LARadio

January/February 2020

Compiled and Written by Don Barrett
Edited by Alan Oda


 

Former KLAC Sports Talker Makes Headlines 

(January 14, 2020) The saga of T. J. Simers and the battle with the L. A. Times continues. A Los Angeles judge has overturned a jury’s earlier award of $15.4 million in damages to the former Times sports columnist and KLAC host. Simers had filed suit against the newspaper for age and disability discrimination.

Superior Court Judge William A. MacLaughlin said the amount was not justified because of misconduct by the plaintiff’s attorney and that the award was excessive. A new trial has been ordered to determine damages.

Simers said he was demoted in 2013 from being a columnist to a reporter once he developed health problems. It would be the third time a jury must consider the sole issue of damages in the case. An appeals court has already upheld a verdict that Simers suffered age and disability discrimination at the newspaper.

In the most recent case, a jury in August awarded Simers more than $15 million in damages, before it was overturned in late December. Simers joined The Times in 1990 as a sportswriter and became a columnist 10 years later. He alleged in his lawsuit and at trial that his troubles began after he suffered what was initially diagnosed as a mini-stroke in March 2013 while covering baseball spring training in Arizona. He later was diagnosed with complex migraine syndrome.

The page 2 columnist launched a radio morning show with his daughter Tracy and Fred Roggin on October 30, 2006. The show ended September 27, 2007.
Hear Ache. Six-year KIIS middayer Alex Gervasi exits the station. In a Tweet she wrote: “After I graduated, I jumped from Lexington, to Virginia, to Austin, ultimately ending up at KIIS. When I walked into the Burbank studios, it was overwhelming and terrifying and yet those people welcomed me with open arms. They became family.” … KBIG’s Mario Lopez is excited about the reboot of Saved By the Bell … Think Alexa is listening to you at home? Alexa has been embedded into more than 20,000 different devices.… AMP Radio’s Jake Kaplan has been upped to operations and creative director for Top 40 KAMP and RADIO.com's LGBTQ-targeted Channel Q and ad-free mixing channel Firelane … I never knew Double Dutch Bus was #1 on the KRLA Tunedex in the early 80s for weeks? … Fred Missman has left his programming slot at Oldies K-SURF and is set to retire. Hopefully he will write an essay on his impressive journey … George Johns asks a relevant question, ‘Do we want to go all-electric with what’s going on in California?’ …Congratulations to Roger Marsh on his marriage over the holidays … Jillian Barberie, former Talker at KABC, had mixed feelings about the passing of Don Imus. She wrote on social media: “He was always so mean to me. Brutal. I’m pretty sure it was because of my love for Howard Stern. He said some pretty bad things about me when I was on the NFL show. Never met the man. May he Rest In Peace though” … Over the holidays Bryan Suits couldn’t get into KFI for his shift from his Lancaster ranch because of the weather. He was snowed in. It Never Rains in Southern California but snow?  
 
 

 Heat Index for Jim Meyer: The Sirius/XM ceo grows the satellite radio service
to 34.9 million paid subscribers at the end of 2019, a new high (THR)

The Passing Parade - #RIPLARP

(January 13, 2020) It is that time of year when we take a wistful look back at those Los Angeles Radio People who died during 2019:

 
Bob Einstein, January 2 (76) Bob, a two-time Emmy winner appeared as Marty Funkhouser on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm since its launch and created the wacky Super Dave Osborne character, appeared frequently on the David Letterman Show. He was a LARP as a sideline reporter for the one season of the L.A. Xtreme on KLSX.

Bob earned Emmy nominations as a writer for The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in 1972 and 1974 and two more for writing on Dick Van Dyke’s mid-’70s series Van Dyke and Company. Einstein won his other Emmy as a producer for the series, sharing the 1977 award for Outstanding Comedy Series. He also appeared on all three of those series, along with his Smothers Brothers colleague’s 1970 show, Pat Paulson’s Half a Comedy Hour, for which Einstein also was a writer. He also wrote for Sonny and Cher and Van Dyke. 


  Sylvia Chase, January 3 (80) Sylvia was an Emmy Award-winning correspondent whose professionalism and perseverance in the 1970s helped a generation of women. KNX's Ronnie Bradford said she was an excellent reporter who did a lot of long form product including documentaries.

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. 0.  One of her Bay Area colleagues remarked: “She belonged everywhere.”  

Gene Brodeur, January 13 (80) Gene spent the decade of the seventies as alternate White House correspondent for Golden West Broadcasters (710/KMPC) during the Nixon years. Gene passed away from the effects of Lewy Body Dementia. 

Gene grew up in New Jersey and studied English at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He started his broadcast career as a journalist in San Francisco in 1967, tracking the student protest movement from Berkeley to Santa Barbara. “The late Hugh Brundage hired me in February of ’71, where I was doing news and programming in Santa Barbara,” Gene said when interviewed for Los Angeles Radio People.
Elias Liberman, January 19 (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. He 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.
Bruce Williams, February 9 (86) His widely heard, enlightening syndicated show was heard locally on KGIL in the 80s. 

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.

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. In 1999, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago.
David Horowitz, February 14 (81) The longtime consumer journalist 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.

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.
Eva Kilgore, February 19 (67) Eva Ross on KHJ and KIKF/fm was an enormously liked broadcaster, colleague, and a friend to all in the Orange County community.

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 Close-up."

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 2018. The couple lived in Huntington Beach. Eva was active in the Huntington Harbour Boat Parade and Philharmonic Holiday Boutique.
Richard Kimball, March 7 (82) Rich worked the early days of AOR radio as program director at the Mighty Met, KMET and KWST (K-West) in the mid-1970s.

Born in Oakland in 1936, Richard grew up in Sacramento. At 14 he wrangled a job at the NBC/tv station, KCRA. After some time in college, Richard joined the Army and spent much of his time in the Far East. “I loved the international travel.”

Before he arrived at “the Mighty Met,” he worked in the Bay Area at KDIA, KSAN, KSJO and KMPX. “When I left KMET I managed Emerson, Lake and Palmer. In 1975, a group from Detroit arrived to turn ‘K-West’ into AOR programming and I was the only local guy hired. Within 18 months I tired of a daily show. I envisioned myself splayed over some console mumbling something about Joni Mitchell. Plus, the suits and the corporate mentality had arrived and the music was no longer free-form.”

Richard became a manager and guided the careers of David Cassidy and other artists until joining Westwood One in 1980 in the rock concert division. He stayed until 1993 when he left to co-produce “Rockline” for Global Satellite.

Harvey Mednick, March 10 (84) While success can be measured in terms of ratings, no one has a minimal role in creating the sound of a station. Usually the people behind the scenes – management, sales, traffic directors and marketing execs – help accomplish this goal.

While he was vp of RKO Radio, he loved talking about a promotion of the 1967 spoof, Casino Royal when 13,000 listeners showed up at a theatre in trench coats and sunglasses. During a short stint at KABC Radio as marketing director, he created the “Talkradio” positioning campaign, which has since become the common name for the format.

Later on in his career, he was Director of Marketing for Radio and Records, a consultant to various radio stations in the US and UK and helped execute We Are the World and Hand Across America fundraisers.

Tom Hatten, March 16 (92) Whether you were a fan growing up in the Southland watching him on the KTLA/Channel 5 Popeye Show or as an entertainment reporter at KNX, you knew who Tom was.

Born in 1927 in North Dakota, Tom grew up in Idaho and joined the Navy just before the end of World War II. he attended the Pasadena Playhouse Theatre on the GI Bill and graduated cum laude in 1950. During an appearance in one of tv’s earliest shows, Space Patrol, Tom was discovered and joined KTLA as a “utility infielder” with Stan Chambers. Tom spent the next four decades on the local scene as a composer, announcer, commercial pitchman, writer and pop and jazz concert producer. From 1978 to 1991, Tom hosted the “Family Film Festival” every weekend on KTLA. He appeared in local stage productions over the decades. Tom was a member of five industry unions. 
Brad Messer, April 16 (79) It is difficult to put into words the kind of man, newsman and talk show host he was. Oh, okay. He was the BEST in all categories.

Wherever Brad landed during his 47 years in radio – in Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Antonio – he was always the guy who knew how to make the news broadcast soar. He was schooled by Gordon McLendon. Much of his professional time was spent at KTSA-San Antonio where Brad was named at TALKERS magazine among The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Hosts in America for seven consecutive years. He worked at the "Mighty Met."

During his 16 years as a talk radio host, Brad cites several on-air conversations as especially memorable, but one stands out: In 1992, on the topic of the military draft, one caller mentioned his tour in Viet Nam. Brad thought it would be appropriate to tell the veteran "thanks for going over there," words Brad had never expressed nor heard anyone else offer. The caller was silent for so long that Brad thought maybe he had hung up, when the vet finally said, in a choked-up voice, "That's the first time anyone has ever said thank you."
Chuck Cecil, April 27 (97) Chuck stayed true to his love playing Big Band music on his “Swingin’ Years” radio show for decades.

For over twenty years, Chuck was heard on KFI. Later, his Big Band show appeared for years across the dial on KGIL, KPRZ, KPCC, KCSN, KLON, and KKJZ. Additionally, his show was syndicated for decades.

Chuck grew up on a farm in Enid, Oklahoma playing 78 rpm records after school and doing daily chores. When he was 12, catastrophic dust storms sent many thousands of Midwesterners fleeing from their homes and farms. As a result, his family migrated to California. He listened to some of the early Southern California radio personalities like Al Jarvis, while he was taking radio courses at Los Angeles City College.
Gregg Hunter, May 15 (87) The veteran entertainer, print and broadcast journalist had a 30-year run with KIEV / 870 AM when the station was owned by the Beaton family.

Son of a prominent movie theater manager in the Midwest, Hunter’s show business career started at the age of 13, when he began by hosting his own nightly radio show on KTTS in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri. Hunter attended Columbia University while pursuing a theatrical career that included off-Broadway, repertory, and summer stock. He moved to the Southland in 1952 and appeared on KPOP / KFVD. At KIEV, he had a variety of shows including Meet Me at the Derby, recorded live at the world-famous Hollywood Brown Derby, where he interviewed top Hollywood personalities.

Often asked about the diversity and longevity of his career, Hunter emphasized: “I love survivors in show business. In fact, I intend to be one of them as long as anybody will listen, read or watch what I have to say!”
Bo Leibowitz, June 3 (74) He spent 40 years at KCRW playing jazz, the music he adored. “KCRW just lost a hero and benefactor of the jazz genre,” wrote KCRW's Tom Schnabel. “I hired Bo Leibowitz to produce Strictly Jazz way back in 1979, the year I came to KCRW as music director. It was a time when jazz was changing. The local jazz station and other radio stations were featuring Smooth Jazz to try to increase listenership. KCRW needed to do something of better quality. Bo was the right man for the job."

Bo never compromised, preferring to showcase Classic music that has stood the test of time. He treated jazz with the respect that the art form has always gotten in Europe and Japan.”

