Don Herbert on the Road to Recovery
(August 2, 1999) Don Herbert, a 30-year KFWB news anchor, has reversed his Myasthenia Gravis. "In April of 1998, I decided to retire because I had contracted a disease called Myasthenia Gravis," emailed Don. He described it as an autoimmune disease that affects nerve and voluntary muscles in the body. "It affected me by screwing up my ability to speak clearly, which would never do if I was to continue as a news anchor. It also weakened my neck muscles and I would walk around looking as though I was studying my belt buckle. There were a few other symptoms like rigidity of my fingers, inability to walk more than 50 yards at a time before becoming very tired. Myasthenia Gravis is incurable."
Don retired on disability and began taking specialized medicines including massive doses of Prednizone. "One month ago, I was found to be symptom free and approaching remission," Don boasted. "I will need cataract surgery sometime in the future. An eye problem is a side effect of Prednizone," said Don. Hes considering coming out of retirement, and returning, not to news anchoring but back to doing commercials, voiceovers and movies. "Since I have mastered the art of imitating a slub, complete with silvery trail, I need new challenges to conquer. Oh by the way, Myasthenia Gravis is the disease that Roger Smith, Ann Margaret's husband has and its also the one that killed Aristotle Onassis. Pretty fast company, huh?"
Weekend promotions; KKBT gave away tickets all weekend long to an advanced screening of Bowfinger It was a "Top-Down" weekend at KRTH Gary Moore at KLOS was giving away tickets to an REM concert .KCMG was giving away "Mega Jam II" concert tickets Before Gary Spears left for vacation from his KIIS afternoon show, he gave away tickets to an advanced screening of A Sixth Sense.
After 3 weeks of an intensive weight loss program, KFIs Karel weighed in last Friday with a weight loss of 24 pounds. "Exercising using L.A. Gym equipment is really accelerating the weight loss I think," emailed Karel Is Michael Levine with his KRLA Sunday show "Spritual Seeker" attempting to fill the void by longtime KABC "Religion on the Line?" Michael describes his show as "devoted to God, spirituality and religion."
KOSTs Ted Ziegenbusch read the tributes to Claude Hall at Email Saturday and remembered: "When I was the music director at KMEN in 1972, I remember how much fun it was to stay in touch with Claude Hall. What a gentleman. He always had something nice to say. Here's another great name -- Kal Rudman. I used to keep in touch with him, when he wrote his Morning Quarterback series. That seems like ages ago!" There was another Saturday Email that lamented KNX missing a key sports story Thursday night. An insider at KNX said that all the scores were in and Rory Markas recorded the remaining sports reports for the rest of the night before the breaking story broke David Swain of Bell Gardens read Chris Elms question at Email Saturday about KLACs two-way format. "It was one of the most unique formats because djs were converted to talk show hosts. Joel A. Spivak, Ken Reed, Ray Briem, Lohman & Barkley, and others. In talking to Roger Barkley in 1994 he recalled they called us "communicastors." It was fun. They had newsmaker calls to politicians and a buzzer that sounded when you broke the 24-hour call in rule. With the Vietnam War, civil rights and the Kennedy assassination and Mort Sahl, there was much to talk about. L& B were moved to middays to make room for the anchor for it all Joe Pyne. Others who took a turn at talking were Arbogast & Margolis, Roy Elwell [stand by to stand by] and Les Crane. Most moved back to music formats but for Joel A. Spivak and Ray Briem it was the start of new careers. The only information Roger Barkley gave about his break-up with Al Lohman was to say that it painful. So much history in this L. A. radio market. Thank you for the forum in which to remember."
Bob Rusk wonders if anyone remembers KWIK-AM? "The station supposedly had studios in Burbank in the mid-50s. If it did exist, what frequency was the station on, and what's there today?"
The most annoying songs continue to be contributed. Alan Oda also wonders what is wrong with Penny Lane? He nominates Andy Kims Rock Me Gently Jeffrey Leonard has It Must Be Him by Vicki Carr at the top of his list KFWBs Joe McDonnell votes for Billy, Don't Be A Hero. "I'm not sure who sang it--maybe Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods--but it was truly bad."
Dr. Laura: The Unauthorized Biography by People magazine writer Vicki Bane is being officially released today. Word is the book goes way beyond the Vanity Fair story last year More than 1,000 supporters of KPFA-Berkeley marched through Berkeley streets Saturday demanding that the station not be sold. Joe Klein, former president of L.A. Trax, reports that the KPFA controversy is being covered by ZDTV, a growing satellite and cable network at www.internettonight.com Mark & Brian are headed for the Northwest for a remote. Brian told his audience last week, "Well be coming to Seattle very soon."
KIKFs Carrie Dunne checks in with the news that the station received an award from the Orange County Fair. KIKF was awarded Best Radio Station Promotional Support for the 1999 OC Fair. "We are very proud of this accomplishment. When we sponsor an event--we go all out!!!" emailed Carrie The other morning at KBIG, Rick Diego reminded his audience that when he was working afternoon drive the Daily News called him "a piece of wood."
Bill James, a long time technician with CBS and KNX died recently at his home in Hawaii, according to Michael Smith, former Chief Engineer KNX/KCBS/FM and director of engineering at KCBS/KLLC-San Francisco. "Bill was a sound effects man for CBS during radio's golden years and worked on many of the great CBS Radio shows out of Columbia Square, including Gunsmoke, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, and Have Gun, Will Travel," emailed Michael. "I had the great pleasure of working with Bill when I first started at KNX in 1980. KNX still had technicians running the board back then, and Bill worked the evening shift in Studio 7. The engineering shop had windows looking out on the parking lot at KNX, and I still remember the first time I saw this huge boat lumber onto the parking lot. It was Bill James in his Bentley [a right-hand drive version!]. Bill had a certain flair about him.
The CBS Mystery Theater ran during Bill's shift and that was a great time to talk to him about his days as a sound effects man. One of the great stories was when Bill and Ray Kemper were going to do a show that called for the sound of "ten thousand drunken chickens." A couple of years ago, I read the story, just as Bill had told it to me, in Leonard Maltin's The Great American Broadcast [Page 99].
