Chris Hillman (Byrds) and Cox
** KRLA Dream House
“Just heard of John Darin’s passing and had to express my sorrow. John was a very good friend of mine and he will be severely missed.
Without John and Doug Cox my dream of working at KRLA would have never been fulfilled. He was the Grand Geezer in our little clan. My deepest sympathy to his family.
We'll never forget you, Johnny.” – Jay Stevens
** Darin One of a Kind
“God bless my old friend, John Darin. He was not only talented he was a great person. He was one of a kind.” – Mike O’Neil
** Friend of Darin for 20 Years
“John Darin’s niece said that his passing was quiet and peaceful.
I had just spoken to her Saturday night around 10 and she told me that it would not be much longer. He was heavily sedated due to the pain and the anxiety, so I did not get a chance to speak with him. She said he would soon be broadcasting from heaven and we tearfully laughed at what excellent company he would be in with the likes of Alan Freed, The Real Don Steele and Robert W. Morgan.
He was a very good friend of mine for over 20 years. He was a man of true talent and class. I will miss knowing he is on the planet.” –Tammy Trujillo
** Ogden School Colleague
“Very saddened by the news of Johnnie Darin’s illness. We went to Ogden’s radio school in 1964. He was always upbeat and positive, a great role model for everyone he touched. May God bless him throughout his journey of this life and beyond.” – Johnny Helm
** Darin Was a Favorite
** Darin Was a Favorite
"Sad news regarding John Darin's passing. John was always
one of my favorites. As a youngster, I stood next to him at the K/men Klondike
Claim Stake [formerly the K/men Treasure Hunt] out in San Bernardino in the
mid-1960s. Later, when the premiere K/men pd took off rather suddenly for Los
Angeles, John became co-pd with Brian Lord. John was kind enough to pay me for
my services as an intern [in 45s and LPs of course].
"Sad news regarding John Darin's passing. John was always one of my favorites. As a youngster, I stood next to him at the K/men Klondike Claim Stake [formerly the K/men Treasure Hunt] out in San Bernardino in the mid-1960s. Later, when the premiere K/men pd took off rather suddenly for Los Angeles, John became co-pd with Brian Lord. John was kind enough to pay me for my services as an intern [in 45s and LPs of course].
Then, in 1972 when [as the K/men apd] I arranged the 10 year on-air K/men
reunion. John was one of the real cheerleaders and encouraged many original
deejays like Huckleberry, William F. Williams
and others to attend the event. It was a huge success thanks in large part to
John's enthusiasm for bringing the gang together one more time.
Then, in 1972 when [as the K/men apd] I arranged the 10 year on-air K/men reunion. John was one of the real cheerleaders and encouraged many original deejays like Huckleberry, William F. Williams and others to attend the event. It was a huge success thanks in large part to John's enthusiasm for bringing the gang together one more time.
I was proud of all that John Darin accomplished after K/men, including
KRLA, the tv infomercials and so much more. I told him so, when I saw him
decades later at Salem Los Angeles [KRLA] when I was employed there. He was
always very humble and in every circumstance, always a real gentleman. As a
young radio listener, he was my favorite. On-air, he was so smooth, so genuine
and so believable.
I was proud of all that John Darin accomplished after K/men, including KRLA, the tv infomercials and so much more. I told him so, when I saw him decades later at Salem Los Angeles [KRLA] when I was employed there. He was always very humble and in every circumstance, always a real gentleman. As a young radio listener, he was my favorite. On-air, he was so smooth, so genuine and so believable.
We'll miss you John, but was a legacy you left behind. My sympathies to his
family, friends and all who loved him." - Ted Ziegenbusch
We'll miss you John, but was a legacy you left behind. My sympathies to his family, friends and all who loved him." - Ted Ziegenbusch
** Brother From Another Mother
“After coming home from a funeral for a long time friend on Saturday, I was stunned by the news that my lifelong friend Shotgun Tom Kelly was having triple bypass surgery. But hearing the news that it all went well and he ‘plans’ to be back to his K-EARTH afternoon drive show in a couple weeks made me feel much better.
