LARadio

Archives: September/October 2020

Compiled and Written by Don Barrett
Edited by Alan Oda


Longtime CBS/Entercom Personality Dies

 

(September 14, 2020) Former KNX/fm, KODJ, and Arrow 93 personality Robin Banks has died. We received word over the weekend from Tom Patterson supervising engineer at CBS/TV.  Robin spent from 1989-97 at CBS/fm stations, which included KNX/fm, KODJ, and Arrow 93. His pd at Arrow, Tommy Edwards, heard that he had been battling cancer. He was in his early 70s.

His hiring goes down as a classic tale about local radio. When KNX/fm general manager Charlie Seraphin first moved to LA, he was staying in temporary housing and had daily breakfast at the Beechwood Cafe up in the hills.

“Robin was a regular,” Charlie remembered. “I noticed that wherever he sat, all of the waitresses would individually go to his table and say good morning. One day after Deirdre O’Donoghue resigned on the air [and announced that she was going to KLSX] I was sitting at the counter and Robin sat next to me. We started chatting. I noticed his British accent and asked if he knew anything about the Beatles. He lit up and told me that he was the first of his friends to buy Beatles’ boots and went on and on about the group. I asked if he knew anything about music and he said he was the road manager for Cat Stevens’ first American tour.”

At the time, Robin ran an indoor gardening business, servicing house plants in LA offices. “I asked if he wanted to host the show the next Sunday and he thought I was joking,” Charlie continued. “I gave him my card and told him to call if he was interested. We met again at the station later that week and on Sunday he was introduced to LA Radio as Robin Banks, host of the program! After I left LA for Dallas, Robin continued to do the show for some time. He was an interesting chap for sure, and always grateful for his ‘Hollywood’ story. RIP.” (Thanks to Ralph Stewart for photo of Robin Banks)

Jeff Serr 
was a colleague. “Oh No! Robin, a onetime roadie for the group Fairport Convention, was born in the UK. He moved to the US in the 80’s. He spent 17-years career with the station all through the various format changes.”

(There is also a female Robin Banks, who has done traffic reports for many years and should not be confused with the male British announcer that hosted the Beatles show on the weekend.)

Patterson worked with Robin throughout the 80s. “He was a pleasure to work with and I will miss his very twisted sense of humor. RIP Robin.”


"His real name was Robin Gee, he was with the station as far back as I could remember - doing a Beatles show with KODJ and then continuing on with KCBS/fm," wrote Clark Macy. "He continued on with Arrow 93 doing overnights on the weekends and fill-ins. He was the go-to guy for overnights on holidays as well. Always willing to do the shifts others may stay away from. After the switch to JACK/fm, he asked to stay on as a board-op and I was happy because of his work ethic and reliability. I've been reading some of the other posts about him and they were all true. He would love to talk politics, especially about issues across the pond, was GREAT to other people on staff making sure coffee was ready for those coming in early and would beat himself when he made a mistake - no matter how little. I hear that he got ill and management (Chris and/or Ralph) made sure he got the required hours so he could get the benefits he needed. That's the kind of person Robin was. REALLY sorry to hear the news."

Ralph Stewart, program director at JACK/fm and KTWV, alerted his staff about Banks with an internal memo. "It is with profound sadness that I deliver news of the passing of Robin Banks. Robin had been with JACK/fm since day one, and no one held more passion for our quirky radio station than him. He showed up an hour before every shift, he cheered our every little victory, he cranked the speakers and threw his body into every segue, he beat himself up over the slightest of his human errors, he cared deeply about every detail and every one of us, he told pointless stories that usually began somewhere midstream, but dammit I’ll miss those the most. Before JACK/fm, Robin Banks transitioned from on-air at Arrow 93.1 where he hosted a Beatles show.  He was an artist manager, a tour manager and a music business dealmaker.  Back in the UK he was in the center of the flashpoint of music’s British Invasion, rubbing elbows with rock royalty in the less glamorous cinderblock confines of backstage. He loved football – both kinds. He could tell you every nuance and statistic there is to know about Formula 1 car racing, yet chose not to drive in LA.  He had an encyclopedic knowledge of birds. Robin was nothing if not impassioned, complex and one of a kind. RIP mate."

Hear AcheChris Booker, formerly with AMP Radio, rejoined @alt923radio-NewYork. “My emotions are all over the road as the date on the calendar will never be lost on me,” Booker wrote on Facebook. “I celebrate the city and couldn’t be more proud to be coming home!” … Dave Gyurina recently had an angiogram and he got good news. No further surgery or stents. He’s exercising and changing his diet … Lee Abrams’ most recent essay on terrestrial radio in Variety declares: “Nobody’s bringing their A-game.” … Larry Huffman has had three foot surgeries over the last 6 months. “I’m using a wheelchair, walker and cane,” emailed “Supermouth.” “Nerves gradually coming back to life. Hope to be somewhat back to normal by Christmas. KC has been a blessing in taking care of me.”

 

Kagan Passes. Former media therapist Marilyn Kagan has died, according to former KFI Talker Casey Bartholomew. It is thought she was 68 years old.

Beginning in August 1991, Marilyn hosted an evening therapy show on KFI. The Licensed Clinical Social Worker went on to host a local tv program on KCAL/Channel 9. Marilyn left KFI in late 1995 to devote more time to her tv show, which she hoped to take into national syndication.  

She joined KMPC in the late spring of 1996 and left a year later. She was bumped to make way for the syndicated psychologist Dr. Toni Grant. Marilyn told Gary Lycan of the OC Register: “They were deceitful, noncreative and rude to talent. I was promised they would make my presence known, and it never happened.”

