LARadio

2019

Compiled and Written by Don Barrett
Edited by Alan Oda

 

 

Randy Keith is Our Piano Man

(February 27, 2019) In 1999, Randy Keith became part of the airborne traffic team at all-News KNX. You may remember him from 1070AM or his earlier positions are KBET (1220AM), Shadow Traffic and KFWB. We haven’t heard him on the local airwaves for awhile. So what the heck happened to him?

This is one of those terrific stories about going back to his true love – performing for others on his piano.

Randy was born in Los Angeles on May 1, 1980. He grew up in Pacoima until his parents moved the family to Santa Clarita in 1987. Randy’s first job was at Santa Clarita’s only radio station, KBET (1220 AM), where he co-hosted a show for teenagers at the age of 14.

After graduating Saugus High with honors, Randy started working at Shadow Traffic. After graduating with a BA in Communications Studies from UCLA, Randy worked nearly full-time as a studio and airborne traffic reporter for KNX and Metro networks. He also had stints serving on staff as board-op at KFI, morning show host at KHTS, and traffic producer at the KTLA Morning News.

And then things changed.

In 2004, Randy began working as a piano entertainer at Universal City Walk’s Howl at the Moon, then in 2007, became a full-time freelance dueling piano player. So Randy officially left LARadio in 2008 to pursue his lifelong passion of music (he started playing at the age of 2), though is still working on publishing a guide helping SoCal drivers navigate around freeway traffic. He started his own entertainment company in 2013 while living in Phoenix.

He currently lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife Amy, who he married in 2015. She is also a dueling piano entertainer. Check out his website: 
http://PremierPianoShows.com    

Hear Ache
. Cox Tampa operations manager Rick Thomas (former K-EARTH pd) takes on pd duties at WWRM (Magic 94-9) … Empire actor Jussie Smollet isn’t the first celebrity to be the victim of a crime, only to have the story unravel. A fascinating story in the LA Times detailed radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (she owned KRKD 1150AM), when she was reported missing in 1926 after going for a swim in Santa Monica. She reappeared 36 days later in Mexico. Her claims of being abducted were never bought by investigators. An anonymous tip said she was trying to cover up a “tryst” with a married Angelus Temple radio engineer. Aimee later died in 1944 of a barbiturate over dose ... It was nice to see that the NFL came up with appropriate pounishment for the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. They are going to deflate his balls.
Everybody Makes Podcasts. Can Anyone Make Them Profitable?

We Will Rock You

(February 26, 2019) How was the first no-host Oscar telecast in 30 years? Not bad. Thirty years ago, in place of a host with a funny opening monologue, the Motion Picture telecast had an 11-minute musical number to open the show. The no-host opening that year gave us Rob Lowe’s version of Proud Mary, a duet with Snow White. Lowe is still trying to live this down.

Contrast that opening with Sunday night’s rousing Queen + Adam Lambert. We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions rang through the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and set the stage with some real energy.

Ken Levine provided his observations in a Monday podcast as opposed to his normal page after page of very funny critical dialogue. Somehow his snarkiness didn’t have the same bite in the podcast as his written material. Maybe it is tough to read snarky. You can read his fun review by clicking his photo below.

The Academy seemed to have a little bit for everyone except Glenn Close. And Diane Warren will also compete for the Susan Lucci award. Diane has been nominated six times for songwriting with no wins. Poor Glenn has been nominated seven times.

Our Randy Thomas did a marvelous job as the announcer for the production that seemed to move right along for its three hours and 19 minutes. Her voice kept the proceedings on track. Great conductor. Ratings were up compared to the lowest numbers when Jimmy Kimmel hosted in 2018. Jimmy said the ratings won't get spectacular until the telecast is reduced to one-minute.

I found it ironic that Spike Lee talked of the election next year and encouraged us to vote love over hate. And then when Green Book won Best Picture over his BlacKkKlansman (among others), Spike yelled out ‘bad call’ and bolted for the exit. Where was the love, Spike?

Stanley Donen, director of Singing in the Rain, died last Thursday. And the Academy failed to mention the director in its In Memoriam section. I got to work with Donen at the end of his movie career. We were in San Diego sneak previewing Saturn 3, a real snoozer with Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett. 
Donen was standing in the lobby of the theatre with a group of movie execs while the movie played. About half-way through, the audience began to leave in droves. One upset moviegoer turned to Donen not knowing who he was and said loudly, “Whoever made this piece of shit should be shot.” Our little group turned in various directions and like hurt puppies retreated to the sidelines. One exec quipped, “How do you like the parade?” I guess the moviegoer was correct. Roger Ebert called Saturn 3 “dumb.” We should remember Donen for his celebrated works like On the Town, Singin’ in the RainSeven Brides for Seven BrothersFunny Face, and Charade.

In other movie news, the LA Times polled over 31,000 readers to determine the best sports movie of all time. The winner? Field of Dreams followed by HoosiersA League of Their Own, Bull Durham and Rocky.

Hear AcheJim Hilliker (r), LARadio official historian, got fantastic news from his radiation oncologist. “In 2017, I was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer, with a PSA level above 4.0,” wrote Hilliker.

“In late 2017 and early 2018, I underwent radiation treatment for three months. Following that, I then started hormone therapy, Lupron injections, every three months.” Jim saw his cancer doctor last month and was thrilled that his PSA level had dropped to 0.9. He’s not in remission but certainly headed that way. The main side effect of hormone therapy is hot flashes. “Sometimes I will start crying unexpectedly if I see a sad movie or tv show,” said Jim. “And I thought that was just depression.” Great news!
 

Ken Levine

 

 

 

 

 

How Pete Weber Made the Hockey Team

(February 25, 2019) Pete Weber is a veteran sports announcer. For the past twenty years he has been the voice of the Nashville Predators, but he did spend time in L.A., from 1978 – 81. Here in Southern California, he was a sidekick to veteran hockey announcer Bob Miller. Then, when Pat Riley left as Chick Hearn's color man to be an assistant under coach Paul Westhead, Pete finished the NBA broadcast season. He also did vacation fill-in for Fred Hessler on KMPC with Robert W. Morgan.

In the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame newsletter, Pete talked about how he got his first hockey job:

“I was all set to go back to Notre Dame to get my M.A., beginning with the summer session of 1974. That spring, I heard that Tom Ballinger, who called Notre Dame hockey on the commercial station, WNDU, was leaving the job but remain with the station in an administrative role. So I decided to set up an appointment with him to see if I might be able to succeed him.

On the afternoon of April 4, I was sitting in WNDU AM-FM-TV’s reception area. An NBC update appeared on the monitor, informing us that Henry Aaron had just his 714th homer that day in Cincinnati, tying him with Babe Ruth atop the all-time list. Shortly after that, a gentleman approached me in the lobby. He was station operations director Chuck Linster.

‘Did you have an appointment with Tom Ballinger?’ I told him I did. ‘He is no longer with us. Could I help you?’ Wasting no time, ‘sure’ I replied. ‘Are you looking for someone to replace Tom doing the Notre Dame hockey games?’

In a few minutes, I had achieved my goal, along with working on the radio stations’ Drake-Chenault ‘Hit Parade’ automated systems and added in doing weekend sports on tv when I wasn’t out-of-town doing hockey games. And it all started the day Henry Aaron tied the Babe!”


Email Saturday - 2.23.2019

** What the Hell Happened to Smooth Jazz?

“Well produced and nicely narrated, even though she can’t pronounce the word ‘jazz.’ There is no ‘o’ in the word. Ha ha. One interesting thing though that she missed in revealing the roots of Smooth Jazz was how it originated on the island of Ibiza off the coast of Spain. But perhaps this is more of the roots of ‘chill’ than Smooth Jazz, per se. At least this is the story told me by Chris Botti when I was producing his ‘Chill’ show.

I was in contact with David Benoit last week because I wanted to know when the next Smooth Jazz cruise was happening. I suggested to Fred Missman [operations director at Saul Levine’s Smooth Jazz HD Channel] that they become involved in its promotion because it would benefit both sides... the musician’s cruise… And the radio station.” - Don Elliot

** More All That Jazz

“It started out in the late '80's, with a wide variety of Smooth Jazz and New Age that was a lot broader than the format that the ‘consultants’ narrowed it down to. Thanks to Broadcast Architecture it became, ‘background’ music with a beat box in every tune. The ‘sameness’ of the music killed Smooth Jazz.” – Joe Sullivan  

** 88.5FM

“Terrific news from the latest Los Angeles Radio Ratings Book. Congrats to the entire 88.5 team! I'm proud to be a member!” – Bob Goodman

** Martoni Follow-Up


“Following Martoni’s closing, we went to a ‘new’ Martoni’s, which opened down on the corner of Melrose & Cahuenga. Good food, however, not the same vibe.” – Don Graham

** Spelling Requirements at KNX

“After looking at the headline to this article about Trump on the KNX1070.com website, I’ve come to the conclusion that spelling is not a job requirement.” - Brad Cramer


** Car Moves

“Kudos to the SCBA yesterday for presenting a new study by Nielsen of the enormous impact radio has in driving sales for So Cal auto dealers.  The presentation included an excellent conversation with Bob Smith, Executive Director of the Los Angeles New Car Dealer Association, by Thom Callahan, current president of the SCBA. Incidentally, the SCBA is the first and oldest association to promote radio in the US - celebrating its 81st consecutive year in existence. 

Under this and that – I’m happy to see the rise of KNX from the bottom of the heap back to a respectable position in the ratings.  I am, however, utterly frustrated by the fact that the dB level drops every time they air a phone interview with someone. I miss what’s being said, or I crank up the volume so I can actually hear what’s being said. Then I have to turn it back down when the announcer returns to the air – the difference is that great! Don’t they ever listen to their own station?  Don’t they employ engineers? Don’t they care?” – Mary Beth Garber

** News of Steve Gregory


“Great story on Steve Gregory: a true pro and a great guy.” – Bob Scott

** Inside Steve

“This is great, Steve Gregory! I learned a lot about you!” – Paul Glickman
** Cathy’s Clown

“I saw your item about seeing an Everly Brothers tribute show. I love their music, and I like a lot of '50s and early-'60s music, better than the late-'60s and '70s music that was popular when I was in junior high and high school.

Last week, I found a beautiful song that Don and Phil recorded in 1961. I had never heard this record and I never heard of the song. It's called Don't Blame Me and hit # 20 on the Hot 100. It was written in 1933 by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields [she wrote the lyrics to The Way You Look Tonight, the Oscar winning song from the 1936 film Swing Time]. This Warner Brothers 45 had 2 songs on each side, and the other song was Walk Right Back, which was a # 7 hit for the Everlys.

I did not know they also had another song from the '30s, Temptation, which peaked at # 27. There's something about the arrangement with the guitars, their gorgeous harmony and the way Phil sings the middle part. I guess it makes me think of my late wife. See what you think. Released not on a regular 45 single but on a 'Plus-2' extended play disc." - Jim Hilliker  

 

** From San Diego

“Thanks for sharing my ‘love’ story last week. I love hearing peoples' reaction to it. Last night Kathi Diamant and I recorded some pledge breaks for PBS SoCal (KOCE) and KCET. These two L.A. Public TV powerhouses have merged into one organization and it's given me the lucky break of making it onto TWO PBS outlets in L.A., as well as continuing to work with KPBS TV and fm in San Diego as I have for the past 14 years, and my full-time gig as Midday host at Sunny 98.1. 

For those who are bashing the industry from inside 'n out, there are certainly a lot of opportunities cropping up for those who are, like most people in our business - unable to say /no. I love what I do and am thrilled to have the chance to do it in Southern California. 

In the 60s it was Bob Eubanks and The Newlywed Game. Jimmie O'Neill on Shindig. Gary Owens on Laugh-In. Today it's Jim Thornton on Wheel Of Fortune.  My part in L.A. TV is nowhere near the scope of what those guys did but to be part of the landscape is a privilege I treasure! 

We'll be on 'Josh Groban at Madison Square Garden,' 'Michael Buble' and 'Andrea Bocelli' in the next few weeks on both stations. We'll be hosting a ‘live’ night on March 6th with a Ken Burns special as well. 

Thought you'd want to know. Thanks for reading. And thanks for everything you do.” – Dave Mason

End of the Week Hear Ache 

 (February 22, 2019) Arash Markazi had a nice tribute to Ralph Lawler last Sunday in the LA Times: “Congratulations are in order to longtime Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler, who will join the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a winner of its Curt Gowdy Media Award. Lawler is in his 40th and final season as the voice of the Clippers. Much like the team for which he has broadcast, Lawler has often gotten lost in the mix among Los Angeles legends Chick HearnVin Scully and Bob Miller, but he belongs with them as an all-time great in L.A and deserves all the accolades that are coming his way during his final season.”

Last month, Variety devoted a few pages to predictions for the New Year. “Sean Hannity increasingly has become a media empire unto himself, replete with a radio show (listened to by 14 million people a week, and heard on KEIB) and his own news website.”

Aundrae Russell, pd at Urban AC KJLH and host of Spread The Word Sunday Gospel show, had some thoughts for Kevin Ross in Radio Facts about blending Gospel music into other day-parts of the programming. KJLH is committed to Gospel programming from 12 a.m. Sunday to 12 a.m. Monday. “We call it 24 hours of praise. I think that a lot of our success has to do with what people are going through every day. When the recession and 9-11 hit, those are the types of songs people needed.” Russell plays Gospel music during the week, beyond the Sunday offering.
With the death of Peter Tork this week, the original Monkees are down to two. Davey Jones died when he was 66 … Once I sent in my Oscar ballot, I thought about my picking streak, which has not been good. I pick the eventual Best Picture about 2 or 3 times every decade since 1977. I love a good story. Entertain me but don’t preach. Even though I got lucky picking Moonlight (almost a perfect film) over La La Land, I don’t feel so confident this year picking Green Book … Looking forward to seeing Doug McIntyre next month. He’s celebrating the 10th anniversary of his documentary about Jack Sheldon, Trying to Get Good. This is my second season since moving to Avila Beach being on the jury to help select movies and documentaries for the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. We got Doug a great slot in the festival and he and his wife will participate in a Q&A after the screening … When San Diego learned the Padres would be getting Manny Machado, the “Mighty 1090” played Queen’s We Are the Champions … Speaking of Queen, I think Rami Malik has a real chance of winning Best Actor for Bohemian Rhapsody
10-year anniversary since KLSX folded
Frosty, Heidi & Frank farewell video

This Time They Came in Threes 

(February 21, 2019) Eva Kilgore (Eva Ross on KHJ and KIKF) was an enormously liked broadcaster, colleague, and a friend to all in the Orange County community. She died February 19, at the age of 67.

Eva anchored the news at KHJ from 1974 to 1977, except for a year spent in Boston doing the news at WRKO. At KIKF, she reported the "Orange County Closeup."

In 1995, she started writing a column for the OC Register. "Lyle Kilgore was my boss at KHJ and I ended up marrying him!” Lyle, her husband of 38 years, died last March. The couple lived in Huntington Beach. Eva was active in the Huntington Harbour Boat Parade and Philharmonic Holiday Boutique.

Eva’s daughter Paige wrote: “I have received an overwhelming response to my mother’s passing. She was a warm, sweet, silly person with a heart of gold. As I type this, I can’t even process what has happened. I looked at her calendar and she was ready to hit some meetings and lunches, per usual. I cannot put into words the sadness and loss I am feeling right now. She was my best friend and the most amazing mother. She cared about this community and the people in it. She enjoyed being the social butterfly and enjoyed being a part of a good cause. Her heart was in the HHPC and all the events surrounding it. She always had a wicked joke up her sleeve, ready to dish the latest, give a bear hug, and make someone’s day brighter. I miss her terribly and humbly ask you for your prayers for my family and I during this time.”
Dave Rogers, son of retired KNX news anchor Beach Rogers, died on Saturday. Our condolences to the family on this tragedy.

Dave was on a bike ride at the Rose Bowl when he was found down next to his bicycle, not breathing and without a heartbeat. He was a video producer, copywriter, and did other media projects, including work with “the Dog Whisperer,” Cesar Milan.  

Beach posted the following on his Facebook page: “Dear Friends…I am so thankful for all of you who have given me a giant lift from the grief of Dave Rogers death. Truly your prayers are being answered and by God’s grace a peace is being achieved. I pray for your peace as well. It was particularly sweet to hear from some of the good people I worked with ‘so long ago.’ Keep well.” (Photo: Dave Rogers and wife Cissy)
David Horowitz, longtime consumer journalist, has died at age 81. He had a radio show for a time on then news / talk KGIL. David was best known for his Emmy-winning tv program Fight Back! With David Horowitz that investigated defective products, advertising claims, plus confronted companies with customer complaints. Lloyd Thaxton produced Fight Back for many years.

“I don’t consider myself a consumer advocate,” Horowitz told the LA Times in 1988. “If you're on television you have to really be broadcasting in the public interest... but you also have to be objective. Yes, you can do a commentary and advocate certain issues if you feel that way, but I do a lot of stories where the consumer’s wrong, where they’re trying to rip off companies, too. I have to really walk that fine line in terms of being fair about something."

David was born June 30, 1937 in the Bronx and earned a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University in 1959. He went on to obtain a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Horowitz started out at newspapers and television stations in the Midwest. He became a writer for NBC's Huntley-Brinkley Report and held several other positions with the network before joining KNBC in 1973 as its consumer reporter.

Horowitz was a regular guest (and was parodied) on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He also appeared as himself on episodes of Silver Spoons, ALF, The Golden Girls and Saved by the Bell.

What the Hell Happened to Smooth Jazz?


Holiday Leftovers Keep KOST at Top Spot in New Ratings

(February 20, 2019) Holiday leftovers - following a heavy dose of Christmas music - keep KOST in the #1 spot, despite dropping by more than half from the Holiday survey. Entercom and iHeart share the next four spots with a bunch of listeners for K-EARTH, MY/fm, KIIS and the WAVE. KBIG seems to regain a solid #3 after a substantial drop the previous two months. KFI made a nice jump as well as all-News KNX and News/Talk KPCC. K-LOVE, the Christian Contemporary station that replaced 100.3/The Sound, made it into the Top 30 for the first time.

KCSN/KSBR made an auspicious debut this month, cracking the Top 40. "The 88.5 FM combo (KCSN/KSBR) is officially part of the Nielsen universe," emailed co-manager Jim Rondeau. "We're very enthusiastic about the future of the AAA format in Los Angeles and Orange counties. It's a tough market to crack, but our team earned every quarter-hour and there's more to come. From programming to sales, marketing, membership, engineering, production, digital and promotions, the KCSN/KSBR crew is a talented and dedicated bunch. I'm proud of each of them."
The January '19 Nielsen PPM 6+ Mon-Sun, 6a-12mid:

1. KOST (AC) 13.0 - 6.2
2. KRTH (Classic Hits) 4.4 - 5.1
3. KBIG (MY/fm) 4.0 - 5.0
4. KIIS (Top 40/M) 3.5 - 4.3
    KTWV (Rhythmic AC) 3.6 - 4.3
6. KFI (Talk) 3.2 - 3.8
7. KNX (News) 2.6 - 3.7
8. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.3 - 3.5
9. KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 3.3 - 3.2
10. KPCC (News/Talk) 2.3 - 2.8
      KXOL (Spanish AC) 3.3 - 2.8
12. KLAX (Regional Mexican) 2.3 - 2.7

      KPWR (Top 40/R) 3.0 - 2.7
14. KKGO (Country) 2.7 - 2.6
      KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.3 - 2.6
      KRRL (Urban) 2.8 - 2.6
17. KLOS (Classic Rock) 2.4 - 2.5
      KUSC (Classical) 2.1 - 2.5
19. KAMP (Top 40/M) 2.3 - 2.4
      KROQ (Alternative) 2.4 - 2.4
21. KYSR (Alternative) 2.0 - 2.1
22. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 2.1 - 2.0
23. KJLH (Urban AC) 1.6 - 1.8
      KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits) 1.1 - 1.8
25. KSCA (Regional Mexican) 1.4 - 1.6
      KSPN (Sports) 1.1 - 1.6
27. KCRW (Variety) 1.3 - 1.3
28. KDAY (Rhythmic AC) 1.2 - 1.2
       KKLQ (Christian Contemporary) 0.9 - 1.2
30. KXOS (Regional Mexican) -- - 1.0
31. KEIB (Talk) 0.8 - 0.9
      KLAC (Sports) 0.7 - 0.9
33. KKJZ (Jazz) 0.9 - 0.8
      KRLA (Talk) 0.6 - 0.8
      KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 0.7 - 0.8
36. KFSH (Christian Contemporary) 0.6 - 0.7
37. KABC (Talk) 0.7 - 0.6
      KCSN (AAA) -- - 0.6
      KFWB (Regional Mexican) 0.7 - 0.6
      KIRN (Ethnic) 0.6 - 0.6
      KKLA (Religious) 0.4 - 0.6
In other news: KABC’s Jillian Barberie was saluted yesterday by the City of Los Angeles, declaring ‘Jillian Barberie Breast Cancer Awareness Day.’ Late last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She made her recovery journey public to encourage, support and honor the tens of thousands of women and their family members who endure the same challenge.

