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LARadio.com is on holiday until August 7


 

Thirty years ago I loved to write short stories. Golden Gate Great wasn't so short but is a little bit about radio. I have included it at LARadio while we are away on a summer hiatus. The story takes place in the '60s and '70s. - Don Barrett

Golden Gate Great
Eric Donahue: From DJ to Hell

Nancy Cullen Brown was spending more time than usual putting on her make-up. The former Homecoming Queen at College of the Pacific in Stockton, California had a natural beauty that required little cosmetic cover-up.

Nancy’s seven-year-old son Phillip was playing in the backyard of their three-bedroom home in the Avenue district of San Francisco. He could consume hours of solitary play. He was up in his tree house that had been built by Nancy’s father, the owner of Cullen Lumber in upstate California. Phillip was hoping that he would not be found. He particularly liked the foggy days. There he could get truly lost in the thick mist. For now he was isolated and insulated from the chill inside his home. Nancy’s mascara application was in slow motion, she somehow hoped that the inevitable confrontation with her husband Eric could be avoided. Eric’s voice pierced the silence.

"Do you think you’ll be finished putting on your make-up before dinner?" Eric’s voice had a booming quality from all the years behind a radio microphone.

Her eyeliner brush jabbed into her eyeball. Even Phillip had a jolt and had to adjust his balance so he would not fall out of the tree. It was not that Eric talked in a loud voice, it was more like coming to attention, knowing that something was about to happen.

Nancy had avoided confrontation all her life, which made this day all that much more uncomfortable. Nancy’s home while growing up was like living in a foxhole during wartime. She always had to walk gingerly around her house on the proverbial eggshells. Her lumberman father was a loudmouth alcoholic. She had sworn she would never marry anyone like him.

Nancy had not seen Eric drink anything that day. It was good that he was good and sober. When the fateful Sunday started, Eric had no way of knowing that he would end up with complete custody of his son. Surprisingly, Nancy barely raised an objection. She had run out of steam trying to make the marriage work. And, besides, the women’s lib movement had given her the right to change the traditional child-custody award and the courts had even cooperated. But somehow she resented giving custody of her son to a man who had become a drunk. Her only rationalization was that the obligation of being a single father might keep him sober. Yet, she still did not know why she felt so guilty about her decision.

Eric called out, "Son, will you come inside? We’re in your room."

Tears began to fill Phillip’s eyes as he began his descent from the safety of his tree perch to the unknown of his room.

With head lowered Phillip walked into his room and sat on the edge of his bed. He was wearing short, blue corduroy pants, sandals and a Mickey Mouse shirt. Phillip knew. He had a look on his face that was three steps ahead of what was unfolding.

Eric sat cross-legged on the floor at the end of his son’s bed. Nancy was seated in the rocking chair close by. Just rocking. Phillip’s legs nervously dangled at the foot of the bed, not quite touching the floor. She began to rock more rapidly as the tension in the room was building.

Nancy broke the awkward silence. "Mommy and Daddy have tried everything we know to make our marriage work, Phillip. We’re just not happy. We are going to di…" Nancy could not finish the word. "We’re going to live apart."

With his eyes focused on his nervously swinging legs, Phillip said, "I’m happy." He had few tools to deal with what was going on and even less vocabulary to express what he was feeling. He was not happy, but it was a desperation plea to prevent the inevitable. He knew kids at school who had divorced parents. He looked up at his mother. Her tears didn’t start until Phillip asked, "Why?"

Eric looked over at Nancy. She wasn’t about to say anything more. She could not. The emotions from a lifetime of hurt were choking her. The lump in her throat felt like a walnut. Eric said, "You’re going to stay here with Daddy but you’ll get to see Mommy whenever you want."

"How comeum I’m gonna live with Daddy?" Both parents were completely unprepared for Phillip’s question.

"Would you prefer to live with Mommy?" Nancy said without thinking.

"Nancy, the child is not capable of making such a decision."

"How do you know, Eric," she said almost mockingly, "what our child is capable of making?"

"Nancy, we made a decision. This is hardly the time to open up the subject for a family discussion." Eric’s conciliatory mood had taken on an edge of irritability. "We made a decision. Let’s finally stick to something."

"I want to know." Nancy was almost defiant now. Her ego had certainly surpassed any degree of sensibility.

"No. It’s over."

"It’s not over." In a fluid moment of action, Nancy had slid out of the rocking chair and was now sitting at Phillip’s feet. "Honey, would you rather live with Mommy?"

Eric bolted straight up. "That’s it." He picked his wife up under the armpits, lifted her off the ground and, walking backward, carried her out of their son’s room.

"What’s the answer, Phillip," as she was being dragged down the hallway, "Mommy or Daddy?"

Eric yelled in his wife’s face, "Shut up!"

As she was being dragged down the hallway, Nancy screamed, "Great theatrics, Eric! Think your son will ever forget this little scene when he’s sitting in his psychiatrist’s office trying to figure out what went wrong with his life?"

Eric continued to pull his wife down the hallway until they reached their bedroom. He pulled her in the room, dropped her on the floor like a sack of potatoes, and slammed the door. "Real good, Nancy. Maybe I should have continued dragging you into the street and left you there. This is not rational behavior."

"You tell me when splitting up a household is rational behavior, you little shit." Eric could not remember his wife ever using vulgarity. Just then they heard the back door slam.

Eric’s head snapped in the direction of the door noise. "There’s more important things to take care of now." Eric darted out of the room to catch up with his son. Nancy slowly pulled herself together.

Nancy’s mind was racing to make some sense of how she had ended up here, agreeing to give up custody of her son and admitting to a failed marriage. It certainly had not started out that way. Nancy remembered when they met.

Nancy Cullen Brown met Eric Donahue in her first year of college. The Apache hall dormitory at COP (now UOP) was conducting its first experimentation with coed housing. The living arrangement was hardly lustful since the women and men were on separate floors and the only joint accommodations were in the dining hall and tv room. On one of her first visits to the tv room, she and her roommate were stunned by the sight of a black man and a white man intently involved in watching The Fugitive.

"Sit down here, Woman!" It was Eric with the playful command. His eyes never left the tv set. "This is the night that Kimble catches the one-armed man."

"Not if Lieutenant Gerard catches Kimble first," blurted out the black man, Jim "Jimbo" Scott, a tall, lanky basketball player on the COP varsity team. Both Eric and Jimbo started jabbing at each other and poking fun at the drama unfolding on the tube.

Nancy had always been the center of attention in high school but she soon realized that there were many very pretty women in college. Eric didn’t fawn over her, which gave her the confidence to be more natural, less playing a role.

"What do you think?" she whispered to her roommate.

"I think they look like simpleton jerks to me. Let’s go."

"You go. I’ll stay here for a few minutes and meet you up in the room." Nancy was somehow pulled toward the playfulness of Eric and Jimbo.

After Lt. Gerard just missed Kimble for the umpteenth time, Eric suggested that they go for a beer.

"I’d prefer a cup of coffee," she responded.

"Coffee it is. Black, just like Jimbo." He laughed, Jimbo laughed and Nancy was confused by the humor. "See you back in the room, Jimbo."

Eric was very open with Nancy that first night. He told her he had been dropped from three colleges before transferring to the College of the Pacific. Eric knew that COP was his last opportunity to finish school. What he didn’t tell Nancy was that he was thrown out of his previous schools because of drinking. At COP he was very careful to hang out only at sleazy beer bars where he figured, correctly, that he would never run into the dean of the school or any faculty members.

They were married in 1965, and Eric convinced Nancy to drop out of her last year of college. He was convinced he was going to be a radio star. She believed him. Nancy saw a raw talent to entertain people in his acting in school plays and on the radio. Eric had already become semi-famous for a weekend rock music show on the local radio station. He had been offered a full-time job after graduation, but he wanted more than Stockton.

Nancy was ready for marriage. What she did not know was that Eric had to work fast because he had a hidden agenda. He needed a child right away in order to escape the Vietnam draft. After all, he had not spent six years in college getting a four-year education to waste it in some rice paddy where the people didn’t even speak English.

It was a beautiful Methodist wedding, mostly with friends of the parents. Eric and Nancy fought with their parents to keep the wedding to college friends, but lost the argument for their own special ceremony. The wedding turned out to be a big family affair.

Nancy’s father knew from the beginning that Eric was the wrong man for his daughter. At the wedding rehearsal dinner, the tough, boisterous lumberman with the ruddy face and bulbous nose leaned over to his daughter and punctuated the air with his finger and chimed a theme familiar to her.

"It’ll never work, sweetheart."

"Aw, Daddy, you just don’t know him." She gave him a little-girlish look that could melt her father in times like this apropos of a great line from Goodbye Columbus, "Every father’s daughter is a virgin." Nancy continued her defense. "He was editor of the college newspaper and president of the senior class and…"

"…And he was the class drunk." Nancy turned slowly and stared right in her father’s eyes. He was a fine one to be calling her almost-husband a drunk. How about all those times he had slapped her across the face at the dinner table after his nightly stop at The Willis Tavern? Eric did drink a lot, she knew, but he had never been violent with her, and she was sure that he would cut back on the beer once they had children.

Mr. Brown knew what his daughter was thinking. He knew that he drank a little too much, but, after all, anyone who had to manage 123 employees deserved a stop at The Willis to unwind.

It was no surprise that the best man was Jimbo. He was about to toast the bride and groom. As he uneasily stood up, the bride’s side of the restaurant began to squirm. Mrs. Brown could not raise her eyes from the vanilla ice cream she was stirring into mush. Eric’s roommate for the past three years, Jimbo was six foot six, a leading scorer for the Pacific Panthers basketball team. He would have been a prize guest at the wedding rehearsal dinner, except for the fact that he was black. Jimbo’s dream was to play in the NBA but he wasn’t good enough. No NBA team had ever drafted a player from Pacific. James "Jimbo" Scott would not break that record.

Eric and Jimbo seemed the perfect pair. They were a living example of how white and blacks could and should live harmoniously together. Jimbo loved to go to the seedy bars with Eric. Somehow the ache of not having superstar qualities eased when he was bar hopping with Eric.

It was like living on the edge when the two of them walked into a watering hole such as Hernando’s Hideaway: a Hank Wiliams song blaring on the jukebox, snappy patter among the pool players, Cowboys and Mexican farm workers in noisy groups along the dark oak bar. It didn’t take long for the locals to accept the salt and pepper pair. After all, what wasn’t there to like about Eric and Jim?

The Browns would probably have had an even more difficult time at the wedding rehearsal dinner accepting the best man if they had known about his drinking escapades. They had rationalized to their relatives and friends that he was a basketball star. It seemed to be good enough to make him tolerated. But as Jimbo was calling for attention, Mr. Brown’s face could no longer hide his disgust at the proceedings. He mumbled to no one in particular, "A colored and a drunk. How the hell did this happen?"

"Atttenshun." Jimbo clinked the side of his Manhattan glass with his spoon and raised his voice, "Hey, I said attenshun." By now, all the Browns’ eyes were glued to the tablecloth. Twisting utensils. The family looked anywhere but at the gangling black man. Eric was beaming from ear to ear. This was his "main man."

"As you all know…" Jimbo paused for what seemed like a long time but was probably only five or six seconds. He was unsteady and weaving, and when he took a swig of his Manhattan, Mr. Brown couldn’t believe that a macho black jock would drink something with a cherry in it.

Jimbo started again. "As you all know." He paused for a couple more seconds. "As you all know, I’m black." He then burst out laughing.

Cackle. Cackle. Cackle.

"Dopey colored," Brown mumbled.

Jimbo had one of those effeminate cackling laughs that didn’t fit his lanky frame.

Eric joined him in the joke and began laughing uproariously. The rest of the group looked at each other. As Jimbo continued to cackle longer than the joke was worth, he leaned too far forward and lost his balance. His drink crashed to the floor. The tablecloth caught between the table and Jimbo, causing his utensils to slither all over the head table.

He regained his composure at last. "Sorry about that." He put on a serious expression and straightened himself. "As you know, I’ve been the groom’s best man for the past three years. Some have called us Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier, chained together like in The Defiant Ones."

Cackle. Cackle. Cackle.

The Browns looked at each other with an expression of "What the hell is he talking about?"

"I know this must seem like a scene out of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but I want the bride to know that she’s getting the best drinking buddy. After this sedate little wedding rehearsal dinner tonight, I’m treating Eric and all the men to drinks at Hernando’s Hideaway!"

It hardly seemed the way for Eric and Nancy’s wedding celebration to begin. The Donahues and the Browns barely spoke to each other. After the obligatory, "We’ll have to get together once the kids get settled," everyone huddled in the safety of their own groups.

But no one made it to Hernando’s that night. Jimbo eventually dozed off in one of the soft, easy chairs in the lobby of the La Mesa Inn, and Mr. Brown suspected that the La Mesa Inn had never had to deal with a black guest in their upper crust private club, let alone one who passed out in the lobby. He secretly wished he could see how the scene might play out when they tried to stir Jimbo but he was not curious enough to wait. He wanted to get back to his room, and get his wife into bed so he could get on with a few nightcaps to blot out this unhappy occasion.

Nancy got pregnant on the wedding night or the week before. It was quicker than Maury Wills stealing second base during his hot streak with the Dodgers. Eric was thrilled. But before he could send the proper papers to the Selective Service, Nancy had a miscarriage.

Nancy and Eric sat in Dr. Moretti’s office while the physician explained, "A miscarriage happens much more frequently than people think."

Eric was petrified, but had to know more. "Does this mean Nancy will have more problems trying to have a baby?"

Dr. Moretti didn’t catch the urgency in Eric’s question and answered, "Most women who suffer a miscarriage can achieve a normal pregnancy."

"How quickly can we begin again?" Eric asked, as he pressed for an answer. The doctor looked at Eric quizzically, not realizing the pressure he was under to achieve special exemption from the Armed Services.

"The uterus may be healthy enough within six to eight weeks."

"We’ll start in six," he blurted out before realizing how callous it sounded. He grabbed Nancy’s steely cold hand and confidently said, "We really want a child, since we started so late." The doctor cocked his head at the statement. Eric was 24 and Nancy was 23.

Nancy did get pregnant right away and their son was born big and healthy. They resisted naming him Junior. Eric had discovered that he hated his father. The hatred came when he discovered that he had become just like him. Eric would frequently think about how his father had trivialized his life dream of being a rock and roll disc jockey. The anger at that stayed alive, deep in his guts. But being a jock had been very satisfying, especially when he realized that, before he was thirty years old, he was making more money than his father. The monetary accomplishment never erased the silence from his father.

The worst part about being a disc jockey was the continuing move to larger cities. Over seven years, they moved almost as many times. The moving took its toll on the marriage. Every time the phone ran, Nancy started to pack. They never had a chance to settle into a stable relationship.

Baltimore preceded San Francisco. He had grown professionally in Baltimore. Eric soon realized that the money in the radio business was in sales and not in being on the air. He convinced the general manager of "B101" in Baltimore to let him sell advertising time after his airshift. Eric had natural sales ability and he could sell the impossible. Being an on-air talent opened the doors of even the most reluctant advertisers. Because of his exposure on the radio, he had become a local personality second only to Johnny Unitas.

Eric’s biggest sales coup happened almost by accident. Baltimore was experiencing a complete renaissance down in the waterfront area. Old, rundown warehouses were being converted into chic retail boutiques and "in" restaurants for the yuppies who were fast discovering that it was "okay" and kind of cool to live downtown.

Near the redevelopment, an unscrupulous contractor had refurbished a slum apartment complex, fixed up the outside, painted it inside and out, kicked out the derelicts, landscaped the grounds and gave it a grand sounding name, The Waterfront Gardens. The fact that you couldn’t see the water didn’t seem to bother the developer. He priced the apartments, ahem, or rather condominiums, too high and they were going begging for buyers.

One afternoon, when Eric should have been selling, he was drinking at his favorite watering hole, which was actually on the waterfront. The "Crabcake" catered to a mix of fishermen and trendy singles. The owner was Red Jankowski. Red came from a family of three generations of Chesapeake fishermen.