Bill retired to Hawaii around 1983. I was fortunate to visit him once. Each year I would look forward to receiving Bill's Christmas card from Hawaii. Bill lost half his home in the hurricane that struck Kauai in 1991. I airfreighted him some emergency supplies to help him out. I'm sure Bobb and Barbara will do some remembrance of Bill. I suppose the Big Broadcast in the sky just got another great talent. I can hear it now," concluded Michael.
Mark Ramsey is the next generation of movie maven. Some L.A. radio station would be smart to talk with Mark. He breaks new ground! His Web site is at www.moviejuice.com. Mark has an original drama based on a second set of students who disappeared while filming a documentary: http://www.moviejuice.com/1999/waltwitchproject.htm. Have fun!
KCSNs George Mair reports that it is so hot in some places that chicken farmers are feeding hens ice so they wont lay fried eggs. Drought is so bad in other places they are filling tubs with apples and bobbing for water.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Dave Forman, Phil Hall and Dennis Prager
What Are LARP Reading This Summer?
David Gleason (ex-pd KTNQ and current VP/AM Programming, Hispanic Broadcasting Corp.) "Of course, before going to England I'm rereading Rutherfords excellent Sarum and picking up for the first time London. Both are good historical fiction. I'm also rereading Uris's Exodus as well as Herman Wouk's The Hope. Other than that, I just finished Garay's biography of Gordon McLendon and am trying to get into a scholarly tome about Cortez and the conquest of Mexico called Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes, and the Fall of Old Mexico by the British historian, Hugh Thomas."
Ted Ziegenbusch (KOST): "As for our summer reading, my all-time favorite book will travel with us -- You Were BORN RICH by Bob Proctor. I read it once or twice every year. It helps me to recharge the batteries and return ready to take on the world. It's an amazing book."
Joe Cipriano (Voice of FOX): "I'm reading Bill Murray's book, Cinderella Story to get me into my golf game with the necessary humor that must accompany that spiteful game, which is sometimes reminiscent of sitting through the first 20 minutes of Private Ryan. Other books include, Bootleg by Damon Wayons, Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gorman. Other books in my carry-on are A Handful of Summers by Gordon Forbes and Death in Venice by Thomas Mann."
Mark Thompson (KLOS): I have just finished reading Careless Love The Unmaking of Elvis Presley. If youre into the King, then this is a must read. Its a comprehensive look at the second half of Elvis life and also his death. Mesmerizing and sad. It took the author 11 years to conduct all the interviews with all of the people that spent Elvis life with him. He then put it all together, day by day, year by year, recording date to concert, each pill and each cocaine snort. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows."
John Beats Ken at KABC
(August 3, 1999) An email at this site last Saturday at Email Saturday, a reader suggested that the John & Ken morning show at KABC should be called the "John Show" since John does most of the talking. I wondered who did talk more. This morning between 6 and 7 a.m. John talked 18 minutes and 30 seconds. Ken talked 11 minutes and 20 seconds. There were two commercials delivered by John (not included in my tally) that may further give the illusion that John is talking more than Ken.
John Renshaw was fired from his job as the mid-morning sports talk host for One-On-One Sports, heard locally at KCTD. John told writer Greg Hall from www.ghall.com that he was "incredibly depressed." Program director Mark Gentzkow called John into his office after his Thursday show. "I started getting dizzy when he said they were going to make a change. I felt sick," said John. Weekend host Jay Mariotti has replaced him. Jay is the lead sports columnist with the Chicago Sun Times. Jay will anchor the 7 a.m. 11 a.m. slot. The network has hired a new morning team that will start on Monday, August 30th (3 a.m. 7 a.m. Pacific time on KCTD). Bruce Jacobs from KGME-Phoenix and Art Mehring from WZGC-Atlanta will work from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m., which is morning drive on the East Coast.
"It is not good news." That was how AFTRA head Robert Hochberger communicated to the Shadow AFTRA members that Shadow management is not prepared to "make any movement at this time." AFTRA has been waiting since July 9 for some response to the critical issues of overscale increases and re-defining part-timers. Union members are set for a meeting this morning at 10.
After two years with "Y107," Andy Chanley is now doing mornings at KACD, Channel 103.1 " The show is called Music In the Morning With Andy Chanley. It's a music-intensive show with need-to-know news capsules every now and then," emailed Andy. "This week marks my 10-year anniversary in radio, and I'm pleased that it finds me working for people of character in the mightiest radio company in the world, Clear Channel."
Mark Freter is the senior product manager for IXC Communications in Austin. He has fond memories of growing up listening to Southland radio. "Im just a non-industry fan of LA Radio from way back [beginning as a 9 year old in 1957, when the family moved to Pacific Palisades from Chicago] scanning for names I could remember from a mis-spent youth on the west side. Bob Crane, B. Mitchel Reed, Emperor Hudson [with and without Ron Landry], Lohman & Barkley, Jolly Joe Yokam, Humble Harve, the cry of Tina Del Gado is alive, alive! and tons of announcements to shows at El Monte Legion Stadium [no jeans or capris, please] stand as faint but warm memories of youth, just before I learned to surf and just after transistor radios appeared. And, of course in 1959, Vin Scully. Sigh. I guess I miss AM radio, especially heard from the backseat of any car parked on Mulholland]. And remember the broadcast controversy as severe as what were the real words to Louie, Louie. And 45's, records, not hand guns."