After attending Penn State, Bo moved to Boston, where he ran a Harvard Square record store and hosted a jazz show on KBUR/fm, according to the obit in the LA Times.

On Bo’s love affair with Jazz: “People who say jazz is dead just aren’t listening. It will never die. It just needs exposure.”
Humble Harve, June 4 (84) Harvey Miller had one of the most distinctive voices of the Boss Jock era. He started his radio journey when he was 17. Harve arrived in Southern California from a Top 40 powerhouse, WIBG, in his birth city of Philadelphia. He started in Los Angeles at KBLA, where he was an on-air pd, before joining the Boss Radio lineup.

While at 93/KHJ from 1967-71, Harvey said, “I realized my greatest achievement of a 21.0 share doing 6 p.m. to 9 p.m." Harve underlined that it was a 21.0 and not a 2.1. By 1971, Harve was working on AFRTS. He joined KKDJ in 1974, and was at the station In October 1975, when KKDJ became KIIS/fm.

In 1983, he hosted the syndicated “National Album Countdown” show. Harve had a brief stay in 1985 at Oldies WFIL-Philadelphia, before traveling to KVI-Seattle in 1986. Harve was the dj in the 1991 movie, There Goes My Baby. In the same year he hosted the syndicated “Rock ’n Gold” for 350 Westwood One affiliates.

In the spring of 1996, Harve was back in L.A. to join KZLA for weekends. In 1997, he joined Bill Drake in Dallas for an aborted attempt to create an Oldies syndicated service.
Jim Newman, June 11 (86) Jim was more than just a voice heard twice an hour offering financial news, he was an admired journalist once described by a former U.S. Treasury Secretary as “an extremely capable and thoughtful member of the Fourth Estate.” He was an on-air presence for over three decades.

Newman arrived at KFWB from ABC / Group W’s Satellite News channel where he was Business Week Magazine’s tv correspondent. Prior to that, he was heard on both the NBC and CBS Radio Networks.

In the early 1970s, Newman started the first all-news television programming on a UHF station. “It laid the ground work for CNN, which prospered over cable a few years later.”

Born in Oklahoma, he received his B.A. from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri and attended the London School of Economics. Newman received numerous awards, and has three Emmys for TV reporting.
Roger Carroll, July 30 (90) Roger was a versatile and acclaimed personality for decades on the L.A. airwaves. He worked at KABC from 1946 – 59 and 710/KMPC from 1959 – 79. Born Kolman C. Rutkin III in 1930, he grew up half-way between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Roger always wanted to pursue a career in radio. His older brother was an announcer at WCAO-Baltimore and at the CBS network in New York. Roger’s brother never returned from World War II, so Roger became the announcer in the family.

At 18, he was the youngest staff announcer in the history of the ABC network. During his two decades at KMPC, he was also the tv announcer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, plus for shows hosted by Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Redd Foxx and Pearl Bailey. He was the announcer on NBC's Bobby Darin Show and the nationally syndicated Mancini Generation, as well as hundreds of commercials.

Roger claims the enormous success of KMPC was a direct result of “management of attitude. The station manager treated us like professionals and we, in turn, performed like professionals.” “My 22 years at KMPC were the best years of my career and ending my time at Golden West Broadcasters / KMPC as a Vice President of GWB,” Roger said.
Howard Lapides, August 1 (68) Howard worked behind the scenes with a who’s who of personalities and comics. He was a producer and talent manager who repped and worked with such clients as Dr. Drew PinskyJimmy KimmelAdam Carolla and Carson Daly. Lapides served as the executive producer of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab franchise, which included Celebrity Rehab and Sober House With Dr. Drew, and was managing partner of Dr. Drew Productions, which was launched in 2009.

Howard served as an executive producer for The Man Show and a consultant on Crank Yankers, two Comedy Central programs created by Kimmel and Carolla. He also was the executive producer for Loveline, hosted by Carolla and Pinsky (locally on KROQ), and worked with Daly developing another MTV show, Total Request Live. Lapides produced Tom Green's feature directorial debut, Freddy Got Fingered in 2001.

Lapides began his career at age 16 at WYSL and attended Emerson College in Boston. Following graduation, he was involved in Canadian radio and repped a number of young comedians.
Dwight Case, August 9 (90) Born on July 29, 1929, Dwight is a fourth generation Californian. He started in 1948 as a copywriter for KFRE-Fresno. He worked up and down the coast, arriving in the Southland from KROY-Sacramento in 1972, where he ran the hugely successful Top 40 outlet.

Dwight was appointed president of RKO Radio Division in 1975, which included KFRC-San Francisco, WRKO-Boston, 99X-New York, as well as KHJ. He stayed with RKO until 1981. Dwight founded the first 24-hour satellite delivered programming, Transtar Satellite Radio Network in 1981, which eventually became Westwood One. He was also president of Sunbelt Communications, which owned tv and radio stations.

Dwight was publisher and ceo of R&R between 1983 and 1987. “Dwight Case was a true leader and visionary of the radio industry,” wrote Erica Farber, ceo of RAB, in Radio Ink. “He had a profound impact on my career and on my love of radio. He opened up many doors for me both professionally and personally, for which I will always be grateful. He supported me as a female in the industry when it was not fashionable or commonplace and helped me to find my voice. I look back on the many spirited conversations we have had over the years and can only hope we provided him as much inspiration and thought as he provided us.”

Phil Jennrich, August 11 (72)  Phil was born in the Chicago area in 1946 and he moved to the San Fernando Valley in 1947. His broadcasting career technically started in 1964, with his enrollment in the LA City College broadcasting department.

After two years at LA City, Phil transferred up to San Francisco State College, (add comma) again in the broadcasting/radio/television department. While in San Francisco he worked at K-PEN (later K-101).

Phil came back down to LA around 1968 to finish school, this time in the Radio/TV department at what was then called San Fernando Valley State College (what is now Cal State Northridge). Out of school, Phil mostly stayed in the LA area as a morning drive newsman at the stations, in the process winning multiple Golden Mike Awards for ‘Outstanding Newscast.’  (Thanks to Byron Paul)
Lucky Pierre, August 12 (85) Lucky had a wide-ranging LARadio career at KHJ (1961-63), KGFJ (1968-74), KUTE (1974-84, pd) and KACD, (1996-98). Lucky Pierre Gonneau was born in Chatellerault, France, he came to the United States to attend Ithaca College of Theatre Arts when he was 17 years old.

Lucky spent seven years in Buffalo radio beginning in 1954. Beginning in 1955, he hosted a weekly show for two years on the Mutual Radio Network from WOR-New York.

During his first visit to Los Angeles and two years at KHJ, Lucky hosted an afternoon children’s program on KHJ/Channel 9. He drew cartoons and even gave the youngsters French lessons. “We didn’t do very well because we were up against Soupy Sales on KABC/Channel 7, Tom Hatten and Popeye on KTLA/Channel 5 and Sheriff John on KTTV/Channel 11.

 
Bruce Seratti, August 25 (83) Bruce was a marketing and promotions manager for a number of stations – KDAY, KMPC, KPOL, KHJ, KRTH, KIQQ, KZLA, KGBS, KMET, KLOS, KGIL and KMGG.

In 1943, when Bruce was seven, the family moved to Chula Vista, where Bruce completed his schooling. After high school, Bruce enrolled at San Diego State. One of his daughters, Jeri Seratti, is also involved in radio. She is married Carl Goldman of KHTS in Santa Clarita.

Bruce began his career in the produce business, but soon found his niche in radio sales. His first job was at KOGO Radio in San Diego, handling sales and marketing at the radio station and eventually their television station. In 1966 the family moved to Northridge, after Bruce landed a job at the iconic radio station KABC. He created radio promotions for many of the local grocery chains and other major brands.

As the grocery and radio business consolidated, Bruce shifted to Spanish radio and television, working for Lieberman Broadcasting, taking his same marketing expertise into Spanish broadcasting, creating promotions with the Spanish grocery chains and brands from Mexico and South America trying to break into the lucrative Southern California market.
Reb Foster, August 25 (83) Rebel (Dennis James) was one of the great 11-10 Men during the Top 40 heyday of KRLA (1962-65, 1967-69, pd and 1973 and 1982-83 and 1985-87).

Born on March 18, 1936, he started in Texas radio in the mid-1950s working in Ft. Worth and Amarillo. Before Los Angeles he was heard at KYW-Cleveland, KCIN-Denver and at KISN-Portland, where he was known as Dennis James.

He arrived in Los Angeles from KYA-San Francisco. Reb was pd for a time at KRLA. One of his famous characters was Maude Skidmore.

He put on dances at the Retail Clerks Union Hall Auditorium in Buena Park with the cry "Let's Wail at the Retail." Reb had his own nightclub in Redondo Beach imploring the kids to "Be There or Be Square."

In 1967 Billboard listed Rebel as the best midday dj. He also had time at KFWB, which he left to affiliate with Ted Randal in consulting radio stations. He made a third return to KRLA in 1973, when the Pasadena station went to an MOR format from contemporary music and experimented with teams in every time period. Rebel worked the afternoon drive shift with Bob Dayton.

In the '70s Reb managed Three Dog Night, the Turtles and Steppenwolf.

Bob Kingsley, October 17 (80) Bob was a national Radio Hall of Fame Member whose voice was synonymous with Country music. He was one of broadcasting’s most beloved and iconic figures. 

In 2006, he and his wife and business partner Nan Kingsley established Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, produced by their own KCCS Productions, still running on more than 320 stations.

Kingsley received many of broadcasting’s top honors and was named to the Country Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2016.

Bob's love for radio and music dated to his childhood, when polio kept him in bed and in near isolation for a year. “I would listen to the radio,” he said, “and certain shows became really important to me. It was complete escapism and entertainment."

 
Ron Fairly, October 30 (81) The former Dodger and play-by-play announcer for the California Angels, Ron spent time at KNBC/Channel 4 as weekend sports anchor. Ron was partnered with Bob Starr in the California Angels / KMPC broadcast booth from 1982–86.

In 1992, Ron started a 14-year run in the Seattle Mariners booth. Ron was a two-time All-Star. He played first base and in the outfield. He was the only MLB player to play for two Canadian franchises during their inaugural seasons, the Expos and Blue Jays, and the only player to make an All-Star team for both clubs.

Ron played baseball for 21 years starting with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958 (he won three World Series) followed by Montreal, St. Louis, Oakland Toronto and California Angels. In 2,442 games, he compiled a life-time average of .266 with 215 homeruns and 1,044 RBI. 
Terry Grieger, November 18, (69) Terry was a chief engineer for Clear Channel and at the end of his life was in charge of Meruelo Media engineering.

Terry lived under the radio towers in Coldwater Canyon. “I remember seeing an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati where they go to the transmitter site because of a bomb scare and they show this tower. I hadn’t seen the show in years and watching it on Nick At Night one night they start panning down and I said ‘that’s not Cincinnati, that’s my backyard.’” 

Terry has also seen his towers in the pilot episode of Outer Limits where the exteriors were all filmed up there. This isn’t the first time that Terry has lived at a transmitter site. While working in San Diego at KOGO in the 1980s, he lived under the tower. “It was an old transmitter building and they had an apartment upstairs. I seem to go from transmitter site to transmitter site.” 