Tommy and I first met at the corner of 7th & Ash in downtown San Diego. He was 16 and I was 17. We used to stand there for hours watching the KCBQ disc jockey on the air from their second floor picture-window studio. There was a huge mirror over the top of the console and watching the dj work made us want to live our dream even more.
We both grew up loving radio and wanting to be The Real Don Steele. Tommy gets to live that dream every day. This picture was taken just before he received his star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame. His wife, Linda, is behind him over his left shoulder and his son, Nick, is behind my right shoulder. We hugged and he said to me as he walked to the podium: ‘This is for BOTH of our dreams Jimmy.’ [Tommy’s star is right next to Don Steele’s.]
I was planning a trip next weekend to San Diego to see my family and be at Tommy’s Saturday Night ‘Pool Party.’ I think my wife, Judy, and I we be just visiting him and Linda for a few minutes, just to make sure my ‘Brother from another Mother’ is OK. I’m sure he’s fine. After-all, Shotgun Tom Kelly has ALWAYS been a Boss Jock and so you know, just like his heart: ‘The BEAT goes on!’” – Jim Duncan
** Well Wishing for Shotgun
“Thanks Don for sharing the Shotgun Tom Kelly story with us. I didn’t realize that he had any health issues. My prayers are with him for a full recovery, and looking forward to hearing him back on the air soon.
Wishing the best to Shotgun Tom and his family.” – Art Estrada, Long Beach
** Recovery Period After Bypass Surgery
“After bypass surgery, sitting is one of the worse things one can do. Recovery includes walking and more walking as one gets stronger. Shotgun Tom Kelly would be nuts to go back on the air for at least 6 weeks.
Hope his doctors are making this clear to him.” – Bob Fox
** More Recovery Timetable
“My prayers go out to Tom Kelly and his family. Having recently gone through this with my wife’s bypass surgery I know what he’s experiencing, and it’s tough. If my wife’s recovery is any indication a return in two weeks may be unrealistic, but it will be great to hear Tom on the air again when he's ready.
We're keeping Tom and his family in our thoughts and hoping for a super positive outcome.” – Bryan Simmons
** Wishing Shotgun a Speedy Recovery
“Wishing Tom Kelly the very best in his recovery. He certainly is one of the finest talents in Los Angeles Radio today.” – Mike O'Neil
** Jack Roberts Death
“We have lost an outstanding human being with Jack Roberts’s death. Jack stopped calling about two weeks ago. Jack would call me every week to make sure I was OK with the loss of Steven and Beverly.
His great concern for me when he was he was so ill and in such great pain. The tears start when I think about his suffering and our loss of Jack.” – Roger Carroll
** Roberts Touched So Many
“Oh, man ...
I’m poorer for never having actually met Jack Roberts. But richer for having known him through HollywoodHillsGroup.com, and a lot of emails and to share his great joy in his involvement with all the people he touched related to his beloved broadcasting and music.
One gains some comfort in assuming that he’s relieved of his pain and better off where he’s headed. St. Peter, you just picked-up a good one.
With a Jack [on the rocks] firmly in hand, I bow westward and say... Jack, God Speed.” – Bob Sherwood
** Talked with Jack Roberts Every Day
“Jack Roberts was a good friend of mine. I met him at Mike Horn’s CRN radio facility. Jack was the ‘go-to guy’ for Mike.
A whole lot of former [mostly retired] ‘big deal radio and music folks from all over the country got involved with Jack’s pride and joy, his website, HollywoodHillsGroup.com. The site was a column that Jack wrote on a daily basis, a column that had a documented number of more than 10,000 readers from all across America and Canada on the day he died. How high would that number eventually get to if he hadn't died? We’ll never know.
Jack was not considered to have been a LA Radio and or tv guy like [for example] Don Barrett and I are considered to be, but broooo-ther … he became a L.A. Radio guy here and it was my privilege [as a member of the Board of Directors] to make Jack a PPB member [Pacific Pioneer Broadcaster] and when he received his membership card he was thrilled.