Former KBIG pd Rob Edwards remembers Morgan Williams who passed away July 17. "Morgan worked for me at KBIG for about ten years, but I knew her from the KFI/KOST days in the seventies. She was one-of-a-kind and a very fine radio person. She loved and used the medium very effectively." KNXs Ron Fineman has created his own Web site to have a continuing forum to speak his opinions. Check him out at: http://hometown.aol.com/bruin74/myhomepage/news.html
Two Midday Business Hours Duke It Out
(August 4, 1999) Last spring, KFWB announced a new Noon Business Hour. Within 24 hours KNX made a similar announcement, only its Business Hour would begin at 1 p.m. to coincide with the closing of the stock market. Speculation is KNX had been preparing the announcement for some time and when KFWB heard, they decided to get the jump on their sister station. KNX was no stranger to altering its all-News CBS image because it has run old CBS radio dramas, complete sporting events like USC football, Monday Night NFL games, food hours and the simulcast of 60 Minutes. KFWB promoed itself as All News, All the Time. A Noon Business Hour was a major departure for KFWB. (Since Spring, KFWB has added CNNs Larry King Live each night at 8 and once a month morning co-anchor Kathleen Sullivan hosts a call-in/interview one-hour with Mayor Richard Riordan.)
Yesterday I monitored the two midday Business Hours. It turned out to be an excellent day to compare the two because outside of Internet stocks taking a hit, there were no other major news stories. The difference between the two CBS/Infinity all-News stations was astonishing. Outside of the basic reporting on the Dow and Nasdaq, the choice of stories during the Hour was driven by external forces.
KFWB is teamed with the LA Times and uses many of their features. Other feature reporters from American Express and Bloomberg direct the content. KNX had far fewer features and dealt with the performance of individual stocks. Both stations had sports at :15 and :45. (KNX related the ABC/TV network-concocted golf show the other night as a business story.) Both stations continue the traffic reports, KNX "every 6 minutes" and KFWB "on the ones," during the Business Hour. At KFWB, Allen Lee on the ground and Radene Marie airborne, lead with the SigAlert on the 5 Freeway near downtown. At KNX, Donna Paige in studio and Bill Thomas in the air. The oil spill story dominated the traffic reports during both hours.
Both stations ran plenty of commercials, good for their business news. KFWB ran 20 minutes and 15 seconds of spots. KNX (not counting the commercials in the network news) aired 18 minutes and 10 seconds of commercials.
Ron Kilgore hosts the KFWB business hour and Bob McCormick anchors the KNX business hour. The biggest difference between the two approaches deals with, strangely enough, content. Outside of the lead story about Internet stocks struggling, KFWB primarily deals with feature material. KNX, based on yesterdays monitor, emphasizes more individual activity. Just look at the top of the hour headlines for both stations. There is not one overlapping lead story.
12:00 ID. Headlines: Dow up 32; Stories on Air Rage; Credit Card limits; Gender wars with new Mac iBook laptop.
12:02 Commercial. Star Symbol at Sanwa Bank (:10)
12:02 Report from Senior Market Editor of the LA Times. "Bad day today!. Losers over winners by more than 2 to 1. Full scale retreat from the Internet names. Ebay lowest since February. Bond yields up. August a bad month. Maybe early Y2K retreat. Dow up 55, Nasdaq down 22.
12:05 Commercials: Ehealth insurance.com (:60); Ohgolly.com (:60); Land auction (:60).
12:08 Story on Dreyfuss offices back East closing.
12:09 American Express Financial Advisor Wade Perry. "Bulls still running but getting tired. Investors focused on employment report and national association of purchasing report. Significant volatility. Shelter ideas, Bonds good place to be in short term. Long term to go with solid, well-thought out, risk tolerance stocks. Dow up 42, Nasdaq down 25."
12:12 Commercials. Ralphs Club Card (:10); Childrens Fund Car Donation (:60) Top Jobs (:60); Encore (:30); Diehard Battery (:30); Dr. Hensels Health Net Minute (:15) and promo for KFWB.
12:15 Sports with Rod Van Hook
12:16 Down up 47, Nasdaq down 23.
12:17 Report on survey results on the high cost of cell phones.
12:18 Commercials. Direct Casket (:60); Best Buy (:60); Ivenue.com (:60).
12:22 Commercial. Encore Movie Channel (:10)
12:23 Tech News with ZDTVs Shauna Sampson. "No merger between Excite@Home and Yahoo. On-line wine sellers may be hurt. Gender concern that new Mac looks like a make-up kit, a girlie machine."
12:27 Down up 29, Nasdaq down 30.
12:27 Commercial. Earthlink (:60)
12:28 Best Buy feature with Alan Mendelson on concern for telephone calling cards.
12:29 Commercials. ABE Furniture Warehouse (:60); Make a Wish Car Donation (:60); Promo for afternoon drive time news team.
12:32 Commercial. ThinkSphinx (:10)
12:32 Dow up 24. Nasdaq down 36.
12:33 Bloomberg Market Analysis. "Broken record there is concern for high interest rates."
12:34 Dow up 23. Nasdaq down 37. Newsman Michael Shappee reports on fires at Compton area schools; illegal Mexican immigration; and a bug spray in Rancho Santa Margarita. High of 98 degrees in Pasadena. Freemac.com computer giveaway.
12:35 JD Powers study on credit cards.
12:39 Commercials. Del Mar Racing (:60); Saddleback Eye Center (:60); Travel/Tourism Careers (:60)
12:43 Commercial. Zacky Farms (:10)
12:43 Bloomberg correspondent does story on Air Rage.
12:47 Commercials. Fax for Free (:60); Ecola Termite Control Services (:60); Red Cross Donated Vehicles (:60)
12:51 Entertainment report with Sally Hoffmeister
1253: Commercials Heart Check America (:10); Select office solutions (:60); Life Expo (:60)
12:56 Market Wrap. Dow up 38, Nasdaq down 38. LA Times business report: "Severe SigAlert with Internet stocks. Folks throwing in the towel. Looking brutal.
12:59 Closing Bell
1:00 CBS Network News
1:05 Bob McCormick headline stories: Merger of largest title insurance company; an industry that is losing jobs to foreign countries; FTC weeding out crooked travel agents; and insurance industry goes high tech to prevent scams.
1:08 88 degrees. 114 point swing in the market. 31% up, 35% down.