 
Art Gould, November 19 (76) Art was the long-time host of The Car Show on KPFK/fm, hot rodder, car fanatic, and all-around great guy. Ironically he passed on the eve of the first press day of the LA Auto Show. 

Born in Los Angeles, Art grew up in the Washington DC area. At a young age, he developed a strong musical talent, teaching himself to play the piano at age 7. By the time he was a teenager, he was playing clarinet and saxophone professionally, working as part of a musical group that once backed up Roy Clark on a record album.

He had a long career at General Motors, then was recruited to become the general manager of Cormier Chevrolet, a Carson auto dealership, in the 1970s. By the late 1980s, Art had taken an early retirement. He started offering expert car buying advice on The Car Show as a favor to the show’s founder, the late John Retsek. Art eventually became the show’s third co-host. He was also a contributor to various automotive publications. For so many years, Art was truly the enduring face of the radio show, traveling to both local car events and national and international launch events for new cars.
Joe Smith, December 2 (91) Joe was the former president and chief executive of the Capitol-EMI record label, produced World Cup USA 1994. He was also a dj at KFWB in 1961. As the former prexy of Warner Bros., Elektra and Capitol Records, he has donated recorded interviews with more than 200 top musicians to the Library of Congress. Smith’s archives, comprising 238 hours of interviews taped over the course of two years, served as the basis for the exec’s book Off the Record, published by Warner Books in 1988.

Joe was also an accomplished pianist. Joe started as a dj in Boston before becoming a weekender at "Channel 98." He left KFWB in August 1961, refusing to cross the picket line. Only Joe and Ted Quillin did not return to KFWB after the strike.

Born in 1928, Joe rose through the ranks of Warner Bros. Music, beginning in 1961 when he was national promotion manager. He was involved in the careers of such artists as the Grateful Dead, James Taylor and Jimi Hendrix.

He has served as president and ceo of Warner / AMEX Cable’s sports entertainment. In 1975, Joe was made Elektra / Asylum Records chairman of the board.
 
Raymond Bannister, December 24 (69) Before there was a Kevin and Bean at KROQ, there was Ramondo and The Blade. From KPRI-San Diego, Raymond came to KROQ in the fall of 1980 to work middays. In the early 1980s, he was part of the morning drive show, Raymondo & Evans, and in 1982 he teamed with Richard Blade on the popular morning show, "Raymondo and the Blade."

In December 1983 he moved into the pd slot at KROQ.    

  George Moore, December 25 (62) For over two decades, George was an active producer, program director, production manager, voice talent and personality. He worked at: KKTT/KGFJ, 1978-85; KPWR, 1986-88; KSRF, 1988-89; KJLH, 1989-93; KMPC, 1992-94; KACE, 1994-2000; KFI, 2001-02.

George grew up in the Motor City listening to legendary personalities like Martha Jean the Queen, Butterball, J.P. McCarthy and the CKLW “Big Eight” giants.

George was influenced by Walt "Baby" Love, the first African American at the then-powerful RKO General chain, broadcasting on ‘CK. He eventually worked with Love.
 

William F. Williams, December 27 (84) William F. was a poet, author of screenplays, novels and essays and a popular dj in the 60’s at KMEN in the Inland Empire, as well as KDAY, KBLA, KBBQ, KRLA, and KPPX. He loved writing, riding his Harley, flying his Cessna, Kauai, cars, reading and movies. Never at a loss for words, he was a great story teller and could make anyone laugh. His motto was IFIAFFI, if it ain’t fun f… it!

In 1960, William worked San Jose's KLIV before arriving at KDAY where he spent his days at Martoni's with Alan Freed waiting for the format change. After KDAY, he returned to KMEN for three years. While at KBLA, he worked a live-concert booth at the first Teenage Fair at the Hollywood Palladium and was voted by the Fair's attendees "L.A.'s Coolest Jock." He left KBLA to be pd of KCBQ-San Diego.

While at Country KBBQ, he was Bill Williams. His time at KBBQ led to the formation of a production company with Jimmy Webb, at the time of MacArthur Park and Up Up and Away. William described this period as "weird," and he lived on a mountain top until KRLA pd Doug Cox in 1968 coaxed him to morning drive. There, his "weirdness" prompted a memo from the gm which William read on the air. Another gm memo told him to refrain from airing internal memos. William read this memo on the air. The next memo was "you're fired," which he read on the air, before leaving the station.

Don Imus, December 27 (79) Without Don Imus, there might not have been Howard Stern. Depending on your point of view, this could be good news or bad news. Kinda like Don Imus’ career.

Imus was a regular for decades at WNBC and WFAN in New York. His controversial career spanned 50 years, minus time off to recover from drug/alcohol addiction or when he was fired. He retired in March 2018. 



In the 1990s, Imus became the non-sports lead-off on New York’s WFAN. His show was simulcast on MSNBC, later by RFD and the Fox Business channel. A guest appearance by an author would result in a New York Times listing. For many summers, Imus hosted young people with cancer at his ranch.

His focus on his inside-the-beltway perspective may explain why his syndicated show – heard in Southern California over the years on KLAC, KRLA, KPLS, KCAA and KABC – never gained local traction.

His reign of ratings came to a loud ending in 2007 when he described the mostly African American members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hoes.” Demonstrations were held to have Imus taken off the air.


Email Saturday 1.11.2020 

** Lakers Showtime

“Congrats on the grandchild. One of the coolest things I got to do working for KLAC, that I joined in 1974, was being the ‘Image Voice’ for the Lakers. I did bumpers and promos for the pre- and post-games and the actual games from 1979, until I joined the Clear Channel stations as director of production full time in 2000.

KLAC gm/pd Don Martin said it wouldn’t sound right for me to do a bumper then have one of my commercials air. I agreed. It was a great run, especially during the LAKERS’ Showtime years. I had more friends tell me they heard me during the Lakers’ game because of those voiceovers.

The first time they played my show opener introducing Chick Hearn, the late great Laker radio producer and studio engineer Frank Pollack, called me to come in his studio to hear it. The best part was when they went to commercial break Chick asked Frank: ‘Who is the new voice?’ Frank said it was Jim ‘Slam’ Duncan. Chick said: ‘He sounds great!’ What an honor. A big announcement at the end of February about me. As my auto mechanic says: ‘Stay Tuned.’” – Jim Duncan

** Memories of George Moore


George Moore and I were Premies at Premiere Radio briefly and we resumed out friendship via Facebook several years ago. He returned to Detroit a while back and was doing fine until about four years ago. 

He fell ill after moving down South with his then fiancé, was hospitalized, his body started to slowly give out on him and I believe, he never returned to his home again. I know of at least three long term care facilities he resided in. Thankfully the last was in Westland, Michigan, close to his family in Detroit. 

After dropping Facebook about a year ago, we fell out of touch. George was one of the radio guys who ‘got it’ and will be missed.” – Ira Lawson

** News Talent

“So, what’s wrong with Randy Kerdoon helping to report on the various fires? His first gig in the market was as my morning news guy at KWNK/670 (now KIRN) when I was programming that Talk station in 1989.” – K.M. Richards

** Up to Parr

“Sorry to hear about Shawn Parr’s recent termination. Shawn’s a pro. He’s both a good buy with no ego problems. Over the years I worked with him on a few promotions. He’ll land on his feet!  

Re George Lopez’s comments re Trump: Thought it was hilarious!” – Larry “Supermouth” Huffman

** Love LARadio

“Thanks for all you do. Reading LA Radio every day is a habitual part of my mornings. I love the current events almost as much as I do the history you share with us.  Keep up the good work. One quick question: what happened to the 2nd half of the ‘L's’ in the Where Are They Now section? Am I missing something?” – Peter Lauer (Ed. note: My software is suffering from elder abuse and the L’s are being redone and updated as we go along.)

** 2019 in Review

Alan Oda’s look back at 2019 – wow! And your first column of the New Year is beautiful and memorable on so many levels. 

It’s the Circle of Life. A new baby arrives as a dear friend departs. Thanks for sharing your stories.” – Anita Garner

** Imus Legacy

“Congrats on being a Grandpa! I'm happy you got such a nice Christmas present! I’m so sorry about your friend, it’s like losing a part of you when your best friend from such a young age goes. 

And your words about Don Imus put his legacy in perspective. He did more good than bad in this world and hopefully his legacy with the ranch will last.” – Julie T. Byers

** Reading LARadio

“Congrats on the birth of your new grandchild. Reading about your long-term friendships brought tears to my eyes. Reading your column makes me feel like I know you personally, a tribute to your warmth that comes through in your columns.” – Margie Cherry, La Mirada

** Oldies Radio

“Around March 5, K-Surf will be Oldies for 3 years with not many changes in promos or presentation. Yesterday we listened for more than an hour, heard a lot of 70s, some 60s, no 50s, maybe a couple of 80s. Seemingly this strategy of adding 70s/80s has backfired, as ratings have dropped a lot, from a 0.5 to 0.2. And lastly, I am surprised Saul Levine isn’t trying the newly approved all-digital AM.” – Chime Hart

** Motorman is On

“Last Sunday I tuned in to what would have been Leon Kaplan’s last show on KABC. He told the listeners that it was a corporate decision to cancel the show, but KABC management would have liked him to stay. He said they let go of everybody who got paid on the show. He has decided to stay on and do the show for free, in hopes that he will find a sponsor.” – Gary Gibson  

** Sad to Learn of Bannister's Passing

"We were saddened to learn of the news of Raymond Bannister's passing - promotion on Christmas Eve.

When Raymond [also Mike Evans, Denise Westwood, April, Jim Trenton, Dusty, Freddie Snakeskin, and Mr. "Little GTO" Rodney Bingenheimer, Dr. Drew and others] worked for almost free at 117 South Los Robles, we would do 'Auto Service Trade Outs For Airtime' at our Union 76 station at Arroyo Parkway at Glenarm in Pasadena with Raymond and other underpaid staff members. We enjoyed Raymond doing personal appearances and air time trade outs with us for our big tire sales in the 1970's and 1980's as we operated a traditional full service station with service bays thru 1998.

We have some pictures from these appearances that we would love to scan and send to his family in Prescott, Arizona if you have a way to contact them. Please let us know if we can forward these thru you to them and we will get them scanned for Raymond's family.

Thank You in advance, Happy New Year!" - Lee and Dee Guenveur Lee's Union 76, 1974 thru 1998 Pasadena 


Keeping Chickie Alive

 
(January 10, 2020) Chick Hearn’s role in the history of LARadio is indelible. The story from yesterday on Chickisms prompted a slew of memories and responses. Norm Epstein, a much-respected sales executive and general manager, sent this email: “What most people don’t know is that I coined the phrase ‘Chickisms’ for Chick when I was the vp/gm for KLAC from 1984-93. With Chick’s approval, I drew 18 cartoons which became ads promoting upcoming games via the LA Times. Chick was very pleased about naming his quotes ‘Chickisms.’ We formed a partnership and also marketed them with coffee mugs, tee shirts, etc.”