The tale of how Red had won the "Crabcake" in a game of acey-duecy was legendary. At first, Red was reluctant to give up his life on the water, but a recurring back problem gave him the perfect excuse to stay close to the water and his friends, without going on disability.

Red liked Eric mainly because he spent a lot of money in his establishment and he attracted additional trade. When Eric arrived, Red was entertaining the locals. "Do you know what a Polish bride gets on her wedding night that’s long and hard?"

Eric acted dumb. "What’s that, Red?"

"A new last name."

Immediately, the crowd laughed in appreciation.

"Great material for my show. Thanks, Red."

Red addressed one of the regulars who always seemed out of place in a plaid sport coat with a primary color tie.

"Brad, you know you’re sitting next to the famous morning man of B101.’"

"What’s that, an airplane?"

Red laughed but quickly responded, "W-B-A-L is called ‘B101. It’s radio."

"That’s okay, you’re too old for our music."

Brad Evans stuck out his hand. He was at least 20 years senior to Eric. "I’m sorry I don’t listen to radio much, but, hello."

Brad turned to Red. "He’s quick. I’ll bet he’s good."

"The best."

"I’ll have another, Red. How about you, Mr. Radio, can I buy you a Manhattan?"

An inane cackle reverberated inside Eric’s head. He turned abruptly hoping he had actually heard Jimbo. He smiled with warm memories. He turned back to Evans and lifted his mug.

"You just made up for not listening to me on the radio…and besides, I’ve only known one other man who drinks Manhattans."

After a few minutes of small talk, Brad Evans began to talk about his nearly empty apartment building. "I sure wish you could work your radio magic at The Waterfront Gardens."

The popular morning radio DJ confidently bellowed, "I could do that easy and it wouldn’t cost you a cent."

Eric developed a plan that afternoon at The Crabcake that resulted in a scheme that even the contractor con man couldn’t see through. Eric would create an "event" weekend. Clowns. Bands. The Oriole Cheerleaders. Free balloons. Albums and even the Mayor would make an appearance. It would be "the" place to be that weekend. And Eric Donahue would be the host.

"How much will this event cost?" Brad Evans knew there were no free lunches.

Eric ignored the question. "How many units do you need to sell?"

"Sixty-three."

"Sixty-three?" Eric was shocked. "I can’t believe you squeezed 63 units into that building. How many are occupied?"

"Two," Evans said sheepishly, ordering another Manhattan and a beer for Eric.

Eric said with confidence, "Sixty-three will be a piece of cake."

There was a prolonged silence. Evans’ eye displayed a nervous twitch for the first time. He was beginning to get anxious and would have been a terrible poker player. He desperately needed to unload the 63 units. The banks were applying pressure with their demands for money since he had finished the renovation ten months earlier. Negative cash flow was beginning to panic him. He cocked his arm on the bar and leaned toward this braggadocio that seemed to have the key to Pandora’s box. "Who is this kid?" he thought. "Could he really help me get the banks off my back?"

"How much is each unit selling for?" Eric asked matter-of-factly. He was in complete control of the situation.

"$85,000, on the average."

"If a real estate salesperson were to sell a unit, would his commission be about three percent?"

"Roughly."

Eric started scribbling on his napkin. He was multiplying $85,000 times three percent and then he multiplied that figure by 63.

"Here’s the deal, Evans. You don’t spend a penny. I'll take all the unsold time on the radio station and run my own spots. I’ll pay for the circus environment. You pay me three percent of each unit sold. If none gets sold, it doesn’t cost you a cent."

Brad Evans sat there, paralyzed. His eye twitched and Evans quickly rubbed it, hoping it would stop. He figured there must be a catch. It was too good to be true. Something was missing. Where was the hidden agenda? As he mentally searched for loopholes, Eric was writing out a one-line contract on a yellow tablet from his briefcase.

He condensed the deal to read, "On the weekend in mid-May, I promise to pay Eric Donahue three percent commission on each unit of The Waterfront Gardens sold." He then drew two lines and signed his name on one and dated it. He pushed the tablet in front of Evans.

Evans had never met a hustler like Eric. He tried to figure out the con. The fact of the matter, there was no con. Eric had become so famous on "B101" that management had a problem paying his escalating salary. They were so relieved when Eric suggested that he sell radio time, earning extra commission, that they wrote into the work agreement that Eric could also use a significant portion of unsold time for his own promotion/sales. Eric could never figure a way to capitalize on this available time. He knew his show was sold out, but a fair amount of time was available in other parts of the station schedule, especially evenings and all-nights. In addition to all the unsold time on the other shows, somehow he knew he could get plenty of exposure on his own show without paying for it.

By the time the May 15th weekend arrived, there was an intense energy surrounding The Waterfront Gardens project. Eric had done his job and done it well. Now he had to keep the momentum going. He encouraged Evans to put on ten additional salespeople to handle the anticipated volume. Evans was skeptical, but he did bring in seven extra order takers just to be on the safe side.

"B101" started broadcasting live from The Waterfront Gardens at noon on Friday. Every hour another major "event" was planned. The opening attraction was Playboy’s Miss May who just happened to be from Maryland.

Miss May’s appearance turned out to be a stroke of genius. It seemed that every horny Baltimore businessman was spending his lunch hour standing in line with the May issue of Playboy in his sweaty hands. Eric had strategically placed the autograph table so that the line would lead inside to the lobby of The Waterfront Gardens. There was no way out but in. A cadre of sales executives was waiting to take the men into the model condominium. Local tv coverage was beyond Eric’s expectations. Two of the three local network affiliated stations covered Miss May’s appearance, including all of the commotion in the lobby of The Waterfront Gardens on the early and late news that evening.

By the time the first hour was up, there must have been 45-50 men still waiting in line. Eric leaned down and whispered something in Miss May’s ear. She smiled, nodded and stood up.

Eric addressed the men. "Gentlemen. The overwhelming response to meet this gorgeous woman was way beyond my expectations. She’s got to go, but she doesn’t want to disappoint any of you. Please come in and look at another model now and Miss May will return tomorrow and she promises to see you first."

The men let out a whoop and began to crowd into the complex, completely overwhelming the tiny area. The mirrored walls of the lobby gave the impression that hundreds of people were inside and tv was covering what looked like a major event. Eric could never have imagined what would follow the day after the Baltimore tv stations aired Miss May’s appearance and the subsequent rush of eager men.

Within two hours of the start of the weekend "event," three units were sold. Eric had earned over $7,000 in 120 minutes. Momentum was certainly on Eric’s side. By noon on Saturday, 60 units had been sold. Nothing of this magnitude had ever been undertaken in Baltimore. Pure capitalism. Eric and Evans hastily huddled because there was still too much going on. Evans was almost speechless. "You’re a genius. A flat out genius."

Eric was the hero of the moment and he knew it and Johnny Unitas was due at four.

"Look, Evans we could have sold a hundred and sixty-three units. Johnny U is due at four. By the time the Mayor makes his appearance tomorrow, we may be sold out."

Evans sighed, "Your lips to god’s ears."

They decided to put the remaining three units into a lottery/auction. People became crazed. They started bidding more than the asking price. Word quickly spread that the bidding should start at $100,000.

On Monday morning, Eric made the front page of the Baltimore Sun – a picture of him standing on a table reaching into a fishbowl with hundreds of people surrounding him. The headline read, "Near Riot at the Waterfront Gardens." The subhead read, "Local DJ Works Miracles on Rundown Tenement Housing." Eric was in his glory. He talked about the front-page story and photo all morning on his radio show. Later at the "Crabcake," Red toasted Eric to the cheers of the locals. Eric had reached his finest moment.

Once the celebration at Red’s subsided, Evans sat down next to Eric. He reached into his gaudy, plaid sport coat and pulled out an envelope. Without saying a word, Eric opened it and peered over the flap. There was a check made out to him for $164,750.

The management of "B101" knew they had been taken. The relationship between Eric and the station was strained after The Waterfront Gardens weekend. His promotion/sales deal was canceled but it didn’t matter. The Waterfront Gardens success was his ticket back to California. The radio trade publications hailed the event as "history-making" and "unprecedented." Then the offers started. For a station to have a combination jock/salesman was like a football team having a quarterback who could scramble and run with the ball.

The best offer came from San Francisco. The City was close to home and maybe there would be some stability for him, Nancy and Phillip if they could get back to familiar territory and spend some time together. Eric wasn’t sure that’s what he wanted, but he had developed a real attachment to his son.

Once Nancy and Eric divorced, Eric hid his continued drinking from his son for many years. He rationalized that he had turned over a new leaf with his new responsibility as a single parent. After all, he was up early every morning and was home cooking dinner every night. He devoted time to doing the things required of being the head of a household, but not necessarily a father. The PTA meetings were tough to endure, but Eric found them to be an excellent source of meeting new women. Available ladies found the single father to be such a novelty that they were attracted to him like a magnet. In fact, it helped when a date turned out poorly. He would say, "I’m sorry I can’t spend the night. I’ve got to take the sitter home."

By the time Phillip reached his mid-teens, he and his father could no longer communicate. The tension in the house was always there. It never eased. When Phillip was home at the same time as his father, he would take refuge in his room, avoiding the strained silence between them. The loneliness reminded him of the hours he spent perched in his tree house as a youngster. The blast of music was always the same. Phillip could tune out his environment with anything heavy metal. It had a hard edge and it was always cranked up loud. Yet, in order to avoid a confrontation, nothing was ever said to him about the volume.

Phillip wouldn’t even leave the room for his meals, but his father dutifully cooked dinner and would leave it by the bedroom door. His obligation completed, his father would drink himself to sleep in the tv room. Friends were not invited to visit because the boy never knew what condition his father would be in. It was like living in silent quarantine.

Eric’s radio career had peaked in Baltimore. He never made an impact in San Francisco on the air or in sales, and eventually he stopped selling. When the station moved him from the highly coveted morning drive slot to midday housewife time, he told himself that he had no time to see clients. The station would have fired him altogether if it hadn’t signed him to a no-cut multi-year contract. Station management could never figure out why Eric Donahue didn’t sound like the on-air talent that they had heard on the Baltimore station.

Within a couple of months after arriving in San Francisco, Eric tried to stage a celebrity golf tournament for charity and it had to be cancelled for lack of interest. Eric‘s failure was chronicled in a widely read column written by Herb Caen. What worked in Baltimore did not go in the Bay Area. The more Eric sensed it, the more he drank.

 Every afternoon when he got off the air, he headed for Cookie Pachetti’s Star Bar on Kearny Street. It attracted an eclectic mix of wealth and street people. The patrons reminded him of those he drank with at the "Crabcake."

Cookie had a disheveled look. Twenty-year-old, bright red suspenders held up his baggy pants. His one or two day-old stubble was more of a reflection of his grooming habits than an attempt to emulate the fashionable tv star of Miami Vice, Don Johnson.

The photos that lined the wall of Cookie’s Star Bar highlighted an oddball trail of history. All of the yellowing black and white photos were hugged in $2.98 frames from the local drug store. The fragile past looked to have solid characters – politicians decked out in overcoats and hats, longshoremen posing on the docks and assorted greats and near-greats of San Francisco’s past. None of the photos included Cookie.

The dice-box, although long illegal, was an integral part of the action at Cookie’s. When the box slammed down on the long, dark oak bar, it sounded like an explosion, as the leather-edged cup met the wood and the hidden dice danced for position.

"Four fours." Police Chief Thomas O’Brien learned the intricacies of liars dice in Cookie’s forty years earlier. The weekly visit to Cookie’s with his father was a Saturday morning ritual for as long as he could remember. His father would have a couple of shooters, and bet on the ponies at the local track – Bay Meadows.

Eric was standing next to Chief O’Brien on his last visit to Cookie’s. Even if the Police Chief could have read Eric’s mind, it was doubtful that he would have intervened. The Police Chief had enough to do in winning the next round of drinks at Cookie’s and dealing with the politics of a female mayor who had no understanding of his job.

Eric picked up his beer and joined Cookie’s accountant who was drunk enough to be fading in and out of reality.

"Mind if I join you, Tony?"

The accountant snapped back to sort out his fuzziness. "No, no, of course not. Sit down."

Silence.

"What is your name?"

The question infuriated Eric. Nobody paid attention to him. He spent so much time in Cookie’s and nobody really knew who he was. Just some guy in radio. It sure wasn’t like the heady days back in Baltimore. At one stage he fantasized that maybe he should have returned to Baltimore in a blaze of glory, but dismissed it when he figured that he would have been labeled a "loser" who couldn’t make it in San Francisco.

"Eric."

"Eric, that’s right. I’ve seen you before, haven’t I?"

"Daily," Eric responded curtly.

"What?"

"Nothing. Doesn’t matter."

Tony leaned back and got a better look at Eric. "You’re that radio guy, right?"

It was too late. Eric did not hear him. He already felt isolated, alone and abandoned. Now, he thought, a leap off the bridge would bring him the headlines in the San Francisco Chronicle that had eluded him for the past four years. Even the guys at Cookie’s would talk about him, he thought.

"Tomorrow morning after I get my son off to school will be a good time and it should be an eerie setting. No one will notice as I climb up on the railing for the ultimate fall."

Tony looked confused. "Who’s climbing up on what railing, Mister Radio Man?"

"I am. Don’t you see, I’ll play some songs that will give clues to my suicide."

"What suicide is that, Eric?" Cookie had been fixing a drink in front of Eric. Cookie had no idea what was going on and asked the question matter-of-factly.

"Oh, nothing, Cookie." That was the end of any help someone could have provided. "Cookie, how does a guy get his picture on the wall?"

"You gotta do something for people to remember you by."

"If I do something spectacular, will you put my photo next to Jack Webb and Ben Frank’s?"

Cookie never responded. An argument at the end of the bar distracted him. Eric left some change on the bar and got up to leave. He passed Cookie on the way out. "Don’t forget my photo! Hang it right next to the Dragnet guys." Cookie never heard him.

On the way home, Eric thought of all the songs he could play on his final radio show the next day. Tears of a Clown. It’s Too Late. How Can you Mend a Broken Heart! Alone Again. Another One Bites the Dust. And he had an inspiration with the last song. He would play Bridge over Troubled Waters.

He still had the creativity. He had a big grin on his face. Eric was very pleased with the unfolding schedule of events.

"Last stop, Fisherman’s Wharf." The conductor clanged the familiar bell as he prepared to turn the cable car around at the bottom of Hyde Street for the return trip up to California Street.

"How did I get on the cable car?" wondered Eric. "I go the opposite way." He got off the cable car and headed to one of the most famous bars for tourists and locals in Northern California, the Buena Vista. An Irish Coffee might just set him right before facing his son for the last time.

Outside, a Middle-Eastern-looking man was standing by the door. He wore a long, shimmering white robe. Eric hardly paid any attention to him. Street people of all shapes and sizes were a familiar part of the wharf area. Yet, as he approached the entrance, a blinding light, like the sun reflecting off a shiny surface distracted Eric. He looked in the direction of the man and he was engulfed in a bright, yellow light. It didn’t connect that the man was standing in the shadows.

"Eric, shouldn’t we go visit your son?"

Eric stood motionless, as if in disbelief. "You talking to this Eric? Who the hell’re you?"

"I am Mossif. Follow me to the Bridge. It will be quite painless."

As Eric took a couple of tentative steps toward the figure, it became almost transparent. The ghost-like stranger suddenly lifted from the pavement and swooped toward Eric, causing him to duck. As Eric straightened up, he was standing in front of the giant bay window of the Buena Vista. The crowd inside the bar cheered his antics, watching him bob and weave to dodge an imaginary opponent.

"How do you know my name?"

"How do you know I’m real?" The ghostly figure began to make its way up Hyde Street.

Eric shouted after it, "I’m not going to the Bridge until tomorrow. I’ve got one more day."

In an echo chamber he heard, "It happened yesterday. Everyone wants to bid you farewell. You forgot to tell anyone that you were going to kill yourself. This is your chance to say goodbye."

"I was on my way home. Screw you."

"You were hardly on your way home. You live in the Avenues, which is the other way. You came here to find me so you could have some closure to your life. You died with too many loose ends.

"I haven’t died yet, ass-hole. I’m alive."