When things began to get tougher than tough for Jack, he asked me to please call him on a daily basis because of the positivity I was expressing to him during our phone conversations. I big time enjoyed those conversations and I was really sorry when he was no longer able to talk and he had returned to the hospital. While there, he was in great pain, he asked for more morphine, the doctors wouldn’t give it to him and my response was, ‘What are you afraid of? Are you worried he might die?’ Yes, I was being sarcastic but yes, I understood the legal situations the doctors had to adhere to.
During our conversations, Jack Roberts made it very clear to me that despite the continuing awful pain, he didn’t want to die. I know a number of people who have said if they’re ever in a non-stop pain situation, they would want someone, anyone, to please ‘pull the plug.’ I’m not so sure that I wouldn’t say the same things if I was enduring what Jack Roberts had to endure.
Jack Roberts, pain and all, hung in there while hoping for a ‘turn-around’ miracle. Those of us who were/are his friends, were hoping the same thing.
In my view, Jack Roberts’ toughness kept him alive probably longer than he should have, but Jack, besides his toughness and or stubbornness, had another ace in the hole, so to speak. Don Graham, a guy who is very well known in the music business, but he's also a guy who has a heart made of gold. And it was Don Graham who always was getting Jack to the hospital when it was necessary and Graham got all over any doctor who wasn’t treating Jack the way Graham felt Jack should have been treated.
Because of all that Jack had to suffer through before he died, Jack Roberts goes down in my memory book as the toughest S.O.B. I've ever known. The dude never whined, folks. Not once!
R.I.P., my friend. And if there really is an afterlife of some kind, I hope I’ll have the privilege of being where you are when my ticket gets punched.” – Scott St. James
** Coming in Threes
“In the past two weeks we lost three great radio personalities. It is sad and reminds me that time goes by very fast and we should be making the most of it.” – Lynda Parets
** Bob Kingsley Turns 40
“I was so pleased to read the article about Bob Kingsley being honored at The Grand Ole Opry for his 40+ years in country music radio. Bob has been a good friend of mine for 35 years, and he was very instrumental in advancing me in my radio career.
He is proof that good guys do finish first.
Congratulations, BK.” – Jeffrey Leonard
** George Lopez Not Funny
“Regarding George Lopez’s show getting back reviews. George Lopez is not funny – never has been.” – Carol Wood
** College Radio
“A couple of reflections:
1. I would like to add a couple of names of prominent people who have worked for me at one of my stations: Larry Van Nuys, Hal Fishman, Johnny Magnus, Geoff Edwards, Stan Duke, Crazy Eddie Alexander, Scott Shannon, Chuck Cecil, Nancy Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Gerald Wilson, Don Page, Steve Allen, Paul Compton, and Tom Dixon.
2. Cheers to Roger Carroll for raising the issue of college radio stations. There aren’t any anymore. [except KKJZ] What started out as ‘Educational Radio’ where university and non-profit organizations would present lectures, educational information, and students participating in programming has gone by the way side, and is now called Public Radio.
No more lectures and class room programming. They discovered that there were big bucks in NPR Liberal news, Conservative bashing, etc. – the foregoing is my OPINION. So out went educational radio and student radio.
Concerning KKJZ, formerly KLON, Cal State Long Beach has kept it in a music format. The college students have 88.1 HD3 for their own and it is programmed by students and grad students. I have been helping KKJZ stay on the air. Eight years ago it was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually with its niche format which was in danger of being turned off. There was a proposal by one of the public groups to turn it into a foreign language station. I and my daughter Stephanie have helped out, retained the Jazz format, and Cal State no longer loses money. And students have their own station on KKJZ, 88.1 HD3 to program as they wish. KKJZ also provides grants to Cal State University Long Beach students. As a side note, one of the local Public Stations has blocked KKJZ from expanding its coverage even though there is not a single listener of that station or its numerous family of stations that would be impacted or lose their signal. Their ‘gobblygook’ explanation is that they are fighting for a ‘principle.’” – Saul Levine
** College Radio Station
“I share Roger Carroll’s that campus radio stations should allow students to learn about radio broadcasting as a career.