I had the honor of working for Norm when he was in charge of XTRA/KOST. No finer gentleman and creative force you will ever meet. He was a huge help in my sales career.

“Back in my Lakers’ radio days, I and one of my sales people called on a new mattress company,” emailed Bob Scott, now retired and living in Connecticut. “The owner was from Colorado and was skeptical about the influence of Chick and the broadcast. I told him that Chick was so popular that if he picked any one of his employees at random and let me tell them that ‘this one’s in the refrigerator...’ that they would know who said it and what it meant. The caveat, of course, was that if they did know, he would sign a $150k Laker sponsorship contract. He agreed.”

Trying to outfox Scott, the mattress owner took Bob into their warehouse and called over one the workers.  “It was obvious that English was his second language,” Bob continued. “I guess the owner figured that this man would not be listening to an English language broadcast. I greeted the man and said, ‘this one’s in the refrigerator. The door is closed, the light is out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jiggling!’ He smiled and in heavily accented English said, ‘Chick Hearn. Game over!”

Bob happily walked out with a $150k order.

Bruce Tennant of Long Beach is happy about keeping Chick Hearn alive. “It's important to remember that the 1973 NBA finals, had yet to gain viewer traction, so local LA AM radio covered them. I have a tape of the final win,’ wrote Bruce. “Chick used to describe the Forum's court thusly, ‘Hairston dribbles the ball down this 94 by 50 hunk of wood.’ Loved him.”
Hear AcheXavier (X-Man) worked at KIBB/KCMG in the late 90s. When he left the Southland, he joined Magic 92.5 (XHRM)-San Diego, and now celebrates 20 years with the station. After graduating from San Jose State, Xavier worked for a time in San Francisco before Mega 92.3 … Danny Lemos (you may remember him as “Chuy from La Puente” [on the Rick Dees Show) has joined Long Beach Public Radio as Interim General Manager of 99.1 KLBP. Lemos is the Student Media Coordinator at Long Beach State University, overseeing 22 West Media, which includes 22 West Radio, 22 West Magazine and 22 West Video, the new monikers for K-Beach Radio, the Long Beach Union Weekly, and College Beat TV. He is also the Vice President/Western Region for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System.

Winking at the Ravens. Last month we published a photo about the Baltimore Raven’s defensive coordinator being named Wink Martindale. Beyond football, LARadio has the legendary Wink Martindale who went on to have an amazing career in television as the host of more than a dozen network game shows.

The football Wink has invited our Wink to a Ravens game to meet the players and be on the field.

USA TODAY smelled a fun story. You can read the story it here.

“After all these years I’ve finally made the Sports section,” emailed Wink.

 
While watching TCM came across a Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys 'Soundie' from 1945 that exclaimed “the radio show
is broadcast across a vast nationwide network” while showing this shot. Real or not, it’s very impressive." - Tim Ahern


Will LA Sports Revive Chick Hearn's Legacy? 

 
(January 9, 2020) Any mention of Chick Hearn is a good day. And LA Times sports columnist Arash Markazi is handing out some unsolicited advice to LA sports that leads with “Chickie-Burger.” Markazi writes: “No one was as beloved by Lakers fans as Chick Hearn during his 42 years as the of the team. His ‘Chickisms’ became part of our sports lexicon as the Hall of Fame announcer coined now commonly used basketball phrases such as slam dunk, air ball, dribble drive, no-look pass and give and go.”

Staples of familiar phrases include “The mustard’s off the hot dog,” “Caught with his hand in the cookie jar,” “No harm, no foul,” and “In and out, heartbrrrreak!”

One of his most famous ‘Chickism,’ claims Markazi, is putting the game in the refrigerator when the Lakers held a comfortable lead in the final moments of a game: “The game’s in the refrigerator, the door’s closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling.”

Markazi thinks the team should play a recording of Hearn’s popular call when the Lakers are holding a double-digit lead within the final minutes of a game. He thinks it would continue Hearn’s legacy and usher in what could become a cool tradition in the NBA.

Hear Ache. The KROQ morning show has officially changed the
name of its morning show to ‘
Kevin (Ryder) in the Morning with Allie & Jensen,’ following Bean’s exit after a 30 year run … The #1 Cable News show for the 3rd straight year is Sean Hannity on the FOX News Channel, heard on KEIB (1150 AM) radio … ABC/TV was the place to be on New Year’s Eve with top ratings by ringing in 2020 with Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest … Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is coming back for a limited run to raise money for charity and celebrate the show's 20th anniversary. Jimmy Kimmel is the new host in the reboot ... Dennis Baxter, former morning man at KCAA, is now producing and narrating Audiobooks for Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. “I loved old radio theater of the mind and felt I missed its heyday in the 1930's and 40's,” emailed Dennis. “Born too late, I thought, but hey what’s old is new again and that is what’s happening with audiobooks. Acting the parts of several characters, not just reading.  Funny how the world goes round.” …. Earl Trout (ex-KDAY) remembers the 2019 Super Bowl. “On February 3, 2019, in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all time (13 to 3), the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams. I love football, but I found it so boring I didn’t even care about the score and, besides, I got busy searching for Gilligan’s Island reruns. It was so cold at Super Bowl LIII, it should have been called the Global Warming Bowl.”


Chris Berry Upped at iHeart

(January 8, 2020) Former KSPN general manager Chris Berry has been promoted to iHeart executive vp/news talk and sports programming. Locally, Chris worked at KNX 1982-86 and KSPN, 2009-10. When he left KNX in 1986, Chris spent the next 10 years at CBS Radio at their Washington News Bureau and WBBM-Chicago.

From 1996 to 2002 he was vp/Radio for ABC News New York. He went on to president/gm of ABC-owned WMAL-Washington, DC. Chris was appointed general manager at KSPN in early 2009, and left in September 2010.

Berry is the recipient of numerous industry awards including “News/Talk Executive of the Year” from Radio and Records. While at ABC News, his team was honored with a George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the events of September 11, 2001. In 2008, Chris and his staff received a Marconi Award for “Major Market Station of the Year” from the National Association of Broadcasters.
Hear AcheGeorge Lopez, former Mega 92.3 morning man, says a comment he made about collecting an alleged bounty on President Donald Trump's head was "a joke" after catching backlash on social media. During Iranian general Soleimani’s televised funeral, it was reported that Iranian authorities have put an $80 million bounty on Trump’s head. “We’ll do it for half,” Lopez responded … KEIB’s Rush Limbaugh has signed a deal to continue his show with Premiere for four more years … New Year has been bittersweet for Shawn Parr. He was the announcer on Sunday night’s Golden Globes telecast. A few days before, he was told that his contract with Westwood One-syndicated “NASH Nights Live” would not be renewed. “I have been doing radio for over 31 years and know it comes with the territory. [It sucks.] This year alone I hosted 42 events and over $7 million dollars was raised for charities coast to coast. Had a CMA Nomination, and visited several affiliates around the nation (even on my HONEYMOON!) We all have our challenges and I look forward to this next one. I know what's in store and God has a plan.” … Made last night's Oscars deadline to nominate Best Picture. Parasite was my choice. Fascinating film ...  Condolences to Ralph Garman (ex-KROQ) on the passing of his father after a brief battle with brain cancer, at the age of 89. “I think it's unlikely there was ever a more loving husband, father, and ‘Pop Pop,’” wrote Ralph on Facebook. “Just before I left Philly to move to Los Angeles, I asked him what HIS dreams were as a young man. He said, ‘To marry your mom, make a decent living, and raise a good family ... All my dreams came true.’ He dedicated his life to helping us make our dreams come true, too. I don’t know how these things work, but I like to think he’s with my mom now. He spent the last seven years missing her so much.”


A Look Back at LARadio in 2019
by Alan Oda, senior correspondent for LARadio.com

(January 7, 2020) Cumulus clouds strike lightning, part 1: So much has been written about KLOS and especially KABC, it’s hard to offer anything new. Nonetheless, to quote my boss Don Barrett early in December, it’s gone from beyond bad: “It has gotten worse (at KABC) with virtually everyone gone.” Jillian Barberie, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Leeann Tweeden, Peter Tilden, and Leon “the Motorman” Kaplan all given their walking papers. Besides middays with John Philips, the rest of the lineup is syndicated fare from far away.

Cumulus clouds strike lightning, part 2: OK, maybe another comment. At one time, four of the biggest stations in the country were WABC / WPLJ New York and KABC / KLOS, all owned by ABC (later Disney-Citadel-Cumulus). These were among the most stable and successful stations anywhere. KABC even had a commercial and a jingle featuring all of their talent (see it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svAuQQXBSiQ).  That was then. This past year WABC was sold to a grocery-store billionaire, albeit still talking, for a relative bargain. WPLJ’s new owners dropped the hits, and now offers the non-profit syndicated “K-LOVE” contemporary Christian format (the same one heard in L.A. on 100.3, not the one on 107.5…it’s still confusing). KLOS continues to rock but with a different owner (more on that in a moment). That leaves the once-mighty KABC, languishing in 35th place in the December Nielsen ratings (an actual improvement from earlier in the year), and apparently up for sale. If Cumulus has a strategy for success, how does any strategy justify getting rid of four heritage stations in the #1 and #2 markets? Your guess will be better than mine. Muy Bueno?: Speaking of Cumulus, they sold their heritage rocker KLOS to a local entity, Meruelo Media. In spite fears of the station shifting to a Spanish or Spanglish format, 95.5 is still offering “The Rock of Southern California.” Meruelo, already owners of Hip Hop KPWR (Power 106) and KDAY, also added KXOS to their cluster, renaming the latter to KLII (Cali 93.9). A local business is now a significant player on the L.A. radio dial, yet like the other big clusters, there was some turbulence. Rita Wilde was let go along with three of her colleagues (weekender Ken Anthony, v/o talent Frankie DiVita and board op Mike Vogel) from 95.5. And Rita’s departure was duly noted.


Twitter Talk: We know at least one person is still listening to talk radio. At first, President Trump was moving toward compromise with Democratic leaders on funding a proposed border wall to avoid a government shutdown. That was before Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Laura Ingraham demanded the President rescind any attempt to cooperate with the “enemy.” It led to a 35-day federal government shutdown, the longest in American history. The audience for talk radio may be aging, but they can still offer a mighty roar, at least to their constituency.
Dawn of a new day: Gene “Bean” Baxter said farewell after three decades to his KROQ partner Kevin Ryder, Bean moving across The Pond.

Their former associate Lisa May, who moved up the dial from KROQ to KLOS, turned off her mic to start a fitness venture out in the Coachella Valley. Perhaps it’s not the last time we’ll hear the KROQ morning team. After all, Mark & Brian had a one-day reunion with many of their playmates, a fun afternoon of both memories, silliness, and updates.

Side note: Kevin & Bean are rightfully now in the Radio Hall of Fame, but what about Mark & Brian? Then again, this is the same HOF that has yet to induct The Real Don Steele.