“You don’t meet many truly kind, wonderful people in this business, but, Marilyn was one of them,” wrote Casey. “Warm, loving, never took herself too seriously and always had a kind word for you. I ran the board on her very first show on KFI. We remained close friends for years. I would housesit for her, from time to time, and she even sang at my wedding. A really wonderful person. Sadly, we lost her just a couple of days ago to cancer. Apparently, the diagnosis was several weeks ago and it moved very quickly. I am honored to have called her my friend.”

 

Email Monday

** NOW versus Not NOW

“Your comments in today’s column ‘NOW versus NOT NOW’ were brilliant. I’m embarrassed to say I wasn’t aware of your writing talent. I guess I never took the time needed to evaluate your ability to express yourself so eloquently. Thanks for reawaking my senses.” – Larry McKay

** End of Nicholaw’s Tenure

“I started at Columbia Square in 1970 and delivered mail to George Nicholaw. He was always great to me. I got a call from the president of CBS radio at the time that I was being taken out of KEARTH 101 and being put in charge of KNX and KFWB. This was five minutes before a total company conference call. I had no idea that was coming.

I had no input, I guess it was based on my experience at KABC and with the Dodgers. I asked him ‘what about George?’ He’s not going to take this well.

The guy in charge said ‘we’ll work it out.’ I told him at the time that I was uncomfortable about this, but it came down to ‘do your job.’ The person in charge of CBS radio should have come out here in respect for George Nicholaw. But, then again. I got fired over the phone.” – Pat Duffy

** Buttram at KNX


“Saw the pic of Pat Buttram last week. I did a movie with him years ago entitled Man In a Steel Cage—the Mickey Thompson Story where he was my partner, which sorta didn’t make sense. Anyway, we were on location on the Mojave Desert and he would crack up the whole crew every day when he arrived with one of his many one-liners.

One I liked particularly was: ‘my girlfriend just gave me a year’s supply of condoms—one!’” – Larry Huffman


NOW Versus Not NOW

(September 11, 2020) What does your clock look like in this pandemic? I have this chilling understanding that time moves in only one direction. This morning when it was supposed to be light, it was dark. The fog had arrived in Avila Beach in such a chilling blanket of orange coloring, I was wondering if I had been transported to the depths of a London fog with Alfred Hitchcock bellowing ‘Action.’

It was no movie. Just another day of making NOW work. I attempt to live in the NOW and not the NOT KNOW (future and past). Time is the property of the mind and am I doing my best to control the inevitable ticking of the clock. Or is that my heart?

Even though I resist turning on the tv until after dinner, I have found myself sucked into nostalgia, especially music of my time. TCM recently ran The T.A.M.I. Show, an experimental rock ’n roll show performed at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium over two days in 1964. The production, sadly bland and lacking any creativity, but featured an amazing array of talent including: Chuck Berry, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Miracles with Smokey Robinson, Leslie Gore, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, Wrecking Crew and the Supremes. Jan & Dean were the hosts. The final product was scheduled to be shown only in theatres.

My buddy from Samohi joined me in the audience. We were there. As I was watching (and looking for myself in the audience) I wondered why I wanted to watch. It took me too far away from NOW. And then I searched for Hitsville: the Making of Motown. I truly was sinking in a quagmire of syrupy nostalgia. I never liked to admit that while I was a general manager for four years in Detroit, I never visited the Hitsville building. It was not a museum then.

I liked that when we were building WDRQ on 8-Mile Drive near the Lodge Freeway, Smokey Robinson would walk from his nearby home to join us for coffee. Looking back, I guess I appreciated the NOW of Smokey’s visits than watching this documentary. Motown was a sliver of time best experienced in the NOW of then, despite the fact that Stop in the Name of Love was the first record I ever played as a dj starting out in Lompoc on KNEZ in March of 1965.

Where did our love go?

Hear Ache. Former KKGO Country personality Ginny Harman is out at K-FROG in the Inland Empire. “The dreaded COVID has caused budget cuts everywhere, and we are no different,” Ginny wrote on Facebook … Happy third year anniversary to Barbara Brooks and Dave Holder … Tough to find humor that is not political and so for many us, puns provide a welcome relief. The references to cows yesterday prompted one from Chris Bury in Pasadena: “Cow could be lactose intolerant.” … Sixteen years ago today, Ken Minyard announced that he was retiring from radio. "When I came here I was 30 years old, I’m now 65 years old. It is getting harder and harder to do this. During most of that time I’ve been getting up – not early in the morning, but in the middle of the night.” Ken moved to Channel Island Harbor in Oxnard, bought a boat, and was set to enjoy the rest of his life. When a caller asked Ken who was going to replace him, he said he didn’t know but for sure it wouldn’t be Dave & Amy or John & Ken … NBC4 / KNBC is celebrating legendary sports anchor Fred Roggin on his 40th year with the station. His anniversary coincides with the new season premiere of his popular live post-game football show, The Challenge, on Sunday following Sunday Night Football … 1% of artists account for 90% of streams, according to Bob Lefsetz …  Terry Anzur is celebrating 37 years of wedded bliss ... Jim Hilliker spent an hour with Dave Congalton on KVEC talking about the history of KNX on its anniversary and much more. Very informative and fun retro.

KFI News. Say hello to Claudette Stefanian. She will be working Saturdays at KFI from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. plus fill-ins. “She’s excited to rejoin her KFI family and be working in her home market of Los Angeles,” according to news director Chris Little. “She left to do some tv and wound up in San Diego. Then COVID hit and she lost her job.”

In 2015, Stephanie wrote, researched, and presented news stories for video at iHeart Radio. She reported live on Facebook and created video news packages that aired on KFI, as well as lived on iHeartRadio’s local and national digital platforms. She built iHeartRadio’s video content and voice in digital space for news.

Stephanie studied at University of California, Berkeley and University of Southern California.

 
Email Friday

** KNX at 100


“Thank you so much for posting my email about the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan!

