LARadio - 4th Quarter 2018

Archives for October, November, December 2018

Compiled and Written by Don Barrett
Edited by Alan Oda


Slim Pickens 

(October 18, 2018) One of treats of chronicling the 6,000 Los Angeles Radio People (LARP) is to learn something special about them and share it with you. Since this project started in the early 1990s, we think we are up to date with everyone but clearly know that is not the case. It only takes an email to update yourself or someone you know.

While picking around some research material, we learned about the passing of Hal Pickens. Hal had quite a time in LARadio, working during the 60s at Channel 98/KFWB, KBLA, and KDAY. He died July 19, 2010 after a lengthy illness. He was 73.

Although his made-for-radio voice had never uttered the thought outright, Hal always knew in his heart that he was born to be an entertainer, according to his obit in the Tulsa World. The nuns at his school corroborated his belief. His career aptitude test results had confirmed as much. It wasn't until Pickens, as an Oklahoma State University engineering student, filled in one night for an absent disc jockey at the campus radio station that his future course was set. Pickens felt right at home in front of a mike. And with his natural charm and quick wit, he was soon on his way to radio stardom.

By the mid-1960s, the rising radio personality would find himself spinning the latest pop hits for millions of listeners, including work in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles and New York City, winning wide acclaim in the process. For his work at KFWB in 1965, Pickens was named Billboard magazine’s Air Personality of the Year. He would spend nearly 30 years in the industry.

Pickens eventually moved back to Oklahoma and made his home in Tulsa, where he worked in local radio until retiring in the 1980s. Harold L. "Hal" Pickens Jr., worked for both Tulsa’s KAKC and KWEN as he ended his career. “He loved connecting with people,” Barbara Pickens said of her husband. “And the spontaneity of radio really appealed to him.” She first heard his voice over the airwaves when he was working in New York. “It wasn’t real deep but it was perfect. He had a sexy voice and he knew how to use it,” Barbara said with a laugh.

Pickens, who also wrote music and built his own recording studio, would go on to produce and write songs for Jimmy Holiday, the r&b singer and songwriter. In 1964, he booked and emceed The Beatles’ San Diego show during their famous first trip to the U.S. “He said The Beatles were just perfect gentlemen,” said Barbara. “He did the Rolling Stones not long after that. He said they were thugs.” While emceeing a New Year’s Eve show in Santa Clara in 1971, Pickens was running up some stairs when the steps collapsed. He broke an ankle and shattered both knees. But he finished the show before seeking medical attention, his wife said. From face-to-face interviews with famous stars to skydiving and driving race cars for radio promotional stunts, Pickens loved every aspect of the business. Said Barbara Pickens: “Even in Hal’s last days, he was talking about how much he missed doing radio.”

KNX/fm is Back ... Sorta 
(October 17, 2018) KNX/fm is making a return engagement, thanks to the Internet. “I've been working closely with James Cole whose father Bob Cole was vp of CBS from 1969 to 1983. Bob helped create ‘The Mellow Sound’ that launched in January 1973. James provided me with over 100 jingles from KNX/fm. They are all playing now,” emailed Dale Berg. Nice if they could get back their tasty features like “The Odyssey File.” Berg is hoping that this station will generate listeners as much, or more than what he’s experiencing with his Smooth Jazz Station, The Oasis. Click the artwork to listen.

Hear Ache. KFSH’s Delilah was a guest on ABC’s Good Morning America this week to promote the release of her latest book, One Heart at A Time. She will stop by Megyn Kelly TODAY, plus she’s currently featured on the cover of Women’s World Magazine and Guideposts magazine … Former Top 40 jock Jack Hayes looked like he was not going to make it there for a while. “But I fooled them,” emailed Hayes. “I got pneumonia in June and the antibiotics turned it into c-diff (clostridium difficile colitis) which I wouldn’t wish on anybody. Have been in the hospital five times since but mostly OK since August 23. Got my fingers crossed” … Love “Temptations Tuesday” on Sirius Soultown, Channel 49 … Neil Ross is out promoting his book, Vocal Recall. “Just made an appearance plugging my book on Ken Levine’s podcast, Hollywood and Levine. I was so long-winded he ended up turning it into two podcasts. Part one is available now at It’s #93 titled ‘The Man who Killed Jim Morrison.’ You’ll have to listen to find out why” … Lon Helton, former pd at KHJ, just won CMA Broadcast Personality of the Year for his “Country Countdown USA” … KJLH’s Steve Harvey was among the honorees at the Merge Gala Awards at the 10th annual Merge Summit in Los Angeles. 

I'm Dressed, You're Not

(October 16, 2018) Johnny Gunn had a great radio career, with stops at KEZY, KBIG, KNJO, and KGIL. Proving that LARPs come in shapes, sizes, and colors, Johnny provides a first for us as he reveals all in a new book. He boasts to be very blessed. He lives in a “dream world of 37 shades of green jungle of giant trees and flowers at the Motion Picture Country House, at the edge of LA.” His present story in a moment.

Johnny started his broadcast career in 1947 in the then-territory of Alaska. After programming KENO-Las Vegas in 1967. Johnny won the world championship Sheriff’s Rodeo Mule races for three years. In the mid-1970s he was producing commercial spots. At the San Fernando Big Band station, KGIL, Johnny worked evenings and was the pd.

Born in Buffalo, Johnn spent all his school years in Akron, Ohio. “It was at Akron University where I got shot in the ass with show business. I moved to Seattle, auditioned at every station in the Northwest and got my first job in 1947 at KFQD-Anchorage. I worked my way down the coast with stops in Juneau, Ketchikan, Tacoma, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego and then the Southland.” Johnny’s still married to his first wife Jo-Ann. He retired to Morro Bay in 1992 and was writing Our First 103 Moves. Now for Johnny’s story today:
 “Somebody up there likes me.” Paul Newman, as Rocky Graziano, said it in the movie which also served as the title. “I’m hereby adopting the line because I’ve been blessed with so much. I had a 92nd birthday, a 67th wedding anniversary, continued good health and I finished my book, which was published a few months ago.