 There was more AM drive shuffling. The J. Cruz and Cruz morning show moved from Power 106 to KRRL (Real 92.3), leading Power 106 to hire Nick Cannon for morning drive. Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo returns to the local airwaves via his syndicated show, Entravision’s El Show De Piolín. 

Hablando de radio en español: Lieberman Broadcasting (locally “Que Buena 105.5 / 94.3” [KBUE / KBUA]) fought off charges of fraud while declaring bankruptcy, subtracting $350 million from their debt. Competitor Univision (KSCA [Zona MX 101.9]; KLVE [K-Love 107.5]; KRCD / KRCV [Recuerdo 103.9 / 98.3]; KTNQ) is for sale, but no takers as of yet. Speaking of KTNQ, the station went back to the future, again becoming an all talker, including 14 hours of local programming. The station has nothing to lose, with 1020 at the bottom of the ratings for many years, even with Jaime Jarrin and the Dodgers. 
It’s not nickels and dimes: iHeart’s bankruptcy plan gets court approval, reducing their debt from $16.1 billion to $5.75 billion. Are those numbers over whelming?

For some perspective, an article in the Reader’s Digest describes what can be purchased for a billion dollars
https://www.rd.com/culture/what-can-a-billion-dollars-buy-you/. You can purchase ten items on that list with the amount of money iHeart just saved.

As for their audience, KBIG (MY/fm / 104.3) and KIIS/fm, with Sean Valentine and Ryan Seacrest kicking off the day respectively remain steady. KFI continues to be one of the most successful AM stations in the country. All of the praise KFI pd Robin Bertolucci gets is well deserved!
Regarding the other major L.A. radio corporation, Entercom has not imposed massive layoffs recently, but the gradual reductions-in-force have taken a toll. As always, KNX (and its news / talk counterpart KFI) did admirable work on vital, breaking stories, particularly during the devastating Easy Fire (“a number eleven pucker factor,” said an almost scorched Pete Demitriou). Nonetheless, did anyone else notice KNX utilized sportscaster Randy Kerdoon to assist with fire news? Kerdoon is both smart and credible, but was he pressed into service because the all-News station was short-handed? Former KNX reporter Cooper Rummel described how multiple stories of tragedy on a single day took a personal toll.

To reiterate, Entercom laid off Tayala Trigueros after 30 years because of budget. On the other hand, conventional wisdom believed KRTH (K-EARTH 101) would never be successful if they tampered with their long-time Oldies playlist. So much for conventional wisdom. Abandoning their 50s and 60s hits and shifting musically to the 70s-80s-90s translated to K-EARTH rising to the top of the ratings, with Gary Bryan and Lisa Stanley nicely driving mornings. K-EARTH winning a Marconi Award is also notable, indeed. Playing what they want keeps KCBS/fm (93.1 JACK/fm) in the top ten.

On and off the field: The year started off promising, with the Rams and the Dodgers both at the top of their games, highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance and another Division championship respectively. But a Super Bowl loss followed by a mediocre season for the local NFL team and a disappointing whiff during the playoffs (let alone missing the World Series) gave sports talk stations a lot to cover, mostly from disgruntled fans.

The ratings of the local outlets KLAC (AM 570 / L.A. Sports) and KSPN (ESPN L.A. 710) may be a bit deceptive, as most of the audience is Males 25 – 54 (as opposed to the overall 6+ numbers), but still not attracting the big shares as in New York and San Francisco. The promising start of the Lakers and the Clippers will likely gain added interest.

The claim L.A. fans are not as rabid as their counterparts elsewhere probably aren’t paying attention to USC football. Still, can this translate to a bigger overall audience?

What about podcasts?: There continued to be more and more podcasts emerging, with the pace slowing down to “only” 3,000 new podcasts debuting per month – at one time, there were 2,000 new podcasts being launched each week. Can podcasts enhance traditional media instead of ebbing away the radio audience? If it’s the former, podcasts become a reflection of a particular station. This begs the question of how much liberty does talent have if their primary identity is attached to a set of call letters? Should station management have more oversight / control? It’s rumored a significant reason a LARP was given the pink slip was because, content aside, this talent’s podcast became a disproportionate priority for this individual.

Some have become masters of combining media platforms. Dennis Prager and his “PragerU” warranted a Los Angeles Times front-page story. Leo “the Tech Guy” Laporte uses radio to direct listeners to his TWIT network of video podcasts. KCRW’s new state-of-the-art facilities includes a considerable amount of space dedicated to producing podcasts. And does anyone else hear the ID “on ESPN Radio and the ESPN app?”

The return of HearAche (2019 edition): Congratulations to Jeff Federman on his promotion to Regional President for Entercom…Tim Conway Jr. continues to keep his father’s legacy alive…Anyone else remember when The WAVE was supposed to crash and perhaps simulcast all-News sibling KNX? Most recently, KTWV was number four in the Holiday 2019 ratings…I prefer a more diverse playlist, but some of the choices on K-SURF (KSUR) puzzle me, and I miss Larry Van Nuys in the morning…There is an electronic billboard for a car dealership near Long Beach which advertises The Answer 870 (KRLA). Given their well-known lineup, including the aforementioned Dennis Prager, you’d wonder if wider publicity would help grow their audience…Kevin Weatherly is one of the smartest guys in the business. AMP Radio (KAMP) should have more listeners…One challenge for both KROQ and ALT 98.7 (KYSR) is almost any song can become mainstream. So how do you define alternative?...I do stream 88.5/fm, especially on Sundays for Mimi (the Flower Child) Chen, but I wish the station had a better signal as I drive around town…And with KCRW and KPCC among the biggest non-commercial stations in the country, I’m hoping there’s still enough listener support for 88.5…The consistency of Gary Moore at KLOS is underrated and unappreciated…Lohman & Barkley and Sweet Dick Whittington kept us laughing amidst the Watergate tragedy years ago (anyone remember the “watercress” investigation?). What would they say about today’s political theatrics?...Somehow, it just makes sense Petros & Money are now directly competing with Mason & Ireland…Props to AM 570 for raising $250,000 for their Help a Hero radiothon, benefiting homeless veterans…The funniest story during the Mark & Brian reunion show was hearing about Larry “Bozo the Clown” Harmon. Never underestimate the power of tequila…KPCC is strengthening their identity a noteworthy source of local news and information, as well as offering a respectable mix of NPR. But the layoff of Hettie Lynn Hurtes is unhelpful…I’m becoming a bigger admirer of the uniqueness of the MY/fm (KBIG) playlist. It does bother my teenage son that I like some of the same music he does…Diane Thompson is well deserving of her upcoming award from the L.A. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists...Within a ten-spot commercial block, I heard ads for two (or was it three?) different auto brands. There’s something wrong here…The upcoming LARadio.com Passing Parade has just too many people on the list. 

Ho ho ho: Of course I’m a radio geek, so I’ll periodically post something on Facebook related to the local dial, perhaps for a limited readership. But in early November, I started seeing posts on social media from friends – people who have nothing to do with the radio biz (yes I have a few) – stating how excited they were that KOST had launched their annual all-Christmas programming.

I then entered retailers with KOST Christmas music “softly” booming away. I needn’t tell you the ratings for all-Christmas music is phenomenal, often doubling the ratings. Southern California is blessed with some of the best radio talent in the country. Radio is also live, local, and convenient. Besides Christmas, what can radio offer that truly engages the otherwise casual audience?

The last decade was a major paradigm shift for radio. The next ten years will be nothing short of interesting. Anyone want to share their predictions for the next decade?

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade! Ten years from now, we’ll all be – well, older!

Email Saturday, 1.4.2020 

** Worked with Imus

“I was deeply saddened to hear my friend Don Imus has passed. I was Don’s morning newsman and sidekick as The Giant Frog at both KXOA in Sacramento and then WGAR in Cleveland. In 1971 we had a late night tv show in Cleveland which was nothing short of hilarious [partly due to the fact we adlibbed].

Imus was best man at my wedding, and he took the liberty of inviting the entire city of Cleveland to the wedding saying The Coasters and The Drifters will be there parking cars. Yes, there were many people we did not know who showed up and they even brought gifts. Don was a wild and crazy guy in the Sacramento days with 10 cents to his name. I often baby sat his kids who slept in a drawer because they had no beds.

When Don left for Cleveland for the ‘big time’ he was kind enough to sell me his car with no reverse for $75. What a blast we had and I look back with fond memories of a great talent who will long be missed.” – Brian Beirne, Mr. Rock N’ Roll

** McIntyre on Imus

Don Imus was a brilliant radio performer. At the top of his game, he was as good as they get. He invented the modern morning radio show. Jean Shepherd, Bob & Ray and Imus were my radio Gods.

For two years, I did a local hour for WABC in New York from 5-6 a.m. before Imus came on the air. One day he did not like something I had said and called me, ‘That mouth-breather, McIntyre, who is on before me...’ A career highlight! A great, great talent.” – Doug McIntyre

** Imus Commercial

“Early in his radio career in New York, Don Imus had a commercial for Catholic Overseas Airways, to which he added a live tag: ‘Protestants ride coach.’” – Bill Kingman

** March with Imus

"This is a shock. With a scandalously sharp wit, the often-cranky Don Imus began his radio career in California in 1968, working in succession at three stations: KUTY-Palmdale, KJOY-Stockton, then KXOA-Sacramento before joining WGAR-Cleveland, which led to his hiring at WNBC New York in 1971 — all of which occurred within a three-year span. In 1972, when I was the morning guy at little old KAHI and KAFI-FM in Auburn, Calif., I wrote to Don Imus expressing admiration for his astonishingly rapid rise to the top. He wrote a courteous and encouraging personal reply, which I have filed away somewhere. I’ll post it if I can find it reasonably soon. My friend Terry Nelson worked with Imus at KJOY, and has lots of hilarious stories about him. Imus also was known for his ongoing philanthropic support of children with cancer.

Nicknamed the ‘I-Man,’ he stayed with WNBC [other than a one-year hiatus at WHK-Cleveland] through its format and call letter transition in which it became WFAN in 1988, then spent the last decade of his on-air career at WABC-New York before retiring from broadcasting in 2018.” – Jeff March

** Fired Imus 

“I’m sure you know this but I hope he gets recognized for the amazing work he and his wife have been doing with kids for many, many years on a large ranch he owns in New Mexico.

BTW, one of Imus’ first radio jobs was in Stockton. My son got to know the former owner of the station who said, ‘my claim to fame is that I fired Don Imus from his first job!’” – Paul Barth

** William F. Memory

“In regards to William F. Williams's passing: Two highlights of William F.’s career haven’t been mentioned yet. I understand he discovered and promoted a young songwriter from Colton, named Jimmy Webb when Willy was working at KMEN in nearby San Bernardino. And he loved hot air ballooning. In fact, one day when he took Jimmy for a balloon ride, Webb was inspired to write the song Up Up and Away a #1 hit for the Fifth Dimension.