As a graduate of CSULB I’ve been a vocal advocate for over 30 years for more student participation in the operation of K-JAZZ. HOWEVER, the landscape has changed at Long Beach State. KBEACH, the student run Internet and HD-3 signal on K-JAZZ, is clearly the most vibrant college radio property in Southern California. Their facilities are top notch and the students involved are so far ahead of the broadcasting curve with their knowledge of how to connect radio with social media and the Internet, that I have a new hope for the future of our business. Check out what's going on at KBEACH.org.” – Mike Stark
** The Answer Man
“I was Geoff Edwards’ engineer for 11 years. The answer lady began as the answer man. Geoff was told that feature was already in use, so he just changed it to the answer lady.” – Bob Miller
** Geoff Edwards and Radio Tonight
“I was saddened to hear of Geoff Edwards’ passing. In 2000, Geoff asked me to guest on a radio show called Radio Tonight that he was hosting on the Cypress Radio Network. As I was sitting with him in a small, newly-built Hollywood studio waiting to go on the air, I asked Geoff how many stations were on the network, to which he replied ‘Just one small station in Long Island, New York.’
I’m not sure how many people were actually listening, but we kept each other entertained and had quite a few laughs during the broadcast. I enjoyed spending that time with him, as well as conversations and emails we’ve exchanged in the years since.
Rest in peace, Geoff. You will be missed.” – Reed Berry
** Eye of the Tiger
“You reported that Scott Shannon kicked off his new Classic Hits show at WCBS-New York with Eye of the Tiger. Did you know he also kicked off his launch of 95.5 MOJO Radio [WPLJ] with the same song? I have the tape. A cassette tape. Nowhere to play it, but I still have it.” – Derek Newman
(March 9 - LARadio bulletin) John Darin, veteran of various LA radio stations including Top 40 KRLA, newsman at KFWB, and Money Radio, KBLA, died this morning.
He learned recently that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was 74.
Shotgun Tom Kelly Undergoes Quadruple Bypass Surgery
(March 8, 2014 - LARadio bulletin) Shotgun Tom Kelly, afternooner at K-EARTH, underwent successful quadruple heart bypass surgery in San Diego this afternoon.
I received the following text from Tom last night at 10:40 pm:
“I just wanted you to know that I’m in San Diego and went to see my cardiologist. He said that I need a triple bypass. I’m going under the knife tomorrow morning at 7:20 a.m. Please, I need your prayers. God bless. I’m taking it one day at a time.”
They did wheel him into surgery around 7:30 this morning and the doctors completed the procedure around 2 p.m.
After the surgery, I received this email from Tom's wife, Linda:
“Just his lungs are an issue, so they cannot remove the breathing tube and bring him around until they know he can breathe properly on his own.” They may wait until tomorrow.”
I spoke with Tom’s wife a few minutes ago and she was very optimistic about her husband's surgery and his recovery. Tom lives in Los Angeles during the week while dj’ing at K-EARTH and every Friday he drives to San Diego to spend the weekend at his longtime home in El Cajon with his wife.
Earlier this week, Tom went in for a routine, semi-annual physical. He told his doctor that he was experiencing “pressure on his chest.” They planned to do an angioplasty on Friday but an x-ray showed some blockage in his arteries. “Tom’s heart is very strong,” emphasized Linda.
Tom is scheduled to be in the hospital for five days and should be back on the air in two weeks. “He is very anxious to get back on the air at K-EARTH,” said Linda.
LARadio Archives from October 2009
KNX Was Irvine's Amphitheater
(October 1, 2009) Earlier this year George Nicholaw, the original general manager when KNX became an all-News station, was presented with a ‘LARadio Lifetime Achievement Award.’ During the time leading up to the ceremony, many of his colleagues from the embryonic days of the new format surfaced, but not Bob Irvine, the program director. He was living out of the radio limelight in Carmel since 1984. He found his calling as a writer. In a quarter of a century he has written 21 books, nine of which were in the famous Moroni Traveler mystery series.