Mossif disappeared. Eric stood staring up Hyde Street, dumbfounded. Two couples were coming down the street. As they reached Eric, he stepped in front of them and blocked their path. They walked around him with no acknowledgment. He turned and ran to the Buena Vista where he stopped a businessman, as he was about to enter the bar.

"Am I alive? Tell me, am I alive?"

"You look like death warmed over."

Eric was confused. "What does that mean?"

The businessman ignored him and proceeded into the bar.

Honk.

Eric turned and saw a shiny, bright red convertible parked at the curb. Mossif was behind the wheel honking the horn. "Get in, Eric."

"Are you crazy? You’re not real. And I’m not gonna drive the streets of San Francisco with Casper the Ghost."

"Suit yourself. I’ll meet you on the Bridge in twenty minutes. Everyone is waiting for you." Mossif drove away from the curb.

This was crazy, thought Eric. He went to the phone booth on the corner and dialed his home. The phone answered and it was Phillip. "Hi dad, I’m waiting for you on the Bridge. Please hurry."

Eric slammed down the receiver. Perspiration was racing down his face. He had turned white. He hailed a cab that pulled up to the stop sign and he got in. "Head for the Avenues."

The cab turned left instead of right and when it became apparent that the cab was going in the wrong direction, Eric frantically yelled, "Hey, I said the Avenues."

The driver turned around and it was Mossif, who gave a slight nod. "We must make one stop first, then I will take you home."

"This is ridiculous." Eric instinctively reached out for the door handle but there was no handle. There was no way out.

When the cab approached the Golden Gate Bridge, all but one lane was closed and clogged with cars backed up for miles. One clear lane was free of cars allowing the cab to easily make its way past the stopped cars and continue down the empty lane until it reached the center of the Bridge. An area was cordoned off with construction sawhorses enclosing a group of familiar people. The cab pulled up to the area and the door magically opened. About fifty people were milling about seemingly with no reason for being there. They seemed to move in slow motion until Eric came in contact with them. The first person Eric saw was his ex-wife Nancy.

"I’m sorry, Eric. I somehow feel responsible for leaving our son with you." Nancy walked away.

Eric then noticed Cookie standing with Red. He could not figure out how they knew each other or why they would be on the bridge together. They walked toward him. "We kept track of all the money you spent with us and we thought this was the best way to show our appreciation." They handed him a paper sack. "There’s $320,000 here. We had to guess on the liars’ poker losses and the money you put in the jukebox to play I’m So Lonely." As they handed him the sack, a sharp gust of wind came off the Bay and tore the sack from Cookie’s grasp. No one paid attention to the thousands of bills swirling around the windy bridge.

"Dad." Eric felt a tug on this pants leg. Phillip was standing there in his Mickey Mouse shirt. He was seven years old. "If we could have talked more. I wanted to talk more but you were always tired. Why did you sleep on the couch so much? If we had talked or if you didn’t drink so much, would you still be alive?"

Eric knelt down to face his son. "Phillip, I am alive." Eric stared at his son. "And, you’re a teenager. What’s happening to me?" Looking around, he was alone with the boy. "Son, there is so much I need to say to you. Can I talk with you?"

Phillip should his head. "I wish I could, Dad, but it’s way too late. Mommy said you died a long time ago."

Phillip turned. The crowd had reappeared and he scrambled through the throng to reach Nancy. He grabbed her hand and they walked toward the cab that had brought him to the bridge.

In disbelief, Eric then saw his tall 15-year-old son standing alone, with the gusty wind whipping his clothes. "Son, stay with me. Give me another chance." Phillip got in the cab and it disappeared into the bridge automobile traffic.

Mossif was sitting on the railing. "It’s a real pisser, isn’t it?"

"It’s not a real pisser, because it’s not real."

A faraway voice interrupted him, "Hi, son."

Eric turned and his face registered shock. "How did you get here, mother?"

Eric’s mother shook her head and scolded her son. "You drank just like your father. You never learned. You didn’t see enough when you were growing up, huh? The heartache, the disappointment and him just not being there for you. And then you became just like him. How does that happen?"

"I’m confused," Eric mumbled. There were more feelings than there were words.

Mossif held out his hand to Eric, "You will find peace at last. Come with me." He began to lead Eric toward the bridge railing.

Eric yanked his hand away from Mossif, "Wait a minute! You said that I died yesterday. Why should I jump now if I’m already dead?"

Mossif had a sweet, understanding smile.

"Hey! I’m alive. I’m not dead yet. All I have to do is get my life together. I can make it happen."

"You’ve already broken too many promises and hurt too many people. It’s too late. You’ve already killed everyone around you who loved you. Place your hand in mine, I will help you find the peace of mind that has eluded you for a lifetime."

Eric turned to escape, but the bridge was again filled with all the people who had been part of his life. They were dressed all in black, their heads bowed. Nancy had a black veil covering her face. Phillip tried to keep the tears away.

Hey," Eric screamed, "I’m still alive. This is a terrible mistake." No one heard Eric.

Echoing across the bridge, Roberta Flack sang Killing Me Softly With His Song. The mourners turned and began a slow walk in all directions. As the crowd parted, Eric was standing alone. "It’s not too late. I could change."

The End


Morning Has Broken

(July 13, 2017) If you are The Woody Show or Valentine you are sitting atop of the morning drive ratings in the June '17 PPM. Some of you have asked about other wake-up people beyond the Top 5. In Persons 12+: Gary Bryan at K-EARTH is 7th; Ellen K at KOST is 8th; Andy Chanley at The Sound came in 14th; at 15th there is a tie with KKGO's Graham Bunn and KLOS' Heidi, Frosty & Frank; Big Boy is 18th at KRRL; Steve Harvey ranks 21st at KJLH; at 23rd is Carson Daly at AMP Radio; J Cruz is 26th at KPWR; Dan Patrick at KLAC and Doug McIntyre at KABC are tied at 34th 

Persons 12+

1. Valentine (MY/fm)
2. News Team (KNX)
3. Pat Prescott (KTWV)
    Ryan Seacrest (KIIS)
5. Bill Handel (KFI)
Persons 18-34

1. The Woody Show (KYSR)
2. Ryan Seacrest (KIIS)
3. Valentine (MY/fm)
4. Mega Morning Show (KXOL)
5. Omar y Argelia (KLVE)
Persons 25-54

1. Valentine (MY/fm)
2. Ryan Seacrest (KBIG)
3. Omar y Argelia (KLVE)
4. The Woody Show (KYSR)
5. Jack (JACK/fm)
    Kevin & Bean (KROQ)

Former KABC Sports Talker Lisa Bowman Publishes Shattered Peacock 

(July 13, 2017) I just ordered Shattered Peacock by Lisa Bowman (DiVita). Can’t wait for its arrival. Lisa is one of my very favorite LARP personalities who is so multi-talented. Shattered Peacock: A Story of Life and Revolution is a fictional novel based on real political events that happened in Iran and Persian society in the 1970s. Although the characters and their stories are fictional, the novel is set against the non-fictional.

From the Amazon website: Feel the Iranian Revolution choking the life out of Iran's long succession of Persian kings. Learn about the brutal, subsequent rule of Ayatollah Khomeini and how Sharia law changed the character of Iran, even as it walled off Western influence. Today, Iran's theocratic Islamic government stands on the brink of nuclear capability, and is a major sponsor of worldwide terrorism. Shattered Peacock recounts how it came to be. 

I hope you will support Lisa’s efforts. Check it out at Amazon under the name Lisa DiVita.

 

Bingenheimer to Satellite. Longtime KROQ personality Rodney Bingenheimer, who left the alternative rock station last May, will resurface as host of a new weekly music show on Sirius/XM’s “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” channel (21) beginning this Sunday night at 6 p.m. "Rodney was one of my first calls when I started the channel," Van Zandt said. "We are honored to have him. This is where he belongs!"

Listen to Alt and You’ll Get a Woody. If you look at the morning drive numbers published here, there is a new name that has been on top of 18-34 demographics and strong 25-54 for the last few months, and that is the Woody Show on ALT-98.7 (KYSR). When Jeff “Woody” Fife arrived in the Southland from successful runs in St. Louis and San Francisco, apparently there were too many people telling the Woody cast how to do their show. “The first nine months were really rough,” admitted Fife. ‘We inherited 22nd place and we were up against legends like Kevin & BeanRyan Seacrest, and Big Boy. There were 1,000 chefs and no one was talking to each other.”

In a recent rant on the KYSR website, Fyfe said the Woody Show looked like career suicide, and on paper it shouldn’t have worked. “I was professionally horny but I knew we had something.” But he can’t explain the success.

At the iHeartMedia Christmas party a year and a half ago, the rumor was that 98.7fm was going Country. “Woody” shared the information with his audience and asked for support and help so the station wouldn’t dump their current format. “People said I shouldn’t go public because they would fire me. I figured if they went Country, they would fire me anyway.”

Well, everything started turning around, so much so that iHeart has given the Woody Show a 5 year contract, which will take them to the end of 2022.

“I can’t explain the success. The show has evolved. We knew we had something.”

New News. KNX program director Ken Charles send a note that nominations for 2017 Marconi Awards are in. “LA is well represented with KNX up for two, one against KIIS for Legendary Station of the year and KRTH is up for one after winning last year for ‘Classic Hits station of the Year.’”

Transistor ListeningTom Patterson shared a note on his Facebook page after attending a game at Dodger Stadium. “After 46 years of coming to Dodger games with a transistor radio listening to Vin Scully do the play by play, KLAC AM 570 has finally found a way to ruin the experience at the ballpark. Just recently they changed or added some digital equipment into their signal path and now there is a 3-4 second delay in the audio. This totally screws up watching the game live and hearing the play by play. Digital technology is NOT always better. KLAC, please put back the old reliable analog equipment. Can I get a ‘Whoo-ya’ or an ‘Amen’ from my fellow broadcasting peers? Howard FineBarry VictorRichard Rudman, help me out buddies!”


KBIG #1 AGAIN in June 2017

(July 12, 2017) KBIG is B-I-G for another month, as the Hot AC station comes in #1 in the June PPM 6+ 6a-mid, Mon-Sun. Here is how your favorite station fared:

1. KBIG (MY/fm) 5.8 - 5.8
2. KTWV (The WAVE) 5.3 - 5.4
3. KRTH (Classic Hits) 4.8 - 5.1
4. KIIS (Top 40/M) 4.8 - 5.0
5. KOST (AC) 4.7 - 4.8
6. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.1 - 3.5
    KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 3.6 - 3.5
8. KFI (Talk) 3.4 - 3.3
     KNX (News) 3.4 - 3.3
10. KAMP (Top 40/M) 2.7 - 3.0
11. KPWR (Top 40/R) 2.9 - 2.9
      KRRL (Urban) 2.7 - 2.9
      KYSR (Alternative) 2.9 - 2.9
14. KKGO (Country) 2.8 - 2.8
      KSCA (Regional Mexican) 2.7 - 2.8
16. KSWD (Classic Rock) 2.9 - 2.7
17. KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 3.1 - 2.6
18. KXOL (Spanish AC) 2.4 - 2.5
19. KROQ (Alternative) 2.2 - 2.4
20. KLOS (Classic Rock) 2.1 - 2.3
21. KLAX (Regional Mexican) 1.8 - 1.9
22. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 1.8 - 1.7
       KXOS (Regional Mexican) 2.0 - 1.7
24. KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits) 1.8 - 1.6
25. KCRW (Variety) 1.4 - 1.5
      KJLH (Urban AC) 1.6 - 1.5
      KPCC (News/Talk) 1.7 - 1.5
      KUSC (Classical) 1.5 - 1.5
29. KDAY (Rhythmic AC) 1.3 - 1.3
      KSSE (Spanish Oldies) 1.1 - 1.3
31. KRLA (Talk) 1.0 - 1.0
      KSPN (Sports) 0.9 - 1.0
33. KLAC (Sports) 0.9 - 0.9
       KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 1.1 - 0.9
35. KEIB (Talk) 0.9 - 0.8
36. KABC (Talk) 0.7 - 0.6
       KFWB (Regional Mexican) 0.6 - 0.6
38. KFSH (Christian Contemporary) 0.6 - 0.5
       KKJZ (Jazz) 0.5 - 0.5
       KSUR (Oldies) 0.5 - 0.5


More on Bill Smith

(July 12, 2017) Sam Rubin did a marvelous tribute to Bill Smith when KTLA remembered their late colleague, Deadspin linked the video. And here's a transcript of what Sam said:

A few other things about Bill Smith. We’ve gone through a variety of different owners and managers (at KTLA) and right now, at this moment, we’re really lucky with great management. We did not, in 2007, when a dopey billionaire purchased the company and hired a group of pirates and bandits to run it, including a news consultant who was the devil himself. This consultant would fly from TV station to TV station with crazy directives, including hit lists, people at each station he didn’t know, who he decided just to get rid of, for basically no reason. To our great shame and detriment, Bill Smith was on that hit list. He left KTLA in 2008, a huge loss to all of us. Of course, that news consultant no longer works in television, having been justifiably fired from our company during a different period of turmoil. So even at the end of his time here, Bill Smith got the rawest possible deal, (yet) anytime I saw him, always nice, always upbeat, deeply in love with his terrific wife, and very proud of his son who like Bill, shared a real passion for aviation. There’s a quality, this trait, that’s increasingly rare these days. Bill Smith was a true broadcaster. He could really do anything, and he could communicate to a big, and appreciative audience, virtually any kind of story. From the birth of (KTTV’s) MetroNews MetroNews to his always great work here, Boy, I will miss Bill Smith. Very sorry to hear this yesterday.

One additional note: Smith died of Alzheimer's, KTLA's Eric Spillman said his family welcomes donations to the Alzheimer's Association in Bill's name to help research efforts in treating this disease.


** Interned for Bill Smith

"I was lucky enough to know Bill Smith at age 13 while working as an intern at KNJO in Thousand Oaks. What a kind person he was. Always positive and always funny. I was a bit star struck when I saw him reporting on the KTLA Morning News. Bill had no ego, he was just great at what he did, and was always kind when he did it. RIP." - Justin Michael, Technical Director, Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx Premiere Networks I iHeartMedia

Bill Smith, Veteran of Local Radio and Television, Has Died 

(July 11, 2017) Bill Smith, a veteran of KGIL (1970-76), KABC (1980-90), and KNJO (1996), died yesterday at the age of 74.

An Army “brat” whose youth was spent globe-trotting with his U.S. Army parents, beginning school in Japan and finishing in Germany, Bill’s entire broadcasting career was in Los Angeles. Bill began as a news reporter at KGIL, became nd and eventually took over morning drive when Sweet Dick Whittington left the station after a long and successful run. During the “Whittington” years, Bill was the “mystery voice” of the character Harrison Hollywood, a popular parody of Hollywood reporters.

As a licensed pilot, Bill often flew the KGIL Skywatch plane reporting on freeway traffic. This led to his first stint on KABC. Following KGIL, Bill spent ten years as reporter and anchor on KTTV/Channel 11, anchoring the station’s “Today-like show” noontime newscast. During his decade at KABC, he worked as regular fill-in (with Eric Tracy) for the popular morning team, Ken Minyard and Bob Arthur. He also teamed with Wink Martindale for an afternoon drive program.

After KTTV, Bill spent three years at KCBS/Channel 2 and then went to KTLA/Channel 5. “Even though I have won various awards for ‘best TV reporter,’ my heart remains with radio.” At KNJO, Bill was teamed with co-host Kirby Hanson, billing themselves as a “low budget Regis and Kathie Lee” in an experiment to see if talk radio would work on a “very local” level. “All was proceeding well until gm Steve Angel (longtime friend from the KGIL days) died of leukemia and the station was sold.” For a time Bill free-lanced for “KNXNewsradio.”

KNX Wins Edward R. Murrow Award 

(July 11, 2017) KNX has won the prestigious 2017 RTNDA National Edward R. Murrow Award. Anchored by Chris Sedens and Linda Nunez, KNX was honored for their coverage of the June 1, 2016 shooting and lockdown of the UCLA campus. This is the station's first national award in almost half a century. Sedens and Nunez were joined by reporters Ed Mertz, Cooper Rummell, Jon Baird, Claudia Peschiutta, Charles Feldman, plus traffic anchor Thom Tran.