“Jillian has made honesty, full public disclosure and transparency a hallmark of her storied and acclaimed media career. When she was given a life altering diagnosis, she decided to step up and use her experiences to shed more light on this disease,” said City Councilman Bob Blumenfield.

“Early detection is vital and for the sake of the countless families who are impacted by it every day, we must continue to break down stigmas around cancer.” Since her diagnosis, Jillian has undergone aggressive treatments, using her public platform to break stigmas and raise awareness around breast cancer. Over the following months, she has shared her story every step of the way through social media and her KABC radio show.


Hear AcheLarry Van Nuys’ morning drive Oldies show at K-SURF has been extended an hour to 10 a.m. … Kevin Machado celebrates his 20th anniversary at KOLA in the Inland Empire. He enthusiastically said “I’m grateful. What a run and what a great staff." ... Condolences to the family of Eva Kilgore on her passing. Story tomorrow.
... from Robert McGehee's personal collection

Steve Harvey and Mo'Nique in Kerfuffle 

(February 19, 2019) Kevin Ross publishes a tasty radio and entertainment blog, Radio Facts, directed primarily at the Urban market. Recently Mo’Nique (ex-KDAY) and Steve Harvey (currently mornings at KJLH) got into a confrontation about the journey of an entertainer.

As Kevin prepares the story, he says Steve “is a soldier in the black entertainment industry against industry injustice, will find himself thanked and asked for help in the dark, will watch others have victory for his efforts, then he will find himself alone and avoided in the light by those same people. You will get used.”

Mo feels that black entertainers just don’t stick together enough.

“The sad irony for Mo is that she thinks NOT playing the game is the best bet. It’s not, not playing means you’re STILL playing … but you’re just playing to lose,” ventured Ross. “Everyone keeps indicating that Mo is getting really bad advice from her inexperienced husband and manager and they are correct. The love that people in the industry have for her is what keeps her afloat, indicating SHE is the one who has created those relationships before her husband came into the picture. People like Steve are trying to get her to see the error of her ways.” Take a peek at the segment.

Hear Ache. Jim Meser of Thousand Oaks had a great Jim Healy reference after the Super Bowl: “Who Goff’d? I’ve got to know!” … Mark Willard has a new assignment. He will host the evening program at Sports KNBR-San Francisco. Mark was part of the morning sports show with Roger Lodge at KMPC 1540/The Ticket until the spring of 2007, when the station was sold to Radio Korea. He then moved to KSPN and co-hosted a show with Mychal Thompson until late summer of 2014. Mark is a Foster City native who is a lifelong fan of Bay Area sports teams … Happy Birthday to Smokey Robinson. It’s a miracle … Congrats to Randy Thomas who will be announcing the Oscar telecast on Sunday for the 10th time.

It's News to Steve Gregory

(February 18, 2019) Steve Gregory has such a passion for news it’s as if he’s a first responder arriving first on the scene of a breaking story. He’s done this at KFI for much of his time since 2005. After Hurricane Katrina struck in New Orleans, Steve was there and slept roadside. Likewise, he’s dodged gunfire during riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Steve slept in the back of a news truck during the nation’s longest prison standoff, later spending many days in the same truck covering the nation’s largest wildfire.

Steve’s exceptional work has earned him the Edward T. Murrow Award six times. The Associated Press has given him first place accolades for Best Newscast, Best Special Program, and Best Series. Steve has also won international media awards for features on the Phoenix Fire Department, the U.S. Border Patrol, and Arab-American comedians. He is a first-place winner of more than 25 Golden Mike Awards for his coverage of breaking news, features, and investigative series. He has also won awards for his live coverage of dramatic, and sometimes violent car chases.

But in May of 2016, personal challenges forced Steve to take an extended leave of absence from KFI. He moved to Colorado because his mother needed a kidney transplant. There was also the fear his father’s prostate cancer had returned (fortunately his cancer is in remission). “It was tough to step away from KFI for such a long period, but when it came to my parents there was no question of what I should do,” Steve emailed recently. Steve drove back and forth between L.A. and Colorado, staying with friends in Phoenix along the way.

“The time I spent with my folks was invaluable, but because I chose to extend my leave of absence, I knew my full-time spot at KFI needed to be filled,” Steve emailed recently. “My program director, Robin Bertolucci and news director, Chris Little, were very understanding and willing to work with me but the reality was they needed another full-timer…. enter, Kris Ankarlo. Kris hit the ground running and brought with him great energy and skill to make it a seamless transition.”
“During one of my stop-overs in Phoenix, my friends, who own and operate a production and radio content company, said they needed help expanding their operation and wanted to augment their podcasting services,” Steve continued. “After some serious chatting, and a few bottles of wine, I agreed to sign on for 18 months as a consultant. A couple months later I moved to Phoenix.”

On occasion, he would still be asked to file stories for KFI about topics he covered the most –  immigration, cops and entertainment. “I also covered the OJ Simpson parole hearing in Carson City, Nevada, where I was the radio pool reporter. I also continued to cover the Oscars, Emmys and SAG Awards. It was important I remain on KFI, and Chris and Robin [and, all the hosts] couldn’t have been more supportive.”
Steve also took advantage of this time by taking classes that made him the first working journalist in California to become a POST-certified (Peace Officers Standards and Training) instructor. “This allowed me more opportunity to teach media relations and crisis communications courses to first responders throughout the state. “In March of 2018, I became the nation’s first journalist to become a nationally certified instructor through IADLEST (International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training),” said Gregory. “I am dedicated to fostering a better relationship between LAPD [law enforcement] and the media.” (Photo: Gregory instructing law enforcement officers)
On March 7th, 2017, Steve’s mother unexpectedly passed away while waiting for a kidney. “This hit me hard and the following months were devastating,” remembered Steve. “As my time with the company in Phoenix was coming to an end I was nurturing a couple of ‘side hustles’ that always interested me. For most of 2018 I continued to develop these other interests.

And, the story count on KFI began to increase. Chris basically let me come up with stories and allowed me the extra time to work on them. I traveled quite a bit – I covered CES in Las Vegas and spent a lot of time at the California / Mexico border. In fact, I was the only LA radio reporter in Tijuana in April of 2018 who witnessed the arrival of one of the Central American Caravans. I followed the asylum seekers as they tried to enter the San Ysidro port of entry, but were denied access. The feature won a Golden Mike Award in January of 2019 for best use of sound.”
Steve is still in Phoenix, but he’s planning a move back to LA soon. “Chris and I talk every day and we continue to coordinate my stories. I go to LA every few weeks for meetings, have lunch with Bill Handel [I’m still on the board of the RTNA] and to conduct media relations training [I crash at KCLU Lance Orozco's place]. I continue to work on investigative stories for KFI and make appearances on the talk shows.

In November, I was sent to Anchorage, to cover a 7.0 earthquake for our network, 24/7 news. And, last week I aired an exclusive interview with two border agents from SoCal.”

If you wonder where this passion for the news comes from, the seed was planted in 1982. He first went on the air as an overnighter in Pueblo, doing weather updates between syndicated programming. Steve went to college to be a band director, but got hooked on radio because of a buddy of his. Steve worked morning drive at an AC station in Pueblo, Colorado.

From there, Steve had various on-air jobs, eventually becoming program director for the Colorado PBS station. He also helped out as the marketing director at the Colorado State Fair. For the next five years, Steve was a reporter / anchor at KFYI-Phoenix, where he also hosted a weekly talk show. In 2005, he arrived at KFI. His resume is replete with radio sales, running a fast food restaurant and co-owning a restaurant.
But when it comes to news, Steve is the “go-to” reporter. He was at the 2008 OJ Simpson trial in Las Vegas. While waiting for the decision of grand jury deliberations in Ferguson, Missouri, KFI sent him to cover the case in 2014. “From being put in an unfinished courtroom to file from – being kicked out of that by the fire marshal – to relocating in a DUI classroom – from having to get audio from the back of a television...we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to bring the Southland the going's on in Vegas,” Steve proclaimed at the time.

A few years ago when eight people were killed in a popular Seal Beach strip mall hair salon, Steve was on the scene for KFI and on-air with Ken Chiampou all afternoon.
In 2009, when warnings about traveling to Mexico, especially the border cities were dire, Steve headed southward.  "Head decapitations seem to have replaced a beating and broken nose for those who violated the drug cartel boundaries.” Steve was granted an extremely rare opportunity to ride “shotgun” with the Tijuana Police Department’s equivalent of a SWAT team. He was in in the Border City to report on reactions to the ongoing violence, and its impact both in Mexico and the United States. We heard his adrenaline-charged voice as his police car careened down the main streets of Tijuana. (Photo: Steve interviewing Luis Moreno)

“I thrive on the diversity of assignments and locations,” said Steve. “I’ve been in the media business for more than 35 years and I still get a thrill out of covering the unknown. None of this would've been possible without the friendship and fellowship of my family at KFI.”


Tomm Looney stars in Ally Bank's 2 1/2 stars commercial

Email Saturday, 2.16.2019
** Dizzy Music

“Thanks for sharing all the kudo letters about Diane Thompson. It’s nice to see others realize the impact she’s had on our lives through her broadcast work.

I have a bone to pick with ‘Natural’ Neil Ross, though. I don’t think music has to be relevant to be enjoyed, that’s why there’s a whole genre of pop music that’s called bubble gum music. That’s what Sugar SugarYummy Yummy YummyIndian LakeDizzyHurray for Hazel, etc. is. It makes you smile. Not everything in the sixties was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, War or Dylan. If that is what Sirius’s subscribers like, why knock it? Someone needs a nap.” – Julie Byers

** Diane News Disappointing

“I was so disappointed to read that Diane Thompson is retiring. In 1989 when she was a young field reporter for KNX, she interviewed me when I was the President of the Los Angeles Master Chorale Auxiliary and a VP on the LAMC Chorale Board. We were at the time presenting the first Los Angeles Master Chorale High School Choir Festival. It was a Festival where we brought eight high school choirs together for a series of rehearsals under the direction of John Currie, the Music Director and Conductor at the time. We finished with a free concert for the public at a high school in the South Bay.

Diane gave us some well-needed publicity, which indirectly led to the Festival becoming an annual tradition of the LAMC. Grant Gershon, the current LAMC Music Director and Conductor is getting ready for the 30th rendition, which now encompasses over 30 high school choirs and is presented at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Thank you, Diane. Your career on-air has filled me with many hours of information delivered in a cool caring fashion. Your time with Jim Thornton was especially memorable to me.” – Bill Mann, South Pasadena 

** Will Miss Diane Thompson

“The Diane Thompson story was news to me, as they say, because I’d not heard about her retirement even though KNX is the only AM in my car with a programmed button. I loved her yarn about her son, at age 4, barfing on her at the Rose Parade.

Glad to have you back in my email inbox.” – Warren Cereghino

** Satellite Subscription

“Upon reading Dave Kunz’s comments on satellite radio, the one and only reason I subscribe is due to the terrain in the Bay Area, which isn’t conducive to terrestrial signals.  Keep up the great work.” – Ira Lawson

** Super Signal Sucker

“Back in 2004, 2005 and 2006, I exchanged numerous emails with Mike Callaghan. He gave me only the brief details of the parts used to make the ‘KPPC Super-Signal-Sucker Antenna.’

Mike said it was made out of a broomstick and coat hangers. Listeners who tried to hear KPPC/fm better wrote to Mike. He answered their requests, and sent out hundreds of copies of the plans. It allowed listeners to build the antenna, which was designed to bring in a better signal [until the new and stronger transmitter was built on Flint Peak].

I never thought to ask Mike if he had any copies of the original antenna plans, so I could re-print the design for my article. I can't think of anybody right now who might have an archived copy. And now that Mike is no longer with us, I can’t ask him. Perhaps a LARP can help?” – Jim Hilliker

** Place To Be

“The Martoni piece Tuesday? Worth the price of admission! Memories indeed.” – Wink Martindale

** Williams on Martoni’s

Bruce Williams. Listened often. Very sharp guy and broadcaster. Sadly, missed on-the-air today. 

Your fun memory-lane evening in Arroyo Grande takes Terri and I back to a recent evening of John Sebastian (Spoonful) and Maria Muldaur (with the recent Grammy’s nom ... Best Traditional Blues Album). I played Midnight at the Oasis a ton in 1974 at 93/KHJ. The night we saw them, their decades on stage came thru beautifully along with great storied memories between songs. 

Speaking of memories, production guru, Don Elliot [I pinch-a you cheek]. Aw Sal, we miss you. After the 1994 Earthquake – from which Martoni’s never fully recovered – the Chef, Gino and his brother Santino [host] had a restaurant in Sherman Oaks on Ventura. They also had one in the New Orleans Square, Woodland Hill, and finally a very small place in Chatsworth. Always taking with them the recipe for the WORLD’S BEST Fettuccine Alfredo.

Last we saw Santino at his Chatsworth place he showed the beginnings of Alzheimer's [late 1990s-2000s]. It crushed us and with his devious smile and raised eyebrows, he still would not give me the Alfredo recipe when I asked. 

At Martoni’s in the 1980s my then biz partner, Dave and I haunted the restaurant so often, we were honored with a Dave & Dave-plaque’d booth. They took down Betty & Tom Brenneman's plaque for ours. Betty was music coordinator for ALL RKO Radio, Tom had a Radio Services Co. The booth was right across from the Bar [Lee’s], last booth before turning right to the dining room. If it was occupied when Dave and I arrived, those folks would be respectfully moved elsewhere. I’ve got so many stories about Martoni's ... smile.

As Bill Gavin would close, ‘be well.’” – Dave Sebastian Williams

** Laboe Honored 

“Just want to thank you for your coverage of Art Laboe’s recent honors from the Pacific Pioneers Broadcasters. I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. Cheers!” – C. Cousteau

** Valentine’s Story

“If you ever re-do your Valentine’s Day Love stories, I have one.

In 1983, I went into Christ Hospital in Cincinnati for gallbladder surgery. Back then it was a fairly major surgery that required an 8-10 inch incision [it was shortly after that they had come up with the less invasive surgery.] I spent nearly a week in the hospital. The first two days after surgery I had a tube in my stomach (and a catheter]. Finally, that was removed and I was just hanging around recuperating in the hospital.

I’d get visits from co-workers and friends which was very nice, but a young lady I had been dating decided not to show up.  I was bummed for a while until a young nurse came into the room. The recovery room wasn’t her usual department, but they were short-handed and she volunteered. We spent the next 18 hours smiling, laughing and she was trading insults with my radio buddies better than most. I found out that her dad’s cousin was the morning show host on our station, which immediately put her on a small pedestal.

Later that night she asked if I needed something. It had been almost five days since I got to wash my hair, so I told her I didn’t have any shampoo. She not only found shampoo, she offered to do the washing. That was kinda cool, I thought. She was gentle, kind and when it was done, she said not to worry about the soap she used because it was what they used to clean equipment, including enema utensils. At the end of the night she said she was going to come back the next day and steal one of the flower arrangements I had been given by my friends. I was hoping that was the case.

The next morning a doctor came in and said I was ready to go home if I wanted to. I said, ‘I think I’ll stay just one more day’ hoping that the visit this pretty nurse had threatened would happen. I stayed. I waited. Waited some more and kept waiting. She never materialized. My parents had come up from Florida to make sure I was okay and drove me from the hospital to my house and on the way home I had them stop at a florist. On the way out of the hospital I looked at my chart for the nurse’s name, and sent an arrangement to her at the hospital. I included a business card with my home phone and message, ‘you forgot your flowers, I forgot to ask a question.’

That was the extent of what I thought was our relationship. Two weeks went by and nothing. I'd go home and check my answering machine. Nothing. Then, after two weeks there was a message from her. I called back and we did small talk. I learned a little more about nurses and she learned more about radio program directors. Then there was a pause. I remember it being a very long pause. Then she said ‘you said you had a question-what is it?’ I asked if she ever dated a former patient. She said ‘no.’  ‘But call me in 2 weeks.’ I thought it strange, but didn’t mind waiting. I called back and asked her again if she would date an ex-patient. She said yes! 

Our first date was fun. It was a Temptations/Four Tops concert at Cincinnati’s outdoor venue Riverbend. It was a fun show-we had a great time. We agreed to go out again. On our third date we went water skiing with her sister and brother-in-law. I had never been on water skis. In the midst of trying I lost my trunks! But she just laughed it off.

At her sister’s wedding, several people came up and asked how things were between us, and warned me that I should hang on to her. Appropriate? I don’t know, but I asked her that night to marry me. We’ll be celebrating 34 years this September.

Thought you’d like to know that story. As you might be able to tell, I love telling it.” – Dave Mason

No LARadio Column February 13-15

 

Bruce Williams, former KGIL Talker, Dies 

(February 12, 2019) His widely heard, enlightening show was heard locally on KGIL in the 80s. TalkNet host Bruce Williams died February 9 at the age of 86. His syndicated show ran for more than 29 years. Bruce was 81 when he hung up his headphones for the final time in 2013, signing off as he always did by saying, “Keep in touch.”

Spanning a career that lasted more than three decades, Williams created a loyal evening listenership with his informative and entertaining program. He seemed to have a logical and common sense approach to all problems.

Born on February 18, 1932, the Hall of Famer didn’t begin his radio career until he was in his forties. His eclectic background provided enough experience resulting in a compelling Talk show. Bruce seemed to know a little bit about a lot of things.

After serving in the Air Force during the Korean conflict and graduating from Newark State College, he opened a pre-school named after his children. He spent time driving an ice cream truck in New York City. He was also a taxi driver and drove a beer truck. For seventy years of his life, he spent the holiday season selling Christmas trees in New Jersey. He also sold insurance, owned a flower shop, a car rental agency, a barber shop and he owned and operated several nightclubs.

In 1975, he started a general Talk show at WCTC (1450 Talk Radio) in New Jersey, called “At Your Service.” He eventually landed at WMCA-New York. NBC was looking to launch a nightly advice-oriented talk show, and Bruce was chosen and his program launched in November, 1981. It was from this platform that Bruce’s reputation as a broadcaster blossomed.

In 1999, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. Bruce authored six financial and real estate advice books as well as a syndicated advice column called Smart Money.

TALKERS Magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Bruce in an excellent interview.
Hear Ache. KFI weekender Wendy Walsh, Canadian and American professor of psychology, launched a new podcast called “Mating Matters.” She was named one of Time Magazine's “Persons of the Year” in 2017 when her voice helped pave the way for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements … Another 640AM podcast comes from popular KFI newsman Aron Bender, who just launched a new podcast on iTunes. His podcasts promise to shine the spotlight on people in LA media, sharing stories of the storytellers. The SoCal native has a journalism degree from Cal State Northridge … Caught an Everly Brothers cover group over the weekend. I forgot how many Top 10 hits they had and forgot completely that Don and Phil were inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in the first group along with Elvis, James Brown, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, and Little Richard. Fun night in Arroyo Grande … As we approach another lackluster year for movies to be considered the Best Picture for an Academy Award Oscar, in 1980 Xanadu was so bad, it launched the Razzies. These awards were given for “failure in cinematic achievements,” however the soundtrack peaked at #4 on the Billboard chart with five singles that made the Top 20, including Olivia Newton-John’s #1 Magic. The worst film that year was Can’t Stop the Music … A number of readers attempted to find a record for Ann Beebe. She had only a few scant lyrics. Robin Banks (the male one) found Big Windy City. “We spent hours looking everywhere last week, and never stumbled across this link, so I do appreciate the time you spent,” emailed Ann to Robin. Dwaine Maggart also found the song. Thanks to everyone ... Ellen K, KOST morning host, got high marks for her announcing duties at the recent Grammys.

Martoni's Was the Place to Be in the 60s and 70s
by Don Elliot

Recalling back-in-the-dj-day Hollywood. Best shows in town. (ALL AT MARTONI’S):
1.) Frank Sinatra “Up-a Stairs"
2.) Lenny’s “back room show"
3.) Anything Sal said behind the bar
4.) Robert W. Morgan on a barstool
5.) Pretending to talk trash into hidden FBI microphones in the lamps
6.)  Record guys calling you the next day insensed that you didn’t even thank them for covering the tab when you actually paid for it too. Can you say “double billing"
7.) Tony Richland after a couple of pops doing his  impression of “The Real Don Steele"
8.) RDS doing his impression of Tony Richland 
9.) RDS doing his machine gun act. (The weapon, not the jock)
10.)  Me running to the men’s room to grab a toilet seat cover to place on the stool where Morgan sat before I let my lady take his place.  And Morgan ... speechless
(Thanks to Don Elliot)

Motown at 60 

(February 11, 2019) The diversity of Los Angeles Radio People was truly evident when Smokey Robinson was heard at KCMG/KHHT (Hot 92.3). His sweet, soft-spoken voice was heard nightly for about a year-and-a-half. 

A recent magazine article saluted “Motown at 60." Smokey was involved in hundreds, if not thousands of Top 40 hits. He sang many of those hits with the Miracles. Smokey also became a Motown vice president, producer and talent scout. He is always associated with class and taste.

Smokey is in both the Rock Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has been honored by the Kennedy Center. He’s still active at 78. Smokey’s playing four shows at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas. When he’s not singing, he’s doing yoga, eating vegan or playing golf. Smokey was best friends with Aretha Franklin. In the AARP article he said: “I’m cool ‘cause she’s cool.”