“In 1965 I was working at KTLA/Channel 5 in the news department and Bob Arthur had been the anchor for a while. The anchors were Arthur, Joseph Benti, Tom Snyder and Bill Stout and nobody watched," remembered Irvine. "The station hired George Putnam and that was kind of the end of it for me. There was no news and I just didn’t want to deal with it.”
Bob got a job producing a program called Newsday at KNX. It was a news block with Bob Arthur from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Fred Anderson did Kaleidoscope. “It was really my first introduction to radio and I quite enjoyed it. CBS had ten minutes of news and they had all these great 5-minute programs. It was really a good news block. After a year I got named assistant news director under Barney Miller.”
Barney retired and Irvine didn’t get named news director. “Nicholaw hired some guy to be program director and news director, which sort of frosted us all. Turned out this guy was never in his office, he was in the Brown Derby. George said he made a mistake. This is one of the things I really admired about George. He didn’t hesitate and let him go after just a month and a half.”
Shortly after Irvine was appointed news director, in late 1967 Nicholaw told Irvine that there was a chance the station could go all-News and asked him to prepare a detailed budget on needs for people, equipment, and changes to the newsroom. “We went to New York. There were five news directors and five general managers from the CBS O&Os. We went into this fancy conference room at ‘Black Rock’ [CBS headquarters in Manhattan]. Clark George was president of CBS Radio. Bill Paley was referred to as ‘The Chairman.’ Clark tells us that ‘The Chairman’ feels that the O&Os should go to all-News. It was just marvelous. It changed everything in my life and I got to set up the format and hire all these guys. It was really impressive.”
“FM was a throwaway in those days,” said Irvine. “We were practicing the format on fm [93.1] because no one was listening to fm. George and I would drive around the city and listen. It was during one of these drives that we determined something had to change with the teletype sound.”
One of the distinguishing features of the sound of KNX during the all-News decades was the teletype pounding away. The sound did not come easily. “We put three teletype machines – AP, UPI, and City News – right in the middle of the studio. But it didn’t sound like a wire service so we eventually went to a continuous loop cartridge with the teletype sound we thought was best. The real thing didn’t sound right. It sounded like static.”
Irvine hired some classic newsmen in those embryonic days like Harry Birrell. He inherited some great guys like Russ Powell and Bob Arthur.
After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Irvine spent two years (1959-62) as a Counterintelligence Agent in the U. S. Army. “When I got out I wanted to be a writer. Ernest Hemingway started out as a newspaper reporter so I got a job as a reporter for the Huntington Park Daily Signal, and later at the Hollywood Citizen-News. I worked up really fast.”
After launching the all-News operation at KNX, Irvine returned to tv as news director at KABC/Channel 7. “Baxter Ward was just leaving. I brought in Bill Bonds from the ABC O&O in Detroit to replace Baxter. Bill was a real character. We went from schlock news to a pretty good news operation. And then I had to fire Bonds and that was pretty much the end of my news career because it pissed off a lot of people. But it had to happen. Bonds went on the air and passed out. I was young. I just fired him on the spot and then told the general manager. We brought in Joseph Benti. He and his wife were living in Norway and we convinced him to come back. He did and then I had to get out. My blood pressure had gone sky high working in the news department.”
One of his early experiences in the KNX newsroom was the night Bobby Kennedy was shot. Irvine had reporters all over town and was feeding all the West Coast CBS stations. “Emerson Stone who was director of CBS Radio News called me and he said he was taking the network back. I told him no. I told him we had people here. He said I am giving you an order to give the network back. Again, I told him no and hung up on him. We were live all night long. The next morning Stone called to apologize and he said, ‘You were right.’ That’s what happens when you are young.”
“As I look back, KNX was the best fun. George Nicholaw was the best. He never got wrinkles in his clothes and I was always looking rumpled. George looked perfect. At KNX there was never a consideration on doing it on the cheap. We really had to expand and remodel the newsroom. Everything was done with class.”
You can reach Bob Irvine at: email@example.com
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