At the Motion Picture Home, I have an independent cottage and Jo-Ann resides 172 steps away at the Alzheimer’s facility. We spend the last half of every day together. Yes, she still knows me, is still my favorite conversationalist, has a great sense of humor, we chat, have dinner together, wheelchair around the acreage, I tuck her in for the night, read to her and sneak back to my digs when she goes to sleep. It doesn’t hurt, and one forgets all details of what happened from ten minutes to ten or fifteen years back. Jo-Ann was diagnosed more than 10 years ago, by comparison Peter Falk died in six months.

Right after the war we moved “out west.” It took two months of looking before we ended up in Seattle. Seattle is not “rainy.” It’s misty. And sunshiney. And beautiful. I got married there and we had Gloria there. Gloria recently retired from Mary Tyler Moore as Post Production Supervisor. We all lost our beloved middle one, Emily, to cancer in 2013. We left Seattle twice for Alaska, once for Anchorage before I knew Jo-Ann, and once for Ketchikan and Juneau when Gloria was 2 years old. Both times for Radio station employment. Back to Seattle for a couple years and then Las Vegas in the 50’s. That was Las Vegas at its best. Every big-city mob owned a casino, New York – Desert Inn and Riviera, Bugsy Siegal, The Flamingo, Meyer Lansky, The Sahara.  Brunches and celebrity shows were unbelievably cheap, before the city with its burgeoning population and big-city behavior gradually took the town over. The prices went up and the bad guys disappeared.

We moved to San Diego and L.A. and more radio. We’ve had a fun-life, including being divorced for four years because of a misunderstanding (noun). We misunderstood (verb) each other. We finally wised up and talked and got remarried. (It’s in the book). So, why did I write a book called, I’m Dressed, You’re Not? 

I’ve had a good reason: Since I was five years old, secretly ‘dressed up’ in my mother’s clothes. The word, cross-dresser is in the book a lot, the word transvestite, not a whole bunch.  I also admit to “daddy.” Good husband for 67 years and 3-time grampa, a lovable, old curmudgeon. Cross-dressers don’t want to be organized or identified. You couldn’t get one to march in a parade. They don’t want to be recognized or divorced, fired or even glanced askance at. Don’t want their wives or kids to find out. It isn’t fun. But it is. But it isn’t. That’s where I was when I told my wife about it. She had a tough time for a while and finally told her “best friend,” our daughter. Nobody got mad or disappointed at anybody. Isn’t it amazing how intelligent people can be. I’ve lectured on the subject to hundreds of college classes, for every Cal State. and U. of Cal’s. this century and last. Crimany! I wish I could have made this shorter. It happens. (Photo: Gunn with Tom Patterson)

You can reach out to John at: You can buy his book I’m Dressed, You’re Not at:

Winner, Wimmer, Winner 

(October 15, 2018) Rocio Rivera is getting more and more exposure doing the news at KFI. Next weekend, she’ll be taking over the weekend shift of Julie Slater (Julie’s leaving the station to pursue voiceover).

Rocio was born and raised in Los Angeles, graduating from Cal State Northridge with a degree in journalism. She started her broadcast career in a small town in Southeastern Colorado in 2011. “I found her [she found me] while she was working in Lamar, Colorado,” emailed KFI news director Chris Little. “I told her to stay there and work on her delivery, with my help, but she decided to move back to LA. I kept working with her and put her on overnight.” Rocio has been with KFI since 2015. 

She’s also now a fill-in host for KCRW in the LA and Santa Barbara market during middays, Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Roger Wimmer Passes. “Far too many people play a major role behind the scenes of local LARadio and are rarely recognized for their efforts,” emailed Jhani Kaye. “Although most may not know his name, Roger Wimmer was one of those pivotable broadcasters who helped shape the radio landscape in Los Angeles. He was one of the two researchers of Cox Radio when the decision was made to launch KOST 103 in 1982. Every KOST auditorium music test was conducted under his watchful eye.

His insights were amazing. He helped sculpt the talk radio format for KFI, which took on powerhouse KABC and won the talk radio war. And he helped revive K-Earth 101 and make it #1 again in Los Angeles beginning with my tenure in 2006.”

Jhani continued: “Roger had been courageously fighting cancer for the past 4 years. He passed Saturday, October 13. He held a PhD. in mass media research and worked for many groups throughout his lengthy career. He was president and co-founder of Paragon Research and The Eagle Group, and also became president of Surrey Research. Few in radio probably realize that he co-authored the text book used at most colleges to introduce students to Mass Media Research, a book that has been printed in more than a dozen different languages around the world. Besides radio, Roger helped guide the programming for network television and cable TV. He turned 69 this past July.”

LARP Availability. “I’M WILLING TO WORK FOR FREE!” That offer from Jeff Schimmel, comedy writer/producer, leaped off the email page in 2000. “Right now, I’m collecting paychecks because Radio One, Inc. bought out the remaining year of my contract with KKBT. Aside from my tv and film credits, I created all the characters and comedy bits for Big Boy’s morning show on ‘Power 106.’ I also wrote the BEAT’s morning show with Ed Lover and Dr. Dre, then sat in for them on the air until Steve Harvey arrived.”

Although Jeff is currently writing and producing a tv show and teaching screenwriting classes around the country, he recently told me the most fun he ever had in the workplace was during his time in L.A. radio – and he’s ready to do it again. Jeff isn’t making his ‘work for free’ offer this time, because he doesn’t have to. Within the last few weeks, Jeff put the word out, and as a result he’s already evaluating a number of offers. His heart is in radio and he would be perfect for another programming opportunity. He’s funny, talented, and ready for his next mission. Jeff achieved tremendous success at multiple L.A. stations by bringing his writing / producing skills from tv and film to radio, and simultaneously provided next level content to stations in New York, Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco, Denver and San Diego. Perhaps an L.A. radio decision-maker is at a crossroads and can provide an opportunity to let Jeff take a morning show to new heights or perhaps give an existing radio station a new coat of paint. You can reach Jeff through his website:

Email Saturday, 10.13.2018
** B**wjobs

 “Trust me Don, if you’re a prude then so am I.” – Larry Huffman

** Thompson Bio

“Very nice story on Gary Thompson. And Kerri Kasem is so pretty. Also loved the cartoon :)” – Mike Butts

** Happy Trails

“Thanks for the feature on Roy Rogers this morning. Those auction prices were really astounding!