William F. and I were morning show competitors during the sixties in San Bernardino, and the last time I saw him we still couldn’t agree who was #1. I also remember Willy being credited as the producer of the Richard Harris' LP A Tramp Shining which included MacArthur Park, but I haven’t seen that credit either. I’ll have to dig out my copy of the album to improve my memory.”– Gary Marshall

** Keeps Handel on the Straight and Narrow

“Since KFI is my go-to station, I loved your essay on KFI. Another thought is about ‘Wake-Up Call with Jennifer Jones Lee. She was another diamond found by Robin Bertolucci. Her one-hour show at zero-dark 30 each morning is a refreshing show as well as informative. As the morning news anchor, she does well in keeping Bill Handel on the straight and narrow for the rest of her shift. She is one person I would love to have as a friend! Too bad she lives so far from me.” - Sterrett Harper, Burbank

** KFI Still Competing

“Your article on KFI is a masterpiece. Everything you pointed out that’s right about KFI is what’s been missing from KABC for years. When KFI goes into the 8-minute commercial sets, it would be nice to have an alternative to ‘1-800-Kars-for-Kids’ to listen to, but there’s not. 

I’m reading Ron Jacobs’ KHJ story which refers to KFWB, KDAY, KRLA and KHJ. Back in those days people mostly listened to AM radio. There were FOUR compelling well-produced radio stations to choose from and they competed against each other making the medium extremely exciting.

Today, KFI is still competing. Most everyone else has folded up their tent.” – Dave Mason

** Incredible Job by Bertolucci

“The determination to succeed was evident in Robin Bertolucci while she was still a student at Cal Berkeley. When she obtained an internship across the bay at KGO-AM she obviously displayed the mettle that has led her to where she is. In a few years she rose from that internship to being named EP of the station. And, I have it on good authority that she did it without a career ‘rabbi.’  Not everyone who does well in radio and / or tv has a rabbi and those who do it by cold call are the stronger for it in my view. She’s done an incredible job at KFI.” – Warren Cereghino

** Top 40 Battles

Phillip Davies is, of course, right about Top 40 battles in a lot of markets, big and small, in the 60s, 70s and 80s.  

L.A. had them: KFWB vs. KRLA, KHJ vs. KRLA [which was not over as quickly as legend has it], KHJ vs KKDJ [which could have ended very differently had KIQQ, under Bill Drake, not split the available FM Top 40 audience at the time]; KHJ vs KTNQ vs KFI,  KIIS vs KKHR vs KWST and, finally, before fragmentation rendered head-to-head battles largely obsolete, KIIS vs the early Power 106 [KPWR]. But one of the tightest, fiercest battles I ever heard was here in Sacramento in early 1976, with KROY (1240) and KNDE (1470, which called itself ‘Candy) both sounding absolutely stellar, playing the right records with great jocks and constant contests [KNDE was sending listeners to the Heart concert at Winterland in San Francisco---promoting it as the ‘Heart-On Weekend’]. KROY ultimately won, but it took a while.

Now, neither station makes a blip in the ratings, nor has for decades. 1240 is Catholic Radio en Espanol, while 1470 carries Punjabi Radio USA.

Which brings us to Monterey and KNRY, the former KMBY, also on 1240. My wife and I try to get to Monterey at least once a year and I also attend a yearly automotive event there, so for the past six years, I’ve listened as Saul Levine has gradually given up. He started out pretty strong – a version of his ‘Unforgettables’ format that had Monterey-specific imaging replacing his K-Bach Classical format. If you didn’t know this was also running on an HD channel in L.A. you’d never suspect it by listening to the Monterey station.

There are enough upper-demos with money in that area that I’m sure Saul thought he had a shot. I did, too. Never happened. When it showed in the ratings, it was a 0.5 or less. This summer, when I was there, I tuned in and found that 1240 had flipped, as Eric Norberg wrote, to the K-SURF format. But Saul wasn’t even trying. It was a pure simulcast of 1260 in L.A.  And it was sloppy.

The legal ID for Monterey was somehow cut at one-half the length of the legal ID for KSUR. So they played the legal ID twice, back to back [‘From Cannery Row, Monterey's K-SURF 1240. KNRY, Monterey. From Cannery Row, Monterey's K-SURF 1240. KNRY, Monterey’].  And that was the extent of local content. The rest of the hour, on 1240 in Monterey, you heard ‘L.A.'s K-SURF 1260’ or whatever the exact verbiage is. Painful. And proof that there are worse things than a purely voice-tracked station in a box. At least that could have been targeted to the market.

All this would tend to bolster Rich Brother Robbin’s argument that it’s time to have a retirement party for AM before it becomes a wake. But, at least for stations with big, market-blanketing signals [KFI, KNX, and the station where I’m fortunate to be co-anchoring afternoons, KFBK-Sacramento], there’s still a there there – listeners to be served and money to be made.  In the meantime, though, the donation of low-power AM signals is likely to be an increasingly familiar way out for owners.” – Mike Hagerty

** Cooper Rummell Update

“Just read the update on Cooper Rummell. All I can say is good for him. He found a better outlet for his talents, so Saddleback Church will benefit from it. We must respect people who do have a deeper connection to religion than most of us. Not all of us can take the misery journalists see every day.” – Dan Ramos, Joshua Tree

** Broadcast Connection

“Thank you for the mention of my blog post about Allan Hotlen and other multi-talented broadcast buddies. One thing our industry does best is connect – not just with our audiences, but with each other. I continue to enjoy and celebrate radio and tv connections made decades ago. And right here is the place to renew them.” – Anita Garner

** Jolley Christmas

“I was just looking at past issues of LARadio and have never congratulated you on the work you’ve done. Merry Christmas.” – Frank Jolley (still kicking in 
kkdj.net)

** William F. Memory

“Fun story about William F Williams: I was in the control room with him at KBLA. No idea why, just visiting. He had a soft-serve ice cream cone...the kind you can set down ’cause it had a flat bottom. It was kinda runny but he thought he could finish before the song faded out. He stuffed the whole thing in his mouth. The song ended before he could swallow it. It was not a pretty sight. Or sound.” – Steve Hafen

** KMPC Reunion

“Thanks for posting those pictures from the 2002 KMPC 710 reunion. It was an honor working with both Gary Owens and Johnny Magnus at Music of Your Life radio network. They played airchecks of each of the personalities, who all told some wonderful stories.

The most hilarious was where Gary Owens taught us all a lesson not to cold-read live ads, when he busted up laughing through the live Christmas greeting from Preparation H. When it was announced that Wink Martindale was unable to attend due to his back going out, Gary quipped, ‘That’s because Wink was helping Winona Ryder shoplift a grand piano.’ I attended the event with my then-co-worker and fellow 95.9 The Fish personality Reba Toney, and also got to meet Scott St. James and Shotgun Tom Kelly. It was a night those of us attending won’t soon forget.” – Josh “JJ” Jacobs

** More on Moore

“I'm still in shock from your first notice about George Moore. I never did write him in Michigan, because I just didn’t know what to say. I still remember his sharp sound in his first days on KGFJ. I worked with him at a couple of stops, twenty-odd years later, and his Saturday night ’70s show on KACE was required listening in my house or in my car, wherever I happened to be. His sense of humor kept us going in those work situations, but here at the end I was just unequipped to return the favor.

I was glad to see he got a visit from Art Vuolo, although I never would have recognized George in that photo. Last I heard, he had been working at market-leader WWJ in Detroit, his hometown. I felt he never really got enough credit for his work in L.A.

Rest in Peace in the Hand of God, ol’ pal.” – Greg Hardison

** Early KROQ

Evans the Hoser had his own show on KROQ. He was morning-drive for a number of years, actually. First, it was Ramondo & Evans, then Ram0ndo & The Blade, then Evans by himself when Ramondo & Roll were on in the afternoons. I think it was 8-11 a.m., right before Rachel Donahue.  

In fact, he used to call back to Hawaii on his show. One day, he called his buddy on the air and his buddy was really sick, and within a week, Evans was gone, back to Hawaii. The production staff [Roll, Britton, et al] whipped up a parody song over the tune of ‘Nellie the Elephant,’ and it was a farewell tune called ‘Evans the Hoser.’ I can’t remember all the lyrics, but the chorus included ‘Evans the Hoser’ smoked two joints and said goodbye for Hawaii / he packed up his clothes and all of his nose snuff snuff snuff.

Of course, Sam Frees, you have him listed, but he was a much bigger player than the modest listing makes him out to be.

Good point about Michael Winslow. He seemed to have his own show, but maybe it was actually someone else’s? It was Sunday nights, 2 hours, I think, right before Rodney Bingenheimer, but it didn't last too long. It was the slot Cassandra Peterson had – I guess a lot of itinerant djs had that same spot.

Boyd R. Britton [Doc on the Roq] is another under-reported personality. He was ‘Dr. Barry Illuminatus’ in the early 80s, part of the ‘Secret World Government,’ and was in countless drop-ins, bumpers and fillers between '81 and '84. I know you have him listed as starting ’87, but that may have been when he took the news job. He was an on-air personality much earlier than that.

This is fun.  Happy to help however I can.” – Carl Payne

 


The I-Man Pulls Up Stakes

(January 3, 2020) Without Don Imus, there might not have been Howard Stern. Depending on your point of view, this could be good news or bad news. Kinda like Don Imus’ career. The original shock jock, Imus died December 27, at the age of 79.

Imus was a regular for decades at WNBC and WFAN in New York. His controversial career spanned 50 years, minus time off to recover from drug/alcohol addiction or when he was fired. When Cumulus dropped the I-Man at the end of March 2018, he finally called it quits and retired to his ranch in Texas.

His eclectic morning drive show was a mix of news and zany characters like the Revered Billy Sol Hargus. In the 1990s, Imus became the non-sports lead-off on New York’s WFAN. His show was simulcast on MSNBC, later by RFD and the Fox Business channel.

No one seemed to dispute that a guest appearance by an author would result in a New York Times listing. Imus was that powerful. Politicians from both parties appeared with regularity.

His focus on his inside-the-beltway perspective may explain why his syndicated show – heard in Southern California over the years on KLAC, KRLA, KPLS, KCAA and KABC – never gained local traction.

His reign of ratings came to a loud ending in 2007 when he described the mostly African American members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hoes.” Demonstrations were held to have Imus taken off the air. Presidential candidate Barack Obama referred to Imus’ comments as “some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America.”
He pushed the envelope of good taste frequently. In 1993 Imus called esteemed African American journalist Gwen Ifill “a cleaning lady” and in 1998 called Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz a “boner-nosed … beanie-wearing little Jew boy,” according to Vanity Fair.

Imus was back on the air in 2008, but he never regained the clout he once had. He retired in 2018. “Imus is everyone’s bitch.” Howard Stern used to rag on Don Imus a lot during their decades together on New York radio. In the world of syndication. Imus will not be the last man standing.

I liked Don Imus as a radio performer. If you didn’t, that’s okay. I liked him because he was a great storyteller. After all, isn’t that what wonderful radio is all about? But as previously stated, he never was successful in LA. It’s worth noting in 1972, he sat in for Hudson & Landry at KGBS during their vacation.