In other news, Greg Hardison sent some unrelated small-bites of information: "1) Ironic that you should display a WMEX survey. Just last Friday (7/7), WMEX-Boston went dark in anticipation of a 'new owner' - but nothing's been announced anywhere about that, as of yet. Their last format was right-wing talk, but they'd been playing Oldies during night hours. With their directional pattern, WMEX was regularly received in Ireland and the U.K.  2)  Exchanged some nice notes with K.M.Richards, regarding KABC's vaunted 'power increase.' K.M.'s assessment of the situation was right on the mark.  3)  Your upper-right-hand corner photos and cartoons are absolutely priceless! They just get better & better."

Hear Ache. After 67 seasons as the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the legendary Vin Scully will be presented with the Icon Award at The 25th ESPYS. The honor is given to individuals whose careers have left a lasting impression on the sports world; actor Bryan Cranston will make the presentation to Scully ... Scott Herman was a big name at CBS Radio, COO, and he will not be part of the new merged Entercom/CBS. Gone.

Hear Ache 

(July 10, 2017) While listening to KNX yesterday morning, a commercial for Sit ‘n Sleep aired promoting a July 4th/Independence Day sale. Wasn’t that last Tuesday? You might think that more attention would be paid to such a prolific advertiser … Speaking of KNX and the merger of parent company CBS and Entercom, the earliest date for approval is apparently September 2017. From a number of reports, the new Entercom and CBS will have to sell one fm station in LA. Consequently, we hear that KSWD (100.3/The Sound) has already been sold / traded /swapped, but the announcement has been delayed until Entercom can extract the LA Rams radio rights and move the games to a CBS fm station, maybe KCBS (JACK/fm) … Claude Hall, an editor at Billboard Magazine during the early days of Top 40 Radio, has died. Radio fans followed his weekly gossip column for years. The column was recently resurrected at VoxJox.org, hosted by Rollye James. She devotes this morning’s entire column to memories of Claude. I admired Hall from afar. A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with him at his Las Vegas home. We consumed his favorite beverage, Diet Pepsi, while sharing stories about LA radio personalities, but mostly we shared about our sobriety journey. RIP, my friend … “Claude was a wonderful man who helped me a lot when I started my custom belt buckle business, JSL Enterprises,” said Jeffrey Leonard. “In the July 4, 1976 issue of Billboard, Claude wrote a piece about me in Vox Jox. It provided me a lot of new customers. I never forgot about him and stayed in touch. Claude will always be part of our family” … There’s a new on-air lineup at Top 40/R-San Diego outlet KSSX (Jam’n 95.7) that includes Nina Chantele as middayer. She also hosts afternoons on Urban KRRL (Real 92.3) … Didja know that Charlie Tuna spelled his name “Tunah” at the beginning of his career. The WMEX survey is from Jeffrey Leonard’s collection. “Early on, Charlie was afraid he would get sued for using the name,” emailed Leonard, who puts together the wonderful bi-annual radio reunions at Fuddruckers … Anniversaries galore: KPCC's Susanne Whatley and her new hubby David celebrate their first year anniversary; KABC’s Doug McIntyre and Penny Peyser celebrate 15 years together; Brad Samuel, former gm at KYSR, married Tanya Kuhn 10 years ago; Jim Duncan and his wife Judy racked up 48 years married. Yay to all ... Peter Oda, son of LARadio.com senior correspondent Alan Oda, turns 16 today. When asked about his son's birthday, Alan's immediate response: "Clear the roads!"

Payne in the Butt

(July 9, 2017) Longtime Fox Business Network host and former KFI Talk show host, Charles Payne, has been suspended from Fox after a frequent guest on the network reportedly accused him of sexual harassment.

Fox has been exposed to a variety of sexual misconduct claims over the past year. Payne, who hosts the nightly personal finance show Making Money, will remain off the air pending an investigation. Last week  the National Enquirer published an article in which Payne admitted to carrying on a three-year “romantic relationship” with a married female political analyst who was a regular guest on Fox Business, and apologized to his wife, children and friends. 

Payne “categorically denies” claims that he sexually harassed the woman. Payne, a former Wall Street analyst, joined Fox Business as a contributor during its launch in 2007 and regularly appears as a guest on Fox News Channel shows. Last month, he re-signed a multiyear contract to continue hosting Making Money, which launched in 2014 and went on to become a top-rated show in the 6 p.m. time slot.

Email Saturday
** Passing of Claude Hall

"This hurts. As a newcomer to Los Angeles Radio in the 70’s and early ‘80s this widely circulated and hugely respected radio writer wrote complimentary things about me and/or the stations for which I worked. Publicly, I was humbled. Personally, I was exhilarated. And his observations helped to keep me focused wherever I’ve worked in whatever format ever since those halcyon years.

In this sense I owe whatever success I’ve enjoyed in a large way to Claude Hall. My appreciation goes to my former KZLA colleague, Rollye James, for the partnership and support you have given to Claude and this radio community as well. Thank you, Claude. God bless you, Claude. May your family find some comfort and peace in your giving spirit, too." - Mike Sakellarides

 

** KABC Power

"The power increase for KABC probably wasn't worth mentioning, Don, because it was only an adjustment made to replicate the old coverage patterns from the old La Cienega site at the new KWKW diplex site. From an engineering standpoint, it was a big 'ho-hum' and it isn't gaining them any listeners they didn't already have. Hope David Alpert will be less 'surprised' now." - K.M. Richards

 

 

Commercial Loads

"If radio advertising is effective, why are there so many unsold spots on radio stations in which I'm told radio advertising is effective? Very best regards." - David Bernhart, Simi Valley

LARP Summer Reading

I have enjoyed reading the semi autobiography from Michael Nesmith InfiniteTuesday. Nesmith has a very creative way of writing.  He is very intelligent, unlike his character on the old Monkees tv show.  

The book talks about the juggernaut of the Monkees in 1966 and how radio and television worked in tandem to launch America's answer to the Beatles. The Monkees revolt from Don Kirshner and the powers that be in 1967 are told in a funny and witty manor. 

Michael was on the ground floor of Country Rock.  And Nesmith also was one of the founders on MTV.  

This is not a 'tell all' autobiography, but a unique insight into 60's media. As with any teen idol, it goes up and falls just as quickly. Michael Nesmith has survived the journey with humor and insight." - Jeff Gehringer,  Astor Broadcast Group & Astor Classics

For the past two and a half years, I’ve been writing a book on kids show and quiz show host and producer Jack Barry, who also owned 93.5 KKOP (later KFOX) from 1968 to 1979.  Covering his forty year career from Juvenile Jury to The Joker’s Wild, I’ve had the privilege to interview LARPs Wink Martindale, John Hart and Howard Day along with about ten others who knew Jack both personally and professionally including tv personalities Monty Hall and Jim Peck.  They were all very friendly and had wonderful stories to share.  

I was wondering if anyone in the LARP community worked with or for Jack Barry during his days at KTLA Channel 5 in the early 1960s and/or during his ownership of WGMA in Hollywood, Florida. If anyone would like to share their memories of Jack during that or any other period for the book, I can be reached at
joshdj57@yahoo.com." - Josh Jacobs, Technical Producer of Middays with Sam, Lunchtime with Kevin & Taylor, KeepTheFaith 95.9 the fish – KFSH

 

I am tackling several books this summer (in addition to my usual reading of magazines and newspapers)

1/  James Bond:  The Secret History by Sean Egan

2/  My Happy Days in Hollywood by Garry Marshall

3/  The Magic Window: American Television  1939-53 by James Von Schilling

4/  Line of Sight:  Klaus Landsberg-His Life and Vision by Evelyn De Wolfe and George Lewis

5/  Complete Dick Tracy volume 22 by Chester Gould

Thanks for opportunity to share books." - David Schwartz

Hear Ache

(July 6, 2017) Not too often do we get to see radio people featured on tv. Last weekend, KABC’s Doug McIntyre was interviewed on KNBC 4’s News Conference ... Jeff and the Showgram are gone from KYXY, according to Ken Leighton of the San Diego Reader. “A longtime radio powerhouse was unceremoniously escorted out the door after nearly 30 years as a top-rated local morning show,” wrote Leighton. “According to insiders, the Jeff and the Showgram ensemble were told they needed to attend a KYXY sales meeting immediately after their Tuesday, June 27 morning show.” It turned out the meeting was to escort the crew of four out the door with no opportunity to tell their listeners goodbye on the air. The Entercom/CBS merger is just months away and firings are going on all over the country, from talent to sales to management. “This one hurt,” Jeff Detrow told his fans on Friday on social media. “We didn’t see this coming…I’m afraid.” Originally, Detrow was teamed with Jerry Cesak and led the “Jeff and Jer” six person team on the now defunct KKYY (Y-95) in 1988. The top-rated show was heard across the San Diego dial before leaving KMYI (Star 94.1) in 2009. After podcasting for two years, four members of the original team re-emerged on KYXY in 2011 … Salem Media Group was certified as a “great workplace” on June 28, 2017 by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work. “According to our study, 84 percent of Salem Media Group employees say it is a great workplace,” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, vp of Great Place to Work Certification & List Production … Game Show Network will have a week of $25,000 Pyramid’s from 1983 coming up for broadcast the week of July 17th with Jerry Bishop as the show announcer, who was filling in for regular announcer Jack Clark ... Coverage of the MLB All-Star Game begins Monday, July 10, with a special edition of The Herd hosted by Colin Cowherd live from Marlins Park ... KLAC's Vic the Brick is back on the air following his fight against cancer. He wrote on Facebook: "Mad love to everyone for welcoming me back to the airwaves. Good vibes run amok in our ciudad. Honored and humbled. Feelin' all of you!"

Saul Levine, owner of KKGO (Go Country 105/fm), is thrilled with Week 3 of the PPM, 6+ Mon-Sun, 6a-12m
KKGO received at 3.0 share and a cume approaching 1.5 million

In light of new competition from Radio Disney Country (99.1/fm and 1110 AM), Saul calls KKGO "LA's only Country Radio station."
          "In our tenth year and getting stronger. Congrats to pd Michael Levine and his team for making
          LA Country Radio History," emailed Saul.


KROQ General Manager to Mayor of Santa Monica

by Kevin McKeown

(July 5, 2017) While attending Yale University, Kevin McKeown worked at the campus station as music director and disc jockey. After college he worked for a series of Hartford/New Haven stations. In the Southland, Kevin became general manager at KROQ from 1976-78. After he left KROQ Kevin was a voiceover talent, creative director of JAM Advertising and owned L.A. RadioWorks studio in Santa Monica. He was executive producer of "Hollywood Niteshift" radio show with Phil Austin and Frazer Smith. His journey into politics is amazing. I asked Kevin to tell his story in his own words:
Coming out of public high school as a physics major with a scholarship, I was curious about the electronics at Yale’s campus radio station. I ended up on the air as a rock jock, majoring in radio. Unfortunately for me, Yale didn’t offer a broadcasting degree. We turned Yale’s WYBC/fm, with a signal that covered most of southern Connecticut, from an “educational” station into one of the very first progressive rockers. Meanwhile, because most AM radio pros in the 60s believed no one listened to fm, I was able to paycheck as a boss jock at New Haven’s then-powerhouse WNHC. (Photo on the right is Kevin astride an elephant [and evidently enjoying it] during a WNHC promotion welcoming the Ringling Bros. Circus to town)

 

As FM Rock took over, I pulled a majority share (52%) of men 18-34 on WPLR, to this day the Classic Rock station in New Haven, then moved to San Diego to work with Ron Jacobs at Billboard’s 1974 station of the year, KGB/fm. I’ve lived in Santa Monica over 40 years now, coming here to run KROQ, where I ended up as general manager back when KROQ was quirkily and unpredictably free-form. KROQ ownership shifted, paychecks bounced, and I moved into the realm where radio creativity still paid the rent, advertising. 

In the 80s I was the voice on many of the rock lifestyle radio spots in L.A., including staples like Guitar Center, University Stereo, and Laserium. I owned a radio production studio on Santa Monica’s Main Street, where I produced “The History of San Francisco Rock” with Raechel Donahue for KFOG. There came a moment in the 90s when I realized my personal and political values were demanding expression. I took a job (still in tech) as Apple computer consultant for our local public school district, and a few years later ran for Santa Monica City Council, where I’m now in my fifth term, including time as Mayor. My Santa Monica Council meetings have been live on KCRW every other Tuesday night for almost two decades, the longest radio gig of my career.  

  The memories of my early radio days are still vivid: following Lee Baby Sims on the air to do overnights at WPOP in Hartford during the summer of love ('WPOP, your five-thousand watt flower pot'), then driving like mad to fire up the transmitter for my AM drive show at a suburban New Haven daytimer … showing up for my airshift one day to find my replacement in the studio, with no advance warning from management … racing to a radio station's bank not knowing if the owners had enough in the account to cover the entire payroll … and like any radio veteran, I got to know where to find the unemployment benefits office in every town where I worked. Better than just memories, I have tapes. I’ve posted a sampler at www.mckeown.net/radio for LARadio.com readers. (Photo taken in 2015 when Kevin was mayor and there was an official visit to Santa Monica’s sister city of Fujinomiya, Japan.


LARP Summer Reading

Seeing his name, his books, and movies made from his books for years, I thought it was time to explore the author Dennis Lehane. So I started with his first one, A Drink Before the War. Truly its own noir, the author is truly gifted in taking us into another world of crime and conspiracy.

I have a feeling this may be a Dennis Lehane summer at the beach for me. - Fran Summers

Summer Reading

What books are you reading this summer? Would you like to share your favorite book with other readers of LARadio?

Send info to db@thevine.net

5 Years Ago Today

"We sat here for 25 years at one set of call letters and never had to cross town. We competed in the second largest radio market in America, lasted for 25 years and leave on our own terms.
I will never, ever, not be proud of that.” - Mark Thompson

 

(July 2, 2012) The final chapter in this series revolving around the resignation of Mark Thompson (l) after 25 years together at KLOS could be called the ending but knowing Mark, his future endeavors hold the promise of wonderment and new beginnings.

How management will treat the time between now and August 17th is anyone’s guess. Since making the announcement last week, the program director at KLOS – Jack Silver – has already been let go with no hint from current management what will happen to the remaining partner, Brian Phelps. There have been hints of progress in the negotiations.

Mark had a dream about being successful in radio and he has exceeded all of his expectations. “I realized my dream,” Mark told me during our recent lunch at L’Ermitage. “When I was 16 I first got into radio Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 6 a.m. while going to high school. I listened to bootleg tapes of WLS-Chicago, WABC-New York and 10Q in Los Angeles. Radio is what I was dreaming about. I heard the tapes of these jocks and they sounded so good and I made myself a promise that I would make it all the way and sound as good as they did. I take the fulfillment of that dream not with a grain of salt, but with pride and joy.”

He had lots of people to thank for his success. “I thank all those people who gave of themselves for all those years and worked hard to make the morning show as great as it is. We still work every day making it as great as we can. I just can’t ask for any more than that. I just can’t.”

Mark is moving into the next phase of his life, which is still undefined, but he is clear that it will not be connected with the word, ‘retirement.’ Whenever Mark would take the family on vacation, for example, to Hawaii, he was never the guy lying on the beach reading a book. “I just can’t do it,” he confessed. He said he was more like the Rodney Dangerfield joke, ‘I would take a vacation, but I’m there.’ I need to be busy. I’m a worker bee. I need a chore. I’ve got to be creative and then I’m happy.”

The long journey of “always” having a job started for Mark when he had an 18-mile paper route for the Birmingham News at 4 in the morning. There has been one common denominator from delivering the Birmingham News to being a bellhop at Holiday Inn to radio, he has always worked for someone else until he wrote, produced and starred in his first movie, Mother Ghost. “I never made money at it but I had such a good time. When I did my second movie, 2:13, I lived at the Sofitel Hotel. Got up, did the radio show and was on the set by 11. My daughter was the TA. I worked until 11 at night, got a few hours’ sleep and would do it all over again. I was totally exhausted but was having such a wonderful time I never noticed.”