1:09 Lazlo reports: auto stock gains; the positive news that Yahoo was taking over Exciteathome only to have it denied. Four IPOs lost ground; market cool off; tech sector walloped. AOL lost $4 and Ebay took a hit losing $7 a share.
1:10 Commercial. Tavelocity.com (:60)
1:11 OC Register financial columnist reports on deal that creates the largest title company.
1:13 Commercial. Life Expo (:60)
1:14 Wall Street Journal report on house; IPOs lackluster and highlights of action stocks.
1:15 Sports with Chuck Madden
1:16 Commercials. Earthlink (:60); American Red Cross Vehicle donation (:60)
1:19 Charles Laszlo reports on leading indicators; pessimism on Wall Street; bargain hunting unsuccessful; pharmaceutical news; bad Internet stock news except for quepasa.com.
1:21. Commercial. Moskowitz law firm (:60)
1:22 Laszlo reports on travel complaints; closing quotes.
1:23 Commercial. Intrepid Trading (:60)
1:25 Commercial. Zion DSL (:60)
1:26 McCormick reports on day trading; economic development corporation; conflicting reports on runaway movie production; and our garmet/apparel business headed for Mexico.
1:29 Commercial. Unclemaddy.com (:60)
1:30 Headline stories on Kaufman & Broad management; on-line detectives; satellite maker; California wineries on-line; and the Martin Grove entertainment report.
1:32 Closing numbers emphasizing individual stocks. (Laszlo was unfamiliar with Pokemon and couldnt pronounce it.) Intel up. HP did well.
1:34 Forbes editor profiles new management at Kaufman & Broad homebuilders.
1:35 Commercials. Ditech (:60); Ford Tires (:60)
1:38 Commercial. California Clinical Trials (:60)
1:39 US News & World Report story on tv networks and content control; satellite industry in turmoil with the issue of sales to China.
1:41 Commercials. Americaninterbank.com (:60) The Gas Company (:60)
1:43 Closing quotes with report on individual performances.
1:47 Commercials. Mindspring (:60); Childrens Fund Vehicle donation (:60)
1:49 High tech contributing editor does story on problem with auctioning wines on the Internet.
1:50 Commercial Video Scoptic Surgical Treatment (:60)
1:51 Laszlo reports on housing completions; weak Internet stock trading traders caution; Yahoo merger story denied.
1:53 Commercial. DJL Direct (:60)
1:54 Randy Riddle at Pacific Exchange reports on private eyes to control on-line detractors who trash companies in chat rooms.
1:55 Commercial. Los Angeles Opera Season (:60)
1:56 Martin Grove entertainment report.
1:57 Commercial. Star symbol at Sanwa Bank (:10)
1:58 Market Recap
Insiders report that Bill Fink has left his post as pd at Country KZLA KYSRs Leah Brandon is giving away tickets to RetroFest, an event all about the 80s, on Friday the 13th WWDB-Philadelphia has let go former LARP Rollye James to make room for KLSXs syndicated Ed Tyll. Also, Tom Leykiss show has been picked up by WWDB. "If youre a grandparent you are going to be pissed off and Im just giving you fair warning. I just want you to know before you go to bed tonight, if you are old and you are cranky and you love to complain, you will probably not want to listen to this show," Tom told his new Philadelphia listeners. Jeff Hillery, new WWDB pd and Tom worked together 14 years ago Moody Blues appear live with Bob Coburn on "Rockline" tonight. Program is heard locally at "Arrow 93."
Barry Turnbull with KVEN (occasionally KFWB Sports, now most Saturday afternoons as Brad Wallace on KRLA) sent an email about a colleague: "Just a brief note to let you know of a loss we suffered here at KVEN last week. About three months ago a lady named Nina Kramer came to work with us. While working on a story after covering a local night meeting, Nina suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 27 and died several hours later at Community Memorial hospital in Ventura. She was believed to be 39 years old. While she worked in broadcasting in Sacramento, Reno, and Santa Barbara - she was also known for her singing with various local groups. Unfortunately, whether we work with them three months or three decades, sometimes we don't take the time to get to know the people we work with. That's about all we know about Nina, and since July 27 I notice that we are not taking each other for granted quite as much around the KVEN/KHAY/KBBY building
Dave Niehaus worked at KMPC for a decade from 1966-76 and was the Angels broadcaster. He left the Southland to be the first play-by-play voice of the Seattle Mariners. Dave has become enormously popular with the Seattle fans. A couple of years ago while Dave was recovering from his second angioplasty surgery in three weeks, a local Seattle radio station sent Dave 3,077 autographed baseballs wishing him well. The number was how many Mariners games he had called. Ric Stratton, sales manager at KBCB/TV in Bellingham and frequent contributor to LARADIO.COM, sent this email: "At the recent opening game at the brand new Safeco Field in Seattle, Dave was honored by being asked to throw out the first pitch at the new stadium. No one knew up until the time of the first pitch, including Dave, who was going to get the honor. [By the way, he overthrew the catcher!] He is called Mr. Mariner by the Seattle organization."
"Wonder if you saw the reports on yesterday's Appeals Court decision in Washington, D.C. - vis-a-vis the FCC and the current variations on equal time rules," emailed Gary Franklin. Gary takes the opportunity to "lash out harshly against the Imus/Stern/Minyard ilk and how these misuser of the public-owned frequencies, should be very worried about the future." Catch up with Gary at: http://www.garyfranklin.com.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Danny Michaels and Mike Daniels
Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer
(August 5, 1999) I was talking with KFWB news director Crys Quimby yesterday about a story that you will read in a minute and I was grousing about the difficulty of coming up with a lead story every day. She didnt let me lament for long. "How would you like to have the responsibility of a lead story every 20 minutes 24 hours a day?" she asked. Okay, okay. This is one of those days with just "stuff," but I know it is the kind of "stuff" youve become addicted to over the past almost two years. Incidentally, next month LARADIO.COM celebrates its second year with a State of the Site message.