Maybe he won’t be remembered for his controversial radio show but perhaps he will be remembered for the Imus Ranch for kids with cancer, located about 50 miles southwest of Santa Fe. For a decade, he broadcast from the ranch every summer. Every week, ten new kids arrived at his ranch to experience seven days of working on a real cattle ranch. Imus frequently had some of the seriously ill kids appear on his show, talking about the incredible experience of living and feeling like a “cowboy.”


Back in 2000, Don suffered a serious fall from a horse at his ranch. Broken bones and punctured lungs took a toll on his breathing. The altitude eventually played havoc with Imus’ respiratory system, so he put the ranch up for sale, with the family moved to Brenham, Texas, halfway between Houston and Austin.

Or maybe Imus will be best remembered for inaugurating a pioneering sports talk format. Jeff Smulyan (former owner of KPWR) attempted to put sports on 24 / 7 on WFAN-New York back in the 80s. It was a bust until Imus joined the station, about a year into the new format. Imus wasn’t sold that putting his WNBC show on WFAN would work. At the end of his first shift, he said, “It’s 10. This ends the entertainment part of today’s programming. For the next 20 hours, you will hear mindless drivel by idiots talking about sports.” Smulyan successfully sold WFAN a few years later for $75 million. (thanks to Chuck Hayes for this photo)

Time has not been kind to Don. His years of cocaine abuse had taken a toll. He always looked his age. Ten years ago, Imus was diagnosed with Stage II prostate cancer, which he opted to treat with eating a heavy intake of Habanero peppers. Don Imus was his own man. Perhaps Howard Stern did Imus a favor over the years by constantly berating him, which may have caused listeners to tune in to hear what all the fuss was about. From shock jock (he was on air while Stern was still in school), Imus made the transition from music jock to controversial talk show host.

Thanks for the ride, Don.

December PPM Ratings

  (January 3, 2020) KOST received an ample amount of help from holiday music in the December '19 ratings that were released December 23. Coming in #1 with 9.3, up from last year when the holiday music helped propel the station to a 9 share. K-EARTH, previously #1 for the last couple of months was runner-up. The rest of the Top 10 seemed to feel the Christmas spirit, all declining except for Spanish Adult Hits KRCD, which increaded a tenth of a point. Alternative stations KROQ and Alt 98-7 (KYSR) in a virtual tie. The two sports stations KSPN and KLAC were almost tied. Oldies K-SURF is having trouble staying in the Top 40. Here is the December '19 ratings 6+, 6A-12Mid, Mon-Sun:

1. KOST (AC) 5.2 - 9.3
2. KRTH (Classic Hits) 5.9 - 5.8
3. KBIG (Hot AC) 4.6 - 4.3
4. KTWV (Rhythmic AC) 4.1 - 4., 0
5. KIIS (Top 40/M) 3.9 - 3.7
6. KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 4.1 - 3.5
7. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.6 - 3.4
8. KLAX (Regional Mexican) 3.3 - 3.2
9. KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.9 - 3.0
10. KFI (Talk) 3.3 - 2.9
      KPWR (Top 40/R) 2.7 - 2.9
12. KNX (News) 3.0 - 2.8
13. KLOS (Classic Rock) 2.8 - 2.6
14. KAMP (Top 40/M) 2.5 - 2.4
      KROQ (Alternative) 2.6 - 2.4
      KYSR (Alternative) 2.7 - 2.4
17. KPCC (News/Talk)2.1 - 2.3
18. KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.4 - 2.2
      KRRL (Urban) 2.6 - 2.2
20. KKGO (Country) 2.4 - 2.1
      KXOL (Spanish AC)  2.4 - 2.1
22. KSCA (Regional Mexican) 2.2 - 2.0
23. KUSC (Classical) 1.6 - 1.8
24. KBUE (Regional Mexican 1.9 - 1.7
      KLLI (Latin Urban) 1.5 - 1.7
26. KKLQ (Christian Contemporary) 1.4 - 1.6
27. KJLH (Urban AC)  1.4 - 1.5
28. KCRW (Variety) 1.4 - 1.3
      KDAY (Rhythmic AC) 1.5 - 1.3
30. KSPN (Sports) 1.5 - 1.2
31. KLAC (Sports) 1.3 - 1.1
32. KRLA (Talk) 1.0 - 1.0
33. KKJZ (Jazz) 0.7 - 0.8
      KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 0.8 - 0.8
35. KABC (Talk) 0.6 - 0.6
      KEIB (Talk) 0.8 - 0.6
     KFSH (Christian Contemporary) 0.7 - 0.6
     KFWB (Regional Mexican 0.7 - 0.6
39. KCSN (AAA) 0.4 - 0.5
      KKLA (Religious) 0.4 - 0.5


Ramondo Bannister Dies During the Holidays
 
Raymond Bannister, a fixture at KROQ for almost a quarter of a century (1980 – 2004) died December 24 from a brain tumor. Before there was a Kevin and Bean at KROQ, there was Ramondo and The Blade. "I had been talking with him over the past months and knew he was very sick but he insisted he was going to fight it and get better. Sadly, there are things that are stronger than us,” wrote Richard Blade on Facebook. “

Thank you, Raymond, for all I learned from you – and thank you for all the laughs and happiness you brought to Southern California and the KOQ Kids who grew up hearing your almost unlimited talent on the radio." More of his colleagues weighed in with thoughts about Raymond. Tami Heide wrote: “Ramondo, you were always a good friend to me. I remember when we would hang out with your orange kitties at your place in Burbank. A huge loss for the KROQ family.”

Freddy Snakeskin: “Just in time for Christmas, some truly terrible news for the whole KROQ extended family. I hadn't talked to him for a couple years, and had no idea he was even sick.”

April Whitney: “Feeling very sad this Christmas Eve after learning of the loss of one of my favorite friends, Raymond Bannister. Nearly 40 years of laughing, being there for each other, supporting and encouraging each other, enjoying each other. I’ve been lucky to call him my friend. So many great memories. I don’t want to let him go. Love you Raymond. See ya on the other side.”

“Ramondo was the first person to put me on the radio,” wrote Jim Poorman Trenton. “Raymond was quiet in real life, and never received the kudos he should have for being a transcendent radio talent and all-around good guy. He was also really funny. I appreciate all you did for me and our friendship. R.I.P. Dude."  
Richard Blade was the other half of the KROQ team of Ramondo and Blade. Richard wrote a book titled World in My Eyes. He devoted a chapter to his partner and acquiesced to allow highlights from that chapter. The following is from Richard Blade:

“Ramondo and Blade were flying high. The two of us just clicked together on the radio. Ramondo’s dry American wit and precise timing matched with my British enthusiasm and music knowledge worked well with the listeners and in just a few months we had hit number one in the ratings in virtually all of KROQ’s key demographics. We were friends off the air as well. We had both had similar experiences in radio, paying our dues and coming up through the smaller markets. Raymond’s last gig prior to KROQ was in San Diego at the rock station KPRI and just like me, he had fallen into an open spot on KROQ.             

Our morning show had a team of characters who appeared on the air with us including Rhonda Kramer, our flirtatious traffic reporter, and two surf reporters – this was Southern California after all – Rockin’ Fig and the Poorman. But we still had no budget! KROQ was notorious for being cheap. Our salaries were miniscule and while every other morning show in LA had a producer, a writer and a talent booker Raymond and I only had each other. But we made it work and fortunately, because of our mammoth ratings every record company, movie studio and tv station would come to us and ask to have their stars appear on our show.

And it wasn’t just the tv stations and press agents pushing to get their clients on the air with us, they also wanted to use our growing popularity and name recognition to promote their shows, newspapers, and magazines by booking Ramondo and the Blade to boost their ratings and sell copies. Suddenly it was Raymond and I who were in demand, which took us by surprise. There were times we would look at each other and think, Holy shit!

We were featured in the Los Angeles Times, Daily News, LA Weekly, BAM Magazine, The Press Telegraph – virtually every publication in Southern California came after us. Then we got a call from Playgirl magazine. This was big. It was national and international but we said yes – except I insisted that there be no nudity. Four months after the shoot the magazine came out with Kurt Russell on the cover and for the next few weeks Raymond and I would be met at all our gigs by fans clutching the magazine and wanting us to sign it. I have to admit it was a little disturbing to have a fifteen-year-old girl approach you with a Playgirl in her hand asking for an autograph.

The main thing that differentiated us, and the rest of KROQ’s airstaff, from every other station in the market was the music. We played what nobody else would play and we played it first. Music was defined and pigeon-holed by its categories; you had Top 40, rock, oldies, hip-hop etc. but in Southern California a new genre was born, K-Rock music. Everyone called it that. We owned certain bands: Duran, The Cure, The Smiths, New Order, Depeche Mode, The Police, Tears for Fears, Talking Heads, Missing Persons, Berlin, Oingo Boingo. If you went to a record store and bought an album from one of those groups, and many more, you were buying K-Rock music. It was a phenomenon.

KROQ became an adjective. And it was everywhere. Clubs all over LA and Orange County staged “KROQ nights,” meaning that was the music you would hear if you went there that evening. No other station in America had that kind of influence or following and the record companies knew it. There always seems to be a yin and yang in life and even as the station soared and “Ramondo and Blade in the Morning” hit new ratings heights, cracks started to appear.

Two years prior to my arrival at KROQ, Raymond had been running an errand for the station. He was on his motorbike heading to Perkins Palace in Pasadena to drop off advertising copy when he was hit dead on in an intersection. His bike spun off the road and Raymond was flung over the hood of the car, but his foot caught in the radiator grill and the jarring impact shattered multiple bones in his leg.

KROQ had no insurance coverage to offer Raymond, and with no money himself he had to settle for his leg being put in a cast and left to heal the best it could. Now, nearly three years later, his limp was becoming worse every day as the still-unhealed, jagged bones ground together causing him excruciating pain. To deal with this daily agony Raymond tried self-medicating. Unfortunately, his medicine came in a six-pack.

As 1983 rolled on Raymond’s drinking became worse and worse. Each morning he’d arrive in the studio with a brown bag holding his Budweisers. At first I was at a loss for what to say. He was obviously in pain, and the alcohol wasn’t affecting his on-air performance, but I knew it wasn’t right. When he moved from twelve-ounce cans to sixteen-ouncers it reached the point where I had to do something; I had to step in to help my friend. I had no medical training so I went to a doctor who had just joined the KROQ team to co-host the weekend show, “Loveline.” In truth he hadn’t finished his medical training yet and was still a resident but we all called him Dr. Drew. I explained the situation to Drew the best I could and asked for his advice. Drew told me that with those kinds of multiple fractures caused by a traumatic injury being improperly treated for so long, there was danger of numerous complications which was probably why Raymond was in such constant pain.

When I asked what a worst-case scenario was, Drew looked at me and said three words, “Worst case? Amputation.” I couldn’t bear the thought of my friend, my partner on air, and the man who had willing shared with me his amazing radio skills and impeccable timing possibly losing his leg. The next day, after our show, I had a serious talk with Raymond. I told him that from now on there would be no alcohol in the control room and if he brought any in there would be trouble. The next morning Raymond showed up at the station in a shocking state, I had never seen him that bad before. Rather than bring the alcohol into the studio he’d sat in the parking lot out back and drank it, all of it, one sixteen ounce can after another! He was toasted. I couldn’t let him on the air like that, it wouldn’t have been fair to the station, it wouldn’t have been fair to me but most of all it wouldn’t have been fair to Raymond.

I grabbed him by the shoulders and walked him outside the small control room into the corridor. He slumped to the ground and went straight to sleep. He stayed like that throughout the duration of the show, even as the staff arrived and the station came to life. After I got off the air I marched Raymond into Pat Welsh’s office and demanded that Raymond be given help.

Pat listened intently and to Raymond’s and my surprise he promised to take care of it. That morning marked an end and a beginning. It was the beginning of Raymond’s long battle to recover from that work-related injury that KROQ should have taken care of years before. He first went through a series of operations which required that his leg be broken again, then pinned, reset and cast correctly. After that, he was placed in rehab which he embraced with open arms.

But it marked the end of Ramondo and Blade. I was given something I didn’t want, a chance to fly solo in the mornings. If I’d had the choice I would have stayed Raymond’s partner for my entire radio career. I can think of no kinder, more talented, funnier person to have been blessed to work with. But it was not just a career choice, it was a matter of Raymond’s life. When Raymond returned to the station almost six months later, he was a new man: clean, sober and without even a trace of a limp. He was given the afternoon show and a chance to have a real life. I still talk with him often and refer to him as my Obi-Wan Kenobi. But to millions of KROQ listeners he’ll always be the anchor of the Ramondo and Blade show.
Lloyd Thaxton and Wink Martindale appeared on Everybody's Talking in 1967. 
A few months after the launch, Wink left to host the game show Dream Girl of '67 (Thanks to David Schwartz)

Purely Personal Start to New Year 

(January 2, 2020) On December 21, my pregnant daughter Alexandra (due January 20) and her husband Simon traveled from their home in the South Bay to Santa Barbara for a babymoon, a relaxing weekend before the holidays and the impending birth of their baby boy. I was going to take them to breakfast the following morning.

They hadn’t been in their hotel room an hour when Alexandra’s water broke. So much for planning. She called her doctor and was instructed to get to Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. The baby was breeched and additional doctors were called in to perform a C-Section.

Before the evening was over, Matthew Barrett Poulton was born. Even though technically he was a preemie, Matthew weighed in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. He seemed ready to see the light of day.

My wife and I made our Sunday morning trip from Avila Beach to Santa Barbara and got our first peek at Matthew. Mother, son, and father doing well. Being a late-term grandfather for the first time is certainly joyous, and I can’t wait for the spoiling to begin.

Matthew was released on Christmas morning and went home for the first time. Whotta’ bundle of joy for all of us.  
 

There seems to be this circle of life. As Matthew has begun his journey, I got a phone call Christmas afternoon that my longest and best friend, Stan White had died.

In the mid-fifties, I was sitting on the steps of Santa Monica High School watching Rebel Without a Cause being filmed. And who was that kid on set riding his motorcycle aggressively? His name was James Dean, but we wouldn’t know that until later. Another gawker sat near me. I turned to him and said sometime prophetically like, “Isn’t this cool?” The kid was Stan White.
  We launched a deep friendship, rooted in rock ‘n roll, for over sixty years. We shared a love for the emerging r&b and forbidden Rock music. We surfed together. We doubled dated.

Our favorite watering hole was the Oar House on Main Street in Santa Monica. After a day at the beach, it was the perfect spot to hear an eclectic mix of music emanating from a reel-to-reel tape recorder. The music was loud and in stereo. You could hear a Beatles song followed by
In-Gadda-Da-Vida followed by Kate Smith, then a Motown song, Vin Scully making a call before hearing a helicopter hovering overhead. With seemingly no rhyme nor reason, I remember a fire truck hanging from the ceiling filled with gadgets and items.

Beer was served in pitchers and everyone drank from the pitchers. You could dance anywhere, while lip syncing to the Stones’ Can't get no Satisfaction. For the uninitiated, going to the restroom was a treat to watch. One door would say ladies, but an arrow would be under the ladies’ sign pointing across the way. The men’s sign was vice versa. So when you walked into the men’s room it was actually the ladies’ room. Can’t imagine that being allowed today.
We were in the audience for the T.A.M.I. Show taping at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium that starred Chuck Berry, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye and the first televised performance by James Brown.

Stan and I frequently drove to the ugly pink building housing the El Monte Legion Stadium to catch Art Laboe hosting Johnny Otis Show and Band, the Three Tons of Joy, and Handsome Mel Carter. It seemed that we were the only non-pachukoes, but it hardly mattered. We were there for the music.

We grew up. Got married. Divorced. And again. For a while Stan was an AE for radio station KSEE-Santa Maria while I was working my first job in Lompoc at KNEZ.

In the late 70s, Stan and I worked in the movie business. He was based in Dallas. We orchestrated the World Premiere of The Buddy Holly Story. It was hugely successful and for a few months, rock ’n roll was again at the center of things. He eventually became a teacher in Seattle, his home for the last couple of decades. Kids loved him and voted him Teacher of the Year many times. He touched the lives of many young people.

Stan was born with one kidney. When his remaining kidney started giving him problems a couple of years ago, he was put on dialysis. In the beginning, it was tough to chat with him on the phone. It was all “woe is me” and “whotta’ terrible pain in the ass” going through dialysis three days a week. Then one day, my phone call to him was the “old Stan.” Upbeat. Filled with stories and life. He borrowed the “one day at a time” concept from a 12-Step program we shared.

He was back. His goal on every visit to dialysis was to talk with everyone – patients, nurses, family members – everyone. The first day he changed his behavior, everything else changed. He was happy and thrilled with the challenge of putting a smile on everyone’s face.

Last September, Stan made the complicated trip from Seattle to the Santa Barbara Airport. His health was failing. He wanted to sit on the beach for a couple of days and talk about our journey as best friends. When attendants wheeled him off the plane, I barely recognized him. The ravages of a failing body were showing. It was a difficult weekend but we made it work.

We would have gone to the Oar House but it was long gone. And El Monte Legion Stadium was but a rock ’n roll memory. The time and place had shifted. Life had made its inevitable turn.

Two weeks ago, it was decided to end Stan’s dialysis. His son left Michigan to join Stan on his farewell journey. All the young people whose lives Stan had touched during his teaching years, along with those from his 12-Step program, neighbors, and friends were invited to the house. Over 100 showed up to extoll the advice, encouragement and stories of how Stan had impacted their lives. He touched many.

The next morning we talked for two hours. It was the last time. He was getting tired. Stan said he was running out of steam. Maybe it was time to prepare for the ultimate road trip. I told him how much I loved him. “Be sure and take a roll of quarters, Stan, and get the heavenly juke box rocking and rolling with Chuck Berry and Fats Domino.”

Stan White was a rebel with a cause.  
Veteran LARP George Moore Dies
  For over two decades, George Moore was an active producer, program director, production manager, voice talent and personality. He died Christmas morning, 2019 after a long illness. “With heavy hearts, the Moore family regrets to announce the passing of our beloved George Moore. His love for life, sense of humor, kind heart, and sharp wit will be deeply missed,” shared his family.

He worked at: KKTT/KGFJ, 1978-85; KPWR, 1986-88; KSRF, 1988-89; KJLH, 1989-93; KMPC, 1992-94; KACE, 1994-2000; KFI, 2001-02.

George was born in Detroit on March 1, 1957, growing up in the Motor City listening to legendary personalities like Martha Jean the Queen, Butterball, J.P. McCarthy and the CKLW “Big Eight” giants.

George was influenced by Walt "Baby" Love, the first African American at the then-powerful RKO General chain, broadcasting on ‘CK. "From that point, I wanted nothing more than to be an air personality and I took every communications class in school." (on right, Radio's best friend, Art Vuolo, visited with Moore the day before he passed.)
 
While attending Wayne State University in Detroit, he interned at WDRQ which eventually became his first gig. He later moved to WMJC-Detroit.

In 1977, George went to KMJQ-Houston until he was hired by his childhood inspiration, the aforementioned Walt Love, at KKTT. The station eventually returned to its longtime call letters, KGFJ.

At KMPC George was there for the Sports/Talk format and worked as talk host, field reporter and sportscaster.

In 1992 George had two commercials that he produced, voiced and co-wrote that were nominated for the Southern California Broadcasters Association SUNNY Awards. One of his entries was judged Best in the Radio Station Produced category.

George passed away at the age of 62.   

William F. Williams Dies During the Holidays 

William Francis Williams, 84, died December 27 in Raleigh, NC. Born on February 9, 1935, William F. was a poet, author of screenplays, novels and essays and a popular dj in the 60’s at KMEN in the Inland Empire, as well as KDAY, KBLA, KBBQ, KRLA, and KPPX. He loved writing, riding his Harley, flying his Cessna, Kauai, cars, reading and movies. Never at a loss for words, he was a great story teller and could make anyone laugh. His motto was IFIAFFI, if it ain’t fun f… it!

In 1960, William worked San Jose's KLIV before arriving at KDAY where he spent his days at Martoni's with Alan Freed waiting for the format change. After KDAY, he returned to KMEN for three years. While at KBLA, he worked a live-concert booth at the first Teenage Fair at the Hollywood Palladium and was voted by the Fair's attendees "L.A.'s Coolest Jock." He left KBLA to be pd of KCBQ-San Diego.

While at Country KBBQ, he was Bill Williams. His time at KBBQ led to the formation of Canopy Music and Canopy Productions with Jimmy Webb. They co-produced MacArthur Park by Richard Harris. William described this period as "weird," and he lived on a mountain top until KRLA pd Doug Cox in 1968 coaxed him to morning drive. There, his "weirdness" prompted a memo from the gm which William read on the air. Another gm memo told him to refrain from airing internal memos. William read this memo on the air. The next memo was "you're fired," which he read on the air, before leaving the station.

He played a Presidential advisor in the Peter Sellers movie Being There. After a return stint to the mountains, William's old friend Doug Cox was now gm at KPPC. “As jock/pd in 1971, I instituted the first and only truly ‘free-form’ radio station in Los Angeles. The country was in the throes of an unpopular war, and we reflected the restlessness of the times.” By 1972, William got on his Harley and headed for Mexico. In 1976, he rejoined Jimmy Webb for another run at the music business, where he wrote tv specials for Rolling Stone, Ringo Starr, Olivia Newton-John and acted as music supervisor on a couple of feature films and a tv series. Since 1984 William had been living and writing in the mountains. (Thanks to Ted Ziegenbusch for assistance with William F. Williams' bio)
"J. Paul Huddleston, on tiny 1,000 watt KDEO El Cajon/San Diego in 1961, demonstrating the chops that would take him all the way
to Boss Radio 93 KHJ in Los Angeles a few short years later. Enjoy!" - Neil Ross



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