Chuck Moshontz played a key role in the early success of the Mark & Brian Show. “When we came to town – day one September 8, 1987 - it was literally just me and Brian in the room. I was running the board then and Brian is sitting across from me. We look over through the glass and there’s this guy sitting there with headphones on and he’s smiling. We wave at him. From the first moment of broadcast on day one, Chuck embraced us when there were people in the hallways wondering why management has brought in these idiots from Alabama. Chuck laughed, helped; he encouraged and he became a dear friend for ten years. He allowed us to get silly with him. I’ve never gotten over his leaving. When Chuck came back for our 20th anniversary, he used to do News & Views and just winged it from the newspaper and I almost cried. Losing someone as important as Chuck, you never get over that, but he had the balls to make a bold decision to leave everything he knew as a broadcaster and step out there as a therapist. Chuck is Chuck. Period. And one of the beautiful people in the world.”

Twenty five years as morning show partners must have created some difficulties over the years? “The Stern years were very difficult on both of us,” Mark confessed. “The one thing we were pretty good at and it came from Brian, ‘ Whatever I’m feeling, the only other person in the world that can know how I’m feeling is the other guy – the guy that sits across from you. No matter if we were angry with each other or waiting for tempers to cool, you realize you do have the one bond, that one thing nobody knows like you know. We always got to a point where we could talk it through and move on. How many married couples make it as long as we did?”

Mark has no idea what management has in store for the morning show. “There is a right formula to take what is left of the morning show, plug in a couple of pieces and still keep it cohesive. It can done. It has been done.”

For now, Mark’s hinting that his next project will be something he will once again immerse himself into and be fully in charge. “I don’t need the money to be successful. I will have a good time trying.”

“I will always remember that we sat here for 25 years at one set of call letters and never had to cross town. We competed in the second largest radio market in America, lasted for 25 years and leave on our own terms. I will never, ever, not be proud of that.”

As Mark prepares to end his time in L.A., you might want to share some memories with him or maybe just a thank you for the good times. Mark's email address is: mark@mthompson.tv


19 Years Ago Today 

(July 1, 1998) A living Southern California legend returns to morning drive this morning. Charlie Tuna (l) makes his way back to KIKF, a station he left earlier this year. Charlie will make the daily drive from his San Fernando Valley home to the city of Anaheim (nearby home of my alma mater, Chapman University) where KIKF’s new Country home is located. Once a broadcast line is installed in Charlie’s house (sometime next week), he won't have to get out of bed to go to work. Charlie knows everyone and hosts the syndicated "Weekly Top 30 Country Countdown" show. When the Judd family comes by to visit, Charlie will have to get dressed and his wife, Shari, will have to prepare breakfast and a big pot of coffee…Newest addition to Los Angeles Radio People fraternity officially begins this morning, Drew Hayes, pd at KABC. Wonder how long before his presence will be felt on and off the air? I’ll bet sooner, rather than later, maybe even "swifter" … Perhaps coinciding with KLOS’ involvement with promoting today’s movie opening of Armageddon, Aerosmith music has suddenly reappeared on the station. Hey, it’s a local band plus Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv is the flick…Speaking of KLOS, do you think Mark and Brian know where Eddie Van Halen lives? … The Queen Mary will be the site of a BIG KBIG 4th of July Disco Saturday Night party. Morning hosts Carolyn Gracie and Rick Diego will be hosting the firecracker special called "The BIG Red, White, and BOOM!" … Now that the Los Angeles Kings have moved their broadcast from XTRA/AM to KRLA, where will the Mighty Ducks go? Can KRLA air the Kings, Ducks, Angels and keep Huggie Boy happy? … Speaking of sports (do you miss Jim Healy’s half-hour as much as I do? At 5:30 I still reach for the radio to tune in his sports commentary show. ISSSS IT TRUE?), KCTD (One-On-One Sports at 1540AM) has been attempting to localize the Chicago feed. Before gm Bob Koontz left for KLOS, he hired nice guy sports guy Eric Tracy to do local commentary. The station has now added traffic and weather reports during morning and afternoon drive ... Former Los Angeles Radio People, Mother Love (KFI, KLSX, KACE, and KBIG), made an appearance this morning with Sam Rubin on KTLA's Morning Show to promote her syndicated tv show, Forgive or Forget.

Remember the Morning Star on Star, Jamie White?

(June 30, 2017) Ever wonder what happened to morning star on Star 98.7 Jamie White? She’s been doing mornings at Alice 105.9 in Denver and her contract has just been extended for five years. She was recently featured in a piece in Westword where she talks about her Star partner, Danny Bonaduce.

“Sometimes it was really fun. With Danny, it was really manic. You never knew when he was going to be sober and when he was going to be off the wagon. And sometimes when he was off the wagon, it was really fun. But sometimes when he was off the wagon, it was really dark and scary. With an addict, you just never know how it's going to play on certain days when they can't get it together. I think he went into rehab three times when we were together. Sometimes he'd tell us, "Haha, I didn't take my whatever drug. Today's going to be a crazy day." And sometimes when that happened, he'd be actually sleeping in the studio. I'd call my boss and say, "His eyes are closed. What do I do?" After he'd come out of rehab, he'd be really great for a year or two, and it'd be really solid and amazing. But sometimes he'd be upset that he wasn't on alcohol or drugs or whatever his beef was all the time. So it was a roller coaster.”

You can read the complete story by clicking the artwork.

Never Promote a Promotion - Always Promote Your Radio Station

(June 29, 2017) It was so good to see the LA Times give a quarter-page story on KRLA’s Hugh Hewitt new tv show on MSNBC. What wasn’t so good to see was the absence of the call letters of his local radio affiliate. Most radio properties and groups have eliminated their marketing departments. In Marketing 101, any student of publicity and promotion learns how to take advantage of existing events and stories to get your name – or in this case, the call letters – mentioned in media coverage. It is absolutely free but it takes someone with the ability to recognize these opportunities, and then act on these occasions. It also takes having relationships with newspapers, tv stations, and Internet outlets.

When I was in the movie business, I used to have this argument with a peer from another studio who was promoting a Tom Hanks movie, The Bachelor Party. In Texas, where everything is either the biggest or at least bigger, she approached the Astrodome with the intent of creating the World’s Biggest Bachelor Party.

What you also have to know is what you are promoting. The mantra is really simple: Never promote a promotion, always promote the radio station or in this example, the name of the movie. Once the conversation with the Astrodome began, the representative from the venue was excited and thought to have a Bachelor Party, you first need a wedding. He was hosting the new football league, and the USFL Houston Gamblers were playing a Monday night game on national tv just days away from the opening of the film. A perfect opportunity that wouldn’t cost anything. They ended up devising the World’s Biggest Wedding at half-time with local celebrity, George Foreman, to officiate the ceremony, with the bachelor party held during the first half of the game.

There was really no mention of the bachelor party except for a remark by the local radio station, KILT, who had invited 20 listeners to get married by Foreman on national tv.  

So the question was what was being promoted – the bachelor party and the movie linked to the first event, or was it the wedding? You guessed it, the movie got lost. Even though People magazine covered the event, there was no mention of the movie.

Hugh Hewitt has been part of KRLA for decades. It would not take much to encourage the LA Times writer to include KRLA in the story instead of referring to him as “a conservative commentator” or “host of right-leaning Salem Radio Network.” Shame on KRLA for not taking advantage of this “gimme.” Wonder what else they are missing?


Martini In the Morning Needs Help

 
(June 28, 2017) Finding a way to make money from Internet endeavors, whether it be a website, radio station, or blog, is tough. I tried for 20 years and just couldn't find the right combination. When Brad Chambers, host of Martini in the Morning, was at a crosssroads in his career, he decided his love for lounge music was strong enough to give it a try. "We saw passion among our listeners, and the potential for long term success in this genre. So we went to the Internet full of hope; that we could keep this great music alive for generations to come and so today's artists would know they would have a place where there  were people eager to hear and purchase their recordings and buy tickets to their live performances," said Brad in his latest plea for help.

He admits he's a programmer and not a businessman. "We have a plan for long term sustainability. We have a plan to pay back past royalties, back taxes and other debts that accumulated through our lack of adequate funding and business wherewithal. That plan requires that we go to a subscription model. We currently average about 50,000 listeners each month. The royalties due on that number of listeners and the amount of music they "consume" over the course of a month is about $11,000. That's $11,000 a month for royalties alone. Advertising revenue runs between $500 and $1,000 a month. Listener support and sponsorship totals about $2,500 a month. Our basic expenses, before royalties are about $7,000 each month. I'm really bad at math and even I can see that it doesn't add up. If we were able to convince even 5% of our current audience to pay $10 per month to subscribe to MITM, that would bring in $25,000 a month which is enough to cover our monthly expenses and start paying down past royalty bills, back taxes and other debts."

The music is programmed with heart and belongs to a certain segment of the listening population who enjoys a very tasteful, eclectic musical sound. Check it out on computers at http://martinimorning.radio.net and on free apps like the Radio.net app or Simple Radio from Streema. They work on most mobile devices. They can also get MITM on Apple devices using the high quality StreamS HiFi mobile app. You may have some ideas for Brad. Contact him at: brad@martiniinthemorning.com


Jo Kwon Headed to TV
(June 28, 2017) KFI news anchor Jo Kwon is leaving her position and joining tv channels 2 and 9. "I'm sad to announce that Jo Kwon has decided to move on and her last day is Tuesday, July 11th," wrote Chris Little, news director at KFI. "Jo will be taking her KFI style to KCBS/KCAL where she will toil as a multimedia journalist. Over the past 5  years at KFI, Jo has proven herself to be a very talented and tenacious reporter capable of bringing life to hard news and features. During that time, Jo also became our MMJ/ go-to person for videos accompanied by radio stories. We’ve attracted thousands of listeners to our website with Jo’s informative and entertaining videos as well as FB live feeds." Chris concluded: "We’re going to miss her."

In other news: Karel, former KFI Talker, is joining three diverse artists,  releasing a cry for unity and an ode to Harvey Milk in support of GLBT Pride Season and basic human equality. The song, Stronger Together is part of Karel’s Life in Segments / Where’s Harvey Pride special on Free Speech TV and Revry ... Sky Walker celebrates 9-years playing the "Greatest Hits On Earth," on CBS Radio's "Classic Hits" K-Earth 101 … Many of you have observed there are four stations attempting to broadcast at 99.1, including Radio Disney’s new Country format. All the signals can only serve a small portion of the Southland. Another frequency that is getting really crowded is San Diego's KGB/fm, which is 101.5 and the frequency is also home to three low-power stations, Classic Rock KOCI in Costa Mesa, Country KZNQ in Santa Clarita and Easy Listening KZKA in Los Angeles. Now the Oriental Culture Center of West Covina has a construction permit for a 50-watt station at 101.5, according to Steve Thompson … KFI’s George Noory releases his newest book Mad as Hell this week. Noory shares why his passion for our country’s welfare has him enraged and concerned about its future, and how we can work together to bring about positive change. “We live in a dangerous world that is sorely in need of an effective political system,” said Noory. “I hope this book will inspire and encourage people to pull together as a society, and put in the hard work it will take to bring back the America that makes us proud.”


Radio's Only Walk of Fame Recipient in 2018

(June 27, 2017)  Steve Jones, guitarist for the Sex Pistols and Iggy Pop, one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, and KLOS' host of “Jonesy’s Jukebox” has been chosen to receive a Star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame as the sole honoree in the Radio category for the Walk of Fame Class of 2018. The Walk of Fame Selection Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced the full list of honorees in the categories of Motion Pictures, Television, Live Theatre/Live Performance, Radio and Recording.      

The Chamber offered a press release: "Hollywood Walk of Fame Radio Honoree (and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) Steve Jones mixes an eclectic Rock and Classic Rock playlist with freeform and often humorous interviews of guests from the music and entertainment world in his weekday radio show. He is known for keeping an acoustic guitar in the studio and performing stream-of-consciousness songs about the show’s current topic of discussion. The two-hour open forum show airs on 95.5 KLOS Monday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m., where the only rule is doing whatever Jones wants. “Jonesy’s Jukebox” encompasses everything from groundbreaking new music of his own personal collection to current topic discussions and guest interviews of all varieties with a living room conversation vibe."

Jonesy’s Jukebox was previously heard on Indie 103.1 for 5 years, attracting acclaim over the years as one of the best commercial radio shows in the nation from L.A. Weekly, Rolling Stone, Esquire and Spin. Within its first year, “Jonesy’s Jukebox” was heralded as “Some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll radio ever!” by L.A. Weekly, which gave Jones the “Best New DJ” award in 2004.    

Email Monday

(June 26, 2017) "I just got my June Country Aircheck trade publication. See the photo of a full page ad from Radio Disney for their new Country format. Look at the ridiculous claim that 99.1 is a Los Angeles signal. What fraction of LA are they talking about?

At the same time NO mention of the KRDC AM 1110 [the old KRLA] simulcast. Honesty in advertising?" -
Doug Brown

Hear Ache 

(June 26, 2017) Erin Vermeulen, known to Bill Handel listeners as Erin V last year  will be joining Big Jim O’Brien next month as the newest member of the WCSX morning team in the Motor City.  She begins July 10.  Vermeulen began her career at the former 1310 WYUR in Detroit and before that was heard in South Africa, Dubai, Cairo, Denver and Phoenix … Hugh Hewitt, a veteran of KRLA for many years and before that at KFI in the 90s, has joined MSNBC for a weekend show. Hewitt, an ultra conservative, demonstrates the broadening of Talk show hosts on the predominately liberal network ... The LA Times featured Andy Cohen with an article recently titled, New King of All Media. In the first line of the piece, Andy says: “I subscribe to the Ryan Seacrest-ian model of employment, which is to keep adding things that I love.” Seacrest-ian?

  State of the Site

LARadio was off-line last week. The site server that had housed LARadio for 20 years went out of business. There is a new server, thanks to the generosity of a LARP. The migration of Archives, photos and Where Are They Now material has been completed.

My email server, different company, no longer provides mass mailings. I have been exploring a number of options to find one that is cost effective. Sending out ratings, radio-related articles and bulletins may be a thing of the past but I’ll keep you posted.  

Email Tuesday 

(June 20, 2017) "Each year when you post your memoirs about your parents, it nearly brings me to tears understanding what you went through in your early years. The 'greatest generation' had issues discussing their feelings, my father included. Although he was not as quiet as your dad, there were events from his past that would not be discussed or even mentioned, and being curious, I always wanted to know. In particular, his participation as a Medic during 'D-Day.' 

We share common traits being an only child helping our parents cope with their health issues in their later years. Watching my dad waste away with ALS is something I still think about after nearly 40 years. Only someone who has had a relative or parent deal with this crappy disease understands the punch it delivers riding on an emotional roller coaster of feelings and helplessness. It was near my dad's end when he pleaded with me to give him an overdose or use a pillow to end his suffering.

On a happier note, it's great that you are still dabbling with LARadio. You can add material if you like, or just not post anything for a while. Any info you include is always enjoyable to read." - John Hart

Mary Beth Garber Exits Katz Media Group

(June 19, 2017) Mary Beth Garber, best-known as the former president of the Southern California Broadcasters Association and who appeared frequently on the Top 10 off-air LARP of the Year, has left her position with Katz Media Group. She recently celebrated six years with the iHeart group. Mary Beth is so talented that I’m sure she will surface soon.

In other news: AMFM Broadcasters, owners of 99.1, have filed a complaint against Disney/ABC for interference to their broadcast signal from the translator for Radio Disney Country. You can read the complaint here. 99.1 is a very busy location: KGGI in Riverside is 99.1 FM, Radio Disney Country is 99.1 FM, and there is a low-power Country music station at 99.1 FM in Simi Valley, "99.1 The Ranch" KWSP. That frequency is starting to get awfully crowded … Scott St. James should leave his rehab center this Friday, following kidney stone surgery.

Color Him Father

 

My father passed away in December 2004, almost a year after my mother’s death on Christmas Eve. Both were 87 when they died. This was written soon after my father’s death.