I received an email from Karen and Ken Beck earlier this week, (they vacationed on Mackinaw Island earlier this summer), asking about Mary Ellen Geist, a Michigan native. "Im wondering why she is absent from your roster of L.A. people?" wondered Karen. "She was a reporter for Ken at KFWB until he hired her at KGO." Ken recalls that Mary Ellen worked at KFWB from 1989 to 1992. This is where Crys comes in. Crys gathered some of the details of Mary Ellens report on her encounter with murder suspect Cary Stayner in Yosemite.
"Mary Ellen was investigating the murders of the woman and two teenage girls in Yosemite. She was staying at the Cedar Motel, where Stayner worked. She was alone in the motel hot tub, when Stayner unexpectedly joined her. She says he began talking about the kidnapping and child molestation of his younger brother, and how it had changed and hurt him. Geist says he then gave her a very strange look," emailed Crys.
One of the actualities run on KFWB: "I have been on lots of scary stories, but I remember I was very frightened and that was very uncharacteristic of me and I ran up and I double-bolted the door of my hotel room and I put a chair and a table in the hotel room up against the door."
"Geist says Staynor made no advances when she tried to leave, but she says he looked troubled and wanted her to stay," said Crys. "Geist says she told friends about the encounter, but did not tell the FBI, because reporters on the story had been assured nobody at the motel was a suspect." Crys befriended Mary Ellen just before her move to KGO. Thanks to the Becks and Crys for providing the story. Ken is at WWJ/WXYT-Detroit.
Another news story comes from Barry Turnbull who lives in Ventura. Barry was working the board at KVEN during the broadcast of the Dodger game last Sunday. "When we broke into the game a couple of times - for about a minute each, to report on Monica Lewinsky's traffic accident - which I wouldn't have done, by the way, had it not happened here. Regardless, several calls to the station with the introductory line of something like - I can't believe you'd interrupt the Dodgers - did follow."
Still getting votes for the most annoying song ever. Larry Mayer at KUSC votes for the 1966 hit They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Ha by Napoleon XIV. My second pick is Bill Cosby's Little Ole Man from 1967 Congratulations to Scott West, the former operation director at KCRW who is now working overnights and weekends at KOLA. "Its great to be back in the drivers seat doing what I do best!" emailed Scott. "By the way, I got married June 26 and the honeymoon in Kauai was incredible!"
I feel like the kid with the baseball card collection that is missing the key rookie card and finds it. Or the kid with the complete coin collection with no 1909 SVBD and it turns up accidentally in the lunch money. When I started researching my first book, Los Angeles Radio People, I couldnt find a key player in the early history of Los Angeles radio. I hunted for him through subsequent book researching and every lead turned into a dead end. Then a year ago an anonymous email arrived with a PO Box number from someone in the Midwest who thought he knew where the legend was living. I sent a book and a letter and asked, no - humbly begged - for an interview. Nothing.
Tuesday afternoon, out of nowhere, I checked my voicemail and there was his unmistakable voice. The early Southern California legend who bridged the gap from Pop Standards to "race" records to r&b had been found. I thought maybe it was because his partner had passed away July 17 and that prompted his call. It turned out I was the one who gave him the bad news about the death of Morgan Williams. He was shocked!
Next Tuesday I will devote my entire column to this legend. It is a fascinating look at a time in Southern California radio history that was facing the challenges of tv and dwindling listenership. And the man who steered through the radio landmines and his popularity took him from a half-hour show to, at one time, 6 ½ hours a day on three different stations. He had the first weekly tv show to feature r&b. White people as well as black people were shocked when they saw him for the first time at a concert at Wrigley Field, a record hop, the Lincoln Theatre or on tv. Dont miss next Tuesday.
KFWB morning co-anchor Kathleen Sullivan appeared on the Roseanne Show this week during KTTV/Channel 11 reruns Michael Jackson was on CNNs Talkback Tuesday afternoon for an hour Every morning at KCMG Danny Romero and Irma Blanco feature the "Mega" Dog Pound. Earlier this week, a caller wanted to put her boyfriend in the Dog Pound for not returning phone calls. Whotta dog! "Power 106" is giving away tickets to fly to the reunion of Dr. Dre and Snoop. "The bomb luau!"
Dr. Toni Grant began the psych radio talk show format in the mid-1970s. The theme through her KRLA show is change and how people in turmoil have the ability to change their own behavior. Yesterday afternoon, she talked about the changes in her own life. "I did take a break for a few years. Thats kind of unusual in life, you know? Most people wouldnt dream of walking away at the top of their game. But I believe in making life changes. I think they rejuvenate us. They refresh us. Of course you have to prepare financially and emotionally for them. I found in my absence another world and another life. I have a lot of appreciation for those who live outside Los Angeles. I had never lived for a long period of time in my adult life anywhere but Southern California. I lived for two years in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. That was interesting. I did my first internship there and had my first baby. Grew up on the East coast and then lived in Texas for seven years. It was refreshing. There is real life aside from both coasts."
(August 5, 1999) Gene Weed passed away this morning at 1 a.m. of lung cancer. He was 64. A spokesman at Dick Clark Productions said, "Gene was one of the foundational posts here." Gene worked at KFWB during its glory Rock years and went on to an enormously successful directing and producing career with dc Productions. Fellow KFWB dj Jimmy O'Neill was "shocked" to learn of Gene's death. "I hadn't seen Gene for 30 years when we ran into each other about five years ago. I was struck by his kindness. He could not have been nicer."