I had the fortune to meet Roy Rogers once when I was a teenager. My brother and I were delivering furniture from our family business to a home out in Apple Valley. Having never seen the Roy Rogers Museum, my brother suggested that we drop by for a quick look. We obviously arrived at just the right moment. Standing outside in the parking lot that afternoon was Roy Rogers himself. We said hello and a twenty-minute conversation ensued, discussing everything from Trigger to the entertainment business. Not another soul was even around at the time. It was just the three of us talking, uninterrupted by any other Roy Rogers fans. Having grown-up watching Roy Rogers and Dale Evans as youngsters, my brother and I walked away with broad smiles. I can’t help but wonder what ever happened to my original Roy Rogers lunch box from elementary school. What would that gem be worth today?” – Ted Ziegenbusch

** Rogers Link

“My mom once worked as Roy Rogers' secretary. This was in the early 1950’s. She always told me that Roy and Dale were really nice, unassuming people. I remember her telling me that one of her jobs was to sign 8x10s of Roy on Trigger, ‘Happy trails, Roy Rogers.’ Roy also used to sign the pictures, but mom probably signed most of them :) My mom is still around. She’s 99 now and living in a board and care home.” – Larry Levy

** Another Roy Rogers Museum

“You mentioned Roy Rogers had a museum in Branson, but the first Roy Rogers museum was actually in Apple Valley it was there until maybe the 80’s. When I was a kid, my parents owned property near there and we would stop there. At least one time I remember when Roy was there.” – Bob Koontz

** Potpourri

“You made me cry again! That listing of Roy Rogers’ memorabilia brought back so many memories. I knew his stuff would sell but wow! I grew up with Roy and Gene and Sky King and you’re right, they all made our lives better. From Sheriff John to Engineer Bill and Chucko and Bozo and Zolar, So Cal kids had it good growing up here.

I loved the analysis of Valentine on MY/fm. He can be funny without being mean. It’s a relief knowing people can leave the show on with or without kids present. I’m not a prude either but Heidi, Frosty and Frank have not gotten better with age. I’d rather even listen to ‘Ryan’s Roses’ on KIIS [now THAT would be a column].” – Julie T. Byers

** Carroll’s 90th BD

“Happy belateds, and many happy returns to Roger Carroll! We had some great phone chats during my days at KABC, decades ago. I was proud to be his ‘inside man,’ keeping him up to date on the goings-on at 790. [Guess that made me a ‘leaker.’] Also, was Dale Evans’ horse Buttermilk still alive? Or did they auction off the taxidermic version?” – Greg Hardison 

** 1971 Ratings

"You showed the morning ratings for the summer of 1971 today. Ken Minyard was not at KABC in 1971. I believe he arrived in 1973 from Minneapolis and started in the evenings before being moved to mornings. 

First he was paired with a news writer, John Babcock, and then Bob Arthur. Although I was not the regular morning engineer, I believe I was the engineer for one of the first broadcasts Ken and John did together." - Jerry Barber

** More '71 Ratings

"Relative to the 1971 12+ ratings posted Thursday, I’m thinking that the three month summer of ’71 AFTRA strike at KFWB might have had at least some impact. Substitute anchors and reporters, including a number of buffoons, could have sent some people to other stations. And back then an organized labor action might actually have stirred some sympathy resulting in a little listener attrition. Back then I think—don’t know, think—WB was generally ahead of KNX’s standing in the ratings." - Ed Pyle, Prescott, Arizona

Don Elliot Reports from 2018 NAB/RAB Radio Show

(October 12, 2018) Production whiz Don Elliot has done it all. He’s been on-air, program director, production, and station ownership. He attended the recent 2018 NAB/RAB Radio Show in Orlando. He shares some thoughts about the convention.

Don said there were only 2100 attendees. “Columnist Tom Taylor was even quoted as saying he couldn’t figure out why everybody was so happy,” he offered. “I suppose it depends on why you attended. Let me shed some light. It’s true that this certainly was not the largest attendance on record, however, it was in fact composed of a lot of doers.”

Don puts people in two different categories, those who see the glass half full, and those who see the glass half-empty. An engineer tells you that the container is larger than it needs to be.

He said there was a lot of emphasis on teaching the audience how to use the new devices like Alexa to find your station. “A panel on this sought input from the crowd to help facilitate the problems and confusion from a dictated command and to minimize errors in accomplishing this task,” said Don.

Another topic Don observed was the “connected car,” and on-the-floor demos brought it to life. “But it’s pretty easy to be all dressed up and no place to go,” Don emphasized. “You may have a good signal, you may be streaming, you may be doing podcasts, but remember, technology is great yet if the content isn’t there, today there are waaay too many choices and you won’t hold the audience.”

Don’s eye was on production resources. He said if you dug around at the show, you could find it. Don also had other conversations while at the NAB / RAB meeting. Elliot wrote a technical piece for a trade publication, but the highlight of his time in Orlando was interviewing Dave “Chachi” Denes, former pd of KBIG and founder of production house, Benztown. "We pride ourselves on figuring out custom solutions for our clients and that’s why we work with programs such as Sunday Night Slow Jams, Hot Mix and Todd N’ Tyler,” Chachi told Don.

“These shows give stations the opportunity to air the highest quality programming without giving up locality because the hosts work hard to be involved with every affiliate’s listeners and sales teams. I’m probably most proud of rebounding after being laid off by Clear Channel in 2009. At the time I was crushed and lost. It’s much of a blur now but I remember the sadness. I look back and now realize it was professionally the best thing that could have happened to me because it afforded me the opportunity to team up with amazing partners and we got to build Benztown.”
Hardly FM. In the summer of 1971, the 12+ morning drive numbers in Southern California.