My father and I had a strained relationship. He came from a generation where nothing of a personal nature was ever discussed. His father was president of the big bank in Norristown, Pennsylvania and as a youngster I remember our holiday visits to this huge home on a hill with a wooded backyard. With my cousins we would romp through the snow and play in the woods. My grandfather’s home was similar to what I experienced on Sycamore Street in Hollywood and later in Santa Monica. They were all impersonal homes. I never remember my grandfather conversing about anything. It certainly would explain my father’s behavior, if indeed environment influences who we become. 

We moved to Santa Monica because my parents fell in love with the beach (he from PA and my mom from Utica, NY), thus my love affair with the ocean, sun and surfing. He eventually started his own firm in Santa Monica, the Bay Cities Adjustment Company. Over time we moved from 14th & Oak to 16th & Carlyle. Throughout all the moves and years, we never played catch or talked about what was going on that day. (Photo: I'm either hiding behind my mother or looking up her skirt)

I ran track at Santa Monica High School and starred in many school productions at Samohi. I was editor of the school newspaper. He never once came to see me run or see me act. I never thought it was strange because that’s the way it was. It wasn’t until later in my life, fighting my own demons, that I was forced to take an inventory of my life. I wasn’t looking for blame as to why I ended up living in a park in Van Nuys, but perhaps some understanding.  

My father and I went to a football game in the early 80s, the last time we shared an event together. The drive to the Coliseum seemed interminably long. It was always a struggle to talk with him. I asked him about his exploits at Hill School in Pennsylvania and at Colgate University. He was strong in sports and some of his championship records remained for years. I said, “Your parents must have been very proud sitting in the stands cheering you on.” Without missing a beat, he responded, “They never saw me play.” Never? Never. 

Bingo. That’s all I needed to understand my relationship with my father. It helped explain his reaction when I told him that I was going into the radio business. “Why do you want to do that? Hardly a profession,” I remember him saying. The same reaction when I joined the motion picture business and when I became a family therapist. My life’s work and decisions for a career path were always met with indifference and almost disdain. Even though I have spent decades working on my own personal relationships, his imprint still resides in me with still much more work to be done. Perhaps his death will help the process in letting go. 

Field of Dreams is a signature film for me. I remember sitting on the aisle at the Motion Picture Academy sobbing like a youngster when Kevin Costner and his father meet in the Iowa cornfield that has been converted to a baseball field and they play catch. I know that whoever wrote that scene had the same kind of father as mine. We never played catch and through the movie, demons were exorcized for all who had strained relationships with their fathers. I have never seen that movie and not been affected in the same way as I did the first time. I know it’s coming; I fight it and then cry one more time. 

When it was no longer safe for him to drive, we talked about giving up his car. He refused. I took the keys and sold his car. He didn’t acknowledge me for months after that and when I would come into the house he would just glare at me. He had officially lost his freedom. There was no longer flight available. Some time later, Russell Weller hit his accelerator on his car instead of the brakes and mowed down and killed 10 innocent people at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. I went all through school with Mr. Weller’s daughter, which made my earlier action to take the keys away from my father all the more personal, even though I was made to feel guilty for years. 

My father had dementia for at least the last 10 years. It has not been pretty. Unlike Alzheimer’s, dementia is accompanied by anger. In 1994 I moved them into a home next door where I could care for him and also my mother who had ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Days were filled with changing diapers on both of them. With no siblings to share the burden, I suddenly found myself being a father to my parents and a father to my young children. When he started throwing his dirty diapers at me and becoming physically abusive, I had to put him into a bed and care a year ago where professionals could deal with his needs.  

He hasn’t known who I am for years. Perhaps it was that vacant stare that made the abuse tolerable and I could find some compartment to keep the feelings and tune it out. Anyone who knows the emotional and financial challenges of caring for elderly parents can empathize with the unanswered questions of why life has to end in such an ugly, painful, and cruel manner. 

I saw him Saturday afternoon at his bed and care in North Hills. He was on his back, face ashen, and struggling to breathe. “Hey, Pop,” I said as I gently shook his shoulder. “Hey, Pop, how you doing?” No interruption in his struggle with what turned out to be his last day of sunshine. He died during the night. (Photo: He loved going to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica) 

Like my mother, both had chosen the Neptune Society for their burial at sea. The Neptune Society is unbelievable. I called at 6 a.m. Sunday morning and within an hour they had picked up my father. They will arrange to have his body cremated and his ashes strewn in the Santa Monica Bay.  

We deal with the challenges of life. As I write this, within an hour of his death, I am moved by the challenges of death – a time to review a life that was filled with his own demons and challenges. I didn’t choose him as a father. It is what was dealt to me. I can only hope and pray that he finds the peace and love in death that eluded him in life.  


LARadio Archives - 8 Years Ago Today

KMET Stirs Up Memories of an Irreverent and  Magical Time

(June 17, 2009) Last week, LARadio.com first broke the story that 100.3/fm The Sound was going to recreate the legendary KMET for a day, aptly named ‘Finally a KMET Friday.’ Since then, much discussion has been generated, particularly from those individuals who share their memories and experiences with the storied station. KSWD is scheduled to devote Friday, July 10th to a Jeff Gonzer-led day of ‘Mighty MET’ memories.

Dave Beasing, the program director at The Sound, is the one who green lighted the project. “The passion that this legendary station still inspires – for both former staff and listeners – is why we’re so proud to host ‘Finally-A-KMET-Friday’ on July 10,” emailed Dave. “This day is obviously long overdue. Bob Coburn’s excellent letter yesterday may have accidentally led some to think that he and others who now reside at other local stations are not invited to participate. They definitely are, and they’re welcome to promote their present radio homes. Updating the listeners on what’s happening in their lives today is part of what the day will be about.” 

Dave made the point that they do hope to draw a big audience, but this isn’t about The Sound. “This is about reliving one of the greatest Rock stations in history. Everyone from KMET’s #1 rated Sam Bellamy-led incarnation of KMET is welcome to join Sam, Jeff, Ace Young, Pat ‘Paraquat’ Kelley, Dr. Demento, Jack Snyder and many others who are already planning to attend. We look forward to setting aside our competitive rivalries – both past and present – to honor a station that changed fm radio forever,” concluded Dave.

Jeff Gonzer said that in addition to those former KMETers listed above, others joining the tribute, include David Perry, Rick Lewis, Rick Scarry, Mike Evans, Frazer Smith, Phil Gonzalez, and Bob Griffith.  Jeff noted that Jack Snyder is coming in from New Orleans to join the festivities. 

Shadoe Stevens checked in again this week, offering his response to the note from Bob Coburn that was published yesterday: 

It is hilarious and pathetic that this continues to matter to me, but Bob’s mixed compliment and criticism was spoken with such conviction, I once again feel the need to comment.   

My tragic need to be acknowledged for my contributions to KMET doesn’t really diminish anyone else's efforts, talent, or success. As I said before, after I left, I continued to be a listener and admired the efforts to focus and expand the original vision I put in place.   

First of all, how did you get the impression I was claiming individual responsibility for KMET is incomprehensible to me.  Let me say it clearly: I do not feel I was individually responsible for KMET.  That would be ignorant and self aggrandizing.  

Secondly, branding, promotion, slogans, publicity, billboards, and advertising – every detail is a vital consideration, and you cannot minimize the importance of any aspect. They may not make a bad station successful, but they make a great station bigger than life. Ask Coca Cola if billboards, jingles, or promotion are important. Or Nike if branding has worked for them. My specialty was attention to detail, a neurotic need to try to make every aspect and every detail reflect the Brand being created. It's more than a format; it's a complete visualization of an identity and attitude.  

And finally, the thing I found most unsettling about Bob’s commentary is – selective or mismanaged memory – to remember something that enhances your story as fact and say it with authority gives the impression that it’s true.  You don’t have to prove it, you just say it. Here’s what Bob said: 

‘...when I arrived [at the exact same time as Jim Ladd] the station was hardly over the top ‘successful.’ In fact, from my perspective, it wasn’t until we quit playing an inordinate amount of performers such as the Pointer Sisters, the O’Jays, the Ohio Players and so much jazz and r&b on a rock station that we began to take off like a rocket blast from Vandenberg.’

Why is there a golden period? Because that's when we finally beat KABC and KHJ and became number one, 12+ in L.A. To me, that is when KMET fulfilled its potential."

For what it matters – and it really doesn’t – here are the facts:

The Tom Donahue format was a complete disaster in L.A. In fact, the ratings were so bad that L. David Moorhead and Metromedia were thinking of changing the format to an Adult Contemporary station. Moorhead approached me because of the astonishing success of KROQ/fm and KRLA. As everyone knows, KROQ was a ratings phenomenon even though there was no money to promote with billboards, or advertising, or to pay anyone. This was the reason I left the station. Everyone, myself included, was going bankrupt and when I quit, the station went off the air for about a year and a half.

Dave Moorhead and Howard Bloom are no longer here to consult on this, but trust me, I was adamant about not returning to radio after the KROQ fiasco. I was building my production company and beginning to make a good living when Dave Moorhead came to me saying, ‘Metromedia is a great company and if you can do for us half of what you did with KROQ, with more promotion, billboards, and support, we will all make a lot of money.’ And he offered me more money than I'd ever made to come do it again. 

Six months later KMET was number one. I don’t know what happened with the ratings after I resigned due to my lofty ethics and principles, and I don’t know what ratings Bob was shown by management, but the fact is: 

The October-November 1974 ARB showed KMET had taken over first place in Adults 18-24, 18-34, and 18-49 – with audience increases of 107%, 135%, and 117% from the previous rating period. The night time ratings improved as much as 264%. On Sunday afternoons alone, my specialty show ‘The Great American Rock Album Countdown’ had twice as many listeners 12+ as KLOS.
 

The successes of KLRA, KROQ/fm, and KMET were so exceptional that, even at the time, I knew no one would believe them in years to come. So, I stored away the ratings books, memos, and every conceivable file – I’m attaching a six page memo about the ratings from Susan Bonell to all salespersons dated January 7, 1975. I don’t know what Don can run, but the first page speaks volumes. (If you would like to see the other pages that Shadoe refers to, send an email to: db@thevine.net and in the subject line indicate Shadoe ratings)

And now I’ve got to stop. This rant is too tragic and I’m laughing at myself all the while I feel the need to speak out.  

Thanks everyone for your input and for supporting Don Barrett. Thanks Don, for all your efforts, commitment, and dedication. This is a great service and one I turn to every day.  

Danny Lemos on KMET from 1977-80 

I came to KMET fresh out of the Jesuit seminary, working at KXLU/fm on campus at Loyola-Marymount. I picked up the Sunday paper and saw the radio rankings, with the Mighty Met at the top of the ratings and applied there. I never applied anywhere else.  An old KXLU cohort, Gary Zacuto, left the station and tossed his job, editing the surf report for Ace Young, to me. 

Nobody does news like Ace Young.  Nobody.  In 30 years he’s never had an equal. He taught me tight, fast, and funny. Nobody could pound on an Underwriter like Ace Young could, banging out pages of copy in 24 point type! 

I was there a year before my willingness to spend a week in Palo Alto at Marketron made me the youngest department head in Metromedia Radio history – the traffic department at KMET.  Pat Gorman and I rocked the traffic department there. Sam Bellamy gave us the opportunity to put their first traffic/sales computer to work – creating ‘Commercial Free Mondays’ on the station by removing the inventory from the sales projections and the computer altogether – blip! – commercial free Mondays.  She asked, we made it happen.  It was a big family, and everybody played a part. THAT was the secret to KMET.  

The music? It wasn’t the albums [REAL vinyl albums] that made it happen, it was the artists who played them.  REAL radio artists.  Radio has forgotten that. It was as if their reign at the top was imaginary. I was 22, what did I know from playlists and clocks, it was easy to see who the real stars of that format were. To my college roommates I was a god because I worked in the same square footage as Mary “the Burner” Turner, Jeff Gonzer, Paraquat Kelley, Jack Snyder, Bob Coburn, and Jim Ladd. There was a reason for that. If you were a listener, you know what I’m writing about. 

Cynthia Fox worked on staff at KXLU with me and given the Cynthia I knew back in the ’70’s, you have to know how hard she worked to get where she is. Back then, Cynthia was the only one who didn’t know she had it in her. 

That staff was lucky in one way: They didn’t know any other way to behave than to be themselves. The talented, crazy, wisecrackin’, pot smokin’, music lovin’, truth telling m-f’s they were. Period.  And Los Angeles fell in love with them, as did I.  

I cut my chops at KMET, (thank you Sam Bellamy!) I did my first rock music overnight on KMET, (thank you, David Chaney), I did my first helicopter traffic report at Cal Jam, (thank you, Cynthia Fox!)  and I learned how to play hard, fast and loose with sales, (thank you, Howard Bloom.) 

There will never be another slice of that ‘little bit' of heaven...94-point-7!’ 

Joe Maleskey, Henderson, Nevada (and still part-time So. Cal. resident) 

The key to the longevity and lasting fond memories of KMET were due to the perfect blend of AOR music and even more so the extraordinary personalities that made ‘The Mighty Met.’ The creative genius and vision of what this theatre of the mind could be was none other than Shadoe Stevens.   

It began in 1970 at KRLA where he first assembled a group of disk jockeys who were truly air personalities. He moved it to upstart KROQ/fm where, of course, the owner at the time had no money, and then finally to KMET.  

He started it with legendary talents such as B. Mitchel Reed, Lee ‘Baby’ Simms, Jimmy Rabbitt, et. al.  We didn’t watch tv back then, all of our entertainment was right there on the radio. Push buttons on car radios and tuners on our stereo systems weren’t needed.  We never switched stations, which is why to this day I can still hear the ‘Come to Henry's’ Camera commercials, BMR telling me the great deals at ‘Waterbed Warehouse, and ‘you can put your trust in us – we’re Music Plus. We listeners would get together and talk about who said what and would no doubt end up singing The Rabbitt’s ‘If You See Kay – tell her that I love her.’ 

When he began the upstart KROQ/fm, Shadoe had written a story about ‘The Adventures of Alice in The Underground’ that was played several times as the station began and included all of the personalities. Geez, would I ever love hearing that again. 

The genius of Shadoe Stevens was just beginning. A lot of the personalities that we remember from KMET came after Shadoe had left and I remember vividly that any jock who had any real talent wanted to work at KMET. Sure, it took a Village, but it is without a doubt, Shadoe Stevens who opened the door for so many to soar to the heights that otherwise probably would have never existed. And for that, each and every one of them owes a huge thanks to the man who was the creative force, who had the vision, and encouraged others to the limitless possibilities. 

And for those of us who listened, and in reality took ownership of ‘Our Radio Station,’ thank you Shadoe Stevens. 


Steve Harvey's Radio Success is Good News and Bad News 

(June 16, 2017) No sooner had Steve Harvey signed up his 100th radio station in syndication than Kevin Ross wrote in his tasty newsletter: “His success is a great story for him but a sad story for many young black radio announcers who want to get into urban radio. While traveling around the country over the last few weeks, I am amazed and disturbed at the young black radio talent relegated to part-time or shift positions that do not allow them to shine and grow. As a former programmer, I find it unfortunate that they are stuck and that their dreams may never be realized because they can’t get on to do mornings, which is a radio station’s most prized time slot.  Unfortunately, Steve Harvey and his morning show are one of the main reasons.”

When you combine Harvey’s 100 stations and Ryan Seacrest’s 140 stations, there are almost 250 opportunities lost for up and coming talent. Steve Harvey morning show vp of Affiliate Relations, URBAN Programming Martin Melius said, “I’ve talked to many black programmers who tell me they would love to have a local morning show but Harvey’s parent company, Premiere Radio, is adamant to block the morning slot at as many urban radio stations as possible to keep Harvey in the position over anyone else and many are under contractual obligation to keep the show on. Listeners are none the wiser about how radio works and to Harvey’s credit, they are entertained by segments of the show.”