After years of success, the Motown empire and family became dysfunctional. Michael Jackson said at one stage that even as a child, he knew the Motown studio system was too confining for his singular vision. Paul Williams of the Temptations fatally shot himself two blocks from Hitsville. The Supremes’ Florence Ballard endured a heartrending spiral into depression and alcoholism, before dying of a heart attack at 32. Mary Wells lost her voice and her life to throat cancer at 49. A grieving Marvin Gaye could not perform live for four years after his duet partner, Tammi Terrell, collapsed in his arms onstage and died following brain surgery in 1970. Gaye himself was plagued with drug problems and was shot to death by his father.

Duke Fakir, now 82 and the sole surviving original member of the Four Tops said: “Motown was more than brick and mortar. It was a huge part of our social life. We spent as much time there as we did at home.”
1988 film

Email Saturday, 2.9.2019

** KNX Hero of the Week

"Thanks for Alan Oda's story on the remarkable career of Diane Thompson at KNX.

I was honored by her as a 'KNX Helpful Honda Hero of the Week' recently for my work with citizen scientists monitoring the marine environment. All of the 2018 'Heroes' gathered last week at the Universal Sheraton Starview Ballroom on the 21st floor, with an astounding view and live music, for a gourmet luncheon celebration. Everyone lined up for photos with Diane.

The announcement of her retirement was greeted with gasps, followed by a standing ovation. It was a great moment recognizing how Diane has made the LA area a better place with her reporting and her concern for people from all walks of life. She and husband

Chris Taylor
certainly deserve a happy next phase, but her calm, intelligent voice will be missed on the air." - Karen Martin

** Diane Thompson a Princess

“Great feature on Diane Thompson. She’s one of my favorite people. It’s been such a pleasure to work with her on and off for the last 15 years. Always such a professional, and really wonderful to talk to! I’m going to miss seeing her every day in the KNX newsroom. I wish her much luck in her future endeavors!” – Katie Clark, Entercom Director of Traffic Operations

** Thompson’s KHJ Colleague

“I enjoyed working with Diane Thompson for a couple of years at KHJ. I was always a little worried about her though. Diane has always been thin, and I felt compelled to drag her down the street to the famous old Nickodell restaurant every now and then for a good lunch. She always objected, but did eat well on those occasions.

Diane, I am very proud of you and delighted for you and Chris [Taylor]. You’ve had a wonderful career and I’m glad I was a tiny part of it!” – Larry / Jack Boxer

** Great Field Reporter

“Happy to see Diane Thompson retire. I’ll always remember when she was a field reporter, always covering the hot stories, shootings and other mayhem, while her counter-part Jon Goodman, an ex-Marine, got the quiet assignments like City Hall.” – Tom Bernstein

** Missing Diane

“What a great run she had and as well as being a great broadcaster, she will be missed in LA radio.” – Bob Koontz

** Podcasting Boom

“The current clamor about podcasting and predictions that radio will not survive five years is not consistent with reality and history. Radio needs to keep reinventing itself, as it has in the past, for example, the introduction of Top Forty radio. But radio has a long-term future.

In 1954, I was helping a tower rigger in the field with the erection of a 200-foot AM tower in an area just South of Redlands for my first radio station (KCAL-Redlands). A farmer in a pick-up approached, and asked what we were doing. When I told him he looked puzzled, and said ‘I thought tv put radio out of business.’ And that was l954.

There will be reports of very successful outcomes for some podcasting efforts, but this does not mean that it has to be at the expense of radio. In fact, this could enhance radio since it places an emphasis on audio vs. video. TV viewing may incur a loss of viewing time as a consequence of time spent with Podcasts. Incidentally, several years ago Norm Pattiz launched a Podcasting enterprise. Lately, there has been a lack of news as to how successful this has been. Norm is one of the persons who could make podcasting successful unless he was ahead of its time.” – Saul Levine

** Sirius Standard

“Interesting question from Ann Beebe in trying to figure out that particular song. When I was a kid growing up in Northridge, there was a great independent record shop called Tempo Records. The owner wisely staffed it with music majors from nearby CSUN, and customers always marveled at how skilled the clerks were at identifying a song. Nine times out of ten, they’d nail it merely by hearing the customer do the old, ‘It goes like this…(‘la la la la’ or ‘da da da de de da da’).’ I guess places like that are mostly gone now.

Also, wanted to comment on your Hear Ache last week about Toyota making SiriusXM radio standard in all their models. Satellite radio as standard equipment has been steadily creeping its way down the price scale in recent years. Among all vehicle brands, it’s hard to find a passenger car in the $30-40,000 range that doesn’t have it. Of course, the trick for SXM is to get people to subscribe. Generally, there’s a free trial of anywhere from 90 days to one-year included at the time of vehicle purchase. In my non-scientific surveying over the years, I’ve found that about half of car owners then step up to pay for the service, with the other half preferring to stay with AM, fm, and whatever streaming music service their phone will play in the car via Bluetooth.” – Dave Kunz, Automotive Reporter, KABC-TV, Co-Host, “The Car Show”

** Enjoyed Laboe Piece

“Just a note to say hello. I know all is well with you. I’m doing great.

Still doing Sunday talk show on KMJQ-Houston and practicing immigration law. Keep the LARP coming. Enjoyed the piece on Art Laboe. His show followed mine when I worked 9 p.m. – 12 midnight on XPRS.” – Dr. J (Tommy), J Thomas Smith, J.D., Ph.D., NCC, MAC, CCMHC

** Remembering George Klein

“Legendary Memphis dj George Klein died February 5 at 83. He was in hospice care and had been suffering from dementia.

Klein met Elvis Presley in 8th grade at Humes High School in North Memphis, and they remained best friends until Presley's death in 1977. Klein was a groomsman at Presley’s 1967 wedding to Priscilla Beaulieu and was a pallbearer at Presley’s funeral.  Klein wrote two books, Elvis Presley: The Family Album (2007) and Elvis, My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock ’N’ Roll Nights & My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley (2011).

For 34 years, he hosted the syndicated George Klein's Original Elvis Hour, and for ten years hosted a weekly program on SiriusXM's Elvis Radio channel broadcast live from Graceland. Klein began in radio while in high school, broadcasting football games on WHHM. He then moved to WHBQ as part of the broadcast team of the Memphis Chicks Double-A baseball team. He also became a ‘gopher’ for Dewey Phillips, who in 1954 was the first dj to play an Elvis Presley record, That's All Right

Klein soon got an airshift and became the second dj to play a Presley record. Klein later worked at KOSE in Osceola, Arkansas, then moved to afternoons at KWAM. He next worked at WMC but left in 1957 to join Elvis Presley on tour. After Elvis got drafted in 1958, Klein returned to radio, working first at WHEY and then returning to WHBQ. He also spent 12 years as host of Talent Party, a teen music/dance show on WHBQ-Channel 13.

In 1984, Klein moved to WLVS, an fm station owned by Sun Records founder Sam Phillips – no relation to Dewey Phillips – and launched the Elvis Hour program. It, and his SiriusXM program, continued until 2018 when health problems forced him to retire.” – Steve Thompson

** Memphis Blues

“Many thanks for using our pix today. I know you'll enjoy BOTH these stories in the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame monthly newsletter.

The first on Brent Stoker [son of former Jordonaires singer Gordon Stoker].  And Dewey Phillips, first to play an Elvis record on his ‘Red, Hot & Blue’ show [WHBQ Memphis in July, '54, That's Alright Mama].

Thanks again. I read your outstanding column first thing every morning, even before the newspaper.” – Wink Martindale

** Country Cousins

“The boys from Southern California Country radio are humbled and honored. Three of us Country djs originally on California Country radio stations, with over 20 years on air in Country radio, have been nominated for the Country Radio Broadcasters ‘Country Radio Hall of Fame.’ Nominees are Jim Duncan KZLA, Danny Dwyer KUPL and me, Craig Powers [former KIK/fm] currently at K-Flag.

We will find out who wins at opening ceremonies at the Annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville next week. Please wish us luck. Jim Duncan has over 40 years of service in the LA market alone working for KZLA, Westwood One, Dial Global and more. He’s also one of the nicest guys in the biz. I’m pulling for him.” – Craig Powers

** A Real OLDies Station

“Maybe an L.A station need to read this. Sounds like a format that might attract young and old is possible.  This article highlights what I see as the problem with Sirius’ Sixties on Six channel.

There was some great music during that era, but every time I tune-in I’m driven away by songs that, while popular then, have no relevance now, i.e. The John Denvers, Tony Orlando and Dawns etc. The young audience seems to have no interest in the ‘Sugar Sugars’ either. So why play them? 

John Sebastian’s new WOW format supposedly only targets 55-72, but if he does it right, he might find some surprise demos tuning in too.” – Neil Ross, author of Vocal Recall

Delilah Tells It Like It Is

(February 8, 2019) Every weeknight, Delilah – heard locally on KFSH – liberally offers stories from her own life on her nationwide radio program. In a recent AARP magazine profile, Delilah Rene talked about the healing power of music. “Songs are full of wisdom. I lost my 18-year-old son to suicide in 2017. I think his prescribed medication made him delusional. Then somebody introduced me to Willie Nelson’s lyric, ‘It’s not something you get over, but it’s something you get through.’ So true.”

Delilah is 58 years old and has been on the air since 1974. She reaches some 8 million listeners per week, more than any other female call-in radio host.

Hear Ache. Do you take jingle making for granted? Norm Garr sent along an interesting link to a Johnny Mann session in the mid-60s for KCRA-Sacramento ... Jimmy Kimmel is spreading his wings and has formed a new production company – Kimmelot – with Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment (created Pawn Stars). Kimmelot is a “creative lab” to produce unscripted, scripted and digital content with the late-night host … The Dennis Miller Option podcast is now airing exclusively on Westwood One Podcast Network … Music sleuths listen up! Ann Beebe is trying to find a song from 1964 - 1972.  “Title may be ‘Big Windy City.’ She’s not completely sure of the lyrics, but it started out something like this:

Big, windy city
You’re hopeless, you’re not very pretty.
Your days are too cold, your nights are too long…

Know the song?

Digital. Online publishers are having a rough start to the New Year. Digital publishers and platforms hit a new low, as Variety and the LA Times noted the collapse. Last week, more than 1,000 employees were laid off across three companies – Verizon, Gannett and BuzzFeed. Variety cited the layoffs were a reflection of the broken business models “that serve as wobbly foundations for many content companies. Adding to their woes, thee publishers have platform partners whose businesses are almost as troubled.” Variety professed that digital-media firms can’t operate any longer with casual disregard for rational, responsible business practices. “But look on the bright side: It’s hard to see how things could get worse.”

Hear Ache, 2.7.2019 

(February 7, 2019) Howard Stern’s wife, Beth, was featured in US magazine as she promoted her hosting chores with the Kitten Bowl, a “football” game that features kitten up for adoption playing on the green. Her efforts led to a whopping 25,000 felines finding their forever homes … Sad to see the passing of James Frawley. He directed The Monkees tv show and The Muppet Movie. He was 82 … RJ Curtis had a gnarly cycling crash recently. “At mile 25 of my 100-mile ride, a crazy, freakish crash occurred, suddenly taking down the rider in front of me. I had nowhere to go, flipping right over him and directly into the pavement at 20 mph, taking a direct hit on my right shoulder. Hardest impact I’ve ever experienced. Sadly, I have prior experience hitting the deck. I knew I was gonna hit badly, and upon impact, knew it was serious. Two others riders then piled on top of me, unable to stop. Good times!” Curtis has a busted clavicle, and a pretty severely separated AC joint. “I’m sore everywhere” … Was listening to SiriusXM and heard a one-hit wonder, Just One Look by Doris Troy. It was a hit when I started out in radio and was told by management to avoid playing two women back to back. What? Such antiquated thinking. Troy died from emphysema at her home in Las Vegas, in 2004. She was 67 … Don Bastida checked in from the Bay Area. He’s now with Entercom at KCBS Radio, San Francisco. “I manage the Traffic Operation here. I miss Southern California but it's nice to be close to my parents,” emailed Don … If you have Alexa at home, it is tough to deny that the device is pretty addictive. iHeartMedia ceo Bob Pittman says the consumer uses it like their clock radio, their bathroom radio, and kitchen radio because it is next to impossible to buy an old-fashioned radio. “Radio is doing very well in the car, very well in the office and we do well at home where people have the radios,” said Pittman. “But, over time the number of radio’s in the home has declined and it’s hard to go find an old-fashioned radio to buy. Alexa turned out to be the new radio.”

KNX Vet Set to Retire 

(February 6, 2019) Nowadays, the moniker “radio journalist” is not often used, yet Diane Thompson has resplendently personified this description for four decades. She recently announced her retirement from the afternoon drive anchor chair at all-News KNX.

A graduate of the University of Texas, Diane’s first news job was at KVUE/tv in Austin. After working in the Phoenix market, she arrived in Los Angeles to work at KFWB. “I worked there one week, then got a better gig at KHJ,” where she spent five years at the legendary station, including a year as the news director. But Diane is best known for her 34 years at KNX.

“Diane started a week after me (September, 1985) and outlasted my by 13 years,” recalled Ed Pyle, former KNX news director. “A trooper for sure, no complaining ever, no matter what the assignment. A first string anchor/reporter the station and the listeners will miss.”

“It took three tries before finally getting hired at KNX,” said Diane. “I think what finally convinced Bob Sims (news director) and George Nicholaw (general manager) to take a chance on me was when I won the UPI award (at KHJ) for Best Radio Newscast in California in 1984. I received a letter from Bob Sims which read: ‘Congratulations on the big UPI win! You beat the big boys at their own game. Good for you.’”

As one of station’s renowned field reporters, Diane covered the L.A. riots, the North Hollywood bank shootout, the Simpson/Goldman murders, and the Cerritos midair collision between a commercial jetliner and a private plane. Diane was also first on the scene when the First Interstate Bank high rise in Downtown Los Angeles caught fire. “I broke the story nationally of the murder of actor Phil Hartman,” said Diane.

She offered a live, eyewitness account when the KABC/tv news van exploded, seriously injuring reporter Adrianne Alpert. Her coverage earned her the prestigious Bill Stout Memorial Award for Outstanding Spot News from the Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA).

Surprisingly, the transition to her current role as a drive time news anchor was not as challenging as Diane’s first job out in the field. “It wasn’t too difficult to move into the anchor chair at KNX because I’d been doing it for six years at several music stations. What was more intimidating for me was handling street reporting duties. I hadn’t done a lot of that, so I just learned on-the-job. I loved being out in the field covering news. I enjoyed the camaraderie and made many good friends.”

Diane was featured in a front page story in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times, about her work with the KNX award-winning “Assignment ’86” documentary program, “The Question of Drug Testing.” Times reported Christopher Tricarico quoted Diane when she described the significant work required to create the long-form piece: “You know, I’ve told my boyfriend ‘you are not going to see me this month because I’m doing this documentary.’” The article also noted Diane had to use her weekends to prepare for the documentary, given the daily demands of her full-time field reporting responsibilities.

In 1988, Diane’s reporting helped recover two little boys who were kidnapped by their babysitter in Santa Monica. She received accolades from both her colleagues and the community, with the story being featured on local tv news.

Other events include the 1984 Summer Olympics, opening ceremonies of the Reagan Library, and the official visits of Pope John Paul II and South African President Nelson Mandela. She also covered 26 Academy Award ceremonies and 14 Rose Parades, “when my four-year-old son barfed on me during a live report (he still might have to join the Union). It was so gross.”

(1. Thompson covering Loma Prieta Earthquake- 880 freeway collapse in Oakland 2. Golden Mikes in 1989 -not too many women at KNX 3. On elephant)

Diane has other tales of the bizarre. “The strangest one happened during one of the presidential elections when I was invited by the Cedars Sinai Medical Center to interview a heart transplant patient who was voting from his hospital bed. I put on a gown and mask… interviewed him from his special isolation room, put the story together and went home…only to find out he died that day!” The Los Angeles Times obituary noted the man “died shortly after being interviewed by Diane Thompson of KNX Newsradio.” In spite of the claims of her newsroom colleagues, “I didn’t kill him…he was alive when I left,” she said.

“Diane has always been a true pro when it comes to her job. Distractions don’t seem to affect her. She has the rare ability to compartmentalize and focus on the task at hand,” said Tom Haule, former KNX operations director and news anchor. “I have worked with her both in the field and in-studio on the air, and she has always been at the top of her game.”

Haule also cited Diane’s tenacity. “I know that she has had her share of challenges. It’s never easy balancing motherhood and career. Over the years Diane has shown a remarkable level of strength and focus to both personal and professional lives. She projects a solid front and manages a convincing, personable performance through it all.” Haule concluded, “I wish her the best in her new and hopefully less demanding and complicated life.”


(1. Thompson covering the Oscars 2. Getting to a story as fast she can 3. Diane with husband Chris Taylor and colleague Maggie McKay)

Diane took over the “KNX Hero of the Week” feature from the retiring Jack Salvatore in 2007. “I’ve interviewed close to 500 people over a dozen years,” said Diane. The feature highlights individuals who make Southern California a better community thorough their acts of service. At the recent “Helpful Honda Heroes” reception honoring those recognized over the past year, Mayor Eric Garcetti offered his personal tribute: Diane has made a lasting impact on the Los Angeles landscape. Maya Angelou said people will forget what you did, or what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel. And by that measure, Diane Thompson is unforgettable…I’m so grateful to have heard your voice. So I encourage you to raise your glass to an angel in a city full of angels, and I want to say congratulations to you, Diane, on your retirement.

Ken Charles, KNX program director, said “I am happy for Diane as she begins this new phase in her life. After 34 years with KNX I know our team, our listeners and this industry will miss her enthusiasm, grace and talent. In the 12 years Diane has anchored and produced the KNX Heroes feature, she has told the amazing stories of over 500 people. Her commitment to telling these special stories has made a real difference in our community. For that work, and the many things she has done over her remarkable career she will be sincerely missed.”
Diane said she’ll miss her newsroom colleagues, “we’ve been through a lot together.”

“I want to thank Carol Breshears (KFWB), Lee Marshall (KHJ) and Bob Sims (KNX) for hiring me and giving me a chance to be a broadcast journalist. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Fred Roggin. He changed the trajectory of my life and I wouldn't be working in L.A. if not for him,” said Diane.

She offers this final thought: “This sounds corny, but I couldn’t have done any of this without support from my husband Chris Taylor. He’s been my biggest cheerleader and the person I can always count on for really good advice about the business of radio.” You can wish Diane well at:  taylorvoice@earthlink.net (Story written by Alan Oda, LARadio senior correspondent)

Wendy Williams' TV Talk Show Postponed Indefinitely

(February 5, 2019) Wendy Williams, former KDAY personality, is once again featured in an entertainment magazine. This time, US magazine devotes four pages to Wendy. Her return to her syndicated afternoon Talk show has been “postponed indefinitely.”

Her reps said that Wendy “is now suffering new complications from her Graves’ disease – symptoms can include bulging eyes, weakness, irritability and shakiness.” She said she was going to go after this latest setback “head-on.”

In 2017, she fainted on-air after overheating in a Halloween costume, an incident she deemed “scary.” Having never missed a show in the show’s 10-year run, she canceled three tapings due to illness before extending that hiatus to three weeks.

In December, she raised new concerns when she appeared dazed and incoherent during an interview.

Her fans are supporting her on social media and want her back safely and healthy.

Art Laboe Honored at Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters Luncheon

(February 4, 2019) Art Laboe was the star of the show on Friday, as the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters saluted the 93-year-old broadcaster and radio owner at their luncheon. Rick Dees offered the best line: “How rare it is to have a radio performer’s age and body temperature be the same.”

Mary Beth Garber worked with Art at KRLA. The former president of the Southern California Broadcasters Association reported on the event for LARadio.

“We had to move to the Airtel Plaza in Van Nuys due to the earlier fire at the Sportsmen’s Lodge. The room was smaller and filled to the rafters. I haven’t asked Michael Brockman what the count was, but it was a full house. I was joined on the dais with Rick Dees, LaboeShotgun Tom KellyPaul RodriguezRomeo (morning guy from KDAY) and Wink Martindale, who stepped in at the last minute because the other guy previously scheduled got a gig in Texas at the last minute and sent a video. Wink told the joke you published about the guy with Super Bowl tickets. 

The event got off to a late start for a number of reasons. We then had a group of young singers offer three songs. Tom LaBonge (former Los Angeles City Council member) made a surprise appearance and did a speech.

By the time we got around to the tributes, Art leaned over and said, ‘okay, this has been very nice, but my driver is waiting and I have to go home now.’ I explained that he had to stay for the tributes and assured him that his driver was still here at one of the tables with his people. He was a little leery. Then he said, okay, but I have to go right home after. I can’t stay and sign autographs. 
He was visibly tired, so I promised that if he’d stay and take one more group photo after receiving the plaque, I would personally escort him to his limo and keep the people away. He said okay and was a good sport as things escalated into a frenzy of photos and additional presentations—Shotgun got him a newer version of his Walk of Fame star, then Tom gave him a 62nd Street sign.