1. KABC 8.2 (Ken Minyard)
2. KNX 8.0
3. KFWB 7.2
4. KFI 6.9 (Lohman & Barkley)
5. KMPC 6.6 (Dick Whittinghill)
6. KHJ 5.4 (Charlie Tuna)
7. KPOL-AM 4.3
8. KLAC 3.7 (Dick Haynes)
9. KRLA 3.2 (“World Famous” Tom Murphy)
10. KOST 2.8

KOST was the only FM station to make the Top 10. KHJ had a 23.0 in teens in AM drive, followed by KRLA with a 14.0.

Hear Ache 

(October 11, 2018) KFI’s Kris Ankarlo is starting a new podcast. His first episode is catching up on the complex history of propositions in the state of California. Not only is Kris a wonderful storyteller, he spent four years as a tour manager for Contiki Tours, organizing and executing excursions for groups of 50 guests at a time. Click the artwork to get propositioned … Ever wonder how talent gets evaluated? George Johns and Bob Christy analyze MY/fm morning man Valentine. When you read the blog, you will think you are sitting in at a jock review meeting. Bob Christy begins: “I listened like a listener this morning at 6:20. I poured my third cup of coffee, turned on the radio and the first thing I heard was Valentine having a long conversation with a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage. Valentine let her talk, she got into what a nice and good man her husband is, but she just isn’t in love with him. Valentine got too close to being an amateur psychologist, but he didn’t push it. He didn’t make fun of her predicament. Valentine ended it nicely, and I came away thinking “Wow, he isn’t an asshole!” Good start.” Read the blog and the exchange here … Kenny D worked for Cal Shields when he was at KACE in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Kenny checked in to update his activities. After working behind the scenes at KABC and KRLA, he’s now the night jock for an Internet station, ... Over the weekend, Roger Carroll celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends at the Long Beach Yacht Club ... Since 2016, Sheri Donovan, veteran of Arrow 93, KROQ, and KSWD (100.3/The Sound), has been a realtor at Pinnacle Estate Properties in Woodland Hills.
If you are under 50, the following will mean nothing to you. It is all about growing up in a different time, when we all watched cowboy Roy Rogers on tv. He had a museum in Branson, Missouri. Roy said if the museum ever operates at a loss, close it and sell the contents. Well the doors have closed forever and the contents of the museum were sold at a public auction. Some items sold:

Roy's 1964 Bonneville (Pontiac) sold for $254,500. (It was expected to sell between $100 – 150,000).
His script book from the January 14,1953 episode of This Is Your Life sold for $10,000 (above expected $800 – $1,000).  
Trigger's saddle and bridle sold for $386,500 (above expected $100 – $150,000).  
The Bible they used at the dinner table every night sold for $8,750.  
Nellybelle (the Jeep) sold for $116,500 (above expected $20 – 30,000).
A Republic Productions Poster bearing many autographs of the people that played in Roy’s movies sold for $11,875.
Dale’s horse, Buttermilk sold below the pre-sale estimate for $25,000. (below expected $30 – 40,000).
Dale's parade saddle sold for $104,500 (above expected $20 – 30,000).
Trigger (stuffed) sold for $266,500 (expected $100 – 200,000).

So, it's good-bye to Roy and Dale, Gene and Hoppy (Hop-a-long Cassidy), the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Farewell to Sky King (and Penny) and Superman and (Dragnet) Sgt Friday. Thanks to Capt. Kangaroo, Mr. Rogers, and Capt. Noah and all those people whose lives touched ours, and made them better.

Gary Thompson Was at the Right Place at the Right Time

(October 10, 2018) Gary Thompson was heard on KLIT, KYSR, KLAC and KSWD (100.3/The Sound) throughout much of the 1990s. The Sound was his most recent stop. We recently had a chance to catch up with Gary, who took us through his eclectic career.

“It's been WAY more luck and ‘right place, right time,’ than talent. In early 1990, I was an electrical engineer in the aerospace industry, working at Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo, studying for my Masters. Within a year and a half, somehow, I was doing afternoon radio in Los Angeles (K-Lite), throwing out the first pitch at an Angels game, and working just studios away from two of my radio idols, Robert W. Morgan and Jim Healy (KMPC).

“In that year and a half after leaving the defense industry, there were four stations, three of which had less than perfect outcomes. The fourth location, Transtar, was a REALLY great place that would be my home several more times over the years. It’s where I met Dan McKay, who left Transtar to program K-Lite and ask me to come along for afternoons. Right place, right time.

Gary detailed how he was part of a tv show talking about radio. “While at K-Lite, I was on an episode of 48 Hours about ‘contest pigs.’ It was pretty widely watched, and that opened a door at Star 98.7 with Bob Kaake, vp/programming at Viacom. Literally the day after K-Lite let me know they were moving in a different direction, [read: letting me go].”

Gary’s next gig was at KYSR. “I went to 98.7. In the next six years I did imaging, mornings, middays and afternoons. “LUCKY! Although I did develop a LITTLE talent, thanks to Kaake, and pd’s Greg DunkinDave BeasingRandy Lane and Angela Perelli.

He described how he arrived in Southland. “Born in Milwaukee, raised in the suburb of Menomonee Falls, undergraduate engineering degree in Dallas, then high-tailed it to California, Manhattan Beach, thanks to Hughes Aircraft. From 1984-91, I was designing and maintaining equipment and procedures that tested lasers and thermal imaging systems used in tanks and aircraft.”