Ross, formerly with KGFJ, KKBT, and KACE in the 90s, continued: “Radio was a springboard for Harvey’s current massive success but he is not a radio professional. He’s a comedian who used radio as an opportunity to advance his career. Nobody can be mad at him for that but at what point will he consider giving radio back to young black kids who want to have the same success who are already at odds with opportunities to work in other formats besides urban radio? As listeners continue to have more options to listen to music, Millennials are not as interested in commercial radio as previous generations and commercial Urban radio is going to have to establish a more progressive approach with listeners in order to continue to compete with the growing streaming industry."

  Ryan Seacrest Rebooted: 'Live,' a New York Move and the Bumpy Road Back to 'Idol'  

"Who am I if not the 'American Idol' guy?'" asks the busiest man in showbiz as THR goes inside his fraught negotiation (a lowball offer, ABC's last-minute scramble toward an eight-figure deal), why he nearly walked away and his reinvention as a morning host. Says Kelly Ripa: "When I look at him, I see the future of this show." Read the intriguing story of Ryan Seacrest by clicking the cover of The Hollywood Reporter

Hear Ache

(June 15, 2017) Tami Heide (l), long-time KROQ and JACK/fm personality, is now doing weekend/fill in on 94.7 the WAVE. “Please join me this Sunday June 18th from 3-8 p.m., I’m in for Maggie McKay,” emailed Tami … The Steve Harvey Morning Show, heard on KJLH in the Southland, has reached the 100th affiliate milestone. “This milestone has me beaming,” shared Harvey, who recently renewed his long-term partnership with Premiere Networks’ parent company iHeartMedia. “To be in the 100 club is so gratifying, and to have growth after all this time is a testament to my crew’s hard work and willingness to evolve … Earlier this week, Neil Ross wrote to say that for the eighth year, he was the announcer on the AFI Life Achievement Award telecast, which will air tonight on TNT. “This year’s honoree was prolific actress Diane Keaton. On hand to help bestow this well-deserved award were: Woody Allen, Al Pacino, Warren Beatty, Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and many others.” The appearance by the elusive actor / director of Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, and many other memorable movies was a clandestine undertaking. “They kept Woody Allen’s appearance at the close of the show under wraps. I didn’t find out about it until a few seconds before I made the announcement. Needless to say, the crowd went nuts.” No sooner had Neil sent out his good news, another email arrived: “Sorry to report that I have just learned that TNT has decided they want a woman announcer on the Diane Keaton Life Achievement telecast. Everything I did will be replaced. It was a great night, I had a lot of fun and I think if you decide to tune in, you will too. Just don’t expect to hear me.” Neil said he sent the email from the cutting room floor … There will be a Jed The Fish comeback, according to his Facebook page. “I have a new twist on 80s songs I am anxious to share.”

Kars 4 Kids Under Investigation Again

(June 14, 2017) Two years ago, LARadio disclosed a number of state organizations that were investigating KARS-4-KIDS, which was advertising on a number of LA stations. The jingle is tough to forget with repeating the phone number: 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS. There is a new report from the Minnesota Attorney General who "found that KARS4KIDS raised $3 million from Minnesota donors, but only spent $11,600 on charitable programs for Minnesota residents from 2012 to 2014," reports KMSP (FOX9)-TV. 

The report says a, "compliance report found that KARS4KIDS does little direct charitable work itself. Instead, it acts as the fundraising arm for OORAH, INC., a New Jersey charity whose mission is to promote Orthodox Judaism among children. OORAH’s two largest programs are summer camps and tuition assistance. Two-thirds of the participants in those programs are children from New York and New Jersey. As of March 2015, only three Minnesota children have participated OORAH’s programs." FOX9 adds, "Nationwide, KARS4KIDS raised more than $87.8 million from the sale and scrapping of donated vehicles from 2012 to 2014. Of that $87.8 million, KARS4KIDS donated more than $40 million – or over 90% of its actual expenditures on charitable programming – to OORAH."

Cumulus Media is on the brink of a total collapse
by Claire Atkinson, reprinted from NY Post (6.11.17)

As turnarounds go, this one is a disaster. At radio giant Cumulus Media, things have gone from bad to worse. A quick look at the stock price tells the tale. When former Chief Executive Lew Dickey exited in September 2015, the stock was already an anemic $5.45. On Friday, Cumulus shares closed at 52 cents. Back in the halcyon days of early 2014, Cumulus stock was trading at $64.04.

Now things are in tatters, and a Nasdaq delisting looms — as does a possible bankruptcy. Meanwhile, current CEO Mary Berner keeps receiving bonus payments, which are now being paid on a quarterly basis instead of the typical end-of-year cycle, perhaps learned from her bankruptcy with Reader’s Digest. “Cumulus continues to make tremendous progress in our multi-year turnaround, having reached a financial inflection point driven by ratings share growth, stabilization of the operations, and sustained outperformance against peers despite a tough market environment,” the company told On The Money.

Cumulus owns hundreds of radio stations and syndication company Westwood One, and competes with the likes of iHeart and CBS Radio, now in the hands of Entercom. Now private equity firm Crestview Partners has adopted a poison pill to stop an activist from coming in as it staves off bankruptcy.

For the year 2016 (a presidential election year), Cumulus reported that net revenue fell 2.3 percent while adjusted Ebitda — earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization — was off 20.6 percent from a year earlier. Radio-business watchers are intrigued to hear that former CEO Dickey has raised a $209 million investment fund. Dickey came off the Cumulus board in March.

Morning Has Broken

(June 13, 2017) The morning drive (6a-10a) PPM ratings for May '17 have been released by demographic categories:

Persons 12+

1. Valentine (MY/fm)
2. News Team (KNX)
3. Pat Prescott (the WAVE)
4. Ryan Seacrest (KIIS)
5. Bill Handel (KFI)
Persons 18-34

1. The Woody Show (KYSR)
2. Ryan Seacrest (KIIS)
3. Valentine (MY/fm)
4. Big Boy (KRRL)
5. Omar y Argelia (KLVE)
Persons 25-54

1. Valentine (MY/fm)
2. Ryan Seacrest (KIIS)
3. Omar y Argelia (KLVE)
4. The Woody Show (KYSR)
5. Kevin & Bean (KROQ)

My, Oh, My ... MY/fm Once Again on Top in May Ratings 

(June 12, 2017) The May '17 PPM 6+ Mon-Sun, 6a-12Mid:

1. KBIG (MY/fm) 5.6 - 5.8
2. KTWV (The WAVE) 5.5 - 5.3
3. KIIS (Top 40/M) 4.8 - 4.8
     KRTH (Classic Hits) 5.0 - 4.8

5. KOST (AC) 4.6 - 4.7
6. KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 3.7 - 3.6
7. KFI (Talk) 3.5 - 3.5
8. KNX (News) 3.4 - 3.4
9. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.1 - 3.1
     KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.8 - 3.1


11. KPWR (Top 40/R) 2.6 - 2.9
      KSWD (The Sound) 2.6 - 2.9
      KYSR (Alternative) 3.0 - 2.9
14. KKGO (Country) 2.7 - 2.8
15. KAMP (Top 40/R) 2.6 - 2.7
      KRRL (Urban) 2.8 - 2.7
      KSCA (Regional Mexican) 2.7 - 2.7
18. KXOL (Spanish AC) 2.3 - 2.4
19. KROQ (Alternative) 2.2 - 2.2
20. KLOS (Classic Rock) 2.2 - 2.1
21. KXOS (Regional Mexican) 2.2 - 2.0
22. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 1.9 - 1.8
      KLAX (Regional Mexican) 1.6 - 1.8
      KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.0 - 1.8
25. KPCC (News/Talk) 1.6 - 1.7
26. KJLH (Urban AC) 1.7 - 1.6
27. KUSC (Classical) 1.4 - 1.5
28. KCRW (Variety) 1.5 - 1.4
29. KDAY (Rhythmic AC) 1.3 - 1.3
30. KSSE (Spanish Oldies) 1.3 - 1.1
       KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 0.8 - 1.1
32. KRLA (Talk) 0.9 - 1.0
33. KEIB (Talk) 0.9 - 0.9
       KLAC (Sports) 0.9 - 0.9
       KSPN (Sports) 0.8 - 0.9
36. KABC (Talk) 0.7 - 0.7
37. KFSH (Christian Contemporary) 0.6 - 0.6
       KFWB (Regional Mexican) 0.5 - 0.6
39. KKJZ (Jazz) 0.5 - 0.5
       KSUR (Oldies) 0.3 - 0.5


A Cindy Crawford Dream Lands a Fan on the Mark & Brian Show 

(June 12, 2017) For a quarter of a century, Mark & Brian dazzled morning drive. For a couple of generations, fans delighted in sharing stories about where they were when the zany pair did one of their outrageous stunts. Scott Gerling, 25 years old in 1993, was a huge fan and had his 15 minutes of fame with the morning duo. You can hear and read his story this morning:

I listened every day for hours as I was a pool cleaner so I was able to do so freely. A friend of mine knew how big a fan I was of M&B, and also knew the background of how I had come up with an invention I had been working on for the past couple of years. She wrote a letter to their show, I was invited for an interview after a brief meeting with Sluggo, their runner/intern who sussed out if I was sane or not.

The goal of the show was to see if Cindy Crawford would respond to a dream I had where she inspired the invention. She was HUGE at the time. She was on every magazine cover they could fit her on, and it was a looooooong shot at best. Mark and Brian loved this storyline because they were just as in love with her as the media was. Also, the story contained the essence of “Field of Dreams” - build it and she will come - and they constantly talked about how much they loved that movie theme.

Anyway, I was brought in to the KLOS studio and treated very well by everyone on the show including
Chuck Moshontz, who was very supportive and in on the interview. I remember at the time I was very nervous about telling them what the actual idea was, because I was freaked out somebody would hear about it, and steal the idea. You can hear, in the show, where they actually state what the idea is, and I froze for a second. I realized the cat was out of the bag, and I just switch to total commitment, as if nothing was wrong. Chuck asked if it was patented, and I said yes, but inside I was flipping out because of the exposure. Silly I know, but that’s what happened. Anyway, after they wrapped up the show with me. Scott Reiff, the Skylord took it even further by trying to underscore the need to make it a national story.

After the show, M&B called me, I called them for updates, but nothing really materialized, save for the pure thrill of being next to my two heroes for a brief moment in time where they shined a spotlight on me. I am really grateful for that memory, and grateful to Mark & Brian. It is a beautiful memory for me, and I am very fortunate to still have this recording, which was on a cassette tape and not converted to digital until today. I hope you enjoy it. Here is the link:
Scott Gerling on the Mark and Brian Show March 31, 1993.

Email Sunday

(June 11, 2017) "The 1110 AM frequency has gone full-circle in 72 years!:
 
1942:  KPAS 1110 debuts from Pasadena
 
1945:  KXLA 1110 is a Country music station
 
1959:  KRLA 1110 is a Top 40 station
 
2000:  KSPN 1110 is a Sports station
 
2003:  KDIS 1110 is Radio Disney
 
2017:  KRDC 1110 is a Country music station
 
The 1110 transmitter site was moved from El Monte to Irwindale in 1987." - Bill Kingman

** More on Woodruff


"To add a few additional words about Norman Woodruff at the time he graduated from Huntington Beach High School. Norm arrived in Ridgecrest  late summer of ‘57 when Victor M. Ferrell was finishing constructing 1360 KRCK, 1000 watts. I would make bicycle trips after school to the transmitter site and the studio under construction a mile east in town.

I met Norman at the transmitter site who had just been hired by Victor. Norm let me do the 'Equipment and Maintenance  Checks' at midnight. Norman had a better voice than mine, somewhat intimidating. He was so professional it made me a little insecure as a young lad standing in the small news booth. Norman finally let me read some news for real. It wasn’t my best listening to the tapes 60 years later.

Norman would always critique my news readings in an encouraging way; how to re-write the yellow teletype pages, how to breath, recover from a mistake, stand in front of the mike and how to make every sentence sound a little 'urgent.' In 1958 a local store caught fire. He sent me down the street for phone coverage. Later that day Norm encouraged me to make radio my career of choice. He was also very interested in my AM transmitter that I had boosted up power from an Allied Kit with the help of my next door neighbor at China Lake who was an electronic engineer. I was able to practice being a dj with a homemade studio set up with two turntables and two tape decks I had borrowed from Burroughs Hi being the AV kid. The signal reached out many miles to US 6. Norm gave me all my RAD jingles and regional commercials on acetates to sound professional.  

In 1959 Norm got a new gig at Palmdale’s KUTE . Victor Ferrell assigned me Norm's spot afternoons and the 6 a.m. shift Saturday and Sundays. Norm had prepared me to last through two managers during the summer of ’59. The following year Lee Spence at KRKS, 1240, 250 watts hired me for the summer; 6a to midnight. 
Norm had long left the valley, but my show, Cousin Doug ,with a different sounding newscast, was popular throughout the Indian Wells Valley. KRKS was owned by  three producers from Capitol Records. I interviewed Tennessee Ernie Ford , Nelson Riddle, Peggy  Lee, Less Paul  and other Capitol stars as they stopped by to promote their new records on their way north to Mammoth. KRKS had great promo’s by Frank Sinatra. Great experience for a kid at 19.  

In ’61 I worked as a tour guide and weekend news at San Diego’s  KOGO/TV when I joined production on the live Regis Philbin Show. I would still visit Norm at KRLA and enjoyed several dinners  at his home with his mom in LA. We would drive around LA, mom in the backseat, looking for news in his black Ford with speakers on top and a dashboard of gadgets much resembling LAPD patrol cars. A happy moment when Norman made me copies of KRLA and KFWB’s jingle packages.

Norman's brief and serious focus on broadcasting was better than any of my SDSU or UCLA broadcasting classes. His guidelines, principles and intensity for broadcasting during those summers  still remain with me as a distant radio signal; like from KOMA of the 1950’s, the 50K Giant Killer of Oklahoma beaming West across the evening desert sky, reminding me I might have made radio my career. Now at 75, I can give it another shot.  I’d like to do traffic for KFI. Norm would be proud. For the record, thank you." - Doug Huse, Pasadena

 

** New Direction for KABC

"Surprised I haven't seen this mentioned: KABC-790 has boosted its power from 5,000 watts to 6,600 watts day and 7,900 watts night [still directional], effective May 31st." - DRA David R. Alpert
** New Country Format at 1110 AM and 99.1 FM

"I don't see Saul Levine shaking in his boker boots. The impact didn't even tilt his yarmulke." - Don Elliot
** Blast from the Past

"And I could not help but notice a pun this week:  'Archivist at AdSausage.com sent me a link'. Thanks for the laugh!" -  Mike Sakellarides
 


Disney Launches New Country Station

(June 10, 2017) Radio Disney Country is now broadcasting at 1110 AM (formerly KDIS) and on an fm translator at 99.1. The new call letters are KRDC. "As Country music continues to deliver some of the biggest artists in music today, we are broadening the reach of Radio Disney Country through both terrestrial and digital extensions of its brand," said Phil Guerini, VP of Music Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide and GM of Radio Disney Networks. The new translator, K256CX, is licensed to Beaumont and broadcasts from Irwindale, covering eastern Los Angeles County. (Disney bought the construction permit from Calvary Chapel in February.) 

The original Radio Disney pop format continues on KRTH's HD-2 channel. KRDC officially began broadcasting on 99.1 FM and 1110 AM yesterday morning, kicking off with Kelsea Ballerini's new single, Legends. In addition to the fm launch, Radio Disney Country will now be available on iHeartRadio and TuneIn, and as curated playlists within Spotify and Apple Music. Radio Disney Country will also launch a musical.ly account @RadioDisneyCountry.

There are so many platforms these days that old timers have a hard time sorting out the best way to listen. I remember the days when you had only five choices to set on your car radio. Not only do few kids listen to Country music, most of them don't even listen to radio, especially AM stations. They have their iPods, MP3 players and music apps. This format change may turn out to be a goofy decision.

Blast from the Past

(June 9, 2017) For over 20 years, LARadio has attempted to preserve the rich history of radio in the Southland. From time to time we get memorabilia that jogs pleasant memories. On Facebook there is a wonderful collection of memories from KFWB. Jeffrey Leonard has been collecting memories of LARadio at another site - in fact, he is hosting a radio reunion tomorrow at Fuddruckers in Burbank.