Here's something I’ve written about being part of KNX on its 100th birthday:

‘I am so proud to be a part of this historic station. As a worshiper of Edward R. Murrow, I was incredibly pleased to be asked to join the team in 2015 under the iconic CBS logo, with which Murrow is entwined. Now, as part of Entercom, a great radio company, the commitment to excellence continues with a diverse staff of dedicated individuals – the writers, the reporters, the producers, the anchors, the engineers, the managers – all with vastly disparate, often unique, personalities but all dedicated to the vital work of informing our listeners as honestly, forthrightly, and fairly as possible, befitting broadcasting warriors of the first amendment.’

The people of KNX are also union members, yet another aspect that makes my chest swell with pride.' UPDATE: You can now hear all segments of our KNX history specials
here. ” – Rob Archer

** KNX Making News

"I loved seeing you with your grandson. So cute!  

KNX is doing such a great job of highlighting the beginnings of KNX as all news. Thursday's segments with the assasination of Robert Kennedy as reported by their reporters are so moving and I love the airchecks that bookended the beginning and ending of the feature. 

I do miss the 'CBS Mystery Hour' though. I grew up listening of tapes of old radio shows and it was fun hearing the beginning of The Whistler." - Julie T. Byers

** Entercom Firings

“Time to sit down tonight with a cocktail and re-watch George Clooney’s Up in the Air movie where he flew into all of their markets and fired people. It takes a shovel to dig through this 
David Field memo, but the upshot is, the predictions of the mass firings have once again come through.” – Don Elliot 

** Indie Owned?

“Saw your short piece yesterday about independent radio stations in LA and wondered if the Persian station KIRN is independent?” – Daniel O’Donnell

** K-EARTH’s Greatest Hits

“Great story on Hollywood Hamilton over the weekend.

Also, thanks for my letter a couple of days ago regarding K-Earth 101's continuing #1 status.

If you can find room to pay tribute to the other staffers we had on hand for that first (of many) #1 books it would be greatly appreciated. Here’s the way the lineup went in September of 2014: Gary Bryan (mornings) with Lisa StanleyJim Carson (middays), Shotgun Tom Kelly (afternoons), Christina Kelley (nights), Me (overnights)

Weekends: Charlie TunaDave Randall (at K-Earth for almost 22 years), Christian Wheel, Bruce Chandler, Dave (Sky Walker) Schuyler, Sylvia AimeritoChaz Kelley, and Brian Roberts. All great people, all deserve my appreciation for their contributions to the success of K-Earth 101.” – Dave Mason

** Loss of Innocence

“Just thought I’d share an email I just sent to Bill O’Reilly that I hope he reads on his show. Dear Bill, I appreciate you looking back on The Twist, with Chubby Checker taking that song all the way to Number One in 1960. I do however take exception with your saying that this marked the end of innocence in America.  

As for determining the end of innocence, your approach and mine are different. As one who loves and studies popular music, I have spent countless hours listening to a radio special on all the Number One songs since the beginning of the Rock and Roll era, played chronologically. Popular music usually reflects the mood of the country. America still had her innocence long after The Twist, as songs that were at the top of the charts still tended to be happy songs, even after the assassination of JFK. 

Respectfully Bill, I place the end of America's innocence – musically speaking – at September of 1965.  The Vietnam War wasn't really in full form at this point, and I’ve Got You Babe from Sonny & Cher and A Lover's Concerto by The Toys were Number One. Then came Barry McGuire and Eve of Destruction with lyrics so searing, you can hear our collective innocence sadly being eroded.” – Vince Daniels, Murrieta

** Grandson Admired

"I don’t know which is cuter, baby grandson or the old grandfather playing on the floor together!!  Thanks for sharing." - Margie Cherry, LaMirada



Happy Anniversary to KNX!




Update on the Life of Bryan


(September 10, 2020) Written by Alan Oda. Back in August, 2009 LARadio.com featured a profile entitled “The Life of Bryan,” profiling Bryan Simmons, a very familiar voice on the local radio dial. Though he spent time at KBIG and five years at 94.7 / The WAVE (KTWV), Simmons is probably best known as the afternoon driver at KOST for almost three decades.

Born in Castro Valley, Simmons got his start in Sacramento as a Top 40 jock who then pursued an opportunity at KFI. Instead, he was part of the charter talent line-up when pd Jhani Kaye flipped KOST from Beautiful Music to Adult Contemporary in 1982. Recalling his move from the State Capitol to SoCal, he said “It was blind faith. I hadn’t yet signed anything. I was single. I had just moved back to my parents’ house for a little while. I was in the process of looking for a new apartment. Ironically, everything was packed up pretty much and ready to go. It was a half year before I got a moving truck and hauled everything down. I stayed at first on my sister’s couch in Artesia, with her family. They were kind enough to let me borrow the couch for a few months.”

One of the station’s distinguished voices, listeners easily knew they were tuned to 103.5 when Simmons said they were enjoying tunes being presented “along the KOST.” Don Barrett wrote that “R&R had named (Simmons) consistently to their national list of Top 25 P.M. Drive Time Dominators.”

Until recently, Simmons was also heard throughout the U.S. via Westwood One. He left Los Angeles in 2016, eventually becoming the pd and afternoon talent at Magic 99.5 (KMGA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Last June, Simmons moved to Northeastern Nevada to do mornings on Mix 96.7 (KHIX) and afternoons on Big Country 103.9 (KBGZ), both stations owned by Ruby Radio Corporation. He also serves as the cluster’s production director.

“I loved New Mexico, but as we all know, in radio things can change. I will always cherish my time at Magic 99.5,” said Simmons. “In my tenure there we took the station from a Gold Based AC to Mainstream and I was able to beat the Hot AC that I was tasked with taking on.” It wasn’t long after he left the Albuquerque Cumulus property when Simmons was offered another opportunity. 