Gary ended up being on-air and director of programming for Westwood One from 1999 – 2007. He went to Dallas later in 2007 to program The Bone (KDBN 93.3/fm). He returned a year later to Westwood One. In 2015, he was the founder of ImagingThing, an imaging company for radio stations and podcasts. You can check out his website at

Hear Ache

(October 9, 2018) One of the biggest tv and radio personalities in the Southland, Wink Martindale, will be up close and personal this Saturday morning and you’re invited to attend. Wink will tell stories of his amazing career as a tv game show host of hits including Tic Tac Dough, High RollersGambitDebt, and Trivial Pursuit. His radio years include KFWB, 1110/KRLA, KGIL and KMPC. You can ask him about his friendship with Elvis, or the inspiration behind his hit record, Deck of Cards. If you’re looking for an autograph, Wink will sign his book Winking at Life. The event is this Saturday morning at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys. Send a check for $20 to PPB, PO Box 8673, Calabasas, CA 91372. Deadline is today. To pay by credit card, leave a message at 323.466.2121 and you’ll get a call back ... AMP Radio is ramping up its on-air sound with two new additions. DJ Vice will be hosting “DJ Vice in the Mix,” heard weekdays from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. In addition, Krystal Bee joins the station’s weekend lineup. “As someone who was born and raised in Los Angeles, it is an honor to be a part of the ‘97.1 Amp Radio’ family,” said Vice. “This mix is so fulfilling to do for my city, and hopefully, I can ease the pain of our listeners as they sit in L.A. traffic.” Krystal spent the past six years at Power 106 … In looking through the LARadio archives in 1998 for our Sunday feature, I found a piece where I was scolded by JJ Michaels (traffic lady for The Real Don Steele from 1992 – 1995) for a comment I made: "I was amused by your attitude toward ‘Star's’ morning crew's [Jamie, Frosty & Frank] reference to ‘blow job’ being (something) unacceptable to mention on the radio. For what it's worth, in my opinion too many Americans are prudes. Our founding fathers stepped off the Mayflower many moons ago and I think it’s time for people like you to loosen up. Come on Don…step off the Mayflower and lighten up." Twenty years later, I’m still a prude. Sorry … Remember Brian Beirne, for almost 30 years the dj known as Mr. Rock ‘n Roll at K-EARTH? Brian will appear with Vince Daniels at KMET, 1490 AM (Banning / Inland Empire) this Friday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. to share about the role music has played in his life. You can ask him anything live on Friday morning or send questions in advance by email. Vince has a website with all the contact info, Should be a lot of fun Friday morning. If you can't pick up the signal, you can listen at:

"There's a Train on Someone's Front Lawn"

(October 8, 2018) Imagine you are a traffic reporter in Southern California and you hear this cackle from the LAPD dispatcher: “Someone is reporting that there is a ‘train on their front lawn.’ Well, that’s what happened to Jeff Baugh, one of the premiere airborne reporters. “You can bet the farm that got my attention,” declares Jeff, in a new book he has co-authored with Mary Baron Walker titled Stick With Us & We’ll Get You There.

Jeff takes us into his world of covering the massive local freeway system for the past 30 years. The Chatsworth train derailing is just one of the major events Jeff details in this fascinating book that couples his birds-eye view with a licensed clinical social worker observing from sea level. The two authors provide survival techniques and ways to cope with getting caught in the terrible traffic jams.

Since 1986 when he started at all-News KFWB, he has also reported at KNX before his current gig providing traffic coverage from the KFI-Eye-In-The Sky. Once upon time, the dance-disco-deejay at Carlos & Charlie’s on the Sunset Strip has become the go-to-guy for airborne reporting. Jeff doesn’t just tell you that a freeway is clogged, he offers solutions for alternate routes.

When he arrived in L.A. in the late 1970s, Jeff found it strange there was such a lack of public transportation. Growing up back east, he was offered above ground light rail, the trolley, subways and buses to get to school. “I’m told that turn-of-the-century Los Angeles did have lots of light rail but falling in love with freeways, cars, cheap gasoline, suburban housing and the freedom of instant gratification when it came to travel put public transportation on the back burner for a long time,” wrote Jeff.

Jeff provides a history of SigAlerts. You’ll also recognize many LARP in the book – Ken Jeffries, Jack Popejoy, Rhonda Kramer, Judy Ford, "Uncle Joe" Benson, and Pete Demetriou.

His Top 10 traffic incidents will take you right into belly of the storm. Even if you were not living here when these events took place, his storytelling will make you will feel like you are a first-hand witness experiencing them for the first time. You will visualize the start of 1992 Los Angeles riot when Jeff was overhead at Florence and Vermont when hell erupted and as he details the following 70 hours. “Violence grew and before it was over fifty-eight people were dead and approximately two thousand injured,” wrote co-author Baron in this fascinating interactive book. Jeff added: “I remember using this phrase as I described what I was seeing, ‘From the air this looks like a cigarette hole in a napkin that very quickly is burning out in all directions.’ The words just tumbled out of my mouth.”

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the book. The combination of an event being reported in the air as situations unfold as well as learning how to cope with traffic fatigue, anxiety and frustration on the ground is a first. Jeff’s stories also includes the crane collapse in the Cahuenga Pass, suicide on a major transition, the Northridge Earthquake, and Carmageddon. He was also in the air covering the OJ Simpson Bronco “chase.” Jeff’s coverage of the Chatsworth train tragedy earned him a Golden Mike by the Radio and Television News Association.

Assuming you travel the complex freeway system in Southern California, we highly recommend you order a copy of Stick With Us & We’ll Get You There at Amazon. You will undoubtedly listen to airborne reporting with a whole, new appreciation. Click the artwork for a link to the order form.

Email Saturday, 10.6.18

** KABC Woes

“Re: KABC failing to make it into the top 40, two books in a row. Some years ago my old pal, the late Brent Seltzer, took a meeting with whoever was [mis] managing KABC at the time. According to him, Brent said something like: ‘If you don’t make radical, substantive and intelligent changes to this station immediately, you will soon fall below a 1 share and there will be no hope for you after that.’ They smiled, thanked him for coming in and showed him the door. Everything he predicted has come to pass.

For me, the long slow slide to oblivion began when, panicked by the rise of Rush Limbaugh, they jettisoned Michael Jackson with no viable plan to replace him. From that point on, bad decision piled on bad decision, exacerbated by the ownership changes. Could anything happen now to bring the station back? I have some ideas. I’m sure you do too. Would current KABC management / ownership listen? I doubt it. So why bother. Thanks.” – Neil Ross

** K-EARTH Success

“Really cool how KRTH has figured out how to play non-current music and win with it again ... visors off!

Congratulations to the program director, Chris Ebbott. It reminds me of the KCBQ ‘Modern Oldies’ experiment I created in the late 90s. Good idea, bad timing. KRTH: Good idea, perfect timing! Chris really nailed it.” – Rich Brother Robbin
** Potpourri

“Thank you and Rita Wilde for the nice words about Mike Scioscia today. As an Angel fan since 1968 [11 years old with the transistor radio under my pillow], I have never been prouder of a manager as I have been of him. Although he didn’t know when to pull a pitcher half the time, he otherwise managed and dealt with players and management and fans with integrity and kindness. I cried when he got choked up about his players. I’m hoping he'll be able to manage another team soon. And one whose management won’t skimp on pitching.

I loved what Denise Madden had to say about the unforgettable KGBS. I grew up with Hudson & Landry [‘clear the freeways, his Highness is coming’] and ‘the Feminine Forum’ and good old ‘Travelin’ Sam.’ Everyone should grow up with the radio I did; everything from Dick Whittinghill and Johnny Magnus to Charlie Tuna and Dave Hull to Lohman & Barkley and Tom Clay [l] – magic.” – Julie T. Byers
 ** Johnny Morris an Icon

“Thank you so much for posting the link to the Johnny Morris video! I had plenty of admiration for his work, and his self-appointed gig as curator of L.A.’s Classic Soul collection.

When I knew him, I really never had any idea just what kind of icon Johnny was. If I’d known about his associations with Sly, Stevie and KDIA, I probably would have never left him alone. It’s a shame Johnny never wrote that 700-page book outlining his experiences, but he never was one to brag, or even to give himself enough credit as the king of great soul radio in California. (Photo of Morris with James Brown)

Health issues kept me from attending his memorial last weekend. For that I am truly regretful.” – Greg Hardison
** Bow Wow

“This deejay reminds me of [the late] Noel Confer of mornings on XEAK ‘Mighty 690’ who said his small hands were... ‘...wee paws.... for this announcement.’

Confer impressed on my teenage mind [and wanna-be-in-radio] some of the most memorable radio quotes I love to recall, such as: ‘That’s Carl Dobkins, Junior, singing My Heart Is An Open Book ... and sure enough, right there, on the very last page, is the appendix.’

I never met Noel, but years after his passing I learned that he was a friend of my sister and brother-in-law in Brawley, Calif!” – Bill Kingman
** First by Satellite

“I think Saul Levine is mistaken about KKGO being the first national-by-satellite commercial radio station. I was able to receive Chicago’s WFMT on a small tv cable service [‘Falcon Cable’] in my Portland canyon when I first arrived in the Rose City [where I still live] in 1975 from KMPC.

I just checked to see if WFMT might be noncommercial, but it is on a commercial frequency, and according to Wikipedia, it does run commercials.” – Eric Norberg, former pd at 710/KMPC 

** Where Is the Kid?

“Around 1962, KPPC belonged to the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. The studios were in the basement. The church needed the money and allowed a bunch of ‘hippies’ to use their facilities to broadcast flower-power music. Their jocks were really funny. One called himself ‘The Kid’ and he did an irreverent impersonation of Dave Hull, including a satire of Hull’s silly laugh. Who was ‘The Kid?’ Where is he now?” – Chuck McReynolds
 ** Rachel’s Profile

“Something that got overlooked in the Rachel Maddow piece is that LARP Keith Olbermann was the one at MSNBC who originally brought in Rachel to be his regular guest anchor when he needed to be away. 

It was that exposure which led to her getting the slot following his, which she kept when he was forced out a few years later. I still remember the handoff the first night of her new show, which was a combination of his congratulating her and some tongue-in-cheek griping that now he was going to have to find a new regular guest anchor.” – K.M. Richards

** Love for Rachel

“Loved the Rachel Maddow article. I never miss her!” – Rich Brother Robbin
 ** Double Double Audio on KSPN

“Thanks for continuing your column, I always look forward to it.

Sunday mornings, KSPN runs a public affairs program in the 5 a.m. hour. Last week I was in the car and heard this show airing at the same time the station continued to air the ESPN Radio network feed. Double audio! I’m not sure how long it continued because I arrived at my destination and got out of the car. But guess what? This week it happened again! Double audio with the public affairs show and ESPN Radio network feed airing at the same time. Unbelievable. I could hear a woman talking with a guest about digestive health while two other guys broke down the Stanford-Notre Dame game – at the same time!” – Mark Thomason

** KSPN Boss Responds

“We found a misplaced command in the automation system ahead of the public affairs show. We believe it’s been fixed...will be monitoring this Sunday.

Regarding the delay, all of our live programming is on an appx 20-second delay for obvious reasons. This includes all play-by-play – Rams, USC, Lakers, etc. While it would be nice to not have a delay for folks listening to a radio inside the Coliseum, it is simply not worth the risk to do so.” – Scott Mc Carthy
** Many Thanks

"Sorry to hear Don Graham had a health challenge and we all hope he is already bouncing back.

As to the diagnosis of possibly early pneumonia, Don is always early with the breakouts. I guess early pneumonia will be New and Active, garnering huge phones and topping the charts soon. Get well, Don!" - Randy West,

End of the Week Hear Ache

(October 5, 2018) Legendary sportscaster Warner Wolf has lost his age discrimination lawsuit against the retired Don Imus. The New York Daily News reports: “Due to the fact that Wolf is a Florida resident that worked in Florida, he lacks any viable claims…since the impact of any alleged discriminatory conduct would have been in Florida.” The 80-year old Wolf claimed Imus mocked his age and senior status before firing him in 2016. The judge also wrote that the examples Wolf filed with the court did not rise to the level of age discrimination by Imus — since he too is old (thanks to The New York Daily News for artwork) … Didja know that blind artist Clarence Carter (Patches) was married to gospel and soul singer Candi Staton? … KNX’s Chris Madsen is celebrating 34 years of marriage. How he met his wife is as good as any request-line romance. “She was a contest winner to see the Cubs v. the Padres in San Diego and I was an announcer with SportsPhone ‘tasked’ with being an escort. I have proudly been escorting Lori ever since,” wrote Chris on his Facebook page … Gary Calamar, 25-year veteran at KCRW, resurfaces at KCSN (88.5/fm). His Sunday show debuts this weekend from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. … Get well thoughts for record promoter extraordinaire, Don Graham. After three days in Cedars-Sinai, docs say it is possibly early pneumonia … Isaac Lowenkron is the new radio play-by-play voice of Cal State University Bakersfield Roadrunners men’s basketball … Don Elliot “survived” the Orlando Radio Show, “Only 2,100 attendance. Scary,” wrote Don … KNX anchor Rob Archer announced in his blog that as a youngster he was the victim of sexual assault. Read his story here … Have you been reading the very public dust-up on social media between morning icon Ken Minyard and the author of his memoirs? OMG! … KWVE’s Brian Perez sent a fascinating story about retailers being deaf to radio advertising. Read here … Would you like to have coffee with Wink Martindale and be able to ask him anything about his career? Stand by for details next week … Former Mega programmer Mike Marino has a thought-provoking line: “I want an investigation into boring radio!”
Fun Top 40 Story. It was the case of the missing dj. When 1110/KXLA rechristened itself KRLA and began to rock and roll in 1959, one of its jocks, Perry Allen, was absent. KRLA started a "Find Perry Allen" campaign and promised $10,000 to any listener who could track him down in those pre-Google days. What mischievous KRLA didn’t say was that it knew where Allen was: working at his old station in Buffalo, waiting for his contract to expire. But KRLA’s rival, KFWB, knew all about it. And KFWB sent two representatives to Buffalo to confront Allen and claim the $10,000, wrote ex-jock Bob Eubanks in It’s in the Book, Bob, co-written by Matthew Hansen. KRLA grudgingly paid, then tried to capitalize on its own misfortune with the slogan, "Even KFWB listens to KRLA."

Les MoonvesThe Hollywood Reporter had a Paul Bond article titled “Les’ Long Goodbye.” He wrote: “CBS laid out the plan in an SEC filing that doesn’t mention how much it will spend on Les Moonves, but in 2017 it shelled out $640,552 for his security alone. It shouldn’t cost that much going forward, though, since Moonves won’t be traveling as often as a mere adviser – and won’t be using the company plane. Plus, the filing stipulates only ‘security services at executive’s home.’”

Rachel Maddow's Journey from Radio to TV 

(October 4, 2018) A 10-page profile of Rachel Maddow in a recent edition of the New Yorker tells a revealing story on how she constructs a narrative. Though currently better known for her work on  cable tv, Maddow was one of the anchor talents at the now defunct Air America radio network. Some highlights from the Janet Malcolm penned piece:

In Rachel Maddow’s office at the MSNBC studios, there is a rack on which hang about thirty elegant women’s jackets in various shades of black and gray. On almost every weeknight of the year, at around one minute to nine, Maddow yanks one of these jackets off its hanger, puts it on without looking in the mirror, and races to the studio from which she broadcasts her hour-long tv show sitting at a sleek desk with a glass top. She is the current sweetheart of liberal cable TV. Like a carnival barker, she leads us on with tantalizing hints about what is inside the tent.

The Rachel Maddow Show is a piece of sleight of hand presented as a cable news show. It is true entertainment at its finest. Maddow’s artistry is most conspicuously displayed in the long monologue – sometimes as long as twenty-four minutes, uninterrupted by commercials – with which her show usually begins. Maddow was born 45 years ago in the small city of Hayward, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and grew up in neighboring Castro Valley. Her brother, David, now on the staff of a bioscience company, was born four years earlier. Her father, Robert, a lawyer, worked as the counsel for the local water company, and her mom, Elaine, had an administrative job in the school district and wrote for a community newspaper.

“I graduated from high school at seventeen and went to Stanford. I came out soon after I got to college, and that caused a rift – a temporary rift – with my family. It was very hard for them. My mom is very catholic, and my dad saw how much it hurt my mom. But now my parents and I are close again. They couldn’t be more supportive. They’re very close to my partner,” said Rachel.

Her partner is a fifty-six-year-old artist, with whom she has lived for the past eighteen years. They met in a small town in Massachusetts a few years after Maddow graduated from Stanford. Her partner was looking for someone to do yard work. When she opened the door, a coup de foudre followed. Maddow’s entrance into broadcasting began as a lark. While she was writing her thesis and doing her odd jobs in western Massachusetts, she heard about an audition held by a local radio station for someone to announce the morning news. She got the job – understandably. She has a beautiful voice, low in register but with a clarion brightness to it, and beautiful diction. This job led to others, to higher and higher runs on the ladder of radio broadcasting (the liberal network Air America was her final radio destination, in 2004), and then to work in television news at MSNBC and, ultimately, to her own show, which began airing in 2008. (Thanks to the New Yorker for the artwork)

Ellen K Doubles Down

(October 3, 2018) Hosting a podcast is the newest audio fad. Will it last as long as the Tamagotchi, Furby, or Pokemon? Marketing will be a factor. So will ease of access. I was struck by iHeart’s announcement that KOST morning personality Ellen K will host a podcast where she will “share behind-the-scenes stories from her career and dive deeper into the stories of the day.” If we’re fans of Ellen’s morning show, why isn’t she sharing behind-the-scenes stories and diving deeper into the stories of the day during her show, while we’re invested in her program as we get ready for school or work and on the morning commute? Isn’t this what makes Valentine’s show soar at sister station MY/fm? He takes us behind-the-scenes with his life. When he was sharing his challenges with his son, it was appointment listening. Why make it tougher for the listener, requiring access to two different platforms to listen to Ellen? Makes no sense.

Batter Up. Was there a classier swan song message than Angel manager Mike Scioscia signing off last Sunday? Sciosica stepped down after a 19-year career that included a World Series Championship, a feat impossible to achieve in franchise history when Gene Autry owned the team. Sounds like he will be available if another team comes calling.

“I was an Angels fan before Mike Scioscia became their manager,” wrote Rita Wilde. “Thank you for being at the helm in 2002 when Angel fans got to experience what it felt like to be World Series Champions. Thank you for some amazing experiences and for being who you are. My best to you and the family.”

Hear AcheJimmy Steal, longtime programmer at Power 106, will be honored as International Music Person of the Year by MUSEXPO … Craig Powers is celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary in Spain and Portugal … A celebration of life for an early voice in Urban radio in the Bay Area and L.A., Johnny Morris, was held last weekend. Would you like to know more about him? A YouTube video was prepared for his memorial here …Marcellus Wiley told LA Times’ Tom Hoffarth why he jumped from KSPN to Fox Sports. “No evil backstory. Just pretty standard operations with an expired contract.” He said he dealt with the same situation over a 10-year NFL career as an All-Pro defensive end.

September PPM Released

  (October 2, 2018) KBIG is the big winner in the September '18 Nielsen Audio for 6+ PPM Mon-Sun 6a-12mid. K-EARTH, the Classic Hits station that just won the Marconi Award for Best Classic Hits Station of the Year, was runner-up. Biggest move in a generally static Top 10 from last month was Power 106, moving into the 9th spot. KLAC, flagship station of the playoff-bound Dodgers leads KSPN. Top 40 AMP Radio and Alternative 98-7 seem to be going in the wrong direction, both tied at 20th. For fans of KABC, apparently it was no fluke last month when the station failed to make the list of Top 40. Happened again.

1. KBIG (Hot AC) 5.6 - 5.5
2. KRTH (Classic Hits) 5.1 - 5.0
3. KOST (AC) 4.6 - 4.7
4. KTWV (Rhythmic AC) 4.2 - 4.6
5. KIIS (Top 40/M) 4.6 - 4.4
6. KFI (Talk) 3.8 - 3.7
7. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.7 - 3.6
    KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 3.7 - 3.6
9. KPWR (Top 40/R) 2.6 - 3.2
10. KXOL (Spanish AC) 3.0 - 3.1
11. KNX (News) 3.1 - 3.0
12. KLOS (Classic Rock) 2.7 - 2.9
      KRRL (Urban) 2.8 - 2.9
14. KROQ (Alternative) 2.9 - 2.8
15. KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.5 - 2.6
16. KPCC (News/Talk) 2.5 - 2.5
17. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 2.5 - 2.4
      KKGO (Country) 2.4 - 2.4
      KLAX (Regional Mexican) 2.1 - 2.4
20. KAMP (Top 40/M) 2.8 - 2.3
      KYSR (Alternative) 2.4 - 2.3
22. KSCA (Regional Mexican) 2.1 - 2.0
23. KUSC (Classical) 1.6 - 1.8
24. KCRW (Variety) 1.5 - 1.5
      KDAY (Rhythmic AC) 1.5 - 1.5
26. KXOS (Regional Mexican) 1.5 - 1.3
27. KLAC (Sports) 1.2 - 1.2
      KRLA (Talk) 1.2 - 1.2
      KSSE (Spanish Oldies) 1.3 - 1.2
30. KJLH (Urban AC) 1.2 - 1.1
      KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits) 0.8 - 1.1
32. KEIB (Talk) 1.1 - 0.9
      KSPN (Sports) 0.8 - 0.9
34. KFSH (Christian Contemporary) 0.6 - 0.8
      KFWB (Regional Mexican) 1.2 - 0.8
      KKJZ (Jazz) 0.8 - 0.8
      KKLQ (Christian Contemporary) 0.7 - 0.8
38. KKLA (Religious) 0.4 - 0.7
39. KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 0.6 - 0.6
      KYLA (Christian Contemporary) 0.5 - 0.6

Classic Win for K-EARTH 

(October 1, 2018) K-EARTH is no longer your father’s - or grandfather’s - Oldies station. The days of Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison airing five times a day are long gone. Chuck Berry and Fats Domino have been replaced by The Cure, Kansas, and Uncle Kracker. The newer playlist devised by pd Chris Ebbott has worked very well. So well that the station not only finds itself among the top-rated stations, but over the weekend, the industry recognized KRTH as the Classic Hits Station of the Year. The Marconi Award was presented by the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB).

Established in 1989, the NAB Marconi Radio Awards recognize stations and individuals for their excellence and performance in radio. Winners are selected by the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Selection Academy. The academy consists of general managers, program directors, regional executives, owners, programming consultants and former radio executives from across the country. Speaking of awards, listen to the winner of the 2003 Radio & Records Lifetime Achievement Award with one of the most amazing speeches ever, thought to be his last. 

Little Franny Freeway. Denise Madden has sold time on L.A. Radio. She wrote: “Your website always comes up with really fun memories. I re-connected with a dear friend I worked with at KGBS and I laughed recalling Little Fanny Freeway [Peggy Bowen], who later married our program director Ron Martin. I miss him a lot. Someday, I will write and share some memories of those crazy years of Bill Ballance, Micki & Teddi and Mayor Sam Yorty with sidekick Wally George, plus the radio war over sponsorship of the Palomino Club. The battle raged for over years between KLAC & KGBS when the latter became ‘Gentle Country.’ It all seemed so life and death back then."

In other news: After more than 32 years of hosting MoneyTalk, Bob Brinker has decided to step away from radio… Retired KFI in the Sky pilot Mike Nolan had a pacemaker installed last week. “Heart rate was down to lower 30's. No major symptoms for me, but everybody seem surprised that I haven't face planted already,” he wrote on Facebook. “Feeling fine and very thankful. I guess me and the tv bunny now have something in common” … Former longtime KROQ programmer Gene Sandbloom wrote on Facebook that he’s getting pretty close to calling Paris his new home town. “I’ve stopped making a list of stuff to do, and just walk out the door and wander. Today, I found music everywhere … New monthly ratings are due this afternoon. If you are on our mailing list, they will be sent to your email box.



Send mail to with questions or comments about this website
Copyright 1997-2018 - Los Angeles Radio People
Last modified: November 13, 2018