Earlier this week, J.J. Englender, curator and archivist at AdSausage.com sent me a link to a collection of incredible pieces of nostalgia from old KRLA Beat magazines to material from the Los Angeles Free Press.

"I'm a Los Angeles-based historian and archivist, focusing on film preservation and Los Angeles history," emailed Englender. "As part of my Special Collections, I've curated a thorough selection of original artifacts and covers from L.A.'s legendary underground newspaper - the L.A. Free Press. I hope you find some of this material to be of interest, as there's a wealth of material covering late-1960’s Los Angeles history, using historical ads and new essays on cinema, music and places of interest from Venice to Culver City to Silverlake. It's a fascinating look into the days of: Hullabaloo, KPPC, KMET, the Peace and Freedom Party, experimental film at Cinematheque-16, psychedelic coffee houses on Fairfax, and double-features at the downtown Mayan."

The archives can be found here. AdSausage preserves historical material and provides an exhaustive archive of vintage advertising, spanning the past five decades. Ongoing acquisitions of related collections include photographs, slides, newspapers and pop-culture ephemera, with an emphasis toward film. The digital archive library is free and available to researchers, historians and curiosity seekers.

Al Michaels Set for PPB Event and You Are Invited 

(June 8, 2017) Mike Sakellarides is a long-time LARP, perhaps best known for middays at KOST for over two decades and currently being heard weekends on KTWV / The WAVE 94.7. He also is a current board member of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. He sent an email to LARadio.com about an upcoming special event:

I’ll always be grateful for your hard work and dedication from Los Angeles Radio People to LARadio.com, keeping our broadcast community entertained, connected, and informed.

Last year I was elected to the board of directors for the "Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters" who serve a similar mission, going back to the 1960’s. 

Rarely, have we opened the doors to non-members for our celebrity luncheons, but next Friday, June 16th, we’re making a notable exception as we honor sportscaster Al Michaels with a distinguished dais, including Vin Scully and Bob Miller.

If LARadio.com readers want to join us for good food and fun in a historic L.A. venue, there are two ways to reserve seats.

Facebook members can type in “Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters” to reach the luncheon ticket link OR if you’re not on Facebook, order tickets on-line at www.PPBWebsite.org

Either way, its secure and major credit cards are accepted, but tickets will not be sold at the door.

Hoping to see lots of Al Michaels' fans on Friday, June 16th. – Mike Sakellarides


LARPs Dominate AllAccess WWRS Honors 

(June 7, 2017) Congrats to the All Access World Wide Radio Summit 2017 Industry Award Winners. Many LARP were honored:

  • Domestic Radio Company of the Year: CBS RADIO
  • Domestic Radio Company Executive of the Year: Bob Pittman – iHeartMedia
  • Domestic Radio Company Senior Programmer of the Year: Mike McVay – Cumulus Media
  • Domestic Station of the Year: KYSR
  • Domestic Station Executive of the Year: Dan Kearney (photo) – CBS/LA
  • Domestic Station Programmer of the Year: Mike Kaplan – KYSR
  • Domestic Station MD/APD of the Year: Beata Murphy – KIIS
  • Domestic VO/Imaging, Production of the Year: Benztown (Chachi)

 

In other news: KLAC's Matt “Money” Smith is the new radio voice for the Los Angeles Chargers, debuting this season on KFI … George Noory, host of Coast to Coast AM (heard on KFI) has reupped with Premiere Networks. “I first partnered with Premiere Networks to host Coast to Coast AM in 2003, and I’m excited to carry the torch for years to come,” shared Noory. “I want to thank the incredible team at Premiere and my amazing show staff, who have been with me since this remarkable journey started.” … Steve Thompson wrote to say that not only was Jimmy Piersall's book turned into a movie in 1957 but there was also a made-for-tv movie adaptation in 1955 starring Tab Hunter … Magnum P.I. star Larry Manetti and his wife will host “The Lounge with Larry and Nancy Manetti” on CRN 1 channel.

Fish House for Sale 

(June 6, 2017) Edwin Jed Fish Gould III, known to radio listeners as Jed the Fish, for decades on KROQ, is selling his Queen Anne-style home in Pasadena for $2.299 million, according to Pasadena Now.

The house dates back to 1894 when it was built by investor Charles Foster, and was later home to wealthy railroad executive Louis Blankenhorn and his wife Lillian.

A listing on Podley Properties described the property as a single-family home, with two bedrooms and three bathrooms, 3,017 square feet in size, and sits on a 0.31-acre lot at 346 Markham Place in Pasadena.

The listing described the home as “an enduring icon of turn of the century Pasadena grandeur sensitively updated and peppered with whimsical modern surprises. Throughout the years this stunning Queen Anne Victorian has sheltered an eclectic mix of distinguished people including a railroad baron, a professional golfer and a celebrity radio dj.”

The estate made its big screen debut in Lucille Ball’s 1968 blockbuster Yours, Mine and Ours. It features a dramatic redwood staircase, 11-foot ceilings and round turret rooms. The back yard offers super-sized lighted sculptures in a park-like setting.

Off the home’s two-car garage is a large sound-proofed recording studio that Jed the Fish had been using throughout his radio career. The studio has a separate vocal booth that could double as a office, gym or guest room.

The Los Angeles Times said the home was last purchased in 1994 for just $425,000.


No Safe Spaces for Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla

(June 5, 2017) Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla have launched a crowdfunding campaign for their No Safe Spaces documentary. A video previewing the film features students attending the fictional "Utopia University," where they get to identify as whomever or whatever they want, "check their privilege," and punch any "fascist" who dares disagree with them. A professor explains that at Utopia students will be taught to think "the right way." Eventually, Carolla pops up and states, "That doesn't even look like parody to me. You could run that after Don Lemon's show on CNN and it would just play as a commercial."

The documentary will feature Prager and Carolla traveling to various college campuses across the fruited plain to expose the lunacy of so-called safe spaces and conduct interviews with "students, professors, commentators and comedians from both sides of the political aisle about freedom of speech," per 
Townhall. The dynamic duo will also be featured in live shows.

College campuses that Prager and Carolla travel to are California State University Northridge and University of California Berkeley. A crowdfunding campaign for the movie can be found on 
the Indiegogo website, where they hope to reach a fundraising goal of $500,000. The campaign has raised $127,945 at the time of this writing. "We’re not making this film to solve all of America’s problems, but we are making this film to wake the country up to the fact that we've become a place that’s no longer adult enough to discuss ideas," the Indiegogo page states. "And there’s no more dangerous place to talk about ideas than on college campuses." All it takes is $25 to receive a digital copy of the film. The film is slated to be released in 2018, during either the spring or the summer.

Baseball Great and Former KABC Talker Jimmy Piersall Dies

(June 5, 2017) Jimmy Piersall, the Boston Red Sox Hall Of Famer and KABC Talk show host back in 1965, died Saturday, June 3, after a months-long illness. He was 87. KABC was in its second season of experimenting with "Sports Talk" when Piersall joined the station as co-host.

Piersall spent eight of his 17 major league seasons with the Red Sox (1950, '52-58). The two-time Gold Glove Award winner appeared in 931 games for Boston, primarily as a center fielder alongside fellow Red Sox Hall of Famers Jackie Jensen and Ted Williams. He was named an All-Star in 1954 and 1956.  

Elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010, Piersall still holds the club record for most hits in a nine-inning game, as he went 6-for-6 in the first game of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Browns on June 10, 1953. Following his time with the Red Sox, Piersall played for the Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, New York Mets, and Los Angeles/California Angels. His lifetime career batting average was .272. He was regarded as one of the best defensive players of his era, even ahead of several Hall of Famers including Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.  

Piersall suffered a nervous breakdown in 1952 and courageously battled mental health illness throughout his career. His autobiography, Fear Strikes Out, was published in 1955 and made into a movie in 1957, advancing awareness of mental health issues. Piersall's on-field antics when he first broke into the majors with the Red Sox full-time in 1952 cracked up fans and provided fodder for newspaper columnists. In one game against the St. Louis Browns, he made pig noises and mocked the odd throwing motion of aging Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige. But Piersall also had furious arguments with umpires, broke down sobbing one day when told he wouldn't play and got into a fistfight with the New York Yankees' Billy Martin at Fenway Park, followed minutes later by a scuffle with a teammate.

"Almost everybody except the umpires and the Red Sox thought I was a riot," Piersall said in the 1955 autobiography, later made into a movie starring Anthony Perkins and Karl Malden. "My wife knew I was sick, yet she was helpless to stop my mad rush towards a mental collapse. The Red Sox couldn't figure out how to handle me. I was a problem child." He played 56 games in the majors before being admitted to a mental hospital with what was later diagnosed as bipolar disorder. He wrote in his book that he had almost no memory of the season or his time in the hospital. He returned to the majors in 1953 "sound and healthy" thanks to "shock treatments, faith, a wonderful wife, a fine doctor and loyal friends." He went public to shatter society's stereotypes of the mentally ill. "I want the world to know that people like me who have returned from the half-world of mental oblivion are not forever contaminated," he wrote. Piersall distanced himself from the 1957 movie, claiming it was largely fictional and portrayed his father too negatively. Although he never descended to the depths of mental illness of that first season, he embraced the notoriety it brought him and remained a loose cannon known for his crowd-pleasing stunts and mercurial temper.

Born on November 14, 1929 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Piersall grew up a Red Sox fan. He signed with the Red Sox at age 18.

Controversial Firing at KABC 50 Years Ago

(June 4, 2017) Censorship on LARadio and LA TV involving competing philosophies is nothing new in the landscape of Southern California media. Controversy raged 50 years at KABC. A peek into the subject is provided by Paul Eberle in a May 1969 article in the Los Angeles Free Press. Some highlights:

“Recent months have seen the removal of the Smothers Brothers, Les Crane, Mort Sahl, Arbogast and Margolis, Jill Schary from the airwaves. All plead guilty to the offense of trying to deal with the realities, the vital issues of our time. (The big guys don’t like that.)

Last year, Stan Bohrman resigned as moderator of television’s Tempo II show in protest over what he described as ‘pure censorship.’

After being out of work for several months, Bohrman was hired by KABC to fill the 10-12 evening slot left vacant by the death of Steve Allison. During the two months he worked the KABC talk show, Bohrman invited some highly controversial guests to rap with him on the air, and there were no repercussions from management.

But when he brought Mark Lane on the program for two full hours last Friday night, he was fired the very next day.

"We’ve had some very heavy shows in the past two months. I had a feeling that I had to say what I had to say very quickly, because it might not last very long. I had no contract – they wouldn’t give me a contract," said Bohrman.

‘They said they hired me because they wanted to lower the age average on our demographics, and raise the listener ratings. I asked them, what about censorship and they said no censorship – just do your thing. THEN last Friday night, I had Mark Lane on for two full hours, and he talked about the assassination and Jim Garrison and the Shaw Trial. The next night, I see Bob Walsh, the assistant program director, waiting around. When I got through he says, ‘Can I see you in my office?’

I said, ‘Oh … are you going to can me, man?’

“And he said, ‘Well yes, I guess so.’ He said that I was only hired temporarily anyway. Now that is strongly contradicted by the fact that they had my name on their schedule, running through December. They also spent a lot of bread on photographs and brochures on me, which were sent to the ad agencies, telling them of their new, dynamic personally.”

“So then I asked him if I was being fired because management felt I went too far in my views, and he said, ‘Well, yes … that’s it.”

“Now, they knew who they were hiring,” Bohrman said. “They came to me. They knew my views. Jack Meyers, the program director, one of the first things he told me was that they wanted to lower the age of their audience. They were reaching the Geritol crowd. And he said they wanted another point of view, and they wanted to involve young people. The official statement they are making now is that they feel  Stan Bohrman did not fit the image. But they sought me out, man! They knew who I was. Friday I had Mark Lane on and the next day I was fired.”

“I feel there has to be a voice that represents another point of view on the mass media. And management has seen to it that only the Establishment point of view can be heard. I think they have a responsibility not to silence me and take me off the air because they disagree with what I say.”


3 Years Ago Today

Elliot Field - Last Living KFWB Seven Swingin’ Gentleman Tells All

 

(June 3, 2014) On the 50th anniversary of Color Radio/KFWB in 2008, LARadio ran a two-part story commemorating the historical event.  That same year, Elliot Field, who hosted the Field Frolic (PM drive on the legendary Channel 98) began writing about his part in the launch of the iconic station. His book, Last of the Seven Swingin’ Gentlemen, has just been released.

Elliot’s book grew to include stories about his road to Hollywood, including the personal challenges he encountered. Many who heard his voice on radio or television never knew he navigated the entertainment industry while wearing braces, as a result of childhood polio. “Until someone met me, they wouldn’t know of my physical situation. It certainly wasn’t going to deter me from this Hollywood opportunity, so while some were perhaps surprised on first seeing me with my appliances, I always wanted the performance to be remembered, rather than the braces or crutches,” said Elliot.

His career spans decades and includes work as an actor, playing characters in famous cartoons and commercials, live-announcing for television, radio station management, politics in Palm Springs, and more.

Written with LARP Anita GarnerLast of the Seven Swingin’ Gentlemen has just been released on Amazon.  (The book can be downloaded onto any device, Kindle not required.)  Click artwork to purchase the book.

 

Hear Ache 

(June 2, 2017) Inland Empire’s morning Country co-host Scott Ward has been upped to program director for the CBS Radio five-station cluster. He will continue morning show duties at KFRG (K-FROG). He’s been with the cluster since 1995. Ward replaces Riverside ops manager and pd Lee Douglas … More than 18 months after it was announced, Killing Patton appears to be dead, according to the National Geographic Channel. The cable channel said they were scrapping its latest adaptation of a Bill O’Reilly book. The channel did not mention O’Reilly’s recent legal woes or his firing from Fox News Channel, instead calling it a “difficult project to crack.” … A bitter dispute at two of L.A.'s most popular fm stations is going on, and Erika Garza (l), former co-host to Hollywood Hamilton at K-EARTH is at the center of the controversy.  ... Fortune magazine recently dissected the success of the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The number one conclusion on what we can learn from the Cubs and their big win was their philosophy of “Hire For Character.” Would this work in radio? Fortune: “How employees treat one another or cope with adversity can be more important to your success than other skill sets. People don’t like working in isolation.” … National Radio Hall of Fame voting begins next week. Up for Music Format On-Air Personality is Ryan Seacrest and Hollywood Hamilton. In the Spoken Word On-Air Personality category is KFI’s Bill Handel and KSPN’s Mike & Mike … Sean Hannity has invited Julian Assange to fill-in for him this summer.

(June 1, 2017) Al Franken worked for Air America, which aired on KTLK (1150AM) from 2005-07. Al left the Air America network in February 2007 to run for the US Senate in Minneapolis. 

He was featured in a recent four-page story in People Magazine

... and in the June + July issue of Esquire. Last Sunday he was on CBS Morning News. Quite the recent PR push

 
 
  LARadio Archives:
January, February, March 2017
April, May 2017

 

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About the Publisher of LARadio.com, Don Barrett

As publisher of LARadio.com, Don Barrett chronicles radio news and lists 6,000 people in Los Angeles who work or have worked in radio in the past 50 years. Barrett is a historian of contemporary Los Angeles radio history and author of Los Angeles Radio People, published in 1994. He published a second volume of the book a year later, along with the launch of a daily website column.

In 2013, he started as the radio columnist for the Orange County Register.

Barrett's Southern California roots (Santa Monica) include a bachelor's degree from Chapman University. He also earned a master's in psychology. He spent 10 years in radio working as a disc jockey, program director and general manager (W4-Detroit and WDRQ-Detroit).

He launched KIQQ (K-100) Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

In the mid-1970s Don joined the motion picture business, working as a marketing executive at Columbia, Universal, and MGM/UA. Barrett was part of the marketing team that released E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Back to the Future, Thelma and Louise, Rocky and James Bond movies.

He also represented a number of films at the Cannes Film Festival.

He was the first recipient of TALKERS Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award. Don has been honored with an honorary Golden Mike and Special Recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists. 


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