“I was almost immediately contacted by Ken Sutherland, owner and Market Manager of the six station Ruby Radio Cluster here in Elko. While my oldest son Bryan moved with me, I unfortunately had to leave my youngest son Brandon in New Mexico with my grand babies, but I'll be visiting this year,” said Simmons. This week Simmons is helping launch a new format with a familiar L.A. voice. “We moved our talk station up the dial to one of our other stations and today debuted the All New 94.5 KOOL FM. It's a classic hits format and I think it sounds pretty good.” The morning shift will be covered by Paul Christy, better known to SoCal listeners as Eric Chase, a veteran of KFI and K-100 (KIQQ).  “Besides doing mornings on our Hot AC, Mix 96.7 I'm doing the afternoon shift on KOOL and it really is cool!” said Simmons. Bryan Simmons is more than a survivor. He still mourns loss of his beloved wife Minda and won’t forget his extended recovery from a health crisis that nearly killed him in 2000. He’s had to make several moves over the past few years. But for this Life of Bryan, the “on the air” sign stays illuminated.

Hear Ache. Listened to KNX in the 8 a.m. hour yesterday. There was a wonderful piece with plenty of old airchecks (including morning man Bob Crane) as part of the stations salute to its 100th anniversary … Historian Jim Hilliker will guest with Dave Congalton in the 3 o’clock hour today on 920KVEC.com to talk about the 100-year anniversary of KNX ... Frank Murphy, former producer for Kevin & Bean, has exited WNOK-Knoxville ... So, if a cow doesn't produce milk, is it a milk dud or an udder failure?

                                                                                                                                                             Email Thursday  

** Union Dues

“I first joined AFTRA in 1968 out of The Boston Local. Maintained my membership until I left KNX.

I never felt AFTRA cared for represented broadcasters well. We got treated as second class citizens. I've always said: If you were a juggler or high wire walker from Bulgaria, on The Ed Sullivan Show, you were in AFTRA's best interests.” – Bob Sirkin

** Union Explanation  

“Great pic of you with your Grandbaby, Don!

Also, great explanation of the SAG Health Fund thing by Archer. A lot of people are blaming the union, when they are somewhat blameless in this. And a correct summation that this is a systemic problem, and to urge our leaders to move toward universal health coverage that is not connected to one’s work.   Stay safe, my friend!” – Bill A. Jones

** Anniversary

“Recently, while reading LARadio.com, I was trying to recall how long I’d been visiting your site. I seemed to remember I began sometime in the late ’90s. But I didn’t know when you started it.

By coincidence, you answered that question a few days later in your ‘Nostalgia Weekend – 21 Years Ago’ column with the line ‘As LA Radio prepares for its second anniversary on September 9...’  So, Happy 23rd Anniversary!

This seems like a good time to thank you again for your dedication to this business we love, your insight and commentary, and all you do for the radio community. LARadio.com is still one of the first stops as I make my cyber rounds every day.

While I’m at it, I want to mention that I, too, was moved by Ally Avey’s touching tribute to her father. Thanks, Don. Stay safe and be well.” – Dick McGarvin

** More Music ’Til Dawn

“I enjoyed Mr. Mintz’ story about George Walsh and Music ’Til Dawn. Though I didn’t know George I contacted him, trying to recruit him when I was program director at KFAC. He wisely decided to stay with KNX and news. Music ’Til Dawn was sponsored by American Airlines on all the CBS o&o stations, all, except one, 50,000 powerhouse signals blanketing the nation. Each was produced locally.

I remember when I was in college having an important essay due the next day, writing it the night before listening to MTD all night. The New York host was Bob Hall who had been the Green Hornet at age 17 before heading east. By the way, I got a B+ on that essay.” – Bernie Alan





Changes at SAG-AFTRA Cause Concern

(September 9, 2020) The pandemic has played havoc at SAG-AFTRA, leading to a number of local members have complaining about the changes. There are reports that some coverage will be canceled or severly compromised at the end of the year.

 KNX’s Rob Archer serves on the local board of the union and is the representative of the LA broadcasters. When asked for some understanding of what is going on, Archer emphasized that he was not speaking officially for the union, but only for himself. 

“As always, though, official answers come from the union and the Health Plan, which are two separate entities. It’s very important for people to know that the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan is separate from SAG-AFTRA, the union,” wrote Rob. Rob’s note:

“First of all, the changes are awful, and they come at a bad time, possibly the worst time imaginable. Ours isn’t the only union health insurance plan that is experiencing this. It’ll be happening to more and more plans across the country.

First of all, broadcasters, if they’re still working, are making more regular paychecks than actors, and if they’re lucky enough to still be employed during the pandemic, they likely won’t be losing coverage. The vast majority of broadcasters will still qualify. And the changes don’t go into effect until January 1, 2021. Unfortunately, the changes are necessary in order to save the plan and to keep it from going under. The blame lies with spiraling health care costs followed by the gut-punch of the pandemic which dried up the incomes of so many union members. Higher costs and less money coming in.

The Trustees who control the plan faced some impossible choices, but the one thing they could not do was keep the plan at the same levels. That would have led to a collapse and EVERYONE losing coverage. The choice they made was terrible, but it was the least terrible of terrible options.

The Trustees have a legal and fiduciary responsibility to keep the plan solvent. It should be noted that some of the Trustees themselves are losing their coverage, based on their own decision. It should also be noted that the president of the union herself, Gabrielle Carteris, is losing her coverage as a result of these necessary changes. The plan is not controlled by the union. It is managed by the Board of Trustees, half of which come from union-aligned persons and the other from employers & producers. There is no tie-breaking vote, the board is split 50-50.

But here’s some good news: The plan has put some programs and options into place to help those displaced. Call your plan representative and get more information. And there are still some state options available.

As for myself, I highly recommend everyone support strengthening Obamacare and bringing about universal health care coverage, and the creation of a health insurance system not predicated on corporate profit. For my broadcasting colleagues, if you have more questions, please reach out to me at 
digyourgig@gmail.com, your national representative Hal Eisner, or our union’s VP of broadcasting, Bob Butler. If we don't know the answer to your specific question, we know who does. You can also reach out to the Health Plan itself. This is a terrible time. And while these changes are hard, they will save the plan. And once we’re past the pandemic, and union members are making more money, the plan will be in a better position. No situation is permanent.” – Rob Archer


                                                                                                                                                              Email Wednesday

** KNX All Nights

George Walsh did ‘Music ‘til Dawn,’ an overnight on KNX. I believe it was sponsored by the Southern California Gas Company with a format of show tunes or film scores from 11:30 to midnight and Classical music until 5 or 5:30 a.m.  Something like that.
I had become friendly with Walsh and would often slip through the parking lot door off Gower St. and wander up to the studio to chat with him. Once or twice we played cards during the long classics. Walsh lived near the Sunset Blvd. studio – I think in Highland Park or maybe Mt. Washington – and would wait until the last minute to leave home for work. 

One night I dropped by right at 11:30 and Walsh was not to be seen. His engineer had played a light show tune and then another. When George burst huffing and puffing into the studio at maybe 11:45, he had no idea what had been playing. Normally, the engineer propped the album cover on the windowsill between his booth and the announce booth so that Walsh could back-announce the title and talk a bit about the artist. But somehow, he’d not done it or the album cover had slipped out of George’s sight.

Quickly, the engineer realized the problem and whispered into the studio intercom, ‘African Queen’ and Walsh went on-air saying something like, ‘We’ve been hearing the stirring score from the Humphrey Bogart-Katherine Hepburn classic, ‘The African Queen’ …” The problem was that they’d actually played an album by Johnny Mathis.” – Bennett J. Mintz, Public Relations/Adv.

** 100 Years as What?

“Saying that KNX turns 100 today needs to be qualified by the fact that it broadcast on an amateur license for a while.” – David Dana-Bashian
 

Purely Personal: My daughter brought my 8-month old grandson Matthew for a visit




KNX Turns 100


(September 8, 2020) The invention of the radio must have ranked up there with the introduction of the smart phone. Everything you need or do can be held in your hand. One hundred years ago, the introduction of radio broke the silence in the home with new voices, music, and news of the world. And KNX was a major part of the Los Angeles broadcast scene.

Beginning this morning the station will celebrate 100 years of KNX 1070 Newsradio (KNX-AM), Southern California’s only 24-hour news and traffic station. The station will air KNX: A Century of Covering Southern California, a history-rich, eight-part on-air series to commemorate its centennial anniversary and pay tribute to former employees who helped grow the heritage station.

On September 10, the station’s official anniversary, KNX will reimage itself for the day using memorable jingles, sounders and sound bites from the previous 100 years. “The history of Southern California, this county and our world have been painted by so many legendary broadcasters over the years, which is a daily reminder of the historic brand that KNX is,” said Jeff Federman, regional president of Entercom.

“I am proud to be a small part of the history of KNX and am grateful of the team here today carrying the torch that our predecessors passed to us. I look forward to celebrating 100 years of this iconic brand.” “KNX is a historic brand, and I’m in awe of being a part of its illustrious history,” said Ken Charles, Brand Manager of KNX. “This station is a local pillar, here before the Hollywood Sign, the Santa Monica Pier and the Rose Bowl. Just as iconic as any of our local treasures, KNX is a consistent part of the fabric of Southern California, serving as a breaking news resource for our communities, first responders and the nation.”

KNX 1070 Newsradio launched on September 10, 1920 when Fred Christian started 6ADZ for the customers of his Electric Supply Company to listen to. Twenty months later in May 1922, the electric supply company was issued the call sign, KNX. Today, KNX is still serving the people of Southern California, reaching the largest number of weekly listeners – over 1.24 million – compared to the market’s spoken word format radio stations, according to Nielsen.

Hear Ache. Former KLOS personality Kelly Cox is celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss. Both spouses are wonderful musicians … A post on social media suggests that after three weeks with COVID-19, James Darren has made a positive turn to recovery … Wynn Las Vegas’ “reimagined” buffet has closed indefinitely, according to Vegas correspondent Ira David Sternberg. “Time to reimagine ‘reimagined’” … A power surge took K-SURF off the air briefly over the weekend … Tony Bruno has apparently been removed from Dan Patrick’s SiriusXM channel. Did Bruno actually say that these guys in the NBA “can’t even read?” … KYSR’s Woody Fife is celebrating his 12th wedding anniversary. “She should get a medal for living with me this long,” Woody wrote on social media.

Lifetime of Benefits. We first met Christina Kelley at Mega 92.3 in the late nineties. Whotta’ ball of fire. Following a format change, K-EARTH hired her and she was there until 2015. Then it was like all the good radio jobs dried up.

A year and a half ago, she made a career pivot by posting her music and news radio resume on Indeed, an employment-related search engine. “Calls from recruiters at Fortune 500 companies started coming in immediately,” Christina emailed.

“Long story short, I have a new financial practice specializing in helping creative/media pros with their protection and investment planning at New York Life, a Fortune 100 company and the gold standard in the industry. Having been in radio for so many years, I know that most people have no idea about the variety of long-term assets and ways to create wealth available to them because the only licensed financial professional they’ve ever talked with is their CPA. By the way, I hold seminars on these topics for CPAs.”

Great time to hear her ideas. You can check out her website to learn more at: www.newyorklife.com/agent/cmoultrie

                                                                                                                 Email Tuesday

** Calling All Independent Call Letters

“You mentioned that Saul Levine was the last independent radio station owner in Los Angeles. There are a few stations still locally owned:

KLAA-AM Arte Moreno owner of the LA Angels
KFWB/KTMZ/KWKW-AM Owned by Lotus Communications Howard Kalmenson
KGBN-AM LA based Korean Gospel Broadcasting
KHTS-AM owned by Carl Goldman & Jeri Seratti
KMPC-AM Owned by P & Y Broadcasting LA
KFOX-AM Owned by JMK Communications LA
KDAY/KLLI/KLOS & KPWR owned by Meruelo Media Holdings LA
KJLH-FM owned by Stevie Wonder” – Howard Fine

** Saul a Double Winner

“I just want to say to Saul Levine thank you for the great personalities that graced the KBCA airwaves while I attended broadcasting school at LACC during the sixties. I fell in love with the wonderful jazz that filled the Los Angeles air waves continuously. Of course, Jai Rich and Rick Holmes would later become my very close friends.

And, that poster on Larry McCormick is a one of a kind. I do remember when he was at KDAY. Having worked with Larry at KGFJ, I called him the morning mayor of Los Angeles. A true talent indeed.” – Roland Bynum

** Loving the Surf


As I drove in to work this morning I heard the Temptations Ain’t Too Proud to Beg segue into BOC’s Don’t Fear the Reaper. The promoter in me suggested ‘Guess Radio’ because you never know what you’re going to hear next. K-Surf forever!

And while I’m handing out immortality, Saul Levine forever too.” – Greg Glaser (somewhere in the Valley)


CBS Sunday Morning Treasure



 
Dan Avey Saved My Life

(September 4, 2020) The story of Dan Avey’s passing ten years ago and his daughter’s upcoming marriage plans brought about a wonderous outpouring of love and memories for the outstanding LARP, but none so touching as the one from Mike Lundy. “I owe my life to Dan Avey” wrote Lundy.

“One very early morning as I was writing at KFWB, I was also wolfing down a so-called ham and cheese sandwich on a bun from a vending machine. I was engrossed in the computer and my work, paying no attention to the food I was trying to swallow. Except I couldn't. It was stuck. No air in, no air out. I tried to gasp and flail until someone noticed my plight. Not one person in the newsroom did anything but run around like chicken without a head.”

Lundy continued, “But there was a God-given exception, one person. Dan Avey! He came across the newsroom and in his quiet, professional, military-trained manner, he performed the Heimlich. The food dislodged. I could breathe. I was in rough shape. Had to go home.

But without Dan Avey I would not be writing these words more than twenty years later.” “What a hellava pro. What a journalist. What a hell of a man. In this case and so many, many more,” concluded Lundy.

Hear AcheCary Ginell is celebrating 30 years of wedded bliss. Yeah … And Ubiquitous Mt. Wilson personality Mike Johnson is the new weekend midday personality at Country KKGO … KROQ is looking for a morning show producer with a minimum of 3+ years producing a radio show. Job listing posted here  ...  Scott Shannon, creator of the very exciting Pirate Radio (KQLZ) of the late 80s has received a contract extension from WCBS/fm-New York to continue morning drive … Total Traffic and Weather Network (TTWN) has expanded a content partnership with Cumulus News-Talk KABC-AM (Talk Radio 790). TTWN has provided local news and traffic reports to KABC since 2018 … Charlie Kirk has been added to the national line-up at Salem, but won’t appear on Salem locally (KRLA/870AM) for now.

                                                                                                                                      Email Friday

** Last of the Indies

“Many kudos to Saul Levine the last independent radio station owner in Los Angeles! Thanks, Saul for sharing with us how it all begun. Thanks for not caving in and selling out to the Corps. 

Totally understand the 1260 AM situation. Sometimes one has to try different things until something sticks. This to me is not mistakes, especially with the state of AM radio today, and the location of the station.  Having grown up in Anaheim, it was not easy to pick up 1260 AM.

I’m also glad Saul took a chance with Country Music. Go Country is a fine station. Keep it up!” – Dale Berg
www.969theoasis.com & knxfm93.com

** Adjustment at K-SURF

"LARL [L.A. Radio Listener] here. I’m happy to report that as of Thursday, 9/3/20, K-Surf has gone back to being L.A. Oldies. I hope the 80s are gone from K-Surf for good, this time, especially considering that there are plenty of fm stations to choose from for 80s music.

Thank you to Saul Levine for heeding the feedback of K-Surf listeners [myself included]. As I said before, 80s music on AM in 2020 is a 'solution' to a nonexistent problem, and even though I’m only 34, I prefer the music of the 50s and 60s and some 70s." - Joey Schwartzman

** K-SURF Confirms

"Yes, it is true. We added a few 80s to the mix which seemed logical, but the true Oldies fans reacted with strong negative feelings. So we are responding to the wishes of a loyal audience. A reminder to the Oldies audience, KSURF operates with state of the art digital equipment on AM in digital stereo, and simulcasts on fm on 105.1 HD2 in Stereo. Also we operate an FM Translator on 98.3 FM in the West SF Valley which broadcasts KSURF." - Saul Levine

** Dirck Morgan Fan

“I love your newsletter! I’m a newbie to it, and I wish I had found it a lot sooner. I’ve been out of radio for some time, but I've tried to keep in touch with some friends.

My current mission is finding the date of Dirck Morgan’s death. He was a close friend for several years when I was on-air in L.A. (Shadow Traffic/KFWB plus 6 other stations) and Dirck was at KFWB. We lost touch when I moved to Florida in ’92.

Around mid-2000, I heard he was very ill. An aerial shot of his home showed a ramp had been installed. I found out why eventually, but that info is embargoed indefinitely. I've tried often over the past 3+ years to get an update, but to no avail.

Do you know the date, please?  I am very saddened to read on LARadio.com that Dirck had died. He was an amazing reporter and friend. Happy, ironic, confident, and discreet. He even trained my son in martial arts to help with his ADHD. Dirck had a wicked, quick, and just-left-of-center sense of humor. I don't think anyone who knew him or followed his reporting will forget him. I won't.” - Kriss Wagner, Washington, DC

** K-EARTH Success

“I left a voice message yesterday for Chris Ebbott commending him for being a worthy successor to Jhani Kaye as pd of K-EARTH 101. ‘Chris, you’ve done a great job of upholding a proud tradition at K-Earth...  Plaudits to you.’” – Larry McKay

** PD Ebbott Performs Incredible Job

“Many of us in radio share your enthusiasm for the success of KRTH over the past 6 years and we certainly hope to see it continue. Chris Ebbott has done an incredible job of streamlining the station into what it is today. 

I'm proud to say I was there when the transformation began. Rick Thomas, our pd envisioned a station that would be playing the listener's favorite songs every time they tuned in. Morning man Gary Bryan was envisioning a station that wasn't the stodgy old 60s and 70s station that we were when I got there, but an 80s focused format that would appeal to anyone over 25.

As assistant pd [and for a time acting pd], I was suddenly faced with the prospect of a changing format on a heritage radio station. With Gary's help, and that of Keith Smith we tightened up the production, revamped the music and the race was on. Our initial list was so tight that we had people emailing us their list of our 30 most played songs. Some of the radio experts thought we were crazy, but they WERE listening. Over and Over. 

When Rick went to New York, Kevin Weatherly was interested in making more changes to the station and since Chris had worked with him before [at JACK/fm] and most certainly knew the market. He was a natural to replace Rick.

Chris lived through staff changes, the retirement of Jim Carson and Shotgun Tom Kelly's move to ‘station ambassador’ as well as the passing of Charlie Tuna. The change of the ‘imaging voice’ from Charlie Van Dyke to Joe Cipriano and an overall spark that we began in 2013. 

Sitting there watching the numbers grow week after week was a thrill to say the least, and to see that Chris and his team have found more ways to ‘advance the plot’ of the station's success is the stuff that legends are made of. K-Earth was always a station that we looked up to and in 2020 it's giving us more reasons. Thanks for your coverage and continued success to everyone on Wilshire Blvd.” - Dave Mason, former apd at K-Earth 101


Bottom L to R:  Kaci Christian, Vicki Cox, Dow Jones Immediately above them: Natalie Windsor, Jill Barnard, Gaylene Lowinger, Stephanie Yellin-Mednick;
Just above them: Richard Rudman, Victoria Easley-Randall, Jodi Adler, Tanya Ferguson; Just above Rudman: Diane Dray Just above Barnard: Susan Stiles
Top Row: Steve Lentz, Randy Kerdoon, Steve Kindred, Ken Jeffries, and an unidentifiable woman.
(Thanks to Ken Jeffries for IDing group from Dan Avey’s celebration of life at the Sportsman’s Lodge in the valley.




New Anchor at KFI

(September 3, 2020) Danny Max is the newest member of the celebrated KFI team, joining the station as a news anchor. Before hitting the Los Angeles airwaves, Danny worked in tv news as an anchor/reporter/producer at KEYT in Santa Barbara where he anchored breaking news coverage of the Thomas Fire that ripped through Ventura County in 2017 and the deadly mudslides in Montecito in 2018. Danny also reported live from Thousand Oaks following the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill.

Danny will work fill-in and Sunday nights at KFI, according to news director Chris Little.

Born in Chicago, Danny grew up in Phoenix. He got his start in news as a reporter and anchor in Waco, Texas. Danny thinks of southern California as home. He graduated with honors from California State University – Northridge.

Danny’s played a reporter on entertainment shows including American Horror StoryLone StarNCIS and Birdbox.

Hear AcheVal Maki is named new market manager for Bonneville/San Francisco. We know Val best from her time running the Emmis cluster, which included KZLA, KPWR (Power 106), and KMVN … Jimmy Kimmel is returning to his late-night talk show following his stint hosting the Emmys and summer sabbatical. His first day back will be Monday, September 21 … Barbara Blake (ex-KTWV) has an interesting edition of her Citizen Planet that features the WAVE’s Pat Prescott and Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown. Pat calls them “silver linings,” which include the value of solitude and the personal growth that springs from it. Norman elaborates on his spiritual practice of the Ancient Egyptian expression of the Tree of Life and how it influences his music … Randy West is sending healing vibes to the great hit singer (Gidget) and tv (TJ Hooker) star James Darren. He tested positive for COVID-19 about 11 days ago and has been slowly recovering. He's expected to make a full recovery as he's staying home and healing … OMG, thank you for the kind outpouring of warm thoughts about our journey to help Cherie’s 99-year-old mother. She is holding strong.                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                 Email Thursday

** You Better Call Saul

“Thank you for all you have done for radio in LA. I have operated radio stations for close to 66 years including KCAL in 1954 and 105.1 since 1959. In the beginning years, I was underfinanced and struggled. I survived the initial years with KBCA by practicing law in the mornings to support the station and walking the streets door to door in the afternoons to sell advertising since I could not afford a sales person.

I am proud that 105.1 has had only three formats in over 62 years. I have made mistakes with 1260 AM trying to find a format that would be successful. In 1993 I got off to a good start with Standards on KGIL with incredible talent including Gary OwensWink Martindale, and Chuck Southcott. Then for inexplicable reasons KLAC jumped in with a Standards format in a market that could barely support one Standards station, then after a short time dumped the format.

Along with time and the decline of AM radio I have tried different formats on 1260. Competing with monster FM signals is challenging. I am pleased with the success of KKGO with a Country format that KZLA said Los Angeles would not support. I am proud of my son Michael Levine who has become one of the outstanding managers and programmers in the USA. My daughter Stephanie handles Corporate Legal and acts as station manager for KKJZ.

I am happy that I turned down a small fortune from AMFM/Clear Channel for 105.1 in the late 1990s. I have relaunched K-Mozart for the passion I have for the format. I still have radio interests in Hawaii where in the 1970s and 1980s I had the opportunity of being on the Beach with my very small son and daughter and then working at the stations the rest of the day. I pioneered UHF television in Hawaii and discovered that radio is more fun.  This is a partial summary of the passion I have for radio and acknowledge mistakes along with the successes.” – Saul Levine

** Blazer on KUTE

“In addition to Phil Blazer’s KWHY programs, he was also on KUTE Sunday mornings during the 10 a.m. hour. In March of 1979 he would run 15 minutes of Israeli news in English followed by Hebrew. This was during the Camp David Peace Accords with Egypt.” – Chime Hart, Sherman Oaks

thanks to David Grudt for sharing this LA Times ad from 9.1.63



There was no column on Wednesday, September 2


 K-EARTH Breaks Record from Last Month

(September 1, 2020) For decades K-EARTH has been Oldies Radio for L.A. Yet programmer Chris Ebbott has been so smart in sliding the years forward on what constitutes Old. He was once again rewarded in the just-released Nielsen PPM, as the Classic Hits station is a dominant #1, a full point over #2 KTWV.

"Last month KEarth posted its highest shares ever — this month we shattered it with a new record," emailed Chris. "It’s an amazing team. So many superstars who work together to deliver for the community. Plus - we have a lot of fun and I think that comes out on the air!"

In the news and information battles, KFI has declined significantly since its April peak, but is still #5. KNX rounds out the top 10, but lacks the dominant ratings of sister all-News stations in Chicago and San Francisco. Other talk stations continue to maintain smaller but apparently loyal audiences with largely syndicated fare with the notable exceptions of John Phillips, Brian Whitman and Jennifer Horn. Meruelo’s KLOS has trended up to tie with Entercom’s JACK/fm (KCBS/fm). MY/fm (KBIG) largely maintains their audience at #3, while other iHeart stations demonstrated ratings drop. KIIS/fm drops out of top 10, though still nearly double the audience of Entercom’s AMP Radio (KAMP). ALT/98.7 (KYSR) takes a significant drop though still besting KROQ. Dodger flagship AM 570 (KLAC) not only doubles their ratings, but now triples the numbers of sports 710/ESPN (KSPN), stuck at 0.4 for the past five books.

Here are the remaining stations listed in the Top 10 in the 6+ demographics in the August '20 survey Mon-Sun, 6a-Mid:

1. KRTH (Classic Hits ) 6.1 - 6.5
2. KTWV (Rhythmic AC) 4.6 - 5.4
3. KBIG (Hot AC) 4.4 - 4.5
4. KOST (AC) 4.6 4.4
5. KFI (Talk) 4.7 - 3.9
6. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.5 - 3.8
    KLOS (Classic Rock) 3.7 - 3.8
8. KLAX (Regional Mexican) 3.7 - 3.7
9. KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 3.6 - 3.4
10. KNX (News) 3.2 - 3.1
11. KIIS (Top 40/M) 3.6 - 3.0
12. KKGO (Country) 2.5 - 2.8
13. KSCA (Regional Mexican) 2.3 - 2.6
14. KKLQ (Christian Contemporary) 1.7 - 2.5
15. KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.3 - 2.4
16. KYSR (Alternative) 3.3 - 2.4
17. KPWR (Top 40/R) 2.2 - 2.2
18. KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits) 2.4 - 2.1
      KRRL (Urban) 2.2 - 2.1
      KUSC (Classical) 2.1 - 2.1
21. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 2.0 - 1.9
      KROQ (Alternative) 1.7 - 1.9
      KXOL (Spanish AC) 1.9 - 1.9
24. KAMP (Top 40/M) 1.9 - 1.7
25. KCRW (Variety) 1.6 - 1.6
      KPCC (News/Talk 1.7 - 1.6
27. KDAY (Rhythmic AC) 1.4 - 1.3
28. KABC (Talk) 1.0 - 1.2
      KLAC (Sports) 0.6 - 1.2
      KRLA (Talk) 1.4 - 1.2
31. KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 1.1 - 1.2
32. KFSH(Christian Contemporary) 1.0 - 1.1
      KLLI (Latin Urban) 1.5 - 1.1
34. KJLH (Urban AC) 1.2 - 1.0
      KKJZ (Jazz) 1.0 - 1.0
36. KEIB (Talk) 09 - 0.9
      KKLA (Religious) 0.6 - 0.9
38. KFWB (Regional Mexican) 0.9 - 0.8
39. KDLD (Regional Mexican) 0.9 - 0.7
40. KTNQ (Spanish Talk) 0.6 - 0.6

                                                                                                                                               Email Tuesday



** Fall From Grace

"It seems not long ago that KIIS owned the market. What happened?

Also years ago when Trip Reeb was running KROQ, the station was the No. 1 billing station in the country $67 million. Trip was making $500,000.00. Kevin Weatherly convinced management they he could handle the station and the didn’t  need Trip Reeb and could save a half million a year. Within two years the ratings dropped and they lost about $30 million or more in billing. I never thought much of Weatherly after that." - Bob Fox

** Kudos to Ebbott

"Congrats to Chris Ebbott

Since KRTH has done that I’m hopin’ our locals in Tucson will pick it up. We've got a couple decent ones here. Thank God since my site’s down leaving nothing but the radio for the time being I’m grateful!" - Rich Brother Robbin


** K-EARTH Playing the Hits

" K-Earth is doing so well because they are playing the hits. And doing it well. Standard CHR music now is pretty much terrible. They are going for Spotify hits. The music is mechanical and boring. I think this is the reason for the slide of CHR all over the country. I believe this is the first time I'm not seen KIIS/fm in the top 10 in years. Sorry to say, the station just doesn't sound that great anymore. You get what you give." -
Craig Roberts

 

 


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