I took Art’s elbow and shoulder and began leading him off the dais to the car. We were waylaid by about half a dozen autograph seekers, three right by the limo. When the last one asked for a personal inscription to two different people, Art said no and started to get into the limo. His entourage helped take away the autograph seekers and block the rest so Art could get inside. He said thank you before I closed the door so he could go home.

You could tell the crowd was full of people who loved and / or admired him. I believe he knew that and, all in all, had a good time.”

In other news: Larry Woodside sent along a funnie that anyone can be great dj. “Just load your mouth with marbles, say ‘sister Sue sells shells by the sea shore.’ And each time you say it take a marble out of your mouth. And when you lose all your marbles, you’re a dj.” Thanks, Larry … Jeff Federman got the troops riled up Thursday afternoon at an Entercom team meeting when the USC Marching Band came marching in. Also, special appearance by Sam Smith. Nice energy … Congratulations to Steve Fredericks Liddicks on his happy 40 years of marriage … Super Bowl ad department clock was ticking down to kick-off yesterday. NBC didn’t sell out Super Bowl LII until just 48 hours or so before kickoff … Congratulations to Nora and Jeff Gonzer on 16 years of marriage.


Email Saturday, 2.2.2019

** OBG

“Someone started posting comments about failed Oldies stations on Facebook. I wondered what sparked this issue to come up here today. I don’t have to think about it for long, considering the resurgence of the missing Oldies that KRTH dropped, picked up by Saul Levine for his most recent format change to Oldies 1260 AM. And it’s very topical on this particular day because of our honoring Oldies King Art Laboe at the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters luncheon.

Will there be a renamed Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters? I’ve heard the front runner was ‘Hollywood Entertainment Media Professionals [HEMP].’  Somehow, that works.” – Don Elliot

** Streaming

“Maybe the innovators will break thru on streaming radio, especially with 5G coming. Within five years, I think new streaming start-ups [not corporate streams or conventional radio station streams, but new streaming start-ups] will knock out fm stations. These new streams will do to fm, what fm did to AM in the late 70’s/early 80’s because the streamers will innovate, something that the corporate-run fm’s are no longer able to do.” – Bob MacKay

** Potpourri

“Interesting ‘Video in Cars’ post. I once had a 1999 BMW 750 with a tv built into the dash. It was programmed to blank out the screen when the car was moving, but the Internet showed me how to defeat that. It wasn’t unusual to see the back seat of an SUV playing videos for the kids on the freeways. So now they’re trying to give drivers something else to be distracted by. I’m not one for legislation, but highway safety should be a consideration here. Driving in SoCal isn’t a picnic, but you could watch the entire Star Wars series on the 405 in rush hour. 

Sorry I could not make it to the Scott St. James celebration. I’ve spent a few enjoyable hours at La Petite with Kevin Gershan and his crew. Scott was once hired to be morning man at WAXC, one of the stations I worked at in Rochester, but at the last minute he went to St. Louis instead. Either move would have been great.

Jimmy Steal to Chicago. Jimmy was our pd at WKRQ in Cincinnati for a few years. He did an awesome job at keeping us on top. Von Freeman was our promotions guru and we were unstoppable. I know L.A. will miss Jimmy like they have Von. 

And I’m sure you followed the sad story that was ‘MaxFM’ in San Diego/Tijuana/Tecate. I was there from 2008–13, and 2014–16 when my position was eliminated. Back in 2009 we had close to a 5 share as ‘The Walrus,’ but new investors came in and offered their opinions, and changed the direction of the station, proof that when opinion overtakes common sense the results aren’t good. The recent dispute with the station owner has put some very good people on the beach. My exit from ‘Max’ offered me the opportunity to join Entercom in San Diego, and the past 18 months have been amazing. 

Anyway, thanks for keeping us updated on what’s happening in ‘the business.’ We're glad to be hearing from you on a daily basis.” – Dave Mason

** St. James and the Rams

“My father had major surgery end of last week. I’m happy to say the operation went extremely well and his prognosis is very good, but caring for my dad prevented me from attending the memorial for Scott St. James. I wanted very much to attend. Since I couldn’t make it, however, it was nice to read your account of the event.

Short commentary: Scott was a terrific guy. I first met him when I was hired in 1990 at KMPC to be part of the ‘Good Morgan Team’ with Robert W.  Scott was immensely talented, always upbeat and fun to be around. I’m guessing he and RWM are up in heaven right about now talking about the Rams being in the Super Bowl!” – Richard Turnage

** Armstrong Celebrates

“I hope all is well in paradise. Hard to imagine that your daytime high temp was 120 degrees different than some places.

My wife Sara and I are celebrating our 50th anniversary on February 1st. What a fantastic journey!” - Dave Armstrong, CCO, Big Ideas

** Double Image

“WKHI in Newark, Maryland has dropped its ‘Jack-FM’ identity and is now Classic Hits ‘94.9 KHI.’ I wonder what radio station the WKHI boss (pun intended) is emulating? – Steve Thompson

Art Laboe will be honored by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters at a luncheon today.
With fondness, we re-run the story of when Art was presented with a LARadio Lifetime Achievement Award in early 2010. Congratulations, Art!


A Local TV Show Like Noneother

(January 31, 2019) Former KUSC personality Lane Quigley left radio to become a lawyer, but he never lost his love for the medium and early r&b music. “Those of us who were teenagers in the 60's will remember The Lloyd Thaxton Show – a daily tv show combining high school kids dancing (like American Bandstand) with wacky comedy skits,” Quigley posted on Facebook.

“The show was a fixture on Channel 13 in Los Angeles throughout most of the 60’s, and was syndicated nationwide for about four years. I had the privilege of getting to know Lloyd in 2005, and from then until his death in 2008 we became very close friends, speaking on the phone nearly every day and getting together for lunch or dinner at least once a month. Lloyd came into Studio B in early 2006 for an extended interview in which he shared some fascinating stories about his program and the celebrities that he knew. That show is now being replayed on RockitRadio, so if you were a fan of The Lloyd Thaxton Show you don’t want to miss this two-part program. Take this link and look for Show 6367:
http://www.rockitradio.net/programs.html

In other news: Bob Lefsetz is an American music industry analyst and critic, who writes a very thought-provoking blog called the Lefsetz Letter. Alan Hamel, producer, host and married to Suzanne Somers, offers Lefsetz readers some thought on career reinvention, certainly a necessity these days. He knows a thing or two as he has guided his wife through many landmines. As Los Angeles Radio People have had to make other career choices when the gig ended, ten years ago, hundreds of radio people were faced with no job and no prospect of ever being a dj again.

We’ve written about reinvention many times. Hamel wrote about celebrity: “That’s why award show numbers are flaccid. No one knows most of the faces. And even with the ones who are slightly familiar, no one gives a shit. As Suzanne Somers life & business partner since 1968, at the top of our list is REINVENTION. When one’s career arc is cresting at the peak of a parabola, you must change direction or the sands of time will bury you. Show business is a blood sport designed to build you up with kudos & cash and just when you think you’ve ‘made it,’ they tear you down. Once you truly understand this concept & are savvy enough to recognize objectification coming your way from the same folks who worshipped you, REINVENTION saves the day. There Is No Big Time!!”

Hear Wax. Here’s a game changer. What do you think of this headline: “SiriusXM To Come Standard with All Toyota U.S. Models, Deal Extended Through 2028?” … With 2,500 ballots, the LA Times listed the five best basketball movies of all time: HoosiersWhite Men Can’t JumpHoop DreamsBlue Chips, and He Got Game … Congrats to Jerry Naylor on 53 years of wedded bliss. Jerry worked as a jock at Country KLAC after his time as lead singer for the Crickets, succeeding the late Buddy Holly … KROQ’s Bean tweeted about their start doing a remote from Atlanta yesterday. “One working mic for the whole show! We’re gonna be close like Boyz II Men up in here. No headphones that work. An engineer who ‘doesn’t work here.’ Live from Atlanta” ... Allie Mac Kay, part of the morning Kevin & Bean Show, tweeted that she was at a Waffle House in Atlanta singing along to Tevin Campbell. “Best day ever? Yes. Yes, it is!” … Sad day for fans of James Ingram. He died earlier this week at the age of 66 ... Last night Billy Crystal was on Jimmy Kimmel Live! promoting his co-hosting chores with Ralph Lawler for tonight's Clippers game on KLAC. Should be fun.

Celebrating Scott St. James 

(January 30, 2019) Two dozen friends of Scott St. James showed up at the Chateau Le petit restaurant last weekend to pay tribute to the talented broadcaster. The descriptive use of the word “character” certainly applied to Scott. The Celebration of Life was held on what would have been Scott’s 76th birthday. He died December 17, 2018 after a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The event turned out to be as much about Kevin Gershan, as it was about Scott. St. James had no family to assist him during the last five years of his life. That’s when Kevin stepped in and became his angel. KNBC’s Fritz Coleman was touched by the extraordinary care Kevin gave to Scott. The weather forecaster talked about his friendship with Scott that developed during the Alzheimer’s years as the two were neighbors. Fritz, who started out in radio, would stop by and the two of them would sit and tell stories, which continued until Scott no longer recognized Fritz.

In a poignant moment, the owner of the Canoga Park hospice home where Scott lived until his death joined the gathering. He praised Gershan for his unprecedented care for Scott.

Sioux-z Jessup worked with Scott at “Arrow 93” and played a delicious aircheck of the two of them bantering during morning drive. It demonstrated the meticulous care that Scott put into every word and phrase he used. Another “Arrow 93” colleague who shared stories about Scott was Uncle Joe Benson. Other LARP who attend: Commander Chuck Street, Ann/Don ElliotJim CarsonNeil RossRandy WestKaci ChristianDon Graham, and Chuck Southcott. (Photo: Andrew Schermerhorn, Joe Benson, Sioux-z Jessup)
In other news: Super Bowl Joke. This story is making the Facebook rounds and every time I read it, it draws another smile: Yup…My cousin has 2 tickets for the 2019 SUPER BOWL, both box seats. He paid $2,500 for each ticket, but he didn’t realize last year when he bought them, it was going to be the same day as his wedding. If you are interested, he is looking for someone to take his place. It’s at the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, in Long Beach, Ca at 3pm. Her name is Judy Neal. She is 5’5”, about 120 lbs., she’s a good cook too. She’ll be the one in the white dress.

Scott St. James Celebration: Jim Carson, Chuck Southcott, Commander Chuck Street, Uncle Joe Benson, Fritz Coleman,
Don Elliot, Joe Benson, Chuck Street, Kaci Christian, Sioux-z Jessup, Joe Benson, Kaci Christian


The Laughs Are on Phil Hendrie

(January 29, 2019) Phil Hendrie is one of the most interesting personalities ever in the history of LARadio. Hyperbole? Hardly! He is so inventive and a great example of appointment listening. His shows at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills were always sold out. How could one man talk to himself or us in three or four different character voices? He could and he did. From time to time he would confuse the characters and stories, but that was the fun of Phil Hendrie. You can go to his website and catch up on hundreds of podcasts.

If you were watching the episode of The Conners titled, “It’s Man vs. Machine,” you could see Phil play a vending machine owner. If you missed Phil’s time in LARadio or up for a good, fun dose of Phil, click the artwork.  

In other news: Chris Cox, former pd at KEZY/KORG is retiring after 45 years. Chris has been at KHAY-Ventura/Oxnard since 2012 … Saul Levine’s new HD3 Smooth Jazz can be heard here:  ... If you are planning to attend the Art Laboe Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters luncheon Friday, the venue has moved from the Sportsmen’s Lodge to the Airtel Plaza Hotel, 7277 Valjean Avenue in Van Nuys … Entercom has added duties to a dozen executives in the form of Format Captains. K-EARTH/AMP Radio program director Chris Ebbott will also be in charge of the Entercom stations in the Classic Hits format, while Ken Charles, pd of KNX, will serve as the News Format Captain … Speaking of KNX, the all-News station is looking for a full-time news anchor.  … Changes at Ryan Seacrest Enterprises as president Kelly Mullens Brown prepares to leave the company at the end of February after a seven-year run. "I'm grateful to Kelly for her significant contributions and unwavering dedication to my business and philanthropic interests over the past seven years,” Ryan said in a Hollywood Reporter story … Neil Ross is busy promoting his excellent book, Vocal Recall. Tomorrow at 4 p.m., Neil appears on Stu’s Show, a pop culture show emphasizing television, hosted by Stu Shostak, 
www.stusshow.com

 

 

New Head of Southern California Public Radio 

(January 28, 2019) Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) has new president/ceo. Herb Scannell, who successfully led Nickelodeon, MTV Networks, and TV Land, among other businesses is the new leader of local public radio. He succeeds founding president/ceo Bill Davis, who is retiring after 18 years.

SCPR operates KPCC/Pasadena and is the publisher of the digital L.A.-centric news destination LAist. "We're experiencing an audio renaissance," he said. "Podcasts are blossoming and local public radio is filling a journalistic void left by the diminishing number of local newspapers. At the same time technology is changing the game with the emergence of smart speakers and – very soon – smart cars. California and Los Angeles are the hub of both culture and innovation, and what happens here matters everywhere.

Scannell takes over a newsroom with an annual budget of nearly $33 million, about 155 employees, and an audience of nearly one million. “I began my career in radio, and I couldn’t think of a better time, place or city to return to this medium I love,” Scannell said in the statement. “

Scannell plans to widen KPCC’s foray into podcasts, noting that Hollywood is in the station’s backyard. He utilized the technique while on the board of New York Public Radio. SCPR did not state Scannell’s compensation, although tax forms show that the current ceo’s compensation package is approximately $476,600.
In other news: Randy West has been elected as the newest member of the Board of Directors of Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. “I'm elated to be following Jay Stewart, John Harlan, Jack Narz, Frank Nelson and so many of my heroes,” said Randy. “Name a media star, and we have had them at our luncheons and other functions since its founding in 1966 by Art Gilmore and Edgar Bergen,” he said. “We also have one of the largest collections of original scripts, tapes and transcriptions, as well as vintage broadcast equipment in existence” ... Didja know that Paul Hogan, star of Crocodile Dundee was the host of the Academy Awards telecast in 1987? Good reviews: “The Australian writer-actor put a lively spin on things.” … Speaking of movies, was there a better insertion of contemporary music into a film than The Big Chill? It just ran on TCM. Oh, maybe American Graffiti was a close runner-up … Laura Brodian was released two days after her successful abdominal surgery. “I’m so happy to be home,” Laura emailed … Guy Zapoleon, former program director at K-EARTH in the 70s and early 80s, has made a move to "semi-retirement" from iHeartMedia, where he most served as SVP of Research & Strategy. 

Radio Guide, February 1989


Email Saturday, 1.26.2019



** Golden Mike

“I saw in Monday’s column that KABC won a Golden Mike award for best newscast by a station with no real news department. Rather than accepting an award, I would expect that a news / talk station in the nation’s #2 market would be embarrassed that its news department is so small that it only qualified in the ‘B’ division.

What’s happened to the once mighty KABC is truly a shame.

I just saw Friday’s column where you reported on the development of video for in-car viewing. What great news [he said sarcastically]! Now instead of worrying that the driver next to you on the road is emailing or texting, you can feel safe knowing that the other driver is watching a video. Hell, we might as well all do the Bird Box challenge while we’re driving. What insanity!” – Bob Scott

** Video in the Car

“Surely the tv in cars is a full-blown joke. They had it in Japan when I was there in 1990, but you had to install it illegally. Don’t we have enough problems with texting? In the back seat perhaps, but the photo you show is on the dashboard  Gotta love radio humor!” – Dennis Baxter

** Everything But Driving

"Now add video as radio's latest threat. Really? REALLY?? Do you have any idea how hard it is to drive in LA, eat breakfast, text, answer calls, finish grooming, dart across all lanes of traffic to get to an off ramp, because I forgot where the hell I am, follow Waze directions up someone's driveway, drop the kids off, get back on a freeway, give the special salute to the moron that just looked at me and now, NO, you want me to take my eyes away from the smart phone, to watch....VIDEO....while I drive!! Geez!!!  It's not gonna be easy!!! 

Back in the olden days it was so easy, drive, stay focused on driving, eyes front, listen to the (free) radio!!!  :)" - Jeff Baugh


** Video Killed the Commute

"Once had a 1999 BMW 750 with a tv built into the dash. It was programmed to blank the screen when the car was moving, but the Internet showed me how to defeat that.  Wasn't unusual to see the back seat of an SUV playing videos for the kids on the freeways, so now they're trying to give drivers something else to be distracted by. 

I'm not one for legislation, but highway safety should be a consideration here. Driving in SoCal isn't a picnic, but you could watch the entire Star Wars series on the 405 in rush hour." - Dave Mason

** Legality of Video in Cars

"Isn’t watching tv while driving illegal?" - Mike Sakellarides

** California Law

"Before everyone gets all excited about your lead story, California Vehicle Code, Ch. 5, Art.5, Sec. 27602: (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.

I'm in charge of bubble-bursting this week. There are specific exceptions for vehicle information displays, GPS and maps, rear-view backup cameras, and digital communication terminals in vehicles owned by utilities or which are used for roadside assistance and emergencies. But watching tv while driving? First cop you pass on the street will probably write you up. 

This is a stupid idea from the standpoint of safe vehicle operation in the first place, and whoever thought of this should have his or her license revoked just on principle. Actual link to the Vehicle Code section I cited, at the state of California's legislative website:
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=27602" - K.M. Richards

** Who is Humble Harve?

“A few weeks ago, I sent you a photo of a bus bench advertising 93/KHJ that was made for Quentin Tarantino’s next movie Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. It seems there is more to the story, as seen in the Instagram post my daughter saw.

Apparently, Quentin’s cameo in the film will be playing Humble Harve. My daughter asked me who is Humble Harve, which made my eyes roll.  These kids today don’t know their Humble Harves from their Emperor Hudsons.  

That’s all I was going to send today until I saw the KROQ stuff you posted. We all know 106.7 was the rock of the 80’s and all that, but I remember when KROQ was the slightly edgier rock/pop station at 1500 on the AM dial. I was in 4th or 5th grade in the 70’s and KHJ was getting a little boring with the 2:35 limit on the hit songs and KROQ played the full version of American Pie and Roll Over Beethoven by the Electric Light Orchestra. I’m also pretty sure that Charlie Tuna was the wild morning man at the time. Here is a bumper-sticker I found in a box of memories in my storage.” - Gary Gibson, Montrose
** More KABC

“Jesus, how do high-expense talkers like KABC stay on the air with decimal point numbers like a .7? I look at that and wonder ‘why bother?’” – Rich Brother Robbin
** Look-a-Likes

“Was I the only one to notice that the guy in the picture you posted, to the left and slightly below Sylvia Chase, is a dead-ringer for current L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti? [I have no idea who that actually is.]

Thanks for keeping up the good work.” – Dave Kunz
** Downtown LA Then  

“If you can use an early LA photo, here’s a ‘Then’ picture for you. It’s DTLA and the 4-level as seen from near Echo Park. Newest car in frame is a 58 Chevy, traffic hasn’t changed but the skyline sure has. LA City Hall was the tallest building for a bit!” – Jeff Baugh

** Go Holiday Music

“Okay that cartoon is evil, but funny!

I wish I could say ‘I told you so’ to the 10-12 haters on GoCountry's Facebook page who complain every year and dare me to prove they don’t lose listeners. I have friends that only listen to GoCountry on Sunday mornings for ‘Country's Greatest Hits’ from 8 – 11am and when they go Christmas.

I love the pic of The Real Don Steele and Mick-classic!” – Julie T. Byers
** Radio in the Museum

“Thanks for picking up on the story in the Ventura County Star about the radio drama series in Thousand Oaks. Cary Ginell and I ran into each other at a Pacific Pioneer Broadcaster’s lunch in November, and he told me about producing a series of radio dramas. Doing a radio play has always been one of my dreams and I couldn’t help but jump in. 

Performing in an episode of The Bickerson's in December was an amazing experience, and I am hooked, hoping to join this team again in future presentations. But this isn’t just a recreation of some of the most wonderful moments from the Golden Age of Hollywood Radio...it's to fund the creation of a permanent space for this amazing collection of radio archives that right now is housed at the Thousand Oaks Library, but available only to researchers. It's a collection of sound, equipment and other memorabilia and needs to have a permanent place that can be opened to the public to enjoy and learn about radio at its finest moments.

And yes, that is me in the picture you posted I am wearing the red 1940s dress and waiting for my cue to come up to the mike. What’s not so 1940’s is the boot I’m wearing. I broke my right foot a week before the presentation. But the show must go on. Hope all is well with you and thanks for keeping LARadio.com going!” – Tammy Trujillo
 

Video In Cars is Coming 

  (January 25, 2019) The radio biz got some bad news at the recent CES (Technology) Convention in Las Vegas. Terrestrial radio listening has had some significant competition for ears in recent years, including SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, and podcasts.

Now add video as radio’s latest threat.

At this year’s convention, there was much buzz about the offering of video programming for the commuting experience. An editorial in Variety cited an interview with Viacom ceo Bob Bakish. “He could barely contain his optimism for what he saw as the video marketplace of the future. A helluva lot more people are going to be entertained in cars.”

Local content has got to be entertaining. Compelling storytelling is a must if we are to retain the ears in the cars.

The Variety editorial concluded: “When you consider how much time each week consumers spend in their cars, it’s no wonder the autonomous trend has Hollywood’s attention even at this early stage.”
 
In other news: KABC's Jillian Barberie updated her medical challenges. “And so, it begins, just pulled out my first clump of hair from the back. Wow. That was surreal. Gonna have to chop sooner and shave with the kids. Maybe this weekend after my chemo. Maybe it will be liberating after years of beach waves! I’m doing good. Chemo is my friend” … Adam Carolla renews his deal with PodcastOne for another five years, through 2023.  The new deal continues the joint production, distribution, marketing, and sales for his entire collection of podcasts – totaling more than 15 hours of weekly, original programming – including “The Adam Carolla Show,” “Reasonable Doubt,” “Adam & Drew,” “Carcast,” “Ace on the House,” and more.  Carolla’s own podcast celebrates its 10th anniversary this year … Wendy Williams has extended her hiatus indefinitely. The former KDAY personality says her shoulder recovery is taking longer than expected AND she’s having complications with Graves’ disease … Classical music program host Laura Brodian is recuperating in Kaiser Hospital/Woodland Hills from successful abdominal surgery ... Westwood One News won the Golden Mike last weekend for the only network radio category: “Best News Reporting.” The news network was honored for correspondent Jim Roope’s reporting on the one-year anniversary of the Las Vegas shootings ... Entercom has been honored with four Golden Mike Awards, presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California for outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. KNX received top honors at the 69th Annual Golden Mike Awards including “Best News Broadcast” for the 9th consecutive year and “Best Traffic Report” for the 5th year running. Entercom winners: Best News Broadcast Over 15 Minutes (“KNX Midday News”); Best Traffic Report (“Traffic on the 5s”); Best “Live” Coverage of a News Story (“SoCal Fires”); and “KNX In-depth: 9/11 – A World Turned Upside Down ... See you tonight for the Scott St. James Celebration of Life. Share stories beginning at 6 p.m. at Le Petit Chateau, 4615 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91602 1.818.769.1812  
 
 
Memories Are Made of This .... (thanks to Jeffrey Block)

Chicago Steals Power Programming Chief 

(January 24, 2019) Jimmy Steal took over the programming reins at “Power 106” on July 6, 1999. After almost two decades with KPWR, he’s headed to the Windy City where he has been named vp of brand content at WTMZ (the “Mix”). Murelo Media purchased KPWR from Emmis in the summer of 2017. Murelo already owned KDAY, so Steal’s position was in question since the time of the acquisition.

Jimmy enjoyed much success at KPWR during the time Big Boy was morning man. Kurt (Big Boy) Alexander later left Power 106 for mornings at KRRL (Real Radio). In the fall of 2000, Jimmy was promoted to regional vp of programming for Emmis Communications.

Prior to joining “Power 106,” Jimmy was the director of programming and operations for Clear Channel in Dallas, which included KDMX. Other assignments included pd at WKRQ-Cincinnati, assistant pd and md and dj at KEGL-Dallas and nighttimer at WHLY-Orlando.

In other news: KRLA’s Larry Elder was a featured speaker at the recent BLEXIT conference, a Los Angeles gathering of conservative Blacks and Latinos. Larry argued the two groups have not been served well by the Democratic Party and its policies over the years … USC football radio analyst John Jackson is recovering from a stroke he suffered last month … Ann Meyers Drysdale, wife of Dodger great Don Drysdale, will be inducted into the Southern California Sportscasters Hall of Fame next week. Her stellar sports broadcasting career included a year as Chick Hearn’s partner for Lakers’ games. She attended not only the Don Martin broadcast school, but was part of a well-known class in the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television … David Schwartz is celebrating 40 years in LARadio. “I started my commercial broadcasting career when Mike Wagner hired me at KIIS/fm,” said the GSN exec. He’s had an exciting life. David’s written three books, co-created and co-produced two CDs and interviewed Don Pardo for the Television Academy's Archive … Saul Levine has launched a Smooth Jazz station at 105.1 FM HD3 and at 
www.litefmla.com … Les Perry had a fun interview with Bob Eubanks recently at the 88.5/fm studios. “We had a nice on-air chat about the KRLA days and Bob bringing the Beatles to the Hollywood Bowl and Dodger Stadium,” emailed Les. “Bob is doing a charity show called Backstage with the Beatles.” 

     Hopefully you will join us for the Scott St. James Celebration of Life
tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. at Le Petit Chateau in North Hollywood

  4615 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91602 1.818.769.1812  
(photo: Scott with Jhani Kaye)


Holiday Music Winner in Holiday Ratings 

(January 23, 2019) Holiday '18 ratings book demonstrates the power of Christmas music programming at KOST. Some music stations took a significant hit (KBIG dropped almost a full point) while KOST vacuumed up all available holiday listeners. KKGO's Country holiday programming had an increase. "Not only did KKGO have a gain but precluded the losses in audience from years before Christmas programming," emailed Saul Levine.  Nielsen Audio Holiday '18 Monthly PPM 6+ Mon-Sun:

1. KOST (AC) 9.0 - 13.0
2. KRTH (Classic Hits) 4.4 - 4.4
3. KBIG (MY/fm) 4.9 - 4.0
4. KTWV (Rhythmic AC) 3.8 - 3.6
5. KIIS (Top 40/M) 4.0 - 3.5
6. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.4 - 3.3
    KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 3.3 - 3.3
    KXOL (Spanish AC) 2.9 - 3.3
9. KFI (Talk) 3.5 - 3.2
10. KPWR (Top 40/R) 2.9 - 3.0
11. KRRL (Urban) 2.7 - 2.8
12. KKGO (Country) 2.4 - 2.7
13. KNX (News) 3.1 - 2.6
14. KLOS (Classic Rock) 2.8 - 2.4
      KROQ (Alternative) 2.2 - 2.4
16. KAMP (Top 40/M) 2.3 - 2.3
      KLAX (Regional Mexican) 2.1 - 2.3
      KPCC (News/Talk) 2.5 - 2.3
      KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.5 - 2.3
20. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 2.2 - 2.1
      KUSC (Classical) 2.3 - 2.1
22. KYSR (Alternative) 2.4 - 2.0
23. KJLH (Urban AC) 1.4 - 1.6
24. KSCA (Regional Mexican) 1.7 - 1.4
25. KCRW (Variety) 1.5 - 1.3
26. KDAY (Rhythmic AC) 1.2 - 1.2
27. KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits ) 1.2 - 1.1
      KSPN (Sports) 1.3 - 1.1
29. KKJZ (Jazz) 0.8 - 0.9
      KKLQ (Christian Contemporary) 1.0 - 0.9
31. KEIB (Talk) 0.8 - 0.8
      KSSE (Spanish Oldies) 1.1 - 0.8
33. KABC (Talk) 0.7 - 0.7
      KDLD (Regional Mexican) 0.6 - 0.7
      KFWB (Regional Mexican) 0.8 - 0.7
      KLAC (Sports) 0.7 - 0.7
      KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 07 - 0.7
38. KFSH (Christian Contemporary) 0.5 - 0.6
      KIRN (Ethnic) 0.4 - 0.6
      KRLA (Talk) 0.8 - 0.6


Terry Hardy provided a fascinating  side by side look at downtown Los Angeles
and how the streets have changed in 70 years


Former Home of KLOS and KABC, Soon Home to Over 1,000 Apartments 

(January 22, 2019) The former home of KABC and KLOS will soon be home for 1,210 apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial space, divided between two separate buildings.

Work is well underway at the development in West Adams, with the concrete podium for the tower already several levels above ground. A podium-type mid-rise structure fronting La Cienega and Jefferson Boulevards will house a majority of the project's residential units – a total of 910 apartments – as well as amenities and ground-floor retail and restaurant space. The second building is a 30-story tower, which hold the remaining 300 apartments atop a parking podium and additional amenities.

Liberman DiesElias Liberman, owner of KLVE, died January 19. He was 83. “Elias, (Gen. Mgr.) along with his brothers Julio (Gen. Sales Mgr.) and Pepe (Office Manager) set the standard for Spanish language formats to follow,” said Norm Epstein.

Elias was born in 1935 in Costa Rica. In order to escape the anti-Semitism in Poland, his parents tried to emigrate to America in 1926. His eldest brother, Jose, was born in Mexico while his other brother, Julio, was born in Guatemala. All three brothers were born in different countries. Elias and Julio were extremely close. Elias graduated from UCLA before attending the USC Pharmacy School.  With his knowledge of pharmaceuticals and meds, the family began to advertise their products on all night radio in Mexico.  They were so successful that they decide to buy their own radio station.

So, began the journey with XEGM, Tijuana. That success brought him into the LA market. Elias and his family purchased KLVE/fm from Best Communications (Jack Siegal and Norm Epstein) in 1975, quickly making it the leading Spanish language station in Southern California and the nation. (Artwork courtesy of Urbanize)
“Although not the first Spanish Radio station owner, Elias, as general manager of KLVE and KTNQ AM set the example for the format and to date had garnered the highest Hispanic ratings in Los Angeles Radio history,” said Epstein.

“I became reacquainted with Elias and his wife Miriam on a cruise to the Mediterranean,” continued Norm. “Their cabin was next to ours. We have kept an extremely close relationship ever since, for over 40 years. When I was the general sales manager at Gene Autry’s KMPC, I started a Spanish language broadcast for the Angels in Anaheim and the Rams in LA. Elias helped me hire the announcing team and we aired all the games on KLVE. KTNQ carried the Dodgers and the Raiders."


Norm continued: "Generous to a fault, Elias was known to all his friends and family as ‘The Super Gentleman.’ Always opening the door for you and being so polite. I will miss Elias every day along with our group of friends (Los Borrachos) who got together every Wednesday night for over 22 years. He loved his family, friends and a nice bottle of wine. I never remember hearing a cross word from Elias, for after all he was a ‘Super Gentleman.’”

(From Golden Mikes Award Dinner: Rick Dees, Chris Little, Brian Douglas, Jennifer York, Dick Helton, and Carol Ramos)


A Golden LARP Evening 

(January 21, 2019) Saturday was a Golden night for LARP, as the best in local broadcasting were honored..

KNX and KFI won “Best Radio Newscast” awards at the 69th Annual Golden Mike Awards. KNX received honors for the best major market newscast over 15 minutes, while KFI won for “Best Radio Newscast Under 15 Minutes.” KABC won the Golden Mike for “Best Radio Newscast Under 15 Minutes” for stations with smaller news departments (Division B).

The Radio & Television News Association of Southern California presented its 2019 “Lifetime Achievement Awards” to longtime KTLA feature reporter Gayle Anderson, KLAC radio sports personality Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (l), and Larry Mantle, the host of KPCC’s news and interview program “Airtalk” for more than three decades. KFI's Debra Mark (r) won a Golden Mike for her 4 p.m. newscast. This was the second year in a row. 

In other news: Gary Campbell is now dishing the Oldies in afternoon drive at K-SURF (1260AM) … Mo'Nique, formerly with KDAY, appeared on the Rickey Smiley show / Dish Nation to talk about her current show at the SLS Hotel and Casino. She is the first black female comedian to have a residency in Vegas … Steeler football star Terry Bradshaw, formerly on XTRA Sports 1150 (1999-2000), was part of cringe-worthy The Masked Singer on FOX. When he was voted off last week, Terry thanked everyone for voting him off because he said he couldn’t take the pressure anymore. He was dressed as a deer … Gladys Knight is set to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl next month. Social media has been on her case because some view her appearance as an endorsement of how the NFL has treated Colin Kaepernick and his decision to take a knee. She is hoping her performance will “bring us all together.” … Phil Proctor, first heard on the Firesign Theatre at KROQ, talked recently to Variety about how the group started. “I knew Peter Bergman at Yale where he was in the Eugene O’Neill writing program and I was in the drama department. I was in L.A. the night of the Sunset Strip riots. I was with Brandon De Wilde and Peter Fonda and Peter called and said ‘Come on down’ to the KPFK newsroom where Peter was doing Radio Free Oz. That night is really when the Firesign Theatre began.”

Two 1969 93/KHJ sales sheets from Robert McGehee's personal collection


Email Saturday, 1.19.2019
 ** Hulett’s Traffic Journey

“I enjoy every single day you publish LARadio. Thank you for sharing your work of love with us.

Phil Hulett was recently (meaning most of 2018 until Thanksgiving'ish) doing the weekend morning traffic reports on KNX, but he is no longer there. I enjoyed his folksy reporting of the traffic, which made him unique and entertaining, considering it's traffic reports.  I miss him.” – Steve Nieto

** Hanna Scott’s Radio Journey

“I know you'll get a lot of comments on Hanna Scott's broadcasting journey, but I thought I would chime in. Either there was an error in handwriting, or a faulty memory, but KTAR/fm-Phoenix, is now on 92.3. I say ‘is now on’ because they were on 98.7 when they first put the fm on the air. Since then there has been a plethora of call sign changes.

Thanks for your daily dose of radio in my email box.” - Mike Femyer, faithful reader
* Winker and Elvis

“Thank you for your very kind words earlier this week.

And I was literally 'blown away' by Saul Levine's comments in today's column.

Re the Elvis picture, just sharing. Taken during his very first FILMED interview in 1956 on my teen Top Ten Dance Party, on WHBQ-TV, Memphis. He'd just returned from Hollywood filming Love Me Tender.” – Wink Martindale

** Week of Potpourri

“Thanks for posting Brian Dunkleman's burn of Harvey Levin's TMZ story. Harvey is really scraping the bottom of the barrel these days. Sad.

I'm grateful that Saul Levine is replacing the transmitter for KKJZ. It's nigh impossible to get the signal now and I miss my Johnny Magnus Swing Time.” – Julie Byers
** Batter Up

“I am very pleased to see Tim Neverett pop up joining the Dodger broadcast team. Tim worked for me at the sports station in Vegas and was a stellar performer. I thought he was a great sports talk personality.

I wish him the very best. He was always prepared, very knowledgeable and a really nice guy.” – Jack Hayes

Series to Preserve Radio Archives 

(January 18, 2019) A new stage series aims to raise funds to preserve and modernize radio archives at Thousand Oaks Library. The Ventura County Star reports on the effort, a series recreating shows from the Golden Age of Radio.

The stage presentation, which debuted in early December, has a second goal: to make researchers more aware of the archives, the largest collection of radio memorabilia in the country and one of the largest in the world, according to the foundation. Currently, the archives are only available to researchers, not the general public.

“We find that most people in this area don’t even know that the archives exist,” said Cary Ginell, a trustee of the Thousand Oaks Library Foundation, one who has a background in radio as a writer, producer and program host. “So, there are a lot of things we have planned to help raise awareness,” he said, “Having these shows is the beginning.”

In other news: When American Idol debuted as a summer replacement on Fox in 2002, there were two hosts – Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman. Ryan continued with the series, Brian did not, leaving after the initial season. Harvey Levin’s TMZ did a story on Dunkleman reporting that he was an Uber driver. Brian shot back: “I make over a grand on a good week motherfuckers.” … Earlier this month, Larry O’Connor joined KABC in the 10 a.m. – noon slot. He is based in Washington, DC and works afternoons at WMAL. He made a case for being relevant to Southland listeners. “I am your unelected representative to Washington, DC. I lived most of my life in California. I still consider myself a Californian at heart because my children still live there. It is easy to look at what these clowns do in DC and how it affects California.” … Congratulations to KNX’s Brian Ping on the birth of his daughter. He tweeted, “My child will be driving age in 2035. Which begs the question, will she ever need to learn how to drive?”
Thanks to Dave Kunz

Update on Former KFI News Reporter Hanna Scott 

(January 17, 2019) Hanna Scott is a voice you may have heard on KFI or other stations delivering the news. Hanna studied theatre at Santa Ana College, where she wanted to be an actress. She got a fair amount of work as an extra, but nothing suggested she could make a living from acting.

“One night I saw an ad in the PennySaver for the broadcasting academy. Within a week I was enrolled and that was that. It was love at first report!”

Born in Laguna Beach in 1970, Hanna thought she would be an fm jock but got bored quickly at school and instead fell in love with news. She was a weekend traffic reporter for KFI, eventually going full time covering all stations contracted with AirWatch’s news service.

In 2003, Hanna left the Southland for an afternoon drive anchor job WHP 580 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She moved to Phoenix in 2005, starting at 550 / KFYI before moving across the street two years later to become a reporter/anchor for KTAR 97.3 FM where she remained until she got the reporter gig at KFI. “I got my taste for reporting and being in the field at KTAR, covering a variety of major stories including the 2008 presidential election and the search for the Baseline Killer and Serial Shooter cases, among many others,” Hanna said. But she wanted to return to KFI as a reporter or anchor.

Hanna did get a job at the L.A. news / talk station in the mornings as a reporter. “I covered several major stories while there including the Station Fire, murder of Chelsea King and Jaycee Duggar kidnapping. However, KFI was a bad fit and I was let go in June 2010, but on good terms [as much as than can be true] with references.”

Hanna is a good example of the nomadic way of life of radio, moving from place to place as opportunities become available. “By September 2010 I was in Seattle working as a reporter for KOMO. When Sinclair bought KOMO, I survived the first round of layoffs but not the second and was laid off in 2014.” She jumped across town to KIRO/fm, for the past two years serving as a reporter / talk show contributor covering the Legislature, city hall, gun control, opioids/homelessness, the rape kit backlog and breaking news.
In other news: Cathy Hughes, mother of Urban One’s (formerly Radio One) day to day chairman Alfred Liggins, will be inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2019 NAB Show. She became the first woman VP/GM in Washington DC and created the format known as the “Quiet Storm,” which revolutionized Urban radio and aired on over 480 stations nationwide. In 1980, Hughes purchased her flagship station, WOL-AM/Washington DC ... Nicole Sandler, formerly with KLSX, KNX/fm KODJ, KLOS and KSCA in the 80s and 90s, is having a tough time finding her next assignment. “I’ve been in radio for 40 years,” she wrote on Facebook. “I’ve had amazing success. I’ve produced the biggest morning shows in both NYC (Jim Kerr at WPLJ) and Los Angeles (Mark & Brian at KLOS). I’ve hosted my own shows in just about every daypart, in multiple formats. I’ve been a program director, music director, promotions / marketing director. I’ve applied for a couple of positions in the past year because it would be nice to work inside a radio station and with people again, and I know I still have a lot to offer. Yet for some reason, I don’t even get a phone call or email of acknowledgement, let alone an interview. I guess once you reach a certain age, you don’t matter anymore? It’s the only thing I can think of.” ... Billy Crystal, the award-winning comedian and nine-time Oscar host has been tapped to serve as color commentator for the entire January 31 game between the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and the team’s crosstown rival Lakers. He will join Ralph Lawler on the broadcast, as the legendary announcer continues his final season on the air on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. For Crystal, the new gig is all about saluting Lawler. “It’s going to be a real honor to sit with him and do this game,” he said. “And hopefully it goes well. Who knows? I may have a new career.” … “KKJZ has been operating with an old analog fm transmitter that does not do justice to the wonderful mainstream Jazz station broadcasting at 88.1,” emailed Saul Levine. “The Levine Family has donated a new state of the art digital 30,000-watt fm transmitter to KKJZ. Soon a better, higher quality signal will be heard at 88.1. And improved HD quality too.”   
   

KNX's Diane Thompson was kind enough to send this 1971 LA Times ad showing Sylvia Chase as part of the team 


How Will a Recession Hurt the Media Biz?

(January 16, 2019) The lead story in Variety this week asks how a recession will hurt the media biz. “Stock market is tanking, debt levels are rising, China is locked in a trade war with the United States and economics sage Alan Greenspan recently warned investors to run for cover,” writes Brent Lang and Rebecca Rubin. “If investors’ fears are justified, then the decade of economic growth the world has been enjoying could soon come to an end.”

Excessive debt has crippled the top two radio groups. One has emerged from bankruptcy while the other is likely to do the same later this year. If a recession looms, the radio biz must be on vigilant guard because advertising usually takes a hit. Advertisers usually find a way to cut their expenses, and elimination of commercials is an easy cut.

One lesson that can be implemented immediately is to have the creative be more, uh, creative. When stations elect to run 6-8 commercials in a stop set, they become numbingly sounding the same. Maybe this is the time to invest in writing and producing clever spots with a call to action. Spots that deliver customers will be a hedge against elimination during a downswing in the economy.

In other news: After 40 years, Bob Costas and NBC have officially parted ways. Seems like truly the end of era. The current crop of ESPN and Fox sportscasters seem to lack a distinct originality … Dodgers have a new announcer. Tim Neverett has joined their broadcast team for television and radio, in part to lighten the load on AM 570 for Charley Steiner, who requested to cut back on his schedule. The 52-year-old Neverett, who has called radio play-by-play for the Red Sox the past three years also spent seven seasons with the Pirates. He will fill in on SportsNet LA when Joe Davis is on national assignments, in addition to assuming some of Steiner's previous responsibilities … Ed Krampf, former CBS/LA market manager, is now a senior AE with Sun & Fun Media … Stoney Richards, former morning man at Country KLAC/KZLA, has returned to Y108 (WDSY/fm) in Pittsburgh as morning drive co-host. He is such a creative broadcaster. I had the pleasure of Stoney working for us at W4 in Detroit back in the 70s … KFI news editor Nicole Campbell will be honored by The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at their annual spring banquet.


Climb Every Mountain 
Essay by Saul Levine

(January 15, 2019) In the fall of 1958, I received a construction permit from the FCC to construct and operate KBCA/fm with the transmitter on Mount Wilson. The channel had become vacant because the licensee, a 50 KW AM station, had lost faith in fm and did not even want to pay the electric bill to keep it on the air. I made a barter arrangement with a motel on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood to trade out advertising for studio space.

But there were fires raging in the mountains, and the forest service would not allow me to construct the transmitter building. The motel owner did not believe me about the delay, and forced me to pull out of the studio deal. I lost almost all my money. When I was permitted to finish the transmitter building, I had no studio and decided to start broadcasting from that building on Mount Wilson. There was not time to get a telephone installed.

I had an announcer-engineer who was willing to stay on the mountain and live off the land. I was waiting for a telegram to come from the FCC authorizing me to start broadcasting. I had an answering service in downtown LA receiving my phone calls, and Channel 4 TV (KRCA, now KNBC) was kind enough to allow me to use their telephone at their transmitter on Mount Wilson, so I could access the answering service.

Late February 18, 1959, the telegram arrived from the FCC with authority to commence broadcasting. But I had no way to inform the engineer, John, to turn on the station. It was a dark, cold, stormy February night. I would have to drive up to Mount Wilson to tell John to turn on the transmitter.

I had previously promised my mother to have dinner with her that evening. I had a hurried dinner, then drove my 1955 Chevy through snow drifts up to the 6,000-foot high transmitter. I burst through the door of the building and shouted to John, ‘turn on the transmitter.’ John said, ‘I can’t do that. The antenna had iced up and will not turn on.’ Thankfully, John climbed the 100-foot tower and shook off the ice. The station was now operational, so we went on the air without any previous notice to the public.

John would announce to the public that we wanted to hear from our listeners and to call the answering service number. I would then run through snow drifts a half mile to the Channel 4 transmitter and call from there the answering service for the names of listeners. Then I would run back to our building and give John the names and cities, which John would put on the air. The phones at the answering service lit up with hundreds of listeners all over Southern California, calling in to report that they were hearing us. It was a very emotional experience. I was especially taken by calls from distant cities in Ventura and Orange County. The listeners were thrilled to hear a new fm radio station playing beautiful Classical music.

My dream had become reality and I now owned a radio station, not in rural Northern Michigan, but in the second largest city in the USA. I drove home through the snow drifts feeling very emotional (and very happy).
In other news: Elston Butler has joined Stevie Wonder-owned KJLH as its new market manager. For the past four years, Butler has been working at iHeartMedia Riverside. He returns to KJLH were he was local sales manager from 2010 to 2014. Karen Slade remains at the station as gm … Love receiving emails from those who are just plain, downright excited. Justin Michael returns as executive producer of The Big Time with Whitney Allen, syndicated by Westwood One. It's a return to The Big Time for Justin, who served as exec producer for the show during its original launch in 2005 before transitioning to roles with Ryan Seacrest and Nikki Sixx. You can send congratulations to: justin@thebigtimeonline.com … Rick Scarry recently had the honor of narrating a documentary film on the life of famed, old-time radio historian and past president of the PPB, Frank Bresee. “Frank was a fixture of the group until he suffered a debilitating stroke a few years back,” emailed Rick. I knew Frank for over 40 years and worked with him on many projects over the decades. To see this informative and entertaining film, click on the link … In a front page LA Times story over the holidays, Bill Plaschke praised the Dodgers for trading Yasiel Puig. Plaschke said that Vin Scully delightfully called Puig the ‘Wild Horse.’ … Blogger George Johns has an interesting thought about the PPM ratings: “Nielsen’s statistics may be true about the people in their sample but what about the people they don’t have. I’m talking about the 23% of the population who are Alpha types who would never wear a PPM device. Then there’s the continuing problem of the 30 minutes the device misses every morning, and how about the fact that they can’t find anybody under 25 to participate in their research. Also, I can only wonder if the people wearing the PPM devices can hear all the radio stations that the device can?” … Letty B, middays at KIIS, spotted this video of Tom Hanks in a Fontana In-N-Out. Hanks bought lunch for all cars in line.
Entertainment Weekly


Cindy Doles Out Story Book Styling
(January 14, 2019) The challenge in broadcasting today is to prepare for when the gig ends. There is so much uncertainty about radio as the two largest radio groups emerge from bankruptcy (Cumulus last year and iHeart expected this year).

For almost two decades, Cindy Dole was a familiar news anchor voice at KFWB and KNX. And then the gig ended. But she had a plan B.

Cindy has a green thumb and an eye for design. She has taken all her home improvement and design expertise to be a home stager and two years ago started a new company, 
www.StorybookStyling.com. Her website is gorgeous and, on the side, she teaches Strategic Multimedia content to USC Annenberg PR Students. She has figured out the next journey in her life.

Cindy is a fourth generation Angeleno (her ancestors were here before there was tar in the La Brea Tar Pits) and graduated from USC with honors in 1982, having majored in broadcast journalism and communication. While she was at KNX, she won two Golden Mikes.

For the six years preceding KNX, Cindy was anchor/reporter at WWMT/TV in Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, spending the last three years as the station’s prime 6 & 11 p.m. co-anchor. She has also been a reporter and anchor at KRDG/TV, Jefferson City/Columbia, Missouri and KYEL/TV Yuma. Cindy began her broadcasting career as an anchor and reporter at KDES-Palm Springs. She hosted the “Home Wizards Show” (Garden, Home, and Life Improvement Radio) on various stations and even hosted the Rose Parade for KFWB.

Best Picture. Today is the deadline for Academy of Motion Picture members to nominate the best movies and cinema achievements during 2018. The nominated movies will be revealed later this month.

We are not supposed to disclose our picks but this is only between us radio folk, and I rarely pick the eventual winner. Green Book was the best in my book! Great performances and a subject I was unfamiliar with. It is almost a perfect movie.

The Motion Picture Academy has been having a hellava time in recent years. As of this morning, no host for the telecast in February. Lotsa drama behind the scenes. Kevin Hart was chosen, but then controversy erupted when it was revealed he has made homophobic jokes and tweets in the past. Then there was no-host. Then Ellen DeGeneres stirred it up with push for Hart to be considered again. He declined.

The Academy seems to have stumbled in recent years. Too many old white men voting to naming of the wrong best picture winner to announcing a new category, ‘best popular film’ and then shelving the idea weeks after the announcement.

What about Jimmy Kimmel as host? He appears in an LA Times story related to the Oscar telecast. “Ratings for the telecast have been steadily declining, with last year’s show, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, reaching an all-time low audience, and many have argued the show needs a fresh approach.” Tough to win any positive feedback for any host in this era of snarky social media. Kimmel said his hosting required weeks of preparation for relatively minimal pay. In 2017, he said he received $15,000.

Oh, by the way, Black Panther was the #1 grossing movie of last year with over $700 million in domestic B.O.

For anyone who was in the Southland when 11-10/KRLA was one of the dominant Rock stations
or anyone who wants to learn about the 60s in LARadio, check out Bill Earl's Dream-House by clicking the cover of his book

Email Saturday, 1.12.2019

** Passing Parade

“As always, another nice send-off to our comrades who ‘went on’ this past year; hit a little closer to home for me this time with Dex Allen and Paul Cassidy, good guys both. Here’s to them and those like ‘em: Fewer and fewer left as the clock keeps tickin’.” – Rich Brother Robbin

** Tears for LARP in Passing Parade

“First time I’ve read LARadio.com and cried.” – Craig Powers

** Passing Parade Memory

“Reading your Passing Parade 2018, I had forgotten about John Mack Flanagan. I listened to him as much as I could when I lived in Northern California and met him once when visiting KFRC. I was there to have lunch with Big Tom Parker and we ran into John when we came back.

He was everything I thought he would be and more. He regaled us with stories of radio from his early days at KTKT and at KFRC and though he may not have had the time, spent the better part of an hour with us. He was everything I wanted to be in an air talent, but more than that, he was a good and kind man, a great human. It saddens me still to think that he’s no longer with us.” – Bryan Simmons

** KNX Memories

“I applaud your work on LARadio. I was a KNXer in the 80’s and now report for KTVU/TV in the Bay Area. When I was at KNX, it was a temple to the news profession. Bob Sims and Ed Pyle along with Ronnie Bradford and that entire magic staff were an honor to work with.

I’ve been lucky to do tv and radio for 40 years and intend to continue for a while longer as I love the work. Again, thanks for your remarkable efforts.” – Tom Vacar
** Let’s Get to the Chase

“I had the privilege of working with Sylvia Chase at ABC News and KRON/TV. She was a highly intelligent, tremendously talented, indefatigable reporter. A real pioneer for women in network television news. Also, a very fine person.

Sylvia’s passing came with unfinished business. In October 1985, Sylvia completed a long, exhaustive investigative story for 20/20 on the untimely death of Marilyn Monroe. Her story told of an alleged plot to murder Monroe who, in a fit of depression, was threatening to go public with her long affairs with JFK and brother Bobby.

According to Sylvia’s well-documented story, a well-known member of The Kennedy Family was dispatched to Monroe’s bedside to administer a fatal drug overdose. ABC News/Sports President Roone Arledge, my former ABC boss, viewed Sylvia’s cut piece the morning of the 20/20 broadcast.

Arledge killed the piece, claiming that it was not ready for air and needed ‘more work.’ Arledge's decision was widely criticized by 20/20 staff members, including anchor Hugh Downs. Cancellation of her exclusive, well supported and compelling story contributed to Sylvia’s decision to leave ABC News for KRON. Arledge denied that his close association with The Kennedys, especially Ethel, influenced his decision to cancel Sylvia's story.

The ABC-Kennedy connection ran deep. David Burke, a senior Arledge aide, worked for Ted Kennedy. Jeff Ruhe, an Arledge protege, was married to one of Ethel’s daughters. And, of course, Arledge’s long, close friendship with Ethel. Here is a posted condolence message from Victor Neufeld, former 20/20 executive producer.
The 20/20 family learned this week that our beloved Sylvia Chase passed away. Sylvia was one of the original 20/20 correspondents. She always brought the highest levels of intelligence, humanity, integrity and grace to every story she did for the show. She did every kind of story, investigative, profiles, adventure, every producer wanted to work with her. She was fun to travel with, committed to the journalism, a wonderful collaborator, and always a fierce protector of the quality of her work. Many of the 20/20 producers traveled the world with Sylvia, and close friendships were made, but it was always the quality and soulfulness of her work that made her one of kind, and thus... very sad news for our original 20/20 family.” Bob Sirkin  

** Chase Is On

“Sad to hear about the passing of Sylvia Chase. I knew her well when she worked at KNX … her office was next to mine on the 2nd floor. What wasn’t mentioned was that, I believe, she started out at the station as the station ‘ombudsman.’ She might have been one of the first with that ‘title’ attached to her in the market. I recall that she did some fine reporting and investigative work for KNX back then and was very close to Jim Zaillian, who was news director at the time. No one was surprised when she moved on to the network. A very bright, hard working woman. On one of my trips, years ago, I had lunch with her up in the SF area and she was doing very well and very happy at the affiliate there. A true pro.” – Arlen Peters
** Chris Carter in a Different World

“On the topic of Chris Carter. I’ve been restoring my old cassette tapes and putting them up on my YouTube channel, and discovered a bit of the LAST DAY of Y107 and ‘The Chris Carter Mess.’ It’s a tiny snippet of how Y107 sounded on, I think, a Sunday night, a nice time capsule.

Never met the guy but he puts on a great show and, dude he was in Dramarama so, yeah.” – Barry Funkhouser 
** Format Observations

“Regarding the New Year’s resolution for KABC switching to MOR/AC Chart Music, this is a brilliant idea and the author is correct it would garner higher ratings than the station currently gets. I for one would be more than happy to stream this into my office even though I live in Omaha. I enjoy and miss that type of format, it’s pretty much disappeared but there’s still folks around who would listen.

Side note, whatever happened to the person who was resurrecting the KNX/fm sound for streaming? A version came out but it’s not the version I remember from the late 1970s into the early 1980s.” – Gary Fead

** CKLW News Presentation

“Great Doc on the CKLW newscasts - very enjoyable. Thanks for sharing.” – Bill A. Jones
 ** More on Super Dave

“An on the record addendum to Norm Epstein’s tribute to Bob Einstein:

Bob did a call-in interview once when I was on Sports Talk with Bud Furillo and Tommy Hawkins. I don’t recall what Bob said that initially triggered my funny bone, but I began laughing ... as in uncontrollably ... and I continued throughout the entire interview. Even Bud’s glare had no effect on me.  I gasped for breath between the punchlines and tears rolled down my face.

My lack of control was utterly unprofessional, but Bob had rendered me helpless. He knew he had me on a string and he flew me like a kite. The man was brilliant.

I don’t believe I've ever laughed as hard nor for as long as I did that day. I don’t exaggerate when I say that Bob’s interview is a treasured memory.” – Lisa Bowman  

Marketing Lesson from the Fiji Water Girl

(January 11, 2019) Following the Golden Globes broadcast, many headlines blared: “Bohemian Rhapsody is the worst-reviewed Golden Globe winner in 33 years.” There was much anticipation from LArp to the seeing the Freddie Mercury (Queen) biopic. Barring a fluke, Bohemian Rhapsody will end its domestic run with around $180 million. That’ll be the biggest (sans inflation) musical biopic of all time and the second-biggest such offering since 1978, even adjusted for inflation. World-wide gross for the $50 million production is over a half billion dollars.

So, what happened to the critics? Were they wrong? Why did moviegoers flock to the film? Has social media made movie reviewers and critics obsolete? It sure looks like it. You give the public what they want, then get out of the way at the multiplex for fear of being run over.

How does radio adjust to social media? When I was doing movie marketing, I lived by the mantra, never promote a promotion, always promote the movie. There is always a tendency to think any publicity is good publicity.

If what you are promoting doesn’t move the product off the shelves or increase your listenership, why waste your time? And creative marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. This is good news for the cost-conscious market manager who claims to have no budget for marketing.

Last Sunday, Fiji Water was everywhere at the Golden Globes. In the movies we call this product placement. The Fiji Water Girl photobombed celebrity photos everywhere. She was a model. She was smart and angled her way into being a viral sensation.

How do you put a twist on talent appearances at an advertiser event? How do you promote your station in a new and dazzling way?
In other news: KLOS weekender Greg Beharrell takes over the evening slot at the Classic Rocker. In a very strange press release announcing the move, KLOS pd Keith Cunningham said: "What do you want me to say? Even great teams fumble sometimes. Apology cards will be mailed to listeners within the next two to four weeks.” … George Johns wonders, ‘With only one original member still in the band and with some ticket prices going for a couple of grand, this has got to make the Eagles the most expensive cover band of all time” … Kelly Jones moves to side-kick with Jeff Pope at HOT 103.9 and 101.3 The Mix-Inland Empire. “I have a new radio wife,” exclaimed Pope … Remember What’s Your Name by Don & Juan, a 1962 hit? “Don” died in 1982, age 45. “Juan” died in 2002, at age 67 … Buster Bodine, ex-Power 106 from 1987-89, just celebrated his 15th anniversary of his dissected ascending aortic aneurysm surgery when he was given a 1 in 3 chance of survival. “After 5 hours on the table with 600 micro stitches holding together a St Jude’s plastic aortic valve on top of my heart, I obviously survived it and feel fantastic to this day,” said Buster … Summer James (former Star 98.7 host) started the new year as middayer at WTCB (B106.7)- Columbia, South Carolina … Jaime Barragan, K-EARTH intern in the early 90s, sent along a terrific aircheck of The Real Don Steele … Baby, It's Cold Outside became the hottest holiday song this past season. In 1944, Frank Loesser sang the song with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their housewarming party in New York City at the Navarro Hotel. They sang the song to indicate to guests that it was time to leave. When a station in the Midwest decided to pull the song from its playlist in light of the #MeToo movement, the buzz took over. On Christmas morning, KFOG-San Francisco played continuously all of the versions of the Academy Award winning song they could find. Cute.

David Grudt sent this LA Times ad from April 1, 1966 
"Robert W. Morgan ad was directly above a Tums ad that I thought was kinda funny" 


Jaime Jarrin Honored

(January 10, 2019) This weekend, beloved LA Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Jarrin will be presented with the Pioneer Award from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation at their 16th annual “In the Spirit of the Game” fundraiser. Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who is on the Foundation’s board of directors, is due to present.

MLB Network, Larry King and others will combine to host the event. The PBSF was founded in 2003 in effort to assist baseball scouts who lose their jobs, retirement, suffer an illness, and other needs or setbacks.

For Jarrin, he’s set to be honored prior into heading into a 61st season as the Spanish-language voice of the Dodgers. He recently signed a multi-year contract extension that will take him through the 2020 season.

“I’m still enjoying it just as much as I did 60 years ago. I love what I do, and it’s a privilege for me to be able to do it,” Jaime said at the time his new deal was announced. “I have had the opportunity to work with the best of the best, ballplayers, broadcasters and staff, and I have been so fortunate throughout my career.” Jarrin’s tenure with the Dodgers began in 1959, their second season in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 as the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, and previously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In Other News: Congratulations to Ron Shapiro, former pd at HOT 92.3. “It was 40 years ago today that I joined American Top 40 with Casey Kasem,” wrote Shapiro. “Everything that’s happened in my career since then is a direct result of working at Watermark. Learning the right way to do something, to the friends I made along the way, all stem from that family tree that took seed four decades ago. So many friends I made back then are still friends today." … Condolences to Michelle Kube Kelly on the passing of her father-in-law. “Steve Kelly knew everything you could know about every kind of racing there is. He spent years writing and taking photos for Hot Rod magazine, spending time in the pits at the Indy 500 and restoring his classic cars.” 
Batter Up. Jim Wesley arrived in 1973 at KFI radio, having been hired as general manager of the then-newly acquired Cox Broadcasting property. Cox had purchased KFI for $15 million, at that time the highest amount ever paid for a radio station. The 50,000-watt clear channel station was having a tough time finding a format that would be more successful.

“KFI is a massive operation. Turning it around is like changing the course of the Queen Elizabeth – it will take time," he told the LA Times at the time of his arrival. Wesley’s first action was relinquishing the broadcast rights of the MLB Dodgers. That move would help propel KABC’s ratings reign, but Wesley had his eye on finding an fm station.

A deal was reached with Dallas broadcaster Gordon McLendon, to purchase his KOST (103.5/fm) for $2.2 million. “I contacted McLendon by telephone when I heard from our Washington attorneys that he wanted to sell. We had been trying to make a deal for an fm station in Los Angeles for several months. I had met with several owners but could not reach an agreement.

Jim continued: "In our first telephone conversation, McLendon told me what he wanted for the station. We agreed on the deal during a second telephone call, which I made late in the evening from my kitchen at home in Woodland Hills to Gordon in London. He was on his way to an International conference of economists. Gordon and I met with our attorneys in Washington a few days later to work out the details of the purchase agreement. It was a quick and very pleasant negotiation. Gordon was a brilliant businessman and a delight to work with. He was one of the most charming and creative men I have ever met. He talked a lot about the development of his various formats, and although he was in the process of moving out of radio, he continued to think about new ideas for the medium and for television. I had hoped to see him again at the closing at his office in Dallas, but he was ill that day and we worked with his lawyer. I never had the pleasure of talking with him again.”

Some thought Wesley paid too much for KOST but it didn’t take long before the station was doing $2.2 million a month.
Zoo Radio. Scott Shannon was interviewed by Inside Radio recently. During the Q&A, Scott was asked for those who influenced him. “The two guys that I admired and learned the most from were both on KHJ in Los Angeles, Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele. They each had a different style but both were very adept at painting word pictures in a very short period of time. Listening to them, I learned the value of what I like to call ‘suppress dynamics.’ Both sounded completely involved in what they were doing, they were exciting, entertaining, passionate about the station, the music and most importantly, they specialized in brevity. I still listen to recordings of their shows and they sound as fresh now as they did back in the 60s.”

Steve Kamer is the announcer on the Steve Harvey Show.
Steve recently appeared in the audience on Harvey's show. Why?
Listen by clicking artwork


Former KNX Reporter Dies 

  (January 9, 2019) Every year when we salute those LARP who died during the year, it is always done with compassion and reverence. You will read some interesting reactions to the class of 2018 in Email Saturday.

Tomm Looney wondered if I cringe following publication, for concern that I may have left someone off the list, like the flack that the Academy Awards broadcast seems to get each year. My attempt is to be cognizant of the importance of the listing and include everyone. But this year I was afraid I left someone off not by commission but by omission.

While I was preparing the Passing Parade 2018, word that Sylvia Chase had died reached my desk. I didn’t know that Sylvia was a LARP. It started with an email from Bob Sirkin, former KNX anchor, who wrote a note about Sylvia and a story that will appear in Email Saturday. When I reacted with concern that she really wasn’t a LARP, he read that she, indeed, spent some time at KNX. I contacted former KNX news director Ed Pyle, but her time would have been before his time. Ed then contacted longtime assignment editor Ronnie Bradford. “I just had a conversation with Ronnie who is really sorry to learn of Sylvia’s death. He says she was an excellent reporter who did a lot of long form product including documentaries and as the obit states, left the station for NY and the network. Doesn’t remember when.” Piecing together a number of obits on Sylvia, her time at KNX was 1969-70, before she left for New York.

Born in Minnesota, Chase moved to California to attend UCLA. She majored in English and then worked in politics and state government before getting a broadcasting job at KNX. She joined the staff of CBS News in New York in 1971 and moved to ABC a few years later.

She received a range of broadcasting rewards and was dubbed “the most trusted woman on TV” by TV Guide. During her time at 20/20, a survey by the magazine also pegged Chase as the top investigative reporter on any of the national newsmagazines.
Chase moved to San Francisco’s NBC station to be a local anchor. They touted her arrival with the slogan “The Chase Is On.” Her decision to move to the Bay Area came just two months after ABC killed an investigative segment she did on the links between Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedy family. Chase at the time brushed aside suggestions that the two incidents were related, but later wrote that the decision by ABC was a factor in her departure.

Whatever the cause, Chase became one of the Bay Area’s most visible news personalities of the late 1980s — not only anchoring newscasts but hosting prime-time news documentaries each year.

Chase returned to ABC News at the end of 1990. “I hate to leave the Bay Area, but if I’m going to get mugged it might as well be in New York,” Chase quipped to Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. She remained at ABC until 2001, then retired and purchased a home in Marin County. One of her colleagues remarked: “She belonged everywhere.”  


Travel back in time to a time when a newscast had verbs leaping out of the radio
and spit spraying from the mouth of the newscaster

PPB Set to Honor Art Laboe 

(January 8, 2019) By the time a Los Angeles Radio Person (LARP) spends 10 or even 25 years behind the microphone, it is usually time to end a career, either by one’s choice or the decision of management. So how’s about 75 years? That’s how long Art Laboe has been behind the mic. And finally, the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters organization is going to salute him with a luncheon in his honor next month. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. If you click the artwork, here’s an AP article on Art. 

He Loves You. Chris Carter, host of Breakfast With the Beatles, checked in. “We kicked off our 35th year on the air in Southern California since the late-great Deirdre O’Donahue started the show in December of 1983 on KMET,” emailed Chris. “It’s my 19th year as host and Jackie DeShannon is in her 10th year as our official Beatles News Beat Gal. In addition to Sunday mornings on 95.5 KLOS, I’m also the morning man Monday – Friday's on Sirius/XM’s The Beatles Channel. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m also hosting another show every weekend called Chris Carter’s British Invasion, a four-hour show in Little Stevens Underground Garage (also on Sirius/XM radio). So that’s seven shows a week! Every month we broadcast LIVE from Morongo Casino. Gotta love it…yeah yeah yeah!”

In other news: George Johns asks: “How does a person who qualifies for food stamps, afford a thousand-dollar iPhone?” … Sean Parr, ex-KKGO, did a great job announcing the Sunday Golden Globes telecast … Mancow is now on WLS-Chicago in morning drive … Fred Dryer, NFL star and actor (Hunter), will pair with CRN Digital Talk Radio chief Mike Horn for a Saturday afternoon show on SiriusXM. “Sports Lounge with Fred Dryer” program is now airing on Dan Patrick Radio at noon … KFI news director Chris Little had an occasional habit of texting former Governor Jerry Brown. “I don’t know how I wound up with his number,” he wrote on Facebook. “We don’t really know each other but we have talked before. Today he called back and we talked for 7 minutes. He was at the Governor’s mansion, I was at Ralph’s. He asked about the station and mentioned that John & Ken couldn’t derail the gas tax. Other than that, no politics. We talked about Pandora, Spotify, podcasts and his retirement. Then we said good bye.”

The Passing Parade 2018
(January 7, 2019) We lost several beloved Los Angeles Radio People in 2018. Some were expected, while others came as a complete shock. Today we’ll take a minute to briefly recognize the LARP who left us in 2018.
Keith Jackson, January 12, (89) The folksy college football play-by-play announcer was a welcome treat every Saturday during the fall.

Originally from Seattle he didn't last long at KABC due to increased network commitments. One description of his folksy delivery: “Keith Jackson was like a big slab of country ham.” Another told the LA Times: “His calls were melodious, up and down the scale never losing the clippity-clop of his Southern upbringing.”

Vin Scully said of Jackson: “It might have been the result of his time in the Marines, but despite his old country boy technique, he had a quiet dignity about him.”
 
Joe Frank, January 15 (79) Joe contributed over 200 shows to KCRW. The LA Times called Joe "the most innovative radio dramatist in Los Angeles." His radio plays, Work in Progress, In the Dark, Somewhere Out There, and The Other Side, all aired on KCRW. Joe became a storytelling legend of public radio.

“The great radio artist of our time has passed away,” wrote Harry Shearer. “You will never hear anybody smarter, darker, funnier than Joe Frank.”  

Joe Langermann was born in 1939 in Strasbourg, France, to a Viennese mother and Polish father who were in flight from the Nazis. He was raised in New York, where he spent much of his childhood recovering from leg operations to correct clubfeet. He attended the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop and was later by a private school in Manhattan.

Jack E. Sweeney, January 30 (87) Jack was a a 33-year veteran with Golden West Broadcasters.

“Jack was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet and work for,” said colleague Bob Koontz.

Born in Los Angeles on April 19, 1930, Jack graduated from Cathedral High School in 1947. He was drafted into the Army in 1950. After serving his country, he received a degree in Advertising from Woodbury College. In 1953, he married his high school sweetheart Lee Gallagher and they settled in San Marino. Jack began working in radio sales for 710/KMPC. In 1992, he retired as general sales manager. He enjoyed golf, horse racing, traveling, gardening, and cooking. He was an avid Angels and UCLA fan.
   

Mike Walker, February 16 (72) If you didn’t read the National Enquirer, perhaps you remember him from his three years at KABC or his weekly guesting on the Howard Stern show playing ‘The Gossip Game,’ [Walker read four stories and Stern had to guess which one was true]. Or maybe his foray as morning man at “Real Radio” KLSX. It could have been his newsmagazine, “National Enquirer TV.” Or the book he wrote in 2005, Rather Dumb: A Top Tabloid Reporter Tells CBS How to Do News. Walker co-wrote with Faye Resnick the #1 New York Times best-selling book about the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Nicole Brown Simpson: Private Diary of a Life Interrupted in 1994.

“The Hemingway of Gossip” — that’s how Howard Stern once described Mike Walker. To Geraldo Rivera, Walker was the “Guru of Gossip — the Dean of Celebrity News and a first-rate TV personality.” And Ryan Seacrest may have put it best when he asked: “Has Mike Walker ever missed a beat? Nope! Not to my knowledge. That guy impresses me — he always nails it!”

Lyle Kilgore, February 22 (89) For almost four decades, Lyle delivered the news in his famous dramatic style.

Lyle started at KHJ shortly after 93/KHJ "Boss Radio" was launched. For fans of early Top 40 radio, his booming voice made every story important. Verbs were so descriptive that they danced out of the radio.

"Ron Jacobs [pd at KHJ] told me that radio is like a roller coaster ride ... first you're up then you're down. I've worked the overnight. I emerged from the darkness as new operations director with a staff of 20. We covered riots, Charles Manson and the Hillside Strangler stories on 20/20 News," Lyle said when interviewed for Los Angeles Radio People.

For a brief time Lyle went into the cookie business. Before arriving at KHJ he worked the legendary Rock stations in the Inland Empire, KFXM and KMEN. "It has been a long and fun ride since the pioneering Rock stations in the Inland Empire. It's been an E ticket ride and I'm still on it and loving it!"

Paul Cassidy, March 1 (83) Paul, a colorful figure (l), was part of the LARadio scene from 1968 to 1981. He was at the helm when the new Ten-Q (KTNQ) was launched.

Paul started his radio career at KDKA-Pittsburgh in 1961 in the sales department. He spent 10 years with Westinghouse, working later at WIND-Chicago, then going to KFWB in January 1968 when it was still a music station.

In August 1971, Paul went to KHJ, where he was named manager just after two weeks at the iconic station. “My best memory of LA Radio, was 1971 when Don Imus and Robert W. Morgan were cavorting with the Billy Sol Hargus Act live in the KHJ studio. Reverend Billy was healing the hole in the records that Robert was playing! I called Robert to tell him that the FCC was on the way to the station and to get back to reality. Guess what, he did! Then came upstairs to ask, ‘are they really?’”

The RKO position lasted about a year, then Paul joined KLOS in sales before being moved to ABC sister station, KSFX-San Francisco. In October 1974 he moved back to L.A. to run KGBS AM & FM. In 1976, station owner Storer Broadcasting switched their AM property to rock ‘n roll, while KGBS/fm became “Gentle Country.” Paul became titular head of both operations. He was named vp in 1977. Paul was active in making KGBS/AM a 50,000 watt 24 hour operation rather than just a daytimer.
 
John Mack Flanagan, March 31 (71) John spent part of 1975 in Los Angeles at KHJ, but his hugest success happened in the Bay Area.

The San Francisco veteran called his brief stay at KHJ "the single biggest event in my career,” when I interviewed him for Los Angeles Radio People. “I had always dreamed of L.A., and Charlie Van Dyke asked me to assist and pull a couple of shifts."

In 1978, while working in the San Francisco market, John was Billboard Jock of the Year finalist. He was glad he didn't win, saying: "Never climb to the mountain top – the only way is down."

Raised in New Mexico, John started his radio career in the summer of 1964. He served in Vietnam before working in the Bay Area at KWSS-San Jose, K101, KSFO, KYA, and KBGG (“K-BIG 98.1),” as well as KFRC. He is a member of The Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame and National Radio DJ Hall of Fame. The organization wrote a beautiful tribute to John you can read here. He wrote a book about his life, Tight & Bright: A Diskjockey - Vietnam Memoir. John Mack Flanagan was named for the Western movie legend John Mack Brown.

“I've never wanted to be a relic. I never want to hear, 'Oh god, he was great in the 'Seventies,' or 'He was great in '64 in Lubbock, Texas.' I've never wanted that. I've always wanted people right now to go, 'Wow! It's him!'"

Don Pitts, April 7 (90) Don was a longtime voice-talent agent and radio personality. He represented a who’s-who of classic voice talent, including Orson Welles, Casey Kasem, Wolfman Jack, Rod Roddy, Robert W. Morgan, June Foray, Mel Blanc and Gary Owens.

He was well-known for his kind and friendly personality, and was much loved by his clients.

Don started in radio in 1945, but in the sixties and he made a move to Los Angeles and into representing other folks in front of microphones. An aircheck of Don working KGO and KYA is here.

“Blessed with boyish good looks but saddled with a thick, high voice, he wasn’t a natural radio star,” wrote Ben Fong Torres in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Art Bell, April 13 (72) For some strange, bizarre reason, it somehow seems fitting that Art died on Friday the 13th. 

No matter what you might have thought about what Art talked about – and that included the paranormal, abstract, conspiracies, and the world of UFOs – Art was a radio original. Broadcasting from a double-wide trailer in the Nevada desert for more than two decades, Art talked to his listeners in the middle of the night about their stories of alien abductions, crop circles, anthrax scares and, as he put it, all things “seen at the edge of vision.”

While serving in the US Air Force in the Vietnam War, Art indulged his childhood passion for radio by operating a pirate station that played anti-war music otherwise unavailable on official channels, broadcast to American servicemen. Following his time in the service, Art’s love of radio led him to working as a disc jockey for an English-language station in Japan. Over there, he set a Guinness World Record for broadcasting some 116 hours straight to raise funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their home country.

Back in the states Art started his radio journey doing overnights on KDWN in Las Vegas. Syndicated nationally in 1993, Coast to Coast AM became a phenomenon. He frequently would end up on the yearly list of Best LARP. Bell was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2006 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.

Roger Collins, April 23 (71) Roger loved his time at KFI, where he was music director and assistant pd. 

Born Paul Lancaster in Winslow, Arizona, he was director of instruction at the Los Angeles Broadcasters School during much of the 80s. He was also operations director of Breneman Radio Services and the Breneman Review.

After returning to Arizona, Roger produced video workshops for school kids at Northern Arizona University, and was a consultant to Native American education radio for the Navajo Nation. He also programmed KAFF FM/AM, KMGN/fm, KVNA-FM/AM and KZGL/fm. He went on to sales in Flagstaff.

Don Bustany, April 23 (89) Don was one of the last of the four original creators of the iconic American Top 40. “He was family to us and we got to spend time with him last weekend before he passed. We got to talk and laugh and hug each other one last time,” said Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey Kasem. “Now he’s with his beloved wife Judy and my dad, along with countless friends.”

For those familiar with the recording of Casey’s outtakes from a recording session that have been widely circulated, Don is forever immortalized in the phrase, "Get Don on the phone!" Bustany had tv credits in addition to radio, and shared Casey’s activism in support of the Arab community.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Bustany was the camera coordinator and a director of The Bob Newhart Show and Mary Tyler Moore. He also served as the technical coordinator on several other television programs. Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars...

Mark Morris, May 2 (50s) “Mark was a gentleman,” said Johnny St. John Newton when he learned of Morris' passing. “He was first class all the way. He was very, very professional in his job.”

The native Los Angeleno grew up near Baldwin Park. He got the radio bug while working on Loyola Marymount University's college station, KXLU, where he was general manager for two years. During his tenure as manager, the staff won back-to-back awards as Radio Station of the Year. With a sparkle in his voice, he proclaimed his school the “Marines of God.” Mark did morning drive news and production at KKLA, then moving to SI Communications between 1988 and 1990.

Mark was also part of the morning drive team at KACE during its “Quiet Storm” period. While at KLSX in the mid 90’s, he was the host and producer of a syndicated NAC show “Night Songs” that was heard on over 20 stations.

Dex Allen, May 5 (74) A dj, radio executive (programming and sales), owner and most recently president/ceo of Pacific Start Communications, was just a small part of his legacy.  

Dex was best known for spearheading the “underground” movement at KPRI-San Diego. In the late 1960s, he drove to Southern California every weekend to work as a jock at KDAY (1969-70). Eventually he became general manager of several stations in San Diego. Dex made one of those rare journeys from dj to station owner.

Born Claude Turner in Ventura, Dex graduated from John Burroughs High School in Burbank and the University of Denver. His career can almost be broken down into decades. During the '60s Dex was a dj at KBLA, KTLN-Denver, KQV-Pittsburgh, KOL-Seattle, and KCBQ-San Diego. In the '70s he moved into radio sales and gm positions in San Diego. By the 1980s he was ready for station ownership. He created Commonwealth Broadcasting and KGGI/KMEN was his first purchase. He went on to own KROY-Sacramento, KMZQ-Las Vegas, KRST/KRZY/KOLT-Albuquerque and KYJT/KTTI/KBLU-Yuma.

Bill Watson, May 15 (88) Closely associated with legendary radio pioneer, Bill Drake, Watson was admired by friend and foe in the industry.

Watson got everyone's attention in the Inland Empire when within six months he took KMEN from 'Last to First.' At the peak of Watson's tenure, KMEN generated 70 shares which meant that 70% of the people listening to the radio were tuned into KMEN 1290. Watson was instrumental in bringing the Rolling Stones to San Bernardino's Swing Auditorium for their first performance on American soil. He very skillfully established the perfect pitch for the on-air presentation at KMEN and rode the wave of the Surf sound and the British Invasion. And he established himself and his fellow disc jockeys as celebrities in the region.

After 4 years at KMEN Watson left and became a programming consultant for other radio stations. Within a short time Watson teamed up with the legendary radio programmer Drake, who along with his partner Gene Chenault had been given the task of turning around the radio stations owned by RKO General, which included 93 KHJ in Los Angeles, KFRC in San Francisco, WRKO in Boston, and WOR/fm in New York City. Other stations under their direction included KGB in San Diego, CKLW in Detroit/Windsor, Ontario and KYNO in Fresno.

Together Watson and Drake worked their programming magic on these radio stations creating the "Boss Radio Format." Within a short time all of the stations enjoyed top ratings too. Later Watson was instrumental in producing the national version of the "The History of Rock and Roll," "The History of Country Music," and several other syndicated radio specials.
(Photo: Watson, The Real Don Steele, Bill Drake)

Frank Bresee, June 5 (88) Frank was an excellent  radio historian and character actor.

In 1942, Bresee was Alvin on the radio show Major Hopalong also starring Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan. Bryan was perhaps better known as the original voice of Elmer Fudd. Arthur later became a second father to Frank. The two often collaborated on projects. Bresee was also Little Beaver on the Red Ryder radio show until 1946.

In August of 1949, Bresee began hosting the “Golden Days of Radio” show with his large collection of transcription discs. He played early recordings from then-current radio shows while new shows were being broadcast. He wrote a book with artwork portraying every big radio show of its time.

Warren Duffy, June 13 (80) Warren was prominent on the Los Angeles airwaves as both an original voice of progressive rock and as a longtime host on Christian talk radio.

He helped launch the legendary progressive rocker KMET. Later he went to KDAY and then joined the Beach Boys as promotion director and put together their 15th anniversary tour. Warren soon found himself with a serious drug problem. He started his recovery in the late 1970s, leading to his religious conversion and renewing his faith through Robert Schuller Ministries. He became a pastor and eventually went to Salem Communication where he worked afternoon drive on KKLA for many years.

Arnie McClatchey, June 20 (76) Newer listeners to Southern California radio may have a tough time understanding that at one time there was radio exclusively for Orange County. As the population of the Southland began to spread, low powered AM station originating from L.A. had a hard time reaching the OC. Three of the leading OC stations in the 1960s and ‘70s had Arnie McClatchey as a common denominator. He was an innovator, programmer and talent.

Arnie was born June 14, 1942 in Vancouver, Washington and raised in Camus, Washington. Arnie was pd at KEZY from 1967–74 until he was succeeded by Mark Denis. Arnie transformed the station from an easy-listening station to “The Mighty 1190.”

A number of djs who later became prominent in L.A. – Mike Wagner, Paul Freeman, Bruce Chandler, among others – worked with Arnie to create a Top 40 station which dominated the OC airwaves. KEZY even had a following into the Los Angeles market despite the fading signal at night when the station reduced power.

Ed Schultz, July 5 (64) Ed was thought to be the Progressive Talk show answer to King of the Talkers, Rush Limbaugh. Ultimately Air America failed to dismantle or even challenge the juggernaut of "right-wing radio." Schultz had an uncanny similar presentation as Limbaugh, despite their opposite political views. Ed opened his show with “From the heart of America, the nation’s #1 Progressive voice where truth and common-sense rule.”

Ed played football at Minnesota State University/Moorhead, eventually becoming the play-by-play announcer for North Dakota State. Schultz began his media career working as a radio and television host in the Fargo market.  

From 2009 to 2015, he hosted a daytime news and opinion program on MSNBC called The Ed Show. He was a controversial presence. At MSNBC, Ed attacked Laura Ingraham once telling his listeners: "President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday but you know what they're talking about, like this right-wing slut, what's her name? Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she's a talk slut."

The trade newspapers had a field day covering Schultz’ colorful language on his syndicated radio show. One time he tore into a caller, telling him to “get the fuck out of here” before fretting over whether the radio producers had managed to hit the delay censor button. 

John Lyle Campbell, July 10 (63)  John worked at KHTZ (K-HITS) from 1983-86. “John loved radio!” according to his sister, Charlotte. He got his initial on-air experience on the campus station while attending Hudson Valley. In Albany, he worked at WHRL, WABY, and WSNY.

In 1975, the lure of Hollywood drew him to Southern California. His booming voice enabled him to find work in LA at KRLA, KHTZ and KSRF, KWNK-Simi Valley and in San Bernardino at KMEN. He was a proud member of SAG for many years and appeared in many movies, most notably Absolute PowerLogan’s Run and The Rock. And he worked on many tv shows.

For the last 14 years of his life, John was employed at the law office of Richard M. Lester.

“John had a heart of gold. He was quirky, opinionated, interesting, passionate and lovable, always smiling or grinning. He was a ‘walking encyclopedia’ with regard to old movies and old tv shows especially. Give him a title, he knew the actors, the director and the year it came out,” his sister continued. “John leaves behind many desolate co-workers, good friends close and afar and a family that never got to say goodbye.”

Dave Zorn, July 30 (73) Dave was a news anchor/reporter and a booming baritone afternoon drive voice at KNX for 25 years, until his retirement in 2006.

Dave majored in broadcasting in college and began his commercial broadcasting career in 1969. “I can't remember a time in my life that I didn't want to be on the radio, but I really got the 'bug' one rainy summer afternoon in Cleveland in the late ‘50s when I 'played radio' with a neighborhood electronic genius who built a radio station in his basement. We tape recorded our pretend rock 'n roll radio show with ‘your boy D.Z. on K-R-A-P’ and played it through a miniature transmitter my engineer friend built. What a thrill, I was on the radio! 

Dave was in Vietnam for two years, where he served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. He married his college sweetheart, Carolynn Bauer. Dave won 7 Golden Mikes, including three consecutive Best Newscast awards. From the L.A. Press Club he received 12 first-place awards in various categories, including best newscast.

"I've had a wonderful career, 37 years in commercial radio, nearly 25 of them at KNX. I've enjoyed NEARLY every minute of it. I found something to do in life that I was pretty good at, made a pretty good living, worked with some of the best broadcast journalists and best people you could ever meet up with, interviewed fascinating people, got to do things that most people only dream of doing, and had a few laughs along the way. I walk away from my radio career with no regrets. I accomplished everything I set out to do, and MORE. It was a damn good run and now it's time to spend more time with my family."


Johnny Morris, September 1 (70) The godfather of soul radio in California (KGFJ / KACE / KJLH Los Angeles; KSOL / KDIA in the Bay Area) knew what he wanted to be when he grew up – a radio broadcaster. The curious youngster didn’t want to become an adult before pursuing his dream. At 12, he had built his first transmitter in his grandmother’s garage and constructed a small radio studio. “I loved the early rock and roll music of Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. There’s nothing like it.” While in high school, he started his radio career as the all-night personality at KSOL-Oakland/San Francisco, using the moniker Ronnie Dark. He was there at the same time Sly Stone was at the station. 

After nearly two decades in the San Francisco and Oakland communities, Johnny packed up to head down south to join Los Angeles r&b stations KGFJ-AM and KUTE/fm, when the stations were located on 1989 Riverside Drive. The lineup on the legendary station included Big Jim Woods, Magnificent Montague, Tyrone “Boogie” Nelson, Levi Booker, and Alvin John Waples. When the stations parted ways in 1985, Johnny remained with KGFJ, again taking on multiple duties as an on-air personality, program director, and chief engineer.  

Mike Parker, November 4 (75) In 1967, Mike joined KBBQ as a newscaster and worked alongside Dick Spangler and Andy West. In 1969, he moved to KFI where he worked as a street reporter, anchor, then news director from 1973-77. “So much happened at KFI and I worked with so many great people, my head reels from the great memories. In the newsroom were such greats as Mark Coogan, Bob Kerr, Larry ChattertonBill JenkinsBill BrowningEleanor Green and Vern Williams. I’m sure I’ve left somebody out but it was a fantastic news operation until Cox Broadcasting bought the place and started cutting costs. I also got to work alongside some legendary radio personalities as a newscaster. There were Lohman & Barkley, Dave HullAl “Jazzbeaux” CollinsHilly Rose, even Dave Garroway and Robert Q. Lewis. Now that was a FULL SERVICE radio station.”

In the late 1970s, Mike moved to tv at CBS station KNXT/Channel 2 as both a reporter and anchor. He said “working in L.A. in the ’70s was like covering news for the Sodom and Gomorrah bureau.”

Mike covered numerous forest fires as well as the Hillside Strangler case.

He moved in 1980 to work at the CBS station in Chicago, WBBM/tv. He became one of the station’s best known reporters over his three-and-a-half decades.

Dave Roberts, November 24 (70) Dave was an Orange County jock at KEZY and KWIZ in the mid-1970s.

Born Dave Kelliher on November 1, 1948, he held a doctorate in research from the University of Oregon. He worked at KYNO-Fresno, KMEN-San Bernardino and KPOI-Honolulu. He started his career in 1966 at KDUO, and did fill-in work at KFXM-San Bernardino. A year later he joined KREO-Indio, then on to KPOI-Honolulu. In 1980 he was at KYA-San Francisco as assistant pd, research director and afternoon drive.

In 1981 he was appointed pd at KRQR-San Francisco before he was named vp/director of programming for the RKO Radio Network in 1983. In the mid-1980s he was host of RKO’s “The Hot Ones” and was a four-time fill-in host for American Top 40.

In 1985, he joined the CBS/FM Group as vp/director of programming. Dave owned a consulting company in Austin. During part of his radio journey, Dave worked as David B. Daniels.

Ed Crook, November 26 (85) During the 50s and 60s, Ed was a veteran of KWKW, KDWC, KGRB, and KWOW. He worked on-air as Dave Gilmore. He also spent time at KPRO-Riverside. 

"He went to take a nap on Thanksgiving Day and he never woke up," according to friend Bill Kingman. "He was the nicest guy on our planet and a proud Eagle Scout.

Ed moved to Lake Tahoe in 1974 and founded KRLT/fm. He was general manager of KPTL/KKBC Carson City/Reno in the early 1980s, followed by a stint as gm at KROI AM&FM. Ed was heard at KTHO-Lake Tahoe since 2001 and was heard hourly nights and weekends announcing the local weather forecast.

Scott St. James, December 17 (75) A versatile member of the Southern California radio and tv sportsworld, Scott died of Alzheimer's Disease. Following radio stops in San Jose, Hartford, and St. Louis where he lived by the mantra, ‘Go Big or Go Home.’ When Scott showed up in Los Angeles, you definitely took notice.

He arrived in 1979 and joined Gene Autry’s “Station of the Stars,” 710/KMPC. Scott became an important member of the Robert W. Morgan “Good Morgan Team.” Scott also formed a friendship with three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammed Ali during this time. It was a friendship that endured the rest of their lives.

Scott also produced a nine-hour star-studded special on Gene Autry. The show covered the career of the Singing Cowboy from his three decades as a performer in radio, tv and film, to his ownership of both radio and tv stations, as well as his beloved California Angels baseball team.

Scott’s later on-air jobs in L.A. included working with KIIS/fm’s Rick Dees, “Arrow 93’s” Uncle Joe Benson and Charlie Tuna. Once nicked-named ‘The Jammer with the Hammer,’ St. James picked up multiple Golden Mike and Mark Twain awards for commentary writing.

In the ‘80s, Scott was on-camera sports director at KHJ/Channel 9. During this time, Scott regularly hosted the LA Police Department’s celebrity golf tournament.

Radio and tv wasn’t enough for this talent. He caught the acting bug and made his first appearance on the big screen with a role in Heart of a Champion: The Mancini Story, exec produced by Sylvester Stallone. He appeared in dozens of motion pictures. His tv acting work included Dallas, ER, The A-Team, Murder She Wrote, The Young & the Restless, Everybody Loves Raymond, with many appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live. His national tv commercial credits include American Express, Pepsi, DirecTV and the Honda Motor Company.

In 2004, he briefly returned to radio and did a talk show on KTRS-St. Louis. When he returned to the Southland, he was heard on CRN Digital Talk Radio with Mike Horn. Scott was an incredible story teller.


Ron Pesha, December 26 (84) Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ron was the consummate broadcast engineer and technician who engineered, repaired, and built radio & tv stations from Hawaii to New York - including Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Jose, Fresno, and Midwest - from the 1950s into the 1980s. One of his proudest achievements was constructing [including home-building the control room audio mixing console] and then signing-on the new KFOA (FM) Honolulu in the 1960s. 

In Los Angeles, Ron worked for Saul Levine at KBCA. Ultimately, Ron became the professor of broadcasting at Adirondack Community College in Glens Falls, New York, for nearly twenty years which included founding their student-operated fm station WGFR. Ron contributed to many technical journals, and later while retired in Lubec, Maine [(the eastern-most tip of the United States], he authored several history books while being active in the local historical society as well as aiding the preservation and operation of Lubec's famous West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. Ron Pesha was 84." -
Bill Kingman

-30-


Email Saturday, 1.5.2019

** Fore For Super Dave

“Sad to hear on the passing of Super Dave Osborne. He played in several of the Mark & Brian Golf events. Not only was he very generous with his time, but he was a fan favorite never turning down a request from his fans. One funny story: We were going to give away a new LEXUS with the proceeds going to charity. When one of the golfers won the car, Dave comes up on the stage, grabs the mic and tells the winner to give it back to the charity! The place went crazy! Dave RIP.” – Bob Koontz

** Sports Nut Dies

“I was saddened to read about the passing of Bob Einstein. I had the pleasure of working with him when I was the vp/general manager of KLAC. We had a unique show called ‘Sports Nuts’ hosted by Gabe Kaplan. It was a comedy show with guests from the sports world, entertainment and comedy. The show featured stories related to sports with comedy as a central theme.

When Gabe was off [every Thursday] he had a guest host. Super Dave Osborne (Bob Einstein) often filled that position and he was a tremendous hit. He was so good that I offered him an opportunity to be the morning man with his own show. He was flattered and interested, but his schedule would not allow it.

Bob was one of the funniest and brightest men I have ever met. I first met Bob when as a newbie in radio, I formed a radio softball team which played in an advertising league for many years. Bob played on another team, and I remember that he was one of the best players in the league, very strong with lots of home run pop. He was a great guy and came from a remarkable family with brothers, Albert Brooks and Cliff Einstein, creative genius and President of Daily & Associates. He will be sorely missed.” – Norm Epstein
** Annoying Commercials

“In ALL the years that the moronic Morongo, Mike Diamond, and Sit and Sleep ads have been airing, has there ever been ONE that was funny and entertaining?? Especially the dopey Morongo Casino ad intro, with a befuddled announcer slightly off mic, as if he didn’t know his mic was on. Not once has his ‘joke’ been funny. Is that the point? That he’s a dork who bombs every time, like Charlie Brown kicking the football?

C’mon, Morongo! With all the money you take in, can’t you hire some good writers? Mike Diamond uses an agency in Texas [you can hear their slight twang] that does stuff in-house with mediocre actors.  Arrrrg.” – Andrew Schermerhorn

** KABC Panacea

“I made a New Year’s resolution for KABC but, unfortunately, I have no power to put it into effect. If I was running the station, I would change the format to MOR and Adult Contemporary hits of the 1950s through the 1980s: Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Pat Boone, Al Martino, Jack Jones, Tony Bennett, Herb Alpert, Andy Williams, Anne Murray, Nat ‘King’ Cole, the Carpenters, the Lettermen et al. 

Call the station ‘America's Best Crooners, ABC 79’ or ‘America’s Biggest Classics, ABC 790.’ Instead of playing hundreds of versions of standards, ABC 790 would play only songs that were chart hits. With no competition on AM or FM, such a format would likely get much higher ratings than the talk and brokered programming.” – Steve Thompson

New Day for KABC 

(January 4, 2019) KABC is kicking off the New Year with a number of shift changes and two new additions to its on-air lineup. Moving to morning drive will be John Phillips and Jillian Barberie (an update on Jillian’s medical challenges follows this story). They had been in the afternoons.

Following John and Jillian from 10 a.m. to noon is Larry O’Connor. He began his radio career on Internet radio in January 2010 on BlogTalkRadio. A year later Larry began filling in for many terrestrial radio shows and stations including nationally syndicated shows like Dennis Miller and Hugh Hewitt. Born in Detroit, he attended high school in Corona Del Mar.

He's written for Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood site under the pseudonym Stage Right.

Dr. Drew Pinsky will continue in the noon – 3 p.m., but with Leeann Tweeden, who had been doing mornings with Doug McIntyre. She replaces Lauren Sivan.

In afternoon drive, the syndicated The Ben Shapiro Show, most recently part of the morning threesome at 870 KRLA The Answer.

Peter Tilden returns to his early evening slot from 6 p.m. -9 p.m.

Shapiro said: “I grew up listening to 790, and it's an honor and a pleasure to be coming to its hallowed airwaves. I can't wait to bring my brand of hard-hitting, pull-no-punches, information-first talk to the best station in my hometown!"
KABC Talker Jillian Barberie has been very open about her recent challenges with cancer. At the start of the New Year, she offered this tweet: “Hello 2019. Goodbye cancer. Goodbye hair. Hello health. I’m ready. I’m a warrior. #FuckCancer.” She had a double mastectomy late last year,  which will be followed up this year with chemo and radiation therapy. Earlier during the holidays, she wrote: “Sometimes I think I was a good tv host & I was shit canned. I was a good wife & got divorced. Twice. My birth mom died in my arms Christmas morning three years ago. I’m a single mom getting thru cancer. Who in the fuck did I piss off? But that would be feeling sorry for myself.” Good luck Jillian with of all your challenges.

In other news: Michael Medved, the conservative talk host known for his stance of #NeverTrump, lost his job with Salem to Trump supporter Sebastian Gorka. On New Year’s Day, Medved began hosting a daily live podcast. It will take a $5 per month fee to gain access to Medved’s commercial-free show. He joins Laura Ingraham, another Talker in the podcasting stratosphere … Didja know that Rick Dees is hosting a Dead Top 40? Check it out here … The message was short on the morning of January 1. Robert Feder, publisher of his excellent media blog in Chicago, said that he would be “taking some time off…I will be off the grid and away a few days for a family matter.” We have since learned that his wife, Janet, has died after a battle with cancer. Condolences, sir … Former KFI Talker Maria Sanchez is having fun on the Internet with a daily show here … Football fans reading Lisa Bowman’s Facebook posting must have sat up in their chair, grabbed a beer and read: “DO YOU WANT THESE? A friend of mine has two tickets for the 2019 Super Bowl, both box seats. He paid $2,500 each but he didn’t realize last year when he bought them, it was going to be on the same day as his wedding. If you are interested, he is looking for someone to take his place...It’s at St Mark Cathedral, off Alsbury St. in Burleson, TX at 3pm. The bride’s name is Nicole, she's 5’4”, about 115 lbs., good cook too. She’ll be the one in the white dress."
A Study in Satin Soul about KBCA from Elegant Magazine, published in 1965


LARadio Bulletin: John Phillips and Jillian Barberie will be the new morning drive team at KABC beginning Monday!


A Genius at Comedy Dies 

(January 3, 2019) Sad to learn that Bob Einstein (he was a LARP as a sideline reporter for the one season of the L.A. Xtreme for the one season on KLSX) has died. We went to Chapman College (now University) together. He was on the basketball team and always very funny, in a dry, droll way. My roommate was also on the basketball team, so we all hung around a lot.

He went on to create the “Super Dave” character, appearing frequently on Late Night with David Letterman. He also was a two-time Emmy winner who was seen fairly regularly on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Bob was the brother of comedian and writer Albert Brooks. Bob was part of the writing team for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (which he was also appeared as “Officer Judy”), Sonny and Cher and Dick Van Dyke. He was 76 and recently had been diagnosed with cancer.

The clock is ticking for all us. As Claude Hall used to say: “We come. We do. And we go.” We just have to be sure we do before we go.
In other news: Favorite LARP Wally Clark, former general manager at KIIS/fm, spent the holidays healing from his broken hip. A couple of months ago he fell on a wet bathroom floor. “Breaking a hip is a new experience,” emailed Wally. “Then they put a pin in to secure it. I still can’t put much weight on my left leg. Every day I walk a couple of times along with other exercises.” I’m sure Wally would love to hear from you. His email address is: wallywclark@yahoo.com … KFI’s Debra Mark emailed to say she is also in the Sandra Bullock pic Bird Box. Congrats! … Later this month, KLAC’s Vic the Brick Jacobs will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 69th Annual Golden Mike Awards … Dave Williams, former KABC/KNX morning man, woke up New Year’s Day with 100% improvement in his eyesight. “Two two-minute laser procedures restored bright colors and contrast, wiping clean the filmy haze that impeded my ability to read fine print and soft fonts,” wrote Williams. “Absolutely amazing, with zero discomfort or side effects. I drove myself home immediately after the procedures. Miracle science!” … There has been a last minute reprieve for RockitRadio after rearrangement of costly promotion expenses, according to Lane Quigley … Jeff Serr, former production director at KKGO, is busy doing voiceover work.  “I left the production director job at Go Country 105 in October of 2014 to work with a producer in Seattle, doing voice work on various projects, which I’m still doing to this day,” emailed Jeff. “Recent ad campaigns I've voiced include Vitas Healthcare, Trane Heating, and the film documentary Understand A.D.” … Dawn Kamber celebrates 30 years today working for Saddleback College’s KSBR radio. “I know I’ve been very fortunate to be able to perform broadcasting duties at one place for this length of time,” Dawn wrote. “I don’t take any day for granted. I appreciate all the wonderful people I’ve worked with over the years and will do so in the future.” ... Patrick Breen noted that KABC still lists Doug McIntyre in the Morning. He's been gone for three weeks. "How unprofessional," noted Breen ... They are not the only ones, Patrick. KOST still has a banner on their website about listening to your favorite holiday music NOW.  

From David Grudt's private collection of LA Times radio ads. This one from December 31, 1957


Larry Van Nuys Goes Full Circle and Jumps in the (K)Surf

(January 2, 2019) “Great Oldies are back on ‘L.A. Oldies’” is the station’s slogan. Now, K-Surf (KSUR) is bringing a familiar voice back to L.A. radio, as veteran personality Larry Van Nuys prepares to helm mornings starting Monday.

When interviewed back in 2009, Larry told LARadio.com he was busy as a voice actor, yet “missed the interaction with friends and co-workers,” which prompted his return to radio via “Arrow 93” (KCBS/fm) and all-News KNX. He concluded his work as a news anchor at KSFO-San Francisco about a year ago, which could have been his last appearance on the airwaves. But once again, the draw back to radio offered strong appeal.

Among other reasons, it’s a return to his role of playing music. “I’ve actually been a jock longer than I’ve been a news anchor,” said Larry, reflecting on his last two radio jobs at KSFO and KNX. “The transition (back to music) should be a natural one.” Plus the opportunity to work with Saul Levine – for a second time – is “something fitting the order of the cosmos.”

“What makes this opportunity especially significant for me is that Mr. Levine was the man who helped me turn my dreams into reality offering me my first job in radio,” said Larry. “Saul is intelligent…a beautiful man with a unique approach” of bringing back tunes missing from the local airwaves.

For his part, Levine said “I am gratified that Larry is returning after fifty years. Larry rejoins the long list of major celebrities who have hosted shows on 1260AM (previously KGIL) and KKGO 105.1FM including Gary Owens, Wink Martindale, Chuck Southcott, Chuck Niles, Jim Gosa, Tom Dixon, Johnny Magnus, Nancy Sinatra, Hal Fishman, Florence HendersonStephanie Edwards, Mel Torme, and many others.”
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Larry grew up in Southern California, graduating from Los Angeles High School. He grew up with a radio by his side, listening to serial dramas, Chuck Blore’s KFWB “Color Radio 98,” and “Boss Radio” KHJ.

In an earlier interview, Larry recalled “while the other kids were playing baseball, I was playing dj using a wooden spoon for my microphone. I actually ripped off all the labels of my mother’s canned food and pretended they were earphones. For months, she never knew what she was opening for dinner … she still kids me about that.” Eventually Larry’s parents purchased him a Webcor tape recorder, “and I was off to the races.” Larry finally made it on the air courtesy of Levine’s all-jazz KBCA.

Though he spent time at KFI, KMPC and KABC, Larry may be best remembered as the midday host at KGIL-San Fernando, a directional 5,000 watt local station which nonetheless attracted listeners from throughout Southern California. Said Larry: “I sat in a broadcast trailer on the weekends doing remotes. I think I opened every Taco Bell in the Valley. One remote that still makes me smile is when I MC’d the opening of a new traffic light in Encino. But I loved it!”

K-Surf is banking on Larry’s ability to connect with local listeners. “There’s much room for a distinctive approach for this music,” he said. Having hosted KTLA/tv’s Help Thy Neighbor, being the voice of the 1980’s tv hit The Love Boat, and the aforementioned stops across the L.A. radio dial seemingly would be enough to conclude a successful career. Yet the opportunity to return to the local radio dial is hard to pass up. “Saul has a very cool idea here (with K-Surf). The staff wants to make it as best as it can be. They’re a beautiful group, an amazing group of broadcast professional. I hope to be able to bring something and in some small way contribute to the station,” said Larry. (Story written by LARadio senior correspondent, Alan Oda)

In other news: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2019 was the top rated New Year’s Eve telecast. The show featured the ball dropping in New York’s Times Square, even though  the rating was down from last year. Carson Daly was back to host NBC’s New Year’s Eve. Social media response was less than flattering, including adjectives such as “trainwreck” and “a complete disaster.” Deadline.com noted “the special…raised some eyebrows for not showing the ball drop in Time Square.” In third place was Fox TV’s Fox New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey … KRLA/870 launched America First with Dr. Sebastian Gorka yesterday.  His new show airs on 340 affiliate stations, including AM 870 The Answer (KRLA) from noon to three. Gorka, who is the author of two books Why We Fight and also Defeating Jihad was on the Trump White House team in 2017. His parents escaped the communist take-over of Hungary in 1956 … Former B-100 (KIBB 100.3) dj and superstar Chaka Khan got trashed on Twitter for her performance at the beginning of the Rose Parade. One Tweet: “It sounded like Chaka Khan was singing in a canyon. Not a good start to the parade.” … Nielsen had to reissue the December ’18 PPM ratings because there was a 4th week glitch. The Top 10 stations did not alter positions except for KLOS, which fell out of the Top 10 … Didja know that Frank Mottek was in  Bird Box? If you were one of the 45 million who viewed Sandra Bullock in Netflix's Bird Box over the holidays, whotta’ delight to see Frank Mottek … Anyone know how to reach Steve Fischler, son of Alan Fischler?

Sioux-z Jessup: "Island of Misfit Toys allows us to imgine that maybe our flaws are actually uniqueness misunderstood"


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Last modified: March 17, 2019