Born in 1935, Gene started in Texas radio when he was 17 years old and attended North Texas State University. He went on to work in Dallas, Omaha and Miami before joining KFWB. The "Weedy One" worked weekends at KFWB at the age of 23 while assigned to Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in Hollywood. In early 1961, Gene was made assistant pd to Jim Hawthorne. He moved to afternoon drive in 1961. Except for a month during the infamous personality strike in 1961, Gene stayed with the station until the very end, on March 10, 1968, having worked every shift. In 1966, he was voted top all-night dj in Billboard magazine's Radio Response Ratings. He created the nationally syndicated Shivaree tv rock show which ran for three years and aired in more than 150 markets and seven countries overseas. Before joining dick clark productions (dcp), Gene began producing and directing a new art form he called "Song Films," better known today as music videos. He produced and directed over 200 of the mini-movies for recording artists such as Glen Campbell, The Fifth Dimension, Creedence Clearwater and Debbie Boone. He has produced and directed over 300 tv commercials and numerous industrial and sales presentations. As senior vp of television at dcp, Gene has developed, produced and directed major television series, specials and annual events. Each year he produced and/or directed the Golden Globe Awards, The Academy of Country Music Awards, The Soap Opera Digest Awards and the Sea World/Busch Gardens Party. Under his supervision the CMA Awards show has won its time slot every year since it was first televised in 1974. In 1986 he hosted the album Interviews from The Class of '55, which was awarded a Grammy as the best spoken word album. In the early 1990s, Gene produced and directed the Hot Country Nights series for NBC which continues to air on The Nashville Network. His other specials include Farm Aid III and IV, The Golden Globes 50th Anniversary Special, The Lou Rawls Parade of Stars and Prime Time Country nightly on TNN. He also directed the three-hour LiveAid concert for ABC. His work as a producer/director earned him two first place awards for creative excellence at the International Film Festival in Chicago. Gene has four children from his first marriage: Kent, a tv director in L.A.; Kymberli, a graphics artist in North Hollywood; Julie, a hair dresser living in Indiana; and Adam, a highly acclaimed video editor, living and working in Nashville. He has three children with his second marriage.
John Swaney Removed From Home
(August 6, 1999) John Swaney, former KFWB news anchor from 1968 to 1978 and talk show host at KGIL in the 1980s, was rushed to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center after reporting breathing problems. The news coverage became huge because firefighters had to break down the walls of Johns North Hollywood apartment to remove him. He had ballooned to 800 pounds. Because of Johns size, the process took two hours. At one point there were 35 firefighters on the scene, according to one tv report. The tv coverage of John draped in tarp-like material as a forklift lifted him out of his apartment to the ambulance was a heartbreaking scene. "He is morbidly obese," said a fire department spokesperson. "We are handling this in a delicate manner to ensure his medical needs are met, and to try, if possible, to maintain his dignity under trying circumstances." One neighbor interviewed on tv said he had not seen John out of his apartment in "three or four years." When John left KFWB he went to law school and passed the bar examination. He returned to radio to host a morning talk show on legal matters on KGIL. John went on to run a legal service providing substitute lawyers. Royal Oakes, a frequent radio contributor on legal matters, ran into John in the early 1990s. "During my brief encounters with him, he was both brilliant and gracious." John is reported to be in stable condition.
A caller to Mr. KABC last night commented on John Swaneys weight and asked if being overweight was part of being in radio? "KABC is the first radio station that Ive worked at where no one is obese," remarked Mr. KABC. "Im talking about air personalities. Stephanie Miller is pencil thin. Larry Elder is skinny. Im skinny. Al Rantel is skinny. John & Ken are skinny, but Johns getting a little pudgy. I wouldnt call him obese or even fat. Dennis Prager is a hulk of a guy, but hes not fat." The caller said they were all skinny compared to the other station where they need a freight elevator. Ouch.
Gene Weeds death yesterday caught many Los Angeles Radio People by surprise. Chuck Blore, the architect of Color Radio/Channel 98 in 1958, hired Gene. Chuck remembered: "Gene was younger than the rest of us when I hired him at KFWB. We were average about 28-30 years old, except for Bill Ballance and Al Jarvis, heavily experienced with about 7 or 8 years under their belts. Gene was a baby, 24, just out of Armed Forces Radio and only about 3 years real experience. AFRS certainly didn't count. But I hired him as a swing man and every time he went on the air for any length of time in any given time slot, ratings would pop. When he finally became a permanent fixture in afternoon drive, Gene carried an average 34 share. He had a magic way of communicating. He was a wonderful human being and he loved what he was doing and the people he was doing it for, and they loved him in return. Me too, I loved him for 40 years. And probably for the next 40."
"The news of Weedy's passing saddens me deeply," emailed Herb Humphries. "We were both at KFWB in 1967 and I knew him to be an exceptional talent and a great and gentle person. He'll be missed." Jim Hawthorne was program director at KFWB for a time during the Rock era in the 1960s. He promoted Gene to apd and remembered: "Gene was one of those guys you KNEW was going to make it big.! His attitude was one of "gung ho" and he always devoted the time it took to make things happen! Miss Gene? Yes!! We should be thankful that we had him with us as long as we did." Jeff Davis worked with Gene at an MS benefit in Griffith Park when Jeff worked at KRTH. "I was struck by how kind, soft-spoken and generous he was. I have thought of him often and it's always been positive. As a relative newcomer to the L.A. radio scene at that time I was especially heartened by the fact that he was a man who obviously had done so much in our business and was still willing to offer some much-needed advice to a stranger. I am certain there are others with similar stories." "When I got home I checked my email, most of which are almost always 1 or 2 k," emailed former KHJ personality Big John Carter. "When I got your 40+k BULLETIN, I thought to myself as it was taking its sweet time downloading off my lousy server, This better be important. Alas, it was. The History of L.A. Radio without Gene Weed in there would be like doing a story on Baseball and leaving out Babe Ruth. My profound condolences to Gene's loved ones, friends and his many, many fans. That would most assuredly include me," said John Tomorrow at this site, many LARP remember Gene, Morgan Williams and Clark Race. It has been a tough month.
"Nice article on Dave Niehaus" was the way Ken Levine opened his email. "It was my privilege to be his broadcast partner for three years with the Mariners. I've never worked with anyone more talented, professional, and FUN than Dave. I was so thrilled that he was given the honor of throwing out the first pitch in Safeco Field. No one deserved it more, no one has done more for the Mariners than Dave...and yes, that includes Ken Griffey Jr. Only sorry I wasn't able to attend that ceremony in person, but I will be there in Cooperstown the day Dave is finally inducted into the Hall of Fame." Dave was with the Angels broadcast team in the 1960 and 70s.
The late Robert W. Morgan, and Rick Dees were among six inductees named to the Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Inductees were voted in by more than 4,500 radio executives, broadcast historians and members of the Radio Hall of Fame. The 1999 induction ceremonies will be November 20 at the Chicago Cultural Center. The black-tie event, to be hosted by Hall of Famer Casey Kasem, will air live on radio stations nationwide KLAC's Charlie Tuna will be inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame later this month. He'll be in good company with Tom Brokaw and Johnny Carson...Lucianne Goldberg will appear with Larry Marino on KIEVs "Morning Magazine" this morning. She advised Linda Tripp to tape phone conversations with Monica Lewinsky Johnny Magnus is interviewed by Alicia Flanary on Sunday morning at 7 on KIEVs "AM/FM Live."
Are you going to be at the KFI Stimuland event on Sunday? Ill be there and I look forward to meeting fans of LARADIO.COM. Ill be there wearing a very difficult-to-get (unless you order one from L.A. Radio Goodies) Los Angeles Radio People black hat. Debra Rich said her booth is called Tortureland. "I'll be in full leatherette, spikes and handcuffs for my afternoon Dominatrix lesson and subsequent demonstration. [Thank God my parents aren't coming into town for it!]" See you on Sunday.
J.J. Michaels has a new gig! "I love it. I'm with Citadel doing country mornings with Gator in Baton Rouge," emailed J.J Kelli Gates has been sitting in for Chuck Moshontz this week on the Mark & Brian KLOS morning show. Kelli sounds like she's been working with the pair for years...Sports guys Fred Wallin and Peter Vent start a new show on KRLA tomorrow night.
(August 7, 1999) We Get Email
** Ken Levine Remembers Gene Weed
"When I was 14 I used to ride my bike out to the Topanga Plaza every Saturday to watch Gene Weed broadcast from the KFWB Satellite Studio at Wallach's Music City. In time I became his gofer, allowed to actually be in the booth with him. He could not have been nicer, more encouraging, or more willing to share his vast knowledge. Gene Weed was my early mentor. The years passed, we lost touch until last year when at a lunch with Chuck Blore I got Gene's email address. We renewed our correspondence and even arranged to have lunch. But at the last minute he had to cancel, the result of a setback. We never got to that lunch but did continue to trade missives. I cherish the fact that I was able to reconnect with him and tell him how much he meant to my career and me. Gene Weed was a success at everything he did, not the least of which was to touch lives. He will forever be missed. Thanks for letting me hang around, Gene." - Ken Levine
** Gary Marshalls Idol Passing
"It was sad to hear of Gene Weed's passing. Gene was one of my idols on KFWB during my senior year at Chaffey High School in Ontario. A year later I was ALSO working at AFRTS, but half a world away on Okinawa hoping to also land a Hollywood billet when my tour overseas was through. I ended up at 29 Palms! Gene and I finally met in '66 or '67 at a party Screen Gems threw to introduce The Monkees to So Cal deejays and he was very kind and seemed interested in hearing my story of our parallel careers. During the conversation he mentioned his plans to move into television. His presence in radio AND televison will be greatly missed! Sayonara Weedy One, and God speed!" - Gary Marshall
** Gary Mack an Early Fan of the Weedy One
"When I was in the Air Force in 1959, I worked at a station in Amarillo from 8 p.m. to midnight. I used to run out to my car after the show and listen to KFWB -- they came in clearly at that hour. One particular night, Gene Weed ran a trivia contest and, thinking I knew the answer, I ran back in and called him. I had the wrong answer, but he let me win anyway -- maybe in order to say he had a winner calling from Texas. We talked for quite a while, about radio, what I was doing, and my aspirations -- particularly about my wanting to get into L.A. radio. A few days later, I received a very lengthy letter from Gene, filled with all kinds of great advice about advancing my career. In 1964, when I finally got to KRLA, I finally got to meet Gene and thank him personally for his efforts.
He was a fine man." - Gary Mack
** Bobby Vee Remembers LARP
"I knew Clark Race and Gene Weed very well. I met Clark in the early sixties at KDKA in Pittsburgh and I knew Gene from KFWB and later when he worked at the Dick Clark office. Both great guys and very sad news indeed." - Bobby Vee (in a letter to Claude Hall)
** KFWB Historian Speaks about Gene Weed
"I head the pleasure of meeting Gene Weed several times. Once as a teenager visiting KFWB in 1962, and more recently during an interview in his office at Dick Clark Productions. He was gracious, patient and very generous in sharing experiences and stories about his career. More importantly, he encouraged me to pursue my goal to work in radio, and was one of the early 'Top 40' personalities who mastered his communication skills to reach each individual listener with a warmth and smile in his voice. Gene will be missed by those who knew him in front of the the mic and those who knew and worked with him behind the scenes." - John Hart
** Objects to Gary Franklins "Ilk"
"Gary Franklin's lumping of Minyard & Minyard with the "Stern/Imus ilk" [8/4], makes about as much sense as the rest of his peevishly narcissistic, envy driven harangues." - Ellen VanDenburgh, Fullerton
** KABCs Lesourd
"Love this site/page. Longtime L.A. radio buff. Hope to be in it someday. I agree with you: Matt Drudge is not only BORING, he also does annoying affectations and inflections with his voice.
Art Bell/Hilly Rose are also BORING. John & Ken are everything the Miller fellow from Monrovia said they were, including obnoxious, bullying, rude [well...John is anyway. Ken is simply the wimp/foil for John]. I never could stomach Peter Tilden. Debra Rich [KFI] SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!! Miss Rod Lurie. Bob Brinker is boring; much prefer Dean Edell. Used to like Joe Crummy, but he became too frenetic and ranting.
I've heard that Maureen Lesourd's reign at KABC was pretty awful. Can you share any details? This is for my own personal interest/curiosity. I'm not writing a piece or anything like that. I will not quote you on anything you tell me, if the subject comes up in conversation. Also, can you share any details on what caused the breakup of Lohman & Barkley?" Andrew Sherman, Glendale
** A Fan of Dr. Duncan
"How I've longed for a place to visit that speaks of familiar names and fond memories surrounding those names in LA Radio. I grew up in Alta Loma from 1958 and remained until my departure to the High Desert [Apple Valley] in 1992.
I was a major Lohman & Barkley fan from the late 60s until their sad break-up in the 80s. I had the opportunity to meet Roger Barkley at the memorial for Bruce Wayne. He looked so pained at the time, obviously due to the immediate grief, but also the press was heavy surrounding the in-fighting going on between he and Al Lohman. I introduced myself to him and expressed my sorrow about what he was going through. I'll never forget the look in his eyes as he glanced up at me after graciously acknowledging my introduction. He said, Do you suppose it will ever end? As an act of faith, I assured him that it would if he would release it all to the Lord. He reached out and placed his hand on my shoulder and thanked me with the familiar smile I had seen many times before on billboards and TV. It was an honor meeting him. I had also seen Al Lohman there prior to the start of the memorial pacing slowly around the cemetery with a lady whom I didn't recognize. He appeared deep in thought and I felt it best to let him grieve unhindered.
One of my favorite blurbs back in the early 70s was when the Dodgers were on KFI and during some of the station identification breaks, Roger Barkley would come on and say, Hello Vin or Jerry. This is Lohman or Barkley. Very funny stuff. I miss them and Jim Healy. Thank you for having this site." - Geoff Whitford, Apple Valley
** Rook to Race
"So sorry to hear of Clark Race's death, he was a long time friend beginning when we were competitors in 1960's Pittsburgh. Yes, we partied some but no one had a softer heart for those less fortunate, than Clark. He was a classy gentleman.
Also the passing of Morgan Williams, truly one of the nicest ladies I've ever worked with. I've never known anyone who didn't have good things to say about her. I don't see how ole HH could have done better. Morgan was a jewel." - John Rook
** Old Dog Learning New Trick
"Thursdays column turned out rather nicely for a guy who was complaining about lead stories. Turning the lack of a lead story into a story itself is the oldest radio trick in the book - also the oldest singers' trick in the book. In music it's called 'vamp til ready.'" Anita Faye Garner, old radio person aka old singer
** Weeds Death Hits Close to Home
"Gene Weed's passing really hit home for me...literally. When Gene came to KFWB in 1958 he moved into a house right down the street from me on Lindley Avenue in Reseda. This was a very big deal for our neighborhood having a celebrity live right near us. I will always remember how we would find any reason we could to knock on his door just to see him and say hi. He was always so gracious, and on many occasions, would invite us in to play with his two young children Kent and Kim.
Halloween was always a very special occasion at the Weed's house because instead of giving out candy to the kids, he would give out records. I made sure I would go back twice. He would, of course, remember me from the first time, but he always laughed and gave me another record. To this day, I still have them in my 45 collection. One night we heard fire trucks pulling down the block and they were heading for Gene's house. Unfortunately, somehow a fire had started inside and the house was almost completely destroyed. Thank goodness, no one was injured, but it was really an awful thing. In time, the house was rebuilt, but by then Gene was ready to move on and he left the neighborhood shortly thereafter. The memories that I have of Gene Weed will always make me smile. He was a wonderful, friendly and generous person." - Jeff Leonard
** At 13 Watching Gene Weed
"Thanks for the news, sad as it is. After coming to Los Angeles in the summer of '63 [at the age of 13] I used to watch Gene Weed do his show in the window of Wallich's Music City. He spoke to me several times, a big thrill for a 13 year old dj wannabe who spent days listening to KFWB and evenings trying to call Michael Jackson on KHJ, which was the home of Bill Calder, Paul Compton, Mort Crowley and Bruce Hayes, so much entertainment in so many ways." Evan Haning
** Memories of Gene Weed
"My memories of Gene Weed were his Weedy Weekly Wonder [future-hit he picked and touted], and his Sinatra Serenade For Suffering Secretaries [carried over from pre-strike Elliot Field], and, in 1965, Gene's Wink/Weed Herman's Hermits Fan Club, which was co-sponsored by Wink Martindale." - Bill Earl
** Larry Gassman on John Swaney
"Of course, I remember John Swaney from KFWB in the seventies and eighties. But I remember too from KGIL in the late eighties and early nineties. I did several shows with him as we talked about the many aspects of Old Time radio. I found him to be an incredibly sharp, warm, host. He had an encyclopedic-like mind, which sucked up information like a sponge. We had a lot of fun doing those early morning segments. Obviously, being blind, I never saw him. Even back then, I was told that he was huge. I was so very sorry to hear about his problems of yesterday. I'm happy to hear that he is in stable condition. Please keep us informed." - Larry Gassman
** KGBSs Bob Morgan is Thinking about John Swaney
"As you know, John Swaney was taken to County USC Medical Center Thursday. I called the hospital today to pass along my prayers and best wishes. He worked at KGBS for a short time, and I happened to be lucky enough to work with him on Saturdays during my ten-hour shift. The hospital called me back this afternoon to tell me they were intubating him. They thought I was a relative when they saw my phone number. Evidently someone put it on his chart. The nurse told me that I was the only person listed and they wanted to bring me up to date. She told me his son is in Great Britain. John was very nice to me in the short time we worked together and I thought it would be nice if LARADIO.COM could pass the word along about this wonderful talent. It might be nice if he knew he was not alone. The hospital's number is 323.226.2622, and John is in unit 1200. It was really quite a thrill when he'd say: John Swaney, KGBS MinuteMan News! Now, Bob Morgan." - Bob Morgan
** Robert W. Honored
"The Museum of Broadcast Communications which is the home of The Radio Hall of Fame has selected Robert W. Morgan as one of the 1999 inductees. As his former producer at WIND Chicago I was overjoyed at his deserved honor. As I was learning of his being chosen I was also reading of the passing of Gene Weed. I remember Robert W. remarking to me several times about how much of a pro Gene was. