LARadio

January/February 2020

Compiled and Written by Don Barrett
Edited by Alan Oda


 

Kevin "Slow Jamin' James" Voices Concern

(January 31, 2020) Kevin James is perhaps better known as “Slow Jammin’ James.” He had quite the run at KKBT (“The BEAT” 92.3/fm) in the 1990s and early aughts. He was also on KHHT (“HOT 92.3”) in the 2010s. Once you hear his voice, you will never forget the gooey-raspy words from him. His “slow jammin’” slot was mostly evenings. If you lifted your sheets, Kevin’s voice was there.

Kevin is concerned about the future of voices on the radio and shares his thoughts in this essay:

I’ve been saying for years along with many others that radio (terrestrial) is dying. I’ve been in radio my entire adult life. Radio ignored this prognosis by failing to listen to terrestrial radio’s physician. I’m not sure even if they listened that they would have found a cure.

iHeart Radio bludgeoned hundreds of careers recently and now in San Diego there has been massive layoffs. Radio has never been a stable career. One day you’re at the top of the charts living the good life and then the next day you get the 30-second speech or if the owners don’t have time for that, usually a short form letter saying you are no longer working for them and they wish you well in your next endeavors.

I want to let those affected by the massive layoffs that I know and feel their pain. Their lives are upside down. I pray that they find jobs in radio or radio/tv related fields. It’s an enormous ego and money shattering situation.

I’ve been working in Internet Radio as of almost 5 years ago. I was called crazy for moving from a well-paying job in San Diego to work at Snoop Dogg’s Cadillacc Music on Dash Radio. It has retained my sanity and career. Thank you Dash Radio and Big Snoop Dogg!!

To those affected by these layoffs, please feel free to contact me and I’ll try and help you through this and hopefully have some work suggestions. Radio simply can’t hold on because of dropping revenues and an abundance of lower priced commercials. Why listen to Terrestrial Radio that has from 15 to 20 minutes of airtime devoted to commercial and self-promoting content? The answer is that people in droves are not doing that. Many of us have lived during the radio heydays that gave us great musical content (well it used to, many years ago), entertaining djs that were filled with personality and showed their presence in the community. Radio budgets can now only afford syndicated shows and scripted voice tracks to try and replace our precious djs. That won’t ever work. Hang in there my fellow djs." 
Slowjamjames@me.com

What is Your Go-to Movie?
Bob Scott (retired iHeart): My go-to movie
(besides The Godfather which I’ve seen at least 20 times),
is “My Cousin Vinny.”  Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei gave
incredible performances and despite having seen it 5 times,
it still makes my laugh out loud every time. No matter what mood I’m in,
I’m in a great mood after watching it.  


Gary Mack - First Hire for 93/KHJ Boss Radio

 
(January 30, 2020) The launch of one of the seven seminal moments in the history of LARadio was the debut of the 93/KHJ Boss Jocks in April 1965. Squeezed between Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele was Gary Mack working from noon to 3 p.m. Somebody on Facebook recently expressed surprise that Gary is still alive. He is indeed and lives in Florida.

“Yes indeed, I am alive -- and nobody is more surprised than me. Oh, and my Cardiologist. He's simply amazed!” emailed Gary. We caught up with each other. “Many of KHJ's 1965 debut crew signed off way too soon – Bill DrakeRon Jacobs, Morgan, Steele, Roger ChristianDave Diamond and Frank Terry. Happily, there are still a few of the original Boss Jocks wandering around out here, like Sam RiddleJohnny WilliamsSteve Clark...and me. “

Gary talked about the beginning of Boss Radio. “ I had been Bill Drake's PD at KYNO in Fresno, but was working weekends at KRLA when the phone rang. Bill was in LA and wanted to get together. We met in Martoni’s, and while sitting at the bar, Drake told me he and Gene Chenault  were going to be consulting RKO General’s KHJ - and he wondered whether or not I’d be interested in working there. He had me at ‘hello.’ I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just become the very first Boss Jock.”

Gary worked noon to 3 p.m. until 1967, then briefly worked overnights prior to joining Drake/Chenault as a national program director. He helped set up the Drake Format at KFRC-San Francisco, CKLW-Detroit, WRKO-Boston and WOR/fm-New York. Gary went on to program WIP-Philadelphia, was operation manager at WNEW-New York and was group pd for the fm division of Susquehanna Broadcasting in 1977. His last assignment was director of network operations at WSB-Atlanta, where he built the largest radio network in Major League Baseball for the Atlanta Braves (166 stations).
Born Gary McDowell in Cedar Falls, he grew up in Chicago and attended the Illinois Institute of Technology and served 4 years in the the US Air Force. Gary retired July 1, 1997. “Radio was truly great fun back then,” continued Gary. “It was serious business, to be sure, but enjoyable, entertaining and satisfying. It's sad to see what has happened to our wonderful medium. But that loving salute from Quentin Tarantino cheered me no end."

"I had always planned to live forever, and so far, so good," Gary concluded. "Stay tuned. I'll let ya know when I change my mind.”

Lewine Prayers. One of the joys of writing the three Los Angeles Radio People books and hosting this website is this eclectic group of individuals who call radio their home. The original focus of the first book in 1994 was on the disc jockeys.

One night I was attending some event at the Cat and Fiddle Restaurant and Pub on Sunset Boulevard. At one point in the evening I backed into another guest. We introduced ourselves. He was a chief engineer and he also loved radio as much as I did. He was so much fun.

At that moment, I said the next book will include the chief engineers who keep the signal bright. He was Jerry Lewine, retired chief engineer of KVEN/KHAY/KBBY and later Y-107, then KHJ and the other Liberman stations. We became fast friends and over the years, Jerry has helped me keep LARadio.com on the air. I am very grateful of his schleps from his home on Kanan Road to Valencia to fix something or another with our computer.  

Now the sad news. Jerry has checked in to let us know he has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s T- cell lymphoma. “This disease really kicks you down and so does the treatment,” Jerry told me, “but I can’t imagine care being better anywhere that I am receiving at City of Hope. They literally brought me back from the brink. My wife Sheryl has been by my side every step of the way.” Jerry is not ready for phone calls but answers emails to 
Jerry@agourapc.com.

More Dislocations. This time it’s not iHeart, Entercom, or Cumulus, but the news out of San Diego is just as devasting as a dozen on-air personalities in San Diego were give two weeks notice. Click here for the piece by Ken Leighton. 

What is Your Go-to Movie? 
TOM BERNSTEIN (ex-KNX): "Dr. Strangelove.” Very relevant in our current situation.   
Peter Sellers at his best, backed by a great supporting cast.


Thinking About Podcasting? Take it Into the PodCave 

  (January 28, 2020) John Michael has made a perfect pivot in his career, leaving radio for podcasting. “All good things must come to an end, right?” After 16 years at CBS/Entercom’s JACK/fm, KROQ and AMP Radio, John is ready for a new frontier. He’s been on-air talent, music director and coordinator.

This is John's story of leaving radio for podcasting:
 
Newspapers, recorded music, television, and film were all disrupted at roughly the same time, but radio was able to hang in there a little bit longer. This made denying the inevitable all too easy. We told ourselves we were a special medium that people just couldn’t live without. We’re (seemingly) live. We’re local. It’s free. Satellite radio didn’t kill us. Internet radio didn’t kill us.

Believe me, I wish people used radio the way they did 20 years ago. I had a blast. Radio folks still try to defend radio’s relevance, just as I did. Some will spew facts such as “92% of Americans consume radio each day!!” But that, of course, depends on your definition of consumption.

Podcasting has exploded in the past five years and it’s a revelation. Storytelling, conversation, humor, and opinion are all subjective. Great for podcasts, bad for radio. Podcasts can be abrasive and controversial. Joe Rogan can get high with his guest. You don’t like it? Hit the bricks.

As you can imagine, radio stations aren’t particularly happy places to work.  Everyone can read the writing on the wall. Massive layoffs, less money, more work, poor morale, desperation, denial.  The thrill is gone and it won’t be back. That’s been the radio industry for the past 10 years.

I chose radio because it was exciting and fun. I was looking for some (“new?”) danger.  But in order to do it, I had to get out of radio.

Someone moved my damn cheese.

I chose to enter podcasting because it offers all the things that radio used to offer. Freedom. Danger. Humor. Heart. Controlled chaos. Community. Connection. Action. Independence. Soul.  But the best and most reassuring thing about podcasting is that it literally can’t turn into radio. Not podcasting.  Anyone can make a podcast. There are no restrictions or limitations on content, format, length, or language.  The FCC can’t tell you what you can and can’t say, you don’t have to be profitable, you don’t have to have a boss, you don’t have to consider who you may offend, you don’t even have to make sense.

Rich folks can’t stop you or control you because they don’t like what you’re doing. No gatekeepers, bottlenecks, rules or authority. It’s punk rock, and I’m fully on board.

Sure, the big radio corporations keep buying podcast studios in the hopes that they can catch lightning in a bottle.  That’s what they know. Buy it up, package it up, sell it. Radio corporations suggest (require) that DJs make podcasts for no extra salary. They try to convince podcasters to sign with them and let the company keep 70% of any revenue in exchange for all the “promotional value” they could hypothetically give you.  (Spoiler alert: You’ll never receive any of that promotional value. After all, your promo might cause someone carrying around a PPM beeper thing to change the station!)  

But all of that is in vain. Pandora’s box has been opened. Scratch that – it’s been blown apart. Old media and its bottleneck mentality is gone forever.

So here I am with this gift I’ve been given. I have a second chance to chase a thrill that evaporated long ago. I’m stoked. I see what podcasting is, what it can be, and I happen to have the experience and resources to advance it.  I’m using all of it to clear the path for those that have the guts to share a piece of themselves and leave it for anyone to find.  I want to make it easy for people to do that.

That’s what PodCave is.  Professional-grade show building tools designed for creatives that want the same things I want.  One fair price for all the assets I need to build a show and a community, to communicate with them, to activate them.

That said, I wish all my radio friends well. I root for them. Hopefully they can work around the technology hurdles and then tell Nielsen Audio to take their beepers and throw them in the river. Fingers crossed.

Until then, consider this an open invitation to my radio pals to holler at me whenever you’re ready to move on from the rotary phone. WE KNOW podcasting isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s why we built a suite of professional-grade tools saving you time and money. To learn more about how we can help you, see how Pod Cave works. You can also see pricing here along with the original full-length
essay.   

Hear Ache.  Not that it will mean a hill of beans to those iHeart folks who were laid off this month, but Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio has asked iHeartMedia ceo Bob Pittman for information about the recent “employee dislocation.”  In the letter, Brown tells Pittman – after pointing to Pittman’s $9 million bonus in 2017 and $9.3 million incentive bonus in 2018 – “It is difficult enough to understand the decision to continue the hollowing out of local media outlets by laying off disc jockeys in smaller communities.  But it is particularly difficult to make sense of this decision given that it came after a significant increase in the company’s executive compensation over the last few years.” Brown wants details on how many were laid off, severance guidelines and any pay for training ... Wonder what 1986 Radio sounded like? An amazing ride down afternoon drive in Los Angeles Radio in 1986.  https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1986-04-06-ca-4427-story.html?fbclid=IwAR1O0LYq7eU3sjea9LnP2RMGsJbtU1byUFzFaNcXxci1pf4cyI0fru2AtTI   

What is Your Go-to Movie?
 
JIM HILLIKER: My favorite Go-to movie of all time is "Casablanca" from 1942
I love the story or stories that are told in this World War II romantic drama.
 I never get tired of watching this iconic movie since the 1970s. 
It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Curtiz) and Best Screenplay.
 Simply a great movie, one of the best of all-time, in my opinion.  


KCRW Litt As New Music Director 

 
(January 27, 2020) NPR affiliate KCRW has promoted 24-year station veteran Anne Litt to Program Director of Music, becoming just the fifth person in the station’s history to hold that position, following in the footsteps of Jason BentleyNic HarcourtChris Douridas, and Tom Schnabel.

“After 20 years on the air at KCRW, having the opportunity to map out our future in this leadership role, at the station I’ve known, respected and valued above all others, is the honor of a lifetime,” said Anne. “This is a pivotal moment for KCRW to redefine the meaning of 'radio' in the 21st century.”

A native of Richmond, Virginia, she started her radio career at the University of North Carolina and then to work for Mammoth Records. She came to the Southland in 1992 as music supervisor for a movie sound transfer company. Anne was briefly at “Y107” but left with a format change in late 1999. She continued at KCRW.

For Anne, KCRW has been more than a dream – it’s become her destiny. Anne was first bitten by the radio bug at the college station at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “Then I decided it was time to pay the rent,” so she took a commercial station gig “back when Tiffany and Debbie Gibson were big.”

Later she did news and traffic on a “morning zoo show where they played Poison, Great White, and Slaughter.” Though the djs tried to engage her in that “morning stuff” Anne says, “I would have none of it – a public radio attitude in the making.”

Her first show at KCRW was “Pop Secret.” She became a respected music supervisor for films. One of Anne’s credits as music supervisor was Little Miss Sunshine. “It was a monumental task, creating an original music service that can work on the Internet, HD radio, perhaps on other stations – and, if rights can be secured – for podcasts. But KCRW has always had been a step ahead when it comes to new technologies.”

In making the announcement, KCRW president Jennifer Ferro said, “Anne has been finding and cultivating talent inside and outside KCRW for years. She's primed to move KCRW and our signature music programming into the next era."  
Hear Ache. Condolences to Christina Kelley on the passing of her mother … Former KLOS program director Bob Buchmann landed a new job with SiriusXM. He’s the new director of music programming … Congratulations to Richard Blade on 25 years of wedding bliss … Market Watch has a story about how Bob Pittman reaped millions in bonuses as the company sank toward bankruptcy. Read it here ... The Hollywood Reporter has something each week called the Heat Index. It reflects who and what are hot and who and what is not. This week, Bob Pittman has a down arrow: "The iHeartMedia ceo presides over a new round of staff layoffs, across the country amid a major restructuring of the radio broadcasting giant."
Email Tuesday - Kobe Bryant

** Appreciation for Pete Demetriou

“Thank you for mentioning that Pete Demetriou cut short his bereavement leave to report on the tragic helicopter crash which took the life of Southern California’s beloved Kobe Bryant. 

As I said when we were reminiscing about coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake here in your column, Pete goes above and beyond the call of duty as a journalist. He honestly cares about informing the public, and that is what makes him so good at his job. I don’t want to overshadow the tragedy of the crash, but KNX and the listeners are lucky to have Demetriou in the field when these major events occur.” – K.M. Richards  

** Lakers Announcer

"My condolences to the entire Bryant family and to the other families that lost loved ones in Sunday's tragic helicopter accident.

My memories of Kobe are part of a 20 year scrapbook - filled with conversations...interactions...and personal reflections. As we all process these different layers of grief, understand our city was blessed with an icon that will be a part of the tapestry for decades. Laker Nation is in deep mourning.

We send our love to his family, and pray for Peace. Hopefully each day provides a little more strength for each and every one of us. With respect." -  Lawrence Tanter,  Public address announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers for 37 years ... Member of the Los Angeles radio community since 1972

** HD Coverage

“I was surprised no one noticed that KNX coverage was also on KCBS/fm and 94.7, at least during the 4 p.m. hour. Also, it seemed as if the KRTH morning team took over on 101.1. Other music stations such as 93.5 KDAY were going to take phone calls.” – Chime Hart, Sherman Oaks

** Kobe Connection

“Great, quick job on the LARadio connection to Kobe. We do appreciate it.” - Bruce Tennant, Long Beach

** Kobe Was All In for KLAC Commercial

“I thought that I would share one of my favorite Kobe stories. We once had a furniture company as a client and they wanted Kobe to do a commercial for them. He agreed to do it if they would make a hefty donation to one of his favorite charities. They said yes and we told Kobe that he would need to come to the studio for about 30 minutes and read a few :30 spots. 

He said that if he was going to do a commercial, that he would write it and produce it! He wrote a jingle for the company and hired a barbershop quartet to record it. He then produced a phone call between the owner of the company and himself, where he was inquiring about their furniture.

It was a great spot and it put them on the map. He only knew one way in everything he did – ALL IN!  I’m very sad today.” – Bob Scott

** Kobe Coverage

“In addition to what you reported this morning, my dial hopping Sunday afternoon found two stations had brought in a key weekday personality to handle a call-in program to talk about Kobe – Gary Bryan on KRTH and Larry Mantle on KPCC.” – Jeff Freedman

** Kobe Doing Good

“Extremely sad over the death in a helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter and seven others. Just terrible. He was doing many good things since his retirement four years ago. Just horrible.” – Bob Fox

 

What Is Your Go-to Movie?
  DAVE KUNZ (KPFK): The Blues Brothers is our favorite go-to.
It not only never seems to get old (though it’ll actually be 40 this year!),
 but it has it all. A young John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, a madcap car chase
through a shopping mall, and a cavalcade of musicians and singers
that make for a wonderful soundtrack.


LARadio Coverage of Tragic Helicopter Crash with Kobe Bryant

 
(January 27, 2020) “I’m normally not at a loss for words, I am today.” The sentiments of John Ireland, Lakers play-by-play announcer and KSPN host, summarized the thoughts of many as the shocking news of the death of Kobe Bryant dominated local media.

Initially the story was about a Sunday morning helicopter crash in Calabasas, reporting there were no survivors. It was then reported Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the nine victims.

Though TMZ broke the story, stations quickly scrambled to first confirm the tragedy before offering continuous coverage. Many stations had reporters and producers performing their duties after offering to work on what was normally their day off. Of note, KNX’s Pete Demetriou was on bereavement leave after losing his father last week. Demetriou voluntarily cut short his time off to provide live reports from the Calabasas crash scene.

All news KNX was first to offer continuous coverage, with Vicky Moore joining Nathan Roberts in the anchor chairs. After their 12 p.m. newscast, KFI soon interrupted Leo Laporte’s syndicated show, with Tim Conway Jr. and Shannon Farren launching the station’s wall-to-wall coverage, Bryan Suits and Mo'Kelly then working into the evening hours with updates and listener calls.

KLAC stayed with Fox Sports Radio, as Steve Hartman and Rich Ohrnberger’s midmorning show was in progress. An emotional Hartman, a long time Southern California sportscaster, recalled how despite being a public critic of Kobe, the Laker star was gracious when Hartman asked if his daughter could take a photo with his daughter. When the station transitioned to the Clippers’ pregame show, host Isaac Lowenkron shifted the program to a tribute to the Lakers superstar.
KSPN was offering ESPN Radio network coverage before Steve Mason, Andy Kamenetzsky and Brian Kamenetzky cut into the network to offer their memories of Kobe and updating the breaking news. Listeners called in throughout the day and throughout the evening with Lakers pregame show host Allen Sliwa.

Former Laker James Worthy, interviewed by ESPN, said Kobe was about more than basketball. After recapping Kobe’s long Lakers career, as well as his love for his family and his passion for developing the next generation of stars, including his support of women’s basketball, Worthy simply concluded, “Kobe was a good dude.” (Story written by Alan Oda, LARadio senior correspondent)


Email Saturday, 1.25.2020

** Sweet Dick

“Thanks so much for tipping us off about Sweet Dick Whittington being on KVEC this week. It was a big thrill to hear him back on the air, and thanks to you a lot of his old timers were able to enjoy the hour.

For those who missed it, I recorded the hour and put it on YouTube. Any search will find it. Again, thanks so much. We miss the Sweet Young Thing in a Queen’s Garden very much.” – Bruce Tennant, Long Beach

** Loved Sweet Dick Interview

“I want to thank whoever was responsible for getting Sweet Dick Whittington to be interviewed on KVEC in San Luis Obispo Wednesday, during the Dave Congalton Show. It was so fun to hear Sweet Dick again, sharing some stories of his radio career in Los Angeles, and having fun with the KVEC crew, the newsman, etc. What a wonderful show.  

I only hear you chime in once or twice, Don. But I loved Alan Oda’s phone call  The call from Dick’s neighbor Betsy, a former KVEC radio personality, was also a lot of fun. 

Great local radio and interesting to hear so many Los Angeles area people on the air who are now on the Central Coast, and other areas call in to the show.” – Jim Hilliker, Monterey

** Abrams Take on Music Radio

“Great observations by Lee Abrams on the current state of the space and its likely future direction. Our team members at 
www.knxfm93.com agree that streaming WILL be a significant force in the audio medium. Our challenge, and that of all in the streaming space, even with relevant and popular programming such as ours, is to last long enough for the transition from terrestrial to ‘other.’

This is a labor of love for us, but at some point, it will need to at least pay for itself. I still seek a streaming model that can and will be a profitable business. Meanwhile, we grow in listener count and significance on this ‘bleeding edge.’ We are the new pioneers, similar to those of exactly 100 years ago when AM radio was in its infancy. And many of them did pretty well!” – Pat Veling, Founding Partner, 
www.knxfm93.com

** Blow It Up

“I couldn’t agree more with this statement from Lee Abrams: ‘Unless you’re making a lot of money, the best thing for the stations is to blow them up.’” – Rich Brother Robbin

** iHeart Blocks LARadio

“I’ve been re-reading a best-selling novel called All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. The book is set in Nazi-occupied France during WW2 and radios play a big part in the plot line. The Nazis confiscated all the radios…both receivers and transmitters. If you were caught transmitting, you were shot dead. The Nazis controlled the narrative.

I’m not directly comparing iHeart to the Nazis, but by cutting off employee access to LARadio, the company is certainly trying to control the narrative.” – Diane Thompson

** iHeart Shuts Off LARadio

“What a great, well written article. Wow, what about that? Raise your hands if you are surprised. Nope. Can’t see one hand raised :)”- Mike Butts

** Is Radio Dead?

“I saw a comment on a WBZ lay-off story that said unsympathetically ‘radio is dead, get over it!’ I hate to say it but the loss of jobs in our once thriving industry is catastrophic. I do still listen to ‘radio’ but it’s all online with apps. They are volunteer or non-profit stations but still also have an over the air fm signal.

With new cars no longer including AM receivers, the stations I worked for are doomed. There will always be a desire to hear news and music, but the radio delivery system is on life support.” – John Brooks, KFWB & KNX retired

** Moving Home Office

“Over two years ago, local engineer Chuck Ide of JLC Productions provided this prescient quote in a column I wrote for Radio World magazine. ‘What would stop a company from shifting all their operations from Riverside/San Bernardino over to Los Angeles? Why have a staff in Bakersfield? A music station in Tucson can now be contained in an equipment rack in Phoenix or New York.’

Chuck clearly saw this coming, at a time when most didn’t fully realize the impact that the ‘Main Studio Rule’ change (and economics) would have.

Here’s the full column:
https://www.radioworld.com/news-and-business/making-local-radio-that-isnt

Also, this column from a while back about former radio people marketing themselves to other industries could be relevant. Eric Holmes, a former LARP himself, warns that, ‘Radio’s job titles and jargon are useless anywhere else.’ He makes some helpful recommendations:
https://www.radioworld.com/news-and-business/is-there-life-after-radio

I’ve stopped writing the Radio World column, as I focus on my podcasting startup called Sound That BRANDS, but I still enjoy reading about my friends on LARadio.com. These days, it serves a need more than ever.” – Dave Beasing

** Oldies Dilemma

“Mr. Saul Levine, I see that against the general consensus of your listeners, you have decided to go ahead and add music from the 80s to your playlist.  Your station, your choice. 

I shall continue to listen often as this is my favorite preset in my car, but I have just one question. With all the music from the 80s at your disposal, why, oh, why would you play Starship’s We Built This City, which is generally considered to be the worst song ever recorded?” – Gary Gibson

** One-Year Warning

“Good work on the postings. Always interesting. This struck me this morning from Elizabeth McDonnell, ‘I was informed that my job would be downsized in the following year end of March 2019.’ Informed a year in advance? How generous of management to allow her to find other employment before cutting her off. I’m impressed. In my experience it was always a case of no warning, no severance. You come to work one day and are told to turn in your keys and don’t come back [not mentioning any names...].” - Laura Brodian Freas Beraha

** Plum Job in Kentucky

“Just saying hello from Kentucky where all is well. Rob Frazier is right, this is a great little company in small town markets. Working part time is just enough Radio for me at this age and I spend the rest of my time with network marketing, which I am enjoying immensely and writing and hanging out with a boyfriend! I still enjoy it all! 

On this, Betty White’s birthday, I think to myself here’s a woman who is 98 and she’s been having an incredible life, really doing it all and just thriving. Retiring is not in my future. My daddy worked into his 80s and I think that’s for me as well as I don’t play golf and I get restless watching too much television!  

This year I’m going to be recording the audio version of my book Do Not Air which will be something different for me to do. It’s still selling on Amazon and there’s a Kindle version too.” – Nancy Plum

** Radio Alternatives

“For those of you lamenting the loss of any particular radio station going to Internet only-using an Alexis or Google device at home is a great option. They have sound clarity and decent speaker(s). For in car use that is what ‘Bluetooth’ is for. Apps such as ‘Tune In,’ etc., can make this possible. As a matter of fact, I listen to my favorite morning team on KLOS using this very method since moving away from Southern California. Let’s get with the times.” – Chuck Norton (avid radio fan formerly of So. Cal now residing in Utah)

** Chandler Essay

Bruce Chandler wrote: ‘There’ has been taken over by companies who have decided they don’t really need you. You’re a money drain. You don’t really make a difference.’

True! I remember a fellow jock in Vegas in the late 70’s saying to me, ‘management only views you as a walking negative sign.’ He was right.” – Bill Schwarz

** Applaud Chandler

Bruce Chandler is absolutely right on with his essay on DJ’s heading for extinction. He and I – and hundreds more – are living proof.

In 1969 I was hired by Danny Mitchell of KEZY as production director. A little over a year later Danny fired me. He didn’t give me a reason and I honestly don’t know to this day why he did. I had two little kids, a new house I’d just bought on the GI Bill, and eight hundred bucks in the bank.

Fast forward about five years and Mitchell suddenly fired almost the entire on-air staff including Bruce Chandler in one morning. Keep in mind, KEZY was a powerhouse, delivering great ratings and equally great results for clients. I know, I placed many of my clients on the station because it worked! 

I happened to be listening to Bruce’s midday show when he was told while he was on the air that he was no longer needed at KEZY. I soon learned that the jocks were meeting at a nearby Mexican restaurant to try and figure out what to do. I drove there, rolled up in my new Pantera and announced ‘Guys, there is life after KEZY!’ That seemed to lift their spirits slightly. 

And, sure enough, all of them went on to new stations and new careers—Bruce, Scotty MorganJim Meeker, etc. Me? I went on to a pretty damned good career in voiceover, supercross announcing, etc. and am in two Halls of fame and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Advertising Federation. None of this would have ever happened if I’d stayed a radio disc jockey. Am I pissed at Danny Mitchell for firing me fifty years ago? Nope. In fact, I thank him every time we meet. Seriously.

Finally, re Bruce Chandler.  A joke told by a dj on the air has got to be a classic for me to remember it. And Chandler – years ago – had a one-liner that almost caused me to drive off the road I was laughing so hard. He’d just played Jimmy Charles’ A Million to One and followed it up with ‘and those are the approximate odds of Jimmy’s career ever coming back!’” – Larry ‘Supermouth’ Huffman

** Consolidation Was the Culprit

“My heart and thoughts go out to the number of our sisters and brothers now out of work because of Clear Channel, now hiding as iHeart and the others. Consolidation caused all of this misery and the Mays family who can give a rats how they destroyed the radio industry. They made a ton of $$$$.

Consolidation, Consolidation, Consolidation destroyed our beloved radio business. The 1996 Tele-com Act didn’t help much either. A past President that signed it, didn’t help much. It should have been two AM and two fm stations per market and that’s it. If you didn’t like that, don’t get into broadcasting. Karma has caught up with all of this happening now, and probably it’s not over yet.

Oh, yeah, Washington DC added their 5 cents worth too, by allowing it to pass. There’s a lot of folks with consolidation on their hands. The radio station license belongs to the American public, not some corporate pig that took advantage of loop holes so they could own every station in a given market. If a station was not needed like most of the Class A’s clogging up the dial, turn the darn things off and clean up the fm band, and AM if needed. Oh, well, they tell me you can’t back the train up now. It’s too late. Most of the humans that caused all of this are counting their 30 pieces of silver, so be it. How do you sleep at night, knowing what you did to radio?” – Phillip Davies

** Bloodbath Humor

“At one station when I left, my boss told me the only thing I could take were all the extra packets of ketchup, soy sauce, taco sauce and mustard in my desk drawer.

It was a shock to him to see me disassemble half of the production room because most of the equipment was mine. So, what is iHeart going to do with thousands of taco sauce  packets this week? Sorry if this isn’t funny yet. I sometimes forget the formula – ‘Tragedy plus time equals humor.’” – Don Elliot

** What’s Your Name?

“I just want to thank you for putting your reports out. So many names of folks I never met but heard as I grew up in LA. Little did I know I would work at KFWB, KTWV, And KKLA for about a seven-year stint. Mostly as an Account Executive, but on air at KKLA on Sundays for about three years with a little talk show. I am so sorry to see how many are no longer with us and the complete corporate wholesale changes being made.

Thank you for keeping my memories alive. I know many others feel this way and you are most appreciated sir. God bless you” – Joseph Roth

** Real Los Angeles Radio People

"I'm never been in the radio industry, but I do have a deep appreciation for local radio with real people behind the microphones.  I know there are many different ways to listen to music, but I'll listen to local radio as long as it still out there in the air for me to grab. 

I think of a recent Ccrane article that talks about am/fm radios, how they don't listen to us or know where they are.  Is there a way for you to periodically recognize certain radio stations in the LA area that still focus on real people and not voice tracks. 

I am a contributing member and listen 88.5 KCSN quite often because of the people I hear on the radio. 

I also listen to 105.1 KKGO weekdays between 10-2 because of the different bands/artists that host the radio station. I used to listen to 790 KABC in the mornings regularly, but am sort of looking for a new morning show for obvious reasons. Anyways, thanks for all you do." - Todd Kranz, Southern California

** Nostalgia Sunday

“Thanks for the fun surprise in your column – the throwback to the 25th anniversary of Power 106! To this day, it’s one of the most incredible experiences in my life. Every day was more exciting than the last. I still have great radio friends who work there who are just as passionate about Power as we were back on the day we launched. I remember at Christmas, Big Boy would emcee the Emmis Christmas parties and play Santa. He delivered every gift to every person like it was the most important job of his life, and had everyone busting up with laughter while doing it. I remember just being so impressed with that. What a guy, and what a great group of people to work with!

Don, you’re always looking for radio hosts who are still thrilled to be live and local and doing what they do every day. Well, I’m one of them. Cannot fathom how good radio has been to me over the years, and still pinch myself to be able to interact with our Wave audience every day, both on the air and at our incredible live events. Not to mention interviewing artists like Alicia Keys, John Legend, George Clinton, etc. etc. –just amazing! What’s not to love?

Are the best days of radio behind us? No, sir. They’re right now, and I’m grateful to live each one of them until my key card no longer works. :)” – Deborah Howell


Is the DJ Headed for Extinction?
        Essay by Bruce Chandler  

                             
(January 24, 2020) It's (i)Heartbreaking. What do elevator operators, blacksmiths and encyclopedia salesmen have in common with music radio deejays? They're extinct; well, the latter is mostly extinct. Gone are the days of a talented lineup of "jocks" on a station, broadcasting live to the market their station serves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It was an exciting time. When an air personality turned on the microphone and talked, he or she knew that their voice was being heard at that exact moment on thousands and thousands of radios in cars, homes, offices and other places of work in that listening area.

The absolute "high" of being able to present the music of the day, the music that defined your generation, and also being able to mix it with your voice, your personality, your humor, your knowledge and your identity with the audience who was sharing your life with you for parts of your 3, 4 or 5 hours daily was indescribable.

There was nothing so immediate and attention grabbing as picking up the phone on the air and exclaiming "You're caller 13 you've won a THOUSAND DOLLARS!" to the screams of the lucky listener on the other end of the line.

Yes, being a local radio dj on one of the top-rated stations in your market was something only a literal handful of fortunate people would ever and could ever attain.

It took dedication and living, breathing, eating, sleeping and adoring radio to make a living at it and, even then, more living, breathing, eating, sleeping and adoring radio to make your way up the ladder of opportunity. From one small city to the next bigger city to the next even larger market, all hoping that one day, perhaps, you could finally open the mic and be heard in major cities in the country like a Houston or Chicago or Dallas or New York or Los Angeles!  Maybe...one day...

It was the ultimate chase, the ultimate dream.  There were places to go!!!!

Some were content to spend years in medium markets, having settled their families there and being embraced by their listening audience.
Many others, perhaps the overwhelming majority, never made it out of the small markets due to a lack of talent or luck or ambition or undying love of the craft.

They'd eventually throw in the towel and the microphone for any number of less competitive and normal out of the spotlight 9 to 5 jobs.

However, it was the lucky few who eventually gained a "name" and had the talent, the "art" and on-air "timing" and instincts of what it takes to make an airshift an "event" that made listeners want to tune in on each day. Radio legends like Robert W. Morgan, The Real Don Steele, Charlie Tuna, Dan Ingram, Larry Lujack, Rick Dees, Dr. Don Rose. I could go on and on.

Each of these personalities started off the same way all of the other radio deejays did, breaking in on a small station in Modesto, then moving on to Fresno or El Paso or San Bernardino or Boise then the even bigger cities. They were paying their dues so to speak, and crafting their on the air persona. It took years.

There was a method to arriving at the top as a music deejay. You'd start very small and strive to reach very large or largest, or at least, attain the level you aimed for. It was a logical progression. All the while, waking up each day being excited to go to work - being in love with your work, after all, once you get to do something you love, you never have to work a day in your life.

All the while, your "bosses" loved and appreciated you. When you got good ratings or if you did something funny or amusing or clever or informative on the air, you'd get nice feedback from them, maybe even a bonus!

No more. It's over. There is, as someone said, no "there" there.

"There" has been taken over by companies who have decided they don't really need you. You're a money drain. You don't really make a difference. We can do it cheaper just playing music or adding some recorded voices to the mix or having one of our other people do your show and their show from another one of our stations.  Save a buck!!!!  Your talent is unappreciated.

It started with the all-night shift, then the evening shift, then the midday shift, the weekend shifts....It started with "You're talking too much, play the music!" One by one, gone were those friendly familiar comfortable live voices sharing time with you.

The literally thousands of on-air radio deejay jobs in the 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond are no longer "necessary." They are gone.

The years and decades spent becoming a talented "professional" now mean nothing. The many, many people being displaced due to RIF (reduction in force) are probably looking at the end of their broadcast careers in one heartbreaking instant.  What did someone once say, "All dressed up with nowhere to go!"  It's a craft, that, thanks to a combination of too many other ways for people to listen to music in 2020. There's satellite radio, Spotify, iPods/Music Apps, You Tube. Then there's companies biting off more than they could chew financially when deregulation of the 90's started, resulting in "reorganization;" a craft that station owners find is no longer necessary, needed nor affordable.

The deregulation of 25 years ago has slowly and finally come close to killing off the terrestrial AM/FM radio most of us grew up on and fell in love with. It's not your grandfather's radio anymore.

There's really no way of knowing had "deregulation" never been allowed to happen, how different the "ONE AM and ONE FM" in each market rule would have shaped today's radio.  I'm thinking it would have made it still a great business and an exciting business to be in.

My heart goes out to the additional 1,000 broadcast professionals who suddenly lost their jobs in the iHeart family this past week. I remember talking to a fellow dj at the network in the mid 90's and saying to him "this deregulation is a bad idea! 7 stations in a market?  That means if you get fired at one station, there are six others you won't be able to go to."  A thousand radio people fired in one week would NEVER have happened in a One AM and One FM rule world.  Very sad.... I know what it's like.  I've been there.

Bruce Chandler spent a decade at KIQQ (K-100/fm), almost two decades at K-EARTH. He was mornings at Westwood One’s Oldies Channel. Bruce started in radio career in the Inland Empire and Orange County. He’s active in a voiceover career.

Hear Ache. Longtime CBS Sports Radio host Scott Ferrall has joined sports gambling network SportsGrid … Gayle King (ex-KGIL) wore yellow the other morning to celebrate eight years co-hosting CBS This Morning … Condolences to Bryan Simmons on the loss of his sister … Do you own any music? Learn how CDs and Downloads died here ... Kevin “Koz” Koske is working alone as afternoon personality on Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM. We met Koz at Pirate Radio (KQLZ) in the late 80s … KOST morning personality Ellen K will rack up her 11th consecutive announcing assignment with the Grammys this Sunday afternoon.

What Is Your Go-to Movie?
KEN BORGERS (ex-KUSC, KLON, KCRW): A Thousand Clowns. 
Girlfriend showed it to me when I was 17. 
Shaped my world view for the next 50 years and gave me an appreciation
for Jason Robards that’s lasted my whole life.


KOST Holiday Ratings Wrapped in a Big Bow

(January 23, 2020) Christmas music catapulted KOST to almost a full share over the Holiday book from last year. KOST seems to have taken some numbers away from most stations with their huge ratings. The rating period for the Holiday survey started December 5 and ended January 1. These numbers represent PPM 6+, 6am-mid, Mon-Sun:

1. KOST (AC) 9.3 - 13.7
2. KRTH (Classic Hits) 5.8 - 5.2
3. KBIG (Hot AC) 4.3 - 4.2
4. KTWV (Rhythmic AC) 4.0 - 3.9
5. KIIS (Top 40/M) 3.7 - 3.6
    KLAX (Regional Mexican) 3.2 - 3.6
7. KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 3.5 - 3.3
8. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.4 - 3.1
9. KFI (Talk) 2.9 - 2.6
    KNX (News) 2.8 - 2.6
    KPWR (Top 40/R) 2.9 - 2.6
12. KKGO (Country) 2.1 - 2.5
13. KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 3.0 - 2.4
      KROQ (Alternative) 2.4 - 2.4
      KXOL (Spanish AC) 2.1 - 2.4
      KYSR (Alternative) 2.4 - 2.4
17. KLOS (Classic Rock) 2.6 - 2.3
      KSCA (Regional Mexican) 2.0 - 2.3
19. KRRL (Urban) 2.2 - 2.0
20. KAMP (Top 40/M) 2.4 - 1.9
      KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.2 - 1.9
      KPCC (News/Talk) 2.3 - 1.9  
23. KUSC (Classical) 1.8 - 1.8
24. KKLQ (Christian Contemporary 1.6 - 1.6
25. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 1.7 - 1.5
      KLLI (Latin Urban) 1.7 - 1.5
27. KCRW (Variety) 1.3 - 1.2
      KDAY (Rhythmic AC) 1.3 - 1.2
      KJLH (Urban AC)  1.5 - 1.2
30. KLAC (Sports) 1.1 - 1.0
      KRLA (Talk) 1.0 - 1.0
32. KSPN (Sports) 1.2 - 0.9
33. KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 0.8 - 0.8
34. KKJZ (Jazz) 0.8 - 0.7
35. KEIB (Talk) 0.6 - 0.6
      KFSH (Christian Contemporary)  0.6 - 0.6
      KFWB (Regional Mexican) 0.6 - 0.6
38. KABC (Talk) 0.6 - 0.5
      KCSN (AAA) 0.5 - 0.5
      KKLA (Religious) 0.5 - 0.5

 
Hear Ache. Stephen A. Smith is never satisfied. Read why here. :  … The Paley Center will soon be vacating its Beverly Hills home. Originally known as the Museum of Television and Radio, LARadio hosted two events there, thanks to Kelli Gates who was one of the execs at the time. It is located on Beverly Drive at South Santa Monica Boulevard. Paley Center pays approximately $1.2 million annually on its lease. But in recent years, the ubiquity of video clips on the internet meant that few people utilized the Beverly Hills museum for its original intent — as a place for users to view classic tv clips or listen to old radio shows … How do young people consume tv and radio? Bob Lefsetz thinks he knows. “Only boomers turn on the tv at 6 and flip channels for five hours. Millennials don’t watch television that way, never mind Gen-Z, assuming they have a cable account to begin with. They need Netflix, Amazon, and not much more. But somehow, advertising on tv is gonna push the needle significantly? Kind of like terrestrial radio. If you’re tuning in, you’re the last Luddite on earth. One of the true advantages of SiriusXM is the lack of commercials on music channels. You can flip between dozens and never hear a spot.” … The FCC is on a tear to determine if Payola is taking place between the music industry and radio. Again. Guess where there is smoke there might be a fire … If you were around LARadio for the second half of the 20th century, you were lucky to hear Sweet Dick Whittington. He now lives on the Central Coast. This afternoon, Sweet Dick will join Dave Congalton for an hour at 3 p.m. on http://www.920kvec.com/. Perhaps we’ll get lucky to hear the story when he married the Queen Mary and a tug boat. Or maybe the invasion of Catalina Island ... KNX's Chris Madsen picked Rocky Balboa as his Go-to movie for very personal reasons. "I pray that the quote I have selected provides a dose of encouragement and inspiration to any of my Broadcasting Brothers and Sisters who are suffering through a career setback. I have been there and my heart is with them." Chris was a senior in high school when the original Rocky came out and 45 years later with the release of Rocky Balboa, an exchange between Rocky and his son really spoke to him. "My dad had since passed away, and yet, I could hear his voice through this scene encouraging me, "Get up, Son. Get up!"

What Is Your Go-to Movie?
CHRIS MADSEN (Sports Anchor KNX 1070-Entercom): "The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. 
It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it'll beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. 
You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But, it ain't about how hard you hit...it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
How much can take and keep...moving... forward. That's how winnin' is done!"


Lee Abrams Podtificates About Radio

(January 22, 2020) An observation about the current state of music radio came from one of the grandfathers of AOR (Album Oriented Rock) radio and creator of many XM music channels back in the day. Lee Abrams was guesting on Bob Lefsetz’s podcast recently and thought many stations were stuck in the eighties. “It’s just insane and to me unlistenable.”

Lefsetz asked Abrams for his crystal ball and to forecast the future of radio. “It’s going to be a big pie split up between Satellite, streaming and whatever technology comes along. Unless they go through some radical transformation with their programming, they (radio) are going to be a pretty small part of the pie.”

Abrams said some of today’s format were created in the 1980s. “They still have ‘Two for Tuesday,’ ‘Block Party weekends.’ And ‘Rocktober.’ We created that fifty years ago.”

It is easy to be critical, but what would Abrams do to correct the sameness? He would stop calling the formats “Fresh,” “Breeze,” and “Big Variety.” They sound like detergents, said Abrams, facetiously adding there must be a FCC law that to be “New” you must have the most variety of the 70s, 80s and Now.

“Unless you’re making a lot of money, the best thing for the stations is to blow them up. It is 2020 and not 1981 anymore. I think a lot of them rely on research that is generally invalid. When was the last time you saw a radio bumper sticker on a car? There are some emerging stations that are taking a risk playing a wide range of music within their format getting great results. In the Album Rock world, it is getting back to what it was in the first place, which was going into a creative overdrive as far as what happens between the records.” Abrams thinks that many music stations are on autopilot.
“When a new record comes out, chances are it doesn’t get played or highlighted. Springsteen and Sting come out and even though it might not be as magical as the original one, stations should at least give it a spin and inform the listener but that doesn’t happen anymore.”

Music stations should be more involved with concert events. “I saw a concert recently and there was no station presence and nobody talked about it on the air a couple of weeks up front."

It was nice to hear Abrams who is not stuck in the eighties.

Hear Ache. Condolences to Will Kohlschreiber (KBIG, late 90s) on the passing of his father who served in the Korean conflict … From 2000-12, Mike Johnson was operations manager for Saul Levine’s Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters group of stations. After the last eight years running K-JAZZ, Mike’s once again ops manager for Mt. Wilson. “Now everything old is new again!” said Mike … In his 1989 annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders, Warren Buffett called attention to a valuable personal rule which he credits to much of his success. “After some other mistakes, I learned to go into business only with people whom I like, trust, and admire. We've never succeeded in making a good deal with a bad person." … Warm wishes for KNX’s Pete Demetriou on the passing of his 96-year old father, Dr. Jim Demetriou ... Wink Martindale will be interviewed live by the Central Coast's #1 Talk show host, Dave Congalton today. Listen to the Winker at:
http://www.920kvec.com/ at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.

What Is Your Go-to Movie?
Janice Jacobson (Culver City) : Sense and Sensibility (1995) -
script by Emma Thompson. Because it's funny, and hopeful, and it even improves on Jane Austen. 
That last shot of Alan Rickman throwing the silver coins into the air after the weddings sticks in my mind
as a quintessential moment of hope for the future. It's the way the world is supposed to work.


Sports Salaries

 
(January 21, 2020) A number of Los Angeles Radio People appear on list of famous sportscasters’ and how much they’re making. Is that a job for you? Sportscasters are an arguably crucial part to any good game. Providing expert commentary, or provocative post-game analysis, the world of sports just wouldn’t be the same without them. DirectExpose.com provides the list and salaries. We have only listed those who were heard or still are heard on Southern California radio.

Michael Wilbon – Estimated $6 Million

Michael has been part of ESPN for many years and was previously heard on KSPN. He is a sportswriter and columnist for The Washington Post, and has been a co-host on the ESPN show, Pardon the Interruption, with Tony Kornheiser, since 2001.

Terry Bradshaw – Estimated $1 Million

The former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who led his team to a Superbowl championship four times in a row has kept an impressive income as an NFL football analyst. While not the highest of all the sportscaster’s salaries on this list, Terry was hired at the price of a cool million a year. He was heard middays on KXTA (“XTRA Sports 1150 AM”) (1999-2000)
Colin Cowherd – Estimated $6 Million

Beginning his career as a sports anchor on KVBC/tv Las Vegas, Colin would go on to be one of the original hosts on ESPN’s SportsNation. He’s also now heard on KLAC.

Tony Kornheiser – Estimated $6 Million

With a sports column career stretching all the way back to 1970, Tony made a name for himself writing. Sports Illustrated once described Kornheiser as “the wittiest columnist” in American newspapers. Kornheiser’s talents have lately been utilized by The Washington Post, where he has been writing for 40 years. His radio show was heard briefly on 1540/KMPC.

Stephen A. Smith – Estimated $10 Million

Growing up in the Bronx, New York, former college basketball point guard, Stephen would grow up to be one of the highest earning sportscasters in the United States. He was heard until just recently on KSPN, and whose comments on ESPN/tv’s First Take will be featured on a new show starting this week on ESPN Radio.

Jim Rome – Estimated $30 Million

Romey is the host of the CBS Sports Radio show, The Jim Rome Show, broadcast over 200 radio stations throughout the United States and Canada, boasting a listenership of over 2.5 million people. He was heard on various L.A. area stations, including XTRA-San Diego and KLAC.

What is Your Go-to Movie?

JULIE T. BYERS: Blazing Saddles! The funniest movie ever! 
"Mongo only pawn in game of life," 'That's Hedley" and
"You'd do it for Randolph Scott" are only a few of the best lines! 
It's too bad  "Blazing Saddles-the Musical" will never be made!

FRED WALLIN: All-time favorite romance type is
When Harry Met Sally. Viewed it 100 times


iHeart Shuts Off LARadio.com

  (January 20, 2020) Literally.

As the iHeart blood bath, with mass firings across all markets began last week, we started hearing that local employees of iHeart were unable to access LARadio.com. Thinking it was a technical glitch at first, but the emails continued. “How come I can’t access LARadio.com?” 

Well, it was true. Someone put a block on our IP Address or DNS Record. The iHeart gateway refused to connect with LARadio. Could management have initiated this action to prevent employees from reading about what was happening? That hardly seemed possible since every radio newsletter in the business detailing the story as it unfolded. Plus the story was so huge The New York Times and Wall Street Journal were following it.

Had I written something so incendiary that iHeart was trying to control the flow of information? Aren’t governments like the Chinese prone to block websites that don’t adhere to their doctrines? But this is America. Free speech. Opinions flow freely. But I guess not.

iHeart employees were not able to access LARadio.com last week.

I contacted Kevin LeGrett, President, Los Angeles, iHeart West Division asking if a block had been put on the iHeart server. “Not by me…let me look into it …should not be the case,” responded Kevin.

A day-and-a-half later, with iHeart employees still denied access, I emailed Kevin again. “I responded and explained that is not the case in LA,” he said. And that was the last I heard from LeGrett or anyone at iHeart. No explanation of who did it and why.

The block has been removed, and it is understood that iHeart employees can access LARadio this morning.
Some of my colleagues thought I should be upset. Others thought it was a compliment – almost a David and Goliath scenario. I think of it as neither. Really, in some way it is just sad when an organization thinks of themselves being so big that they can do anything they want. As a business, they certainly have that right, but why?

During the last few days, while all the comments centered on those who have had their lives “dislocated” and upended by these firings, I once again thought about the mission of LARadio. For 25 years it has been about the radio people. Giving the people a voice for good news and bad. The site has also carried stories about hope.

After a previous iHeart (Clear Channel) mass firing eleven years ago we set up a section on the website for those who were displaced, providing an opportunity to list their phone numbers and email addresses for easy contact. We also embarked on a series of essays by LARP who made a major pivot in their lives. It was important for those aggrieved to know that these recent firings had nothing to do with them individually. Most importantly, when the radio job ended there was life after being behind the radio microphone. So many related fields. All we had to do was alter the course of our actions and discover a whole new world was waiting. The challenge was having the trust that it would all work out.

iHeart has laid out their game plan for the future, I was struck by the coldness of the plan. They liberally explained their new strategy taking advantage of artificial intelligence, which probably means high-tech automation. How quickly will midday and evening slots be converted to automation? Will late night news operations become recorded and repeated? Will stations be run from distant computerized hubs, eliminating the need for a physical human presence?

One wonders if compassion entered the equation while these decisions were being made. When brains are coupled with compassion from the heart, the result is maximizing the human experience. When we see someone acting kindly or being helpful, this in turn causes us to act more compassionately.

In contrast, an atmosphere shrouded in fear only causes paralysis.

What is Your Go-to Movie?
 
ERIC NORBERG (ex-710/KMPC): It is the movie that revived Walt Disney Animation in 2008 – BOLT. 
It’s the only animated movie ever “made on location” (can’t explain that within your word limit),
and has so much to say about “fake news” and propaganda that it has only become more relevant as time goes by. 
Funny, touching, beautifully animated and acted.  


Email Saturday, 1.18.2020

** Life After iHeart Firings

“Brutal. Just brutal. May those of us, whose axing is in the rear view mirror, be a small beacon to those still wounded. There is life, and good life, up ahead. Holding those on the sidewalks in good will, and prayers for new opportunities.” – Keri Tombazian

** Corporate Monster

“I’m sickened and sad regarding the aforementioned ‘bloodbath’ at iHeart / noHeart radio. When a corporate monster regards people as ‘product,’ then they cease to be someone worthy of our advertising / tourist / consumer dollars and attention.

In what universe do they think syndication/taped programs will replace the human element? 

Needless to say, my radio dial will be missing any of their stations. I’m sorry in particular for Ted Ziegenbusch, who has brightened many an afternoon drive time for me, as well as his savvy guesses / picks for the races at Santa Anita. My best wishes for him and his good wife, who is the only one who will gain from this inhumane action in having her husband around more.

The only saving grace from your post today is that ridiculous cartoon!” – Julie T. Byers    

** Kill the Beast?

"If they keep stabbing it with their steely knives, they will kill the beast! iHeart response." - Jim Carson

** Mismanagement at iHeart

“I feel for the 100’s who got the ax. Several years ago, when I got cut from the Dial Global / Westwood / Transtar Adult Standards format, about 20 other pros from up and down the hall lost their jobs, as well. Having gone through that experience, the only solace I can offer to the iHeart casualties is this is no reflection on your talent and abilities. Rather, this is a reflection of mismanagement and corporate insanity that has led us to where we are today – and that, radio as we knew it, is dead. Dammit.” – Bill A. Jones

** CEO’s Acting Like Darth Vadar

“With regard to Bob Pittman and iHeart’s firing of hundreds of local radio personalities, Lew Dickey showed the same behavior at Cumulus, firing legendary local personalities at top stations. This is what destroyed KABC.  

And to say that Greg Ashlock is ‘in charge’ of the LA and iHeart stations is we suppose, technically correct. But the execs, including Ashlock, are corporate minions to Pittman and they have two choices – follow Pittman’s dictates, or seek employment elsewhere. Not sure how anyone feels good about themselves just being a radio corporate lackey, but that’s another story.

The point is, corporate radio being led by ceo’s acting like Darth Vader, have napalmed local radio stations and their relevance. Imagine, radio’s worst enemy is their own ‘leadership,’ or much more accurately, the lack thereof. The crazy thing is iHeart is expediting the demise of radio! Sickening. Absurdly 12-minute long commercial cluster breaks, plus no local personalities / no local relevance is just driving more people away from radio. Sad.” – Bob McKay

** Tough week

"If you were fired, dislocated, or laid off, you need to ask yourself, what has Radio taught you and prepared you for where you can apply your skills in the future? It’s the only way to keep your head on straight!  

Weird that the day before the firings I’d just re-watched the George Clooney movie with him as a hired hatchet man in Up in the Air. Let’s rename it, ‘Down… and OFF The Air.’” – Don Elliot  

** LARP Voices

“Again Don – THANK YOU for giving us a voice. Reminding people [and ourselves] that we are talented, hard working professionals and not just a salary on an Excel spread sheet.” – Michael Castner

** Midas Touch?

“I don’t know Bean, but what a class act sticking up for Mr. Wallengren. Is there anything that the Mays Family and Bob Pittman touch that doesn’t hurt people or turn to shit? I gotta know.” – Mike Butts

** Running 200+ Stations

“The layoffs at iHeart and Cumulus are clear indications that running 200+ radio stations is an impossibility. Couple that with the hedge fund bozos who have stripped the stations they own of the connections to the communities they serve is criminal, and licenses should be stripped from them at real time. The days of postcard renewals should come to an end.” – David Cohen

** Radio Celebration

“I’m beginnin’ to think LARadio the website might just outlast LARadio the stations. Sad, sad, sad, sad.  Not much of life to celebrate these days.” – Rich Brother Robbin

** Firings

“I wonder what the broadcasting professors can tell their students after such purges? And, I wonder what the students are supposed to think? And, I wonder how / where the media companies are going to find and develop talent as people die, retire, move on, change careers, etc.? The experience, talent, and knowledge that is flushed down the toilet is foolish and a disgrace.” – Andrew Schermerhorn

** “The Passing Parade of Sylvia Chase

“I had the honor of having Sylvia Chase as a colleague at ABC News, KRON/tv, and a friend. Sylvia was a trailblazer for women in network news. The epitome of a tough, fair and courageous journalist. She was the ‘gold standard!’" - Bob Sirkin

** Imus in the Morning

“I’m finally catching up on my reading, I have a story about Don Imus. He flew in from New York to induct Robert W. Morgan into the NAB Radio Hall of Fame that was held at the Disneyland Hotel. He credited Robert W for teaching him how to become a personality. Imus would listen to Robert W when he was at KHJ, he’d then open his mic and copy Robert W.’s bits. They remained great friends till Robert’s death. I made the call to Don when Robert passed.” – Pat Duffy

** No Tengo Miedo

“My condolences to the family and friends of Elias Liberman. I met him in 1995 at the vending machine at the KRTH / Metro Networks building, where the Libermans had their office. We became good friends. I answered the phone for him and his brother and they really appreciated it. Elias was a kind and humble man and I will always remember him.” – Phil Harvey

** No LA Times

“Thank you for putting the update on T.J. Simers and his battle with the Los Angeles Times on LARadio. Shame on that judge for siding with TPTB and making him go through yet another court battle. What are they waiting for, T.J. to die or give up? Disgusting. Just another reason why I don’t subscribe to the LAT; all the good reporters are gone or on only a part time basis. Shameful.” – Julie T. Byers

** Radio Greats

"Great segment on Morning Joe as Scarborough and Mike Barnacle raved about how Quentin Tarantino captured the dj spirit in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood. Ten minutes later, they had covered WABC, WLS, CKLW and KHJ’s Robert W. Morgan. They honed in on the intimacy of a jock playing records as opposed to the impersonal nature today of Spotify etc. and automation. Very compelling take on radio then and now.” – Bob McCormick

** Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On

“Here is a story I did to a write-up on the 20th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake. Thought you might appreciate it.” – Steve Ray, Anchor/Reporter WBAL NewsRadio Baltimore

I was running the controls for the Charlie Tuna morning show at the original 710/KMPC and had come in early to edit some interviews I had done the previous night at Comic Relief for Charlie’s show. As many people may remember, KMPC was on Sunset Blvd. in the old Warner Bros. studios, fronting the same lot as KTLA-TV. KMPC and 101.9FM/K-LITE shared a common wall with the soundstage built in the late 1920’s specifically for the first talkie The Jazz Singer.  

Just after 4:30 AM, the satellite feed for SportsBylineUSA cut out and the walls of the old studios shook like wet cardboard. Suddenly, the production room I was in went dark, sound tiles and a few of the florescent lighting fixtures hung down, and the only lighting to get through the darkness was from the control boards and a few emergency lights. I made my way to the main studio where the overnight board operator was and realized we may still be on-the-air. The AP wire service screen and a few other devices were still on, so I dragged a microphone around, flipped the studio monitor from ‘Program Feed’ (pre-delay) to ‘Air Feed’ (which was hooked up to an actual radio) and turned on the microphone. I snapped my fingers twice, turned off the mic so I could hear the monitor and when I heard the sound of my fingers snapping on-the-air, I knew we had to go live.

With the help of the overnight board operator manning the telephones, Nancy Plum all the way downtown in the Shadow Traffic center in a highrise, sports reporter Scott St. James, and the AP wire service we got the word out with as much detail as we could. Within about 20 minutes, Charlie Tuna got through on the phone from his home in Tarzana. He gave us a brief update on conditions in the SF Valley and then made his way to KMPC in the next 30 minutes. Operations Manager John Felz was there, along with the legendary former KHJ newsman Marv Howard and Station Manager Bill Ward, all within 15 minutes. We raised the station’s power to 50,000 watts under the emergency FCC provisions, effectively blasting a signal up and down the California coast, started to simulcast on K-LITE, and continued to not only update the public, but give them an outlet to tell us what was happening in their area.

Afternoon host ‘Big’ Joe McDonnell, who lived in the valley, got through on the phone and reported just as the gas line exploded in Granada Hills. Although we didn’t know it at the time, KMPC was one of the few radio stations that remained on the air, which surprised many people because our transmitter was right in the middle of the San Fernando Valley on Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. On a personal note, after staying on the air and at the controls for Charlie, Marv, Scott and the rest of the team for another 10 hours I got home to my own house in Van Nuys to find that there was extensive damage to the structure, enough so that days later FEMA inspectors ‘Orange’ tagged half the building.

One of the oddities of that morning was well before widespread cellphone use, I had gotten a mobile phone to use for news gathering. From Hollywood I could not connect a call to Van Nuys on a landline, but by using the mobile phone I could call my relatives in San Francisco, give them details of what was going on, and then have them call my home to give them updates that everything was fine at work. It was a remarkable experience as we flew by the seat of our pants, having flipped KMPC to SportsRadio 710 less than a year earlier, going into an all-News mode for the better part of three days, and helping Southern Californians connect with each other and the rest of the world well before social media.


** Successful Formula for Radio

“Sales, in my opinion is only part of the problem. A reasonable revenue budget, a reasonable expense budget and decent marketing will win out. When one of these falls short, it would seem the product suffers. I’m sure when KHJ went on the air in ’65 RKO was prepared to take a revenue hit. No one’s tried to update ‘Boss Radio’ and yet the original model could be tailored to the 21st Century.  Think not?

Look at another entertainment organization that continues to succeed in 2019 and beyond. Disney. Still expanding theme parks, still making blockbuster movies and has its new subscription-based app,  which has already proven to be monstrous.  For that company, the apparent definition of success is making the guests happy. It’s not easy to do that. For every Disneyland park, there are hundreds of wanna be theme parks around the country that can't come close to the Disney experience.

Bill Drake didn’t create KYNO or KHJ or KFRC in a board room. He couldn’t have. He didn’t spend hundreds of thousands on research either. He studied what radio was missing and fixed it. Granted, there’s more competition than ever before, but the beauty of radio is still the same. You turn it on, and there it is. No fumbling with apps or web addresses or subscription fees. We still do most of the work. Yes those 7 or 8 minute commercial sets are unbearable. But if radio spent a little more time making those commercials relatable [the Stan Freberg of the 21st Century can step forward], spent more time making the listening experience more fun there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a tall order. It’s a very ‘individual’ world these days too, but who’s trying to find the common denominator these days? I still think it’s out there. Somewhere.” – Dave Mason
LA Times ad from late 1969 ... from David Grudt's personal collection


35-Year KOST Veteran Ends iHeart Career

 
(January 17, 2020) Just when you thought the blood-letting was over at iHeart Media, it just keeps on keeping on. Thirty-five-year KOST personality Mark Wallengren ended an incredible run, highlighted by a Star on Hollywood Boulevard with former co-host Kim Amidon. Since Mark was unable to say goodbye to his KOST audience (rarely offered these days), he recorded a farewell that appeared on Facebook. Click his photo to watch.  

For decades competing up the dial at KROQ, Bean of Kevin & Bean was incensed when he saw Wallengren as part of the blood bath. Bean tweeted: "Forgive my language but this is utter bullshit. @MarkWallengren is on the Mount Rushmore of @KOST1035fm and deserves a lot better."

As you see talented radio people dumped wholesale on an already shrinking marketplace, you wonder how iHeart will keep its stations alive, vibrant and compelling. One of those who were released said that they were told by their manager the goal of the company for music stations was to have just one live shift per station. iHeart uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to describe how they move into the new radio landscape. Isn't that just another word for automation?
In the midst of a terrible week, an upbeat note came from Rob Frazier: “That radio bloodbath sure is painful thing to watch unfold. Sucks,” emailed Rob. He lives, works, thrives in the world of commercial production.

The award-winning production whiz was partly responsible for the edgy, creative sound of FM Talk at KLSX. He was also at KLOS before taking the world less traveled. In 2018, Rob left Southern California and headed to State College, Pennsylvania to be the Creative Director for Seven Mountains Media, a growing, locally owned group of radio stations.

“State College is a non-rated market so creative, results, relationships and community involvement are what matter. I was looking for a change, and change found me,” said Rob. It has been two years this March when he pulled up stakes and moved to State College. Seven Mountains Media has a footprint that covers most of Pennsylvania that isn't Philly or Pittsburgh. “The market is very similar to SLO in that it is a college town (Penn State) surrounded by rural farmland, mountains, sparkling trout streams. It’s nice. It’s small market radio and I’m having a ball again!”

While the world of radio was hemorrhaging jobs because of iHeart, the owner/ceo of Seven Mountains Media, Kristin Cantrell, sent out an email that he wanted to share with us. The names have been changed to protect the infamous:

“Good morning all~ As we continue to grow, I have people often say to me:
‘Are you planning to be the next Media Giant?’ and I firmly say ‘Absolutely not’
Yesterday’s reports in the trades about a company who eliminated 1,000 jobs is a great, yet tragic, example of how we have no intention of emulating the largest media companies.  Tough for the industry. 
Horrible for local radio.
So this is our time to shine. Be proud of your impact on local radio and the communities we serve.  Our local content is the cornerstone of our success, and that all begins with you.

Every single one of you on the 7MM team. Air Personalities. Marketing Consultants. Traffic Directors. Digital Specialists. Sports Announcers. Each and every one of you are here for a reason and we value your input and contributions to all our platforms. 

Thank you.

So if the story in the trades put a chill down your spine, I’m here to tell you not to worry.  We have a lot of growing to do, but we don't intend to be a national giant media company when we grow up.

Focus on the content.  Focus on the listeners and the clients and communities we serve.  Focusing on what is important will result in a big win for us all.

Forward, March!”

Rob reiterated that there is life after corporate radio. “I’m sure there are other companies similar to ours that would love to have, and appreciate, the caliber of talent that has been discarded by the corporate behemoth in question.”

"I should also mention that former LARP, Nancy Plum, works at our cluster in Frankfort, KY. And our coo, Jim Loftus, was a vp for CBS in Philly, as well as a past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters (he still sits on the board). Also, our ceo, Kristin Cantrell, is being inducted into the PAB Hall of Fame this March. Great little company filling up with folks weary of corporate radio. I am grateful to be here," concluded Frazier.

Life LessonElizabeth McDonnell, wife of the late Joe McDonnell worked for 100.3/The Sound until July of 2015. Back then, she felt incredibly lucky to get another job within two months.

“In September of 2018 I was informed that my job would be downsized in the following year end of March 2019. I immediately jumped on the job search websites, signed up with every organization I could, reached out to all in my network and exhausted former contacts,” emailed Elizabeth.

“It took filling out 275 applications, 16 months and a hell of a lot of emotional eating, BUT I landed a new gig! It’s humbling to have to look for a new job, it is mind altering, and a battle of self-doubt, with a sprinkle of hope and expectation. I’m so happy this journey has the ending it does!”

Even though her job is outside of radio, she’s looking forward to joining a medical company (Radiology Partners). “I’m being paid what I'm worth with nice people, challenging opportunities, and close to my new home.”

What is Your Go-to Movie?

KAREN LINDELL (Beverly Hills):
My go-to film, which I’ve watched more than 150 times,
is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The entire Harry Potter series literally saved my life when
 I needed something to believe in. The first film started it all for me,
filled with courage, friendship, love, goodness, whimsy, wonder, tears,
perseverance, triumph — and hope. Harry is my hero (Hermione, too).
MIKE BUTTS (ex-KIQQ): I love Close Encounters of the Third Kind
-- probably because I know "we can't be alone " in the Universe.
And I do want to believe that someday we will be able to communicate
with life from other planets.


iHeart Bloodbath Continues
(January 16, 2020) The name of this website is Los Angeles Radio People. Not the corporations that run radio. The intent for a quarter of a century has been to keep the people in the spotlight and in its heart.  

The recent iHeart firings came swift and mostly without warning. The worst kind. Holidays were over and radio people and their families were getting back to some kind of normalcy when wham! You didn’t make the cut.

One radio newsletter missed deadline Wednesday because they got so behind tracking all those who had been fired.
“Wednesday afternoon, they got me again,” emailed Ted Ziegenbusch. “Today, I became part of the current iHeartMedia dislocation project. My two weekend shows, my multiple sick leave and vacation duties and my special assignment as the only fill-in host for the nightly Love Songs segment are all being replaced now by technology.” 

Ted continued: “Fifty-one consecutive years is a long time to be receiving a weekly paycheck as a radio host. I have been blessed beyond belief. As I had hoped for, I’m leaving the company on good terms. The sad news came via a phone call with Andrew Jeffries and John Peake. They were empathetic and cordial. They were also kind enough to verbally recognize the value of my employment at KOST going back to 1982. I was the last guy standing from the original on-air staff hired, when the station made their format change to Adult Contemporary under Cox Communications. I’ve lost track of how many owners, program directors and general managers I’ve worked for over the decades at KOST. But it’s been an absolute pleasure.

“Unbeknownst to the managers who called today, my wife and I were at the oncologist’s office at City of Hope when we received the downsizing news. On the brighter side, I will now have the time to accompany my wife through her breast cancer treatments. She was recently diagnosed, but the prognosis is very good.

“Thanks for your never-ending support, encouragement and for lending me an ear when I needed some solid advice. Radio folks have been nagging lately me to tell my career story via a biographical book. Now, I guess there’s going to be time for that, too,” concluded Ted.

Allaccess is reporting additional iHeart terminations: DJ Drew from KIIS, Julianne Miller from KYSR and in the Inland Empire, Chris "QuiWest" Quiles and Nick Nack.

We have learned that Melissa Sharpe (formerly mornings at Star 98.7) was let go from her job in Arizona. Also part of the firings was Jarred Diglio formerly wih KSPN.

Chris Little, news director at KFI, confirmed that Andrew Mollenbeck is gone. "He had an idea what was up, when I called him in," emailed Little. "So he made sure he wore a tie and he filled up the news truck. That is a class act. Andrew is a smart, talented and classy guy. He brings positivity to every situation. He will be sorely missed."

Ken Minyard, longtime iconic KABC morning man, wrote on Facebook: “Being fired is never any fun but being fired because of your own company’s mismanagement makes it that much worse. On the bright side, you’re escaping from a dying industry. Hopefully these people can find new careers in more promising fields.”

Charlie Cook, Cumulus vp/Country formats operations manager and operations manager of the Cumulus Nashville cluster, recognized this as a very difficult week for many in radio. He is offering shoulder a shoulder to listen. “If a radio person loses a job - what they’ve loved for their career - we’re all less for it.” He provided his cell phone number: 818.378.5979. “I owe so much to everyone in this business,” he said.

Hear Ache. Another Rock Hall of Fame and another year of controversy. Bob Lefsetz took a shot: “Come on, the only thing Whitney Houston has in common with Rock is she O.D.’ed!” … Bill Earl is upset that the iconic phrase “Hey, Culligan Man” has dropped Man. “PC gone crazy!” … Frosty Stilwell of KLOS’ Frosty, Heidi and Frank said he had the worst Christmas ever. “I regret to say this is not a joke. In Florida, family devil dog lunged and attacked me Christmas Eve, chewed on my face. I left early on Christmas day to fly back home for stitches.”

What is your Go-to Movie?
PHIL HARVEY (former KMPC/fm): A Hard Day’s Night is perfect. The movie really captures the good times of the early Beatles. The soundtrack is fab and I can start the movie and just let it play in the background. It’s the ultimate feel good movie and has held up well.

MARK RAMSEY (Mark Ramsey Media):
For me, Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.
 It still holds up today and is easily the best of the Abbott and Costello cinematic fare.
Plus, who wouldn’t be sympathetic for old Bela Lugosi
to don that Dracula cape for only the second and final time!



iHeart Goes Through Another Restructuring with Massive Lay-offs

 
(January 15, 2020) Helluva day for radio yesterday. There were massive lay-offs throughout iHeart Media. One radio newsletter, Inside Music Radio, claims there will be over 1,000 firings before it is over. “This is the worst reduction in force at one time ever … if radio had a Richter Scale, what iHeart is about to set into motion is a 10.”

While news of the layoffs started circulating, iHeart sent out a press release about the company’s new markets group structure. The company says that the changes are being enacted as it modernizes “to take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace.” Greg Ashlock will continue to serve as president of the iHeartMedia Markets.  Kevin LeGrett will head the Los Angeles division. 

Make no mistake that the timing of the upbeat press release was meant to off-set the ensuing blood bath. “There will be some employee dislocation -- some by geography and some by function -- which is the unfortunate price we pay to modernize the company,” said iHeart ceo Robert Pittman. “We have had to make some tough decisions, and in the process some employees have been affected. Please know we were thoughtful in this process and have provided enhanced severance benefits as well as outplacement assistance for any impacted employees, and we want to thank them for the valuable contributions they have made."

Skip Kelly, with KYSR in the early and mid-aughts, was pd at the JACK/fm station in Jacksonville. He was one of many who lost his job yesterday.
This is history repeating itself. In late 2007, iHeart (then Clear Channel) experienced immense lay-off, locally affecting KFI’s Mike Nolan, their airborne traffic reporter for twenty years, among many others.

At the time on the CC website: “We believe Clear Channel's people are our most important asset. Our teams make the critical difference in how we perform and their skills, talents and determination separate us from our competitors. We also believe people can achieve their full potential when they enjoy their work, so it is a priority to provide a workplace where growth, success and fun go hand in hand.”

As the different social media sites started posting contact information for those who lost their jobs, one snark posted: “iHeart? You mean noHeart!”


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 Demetriou). 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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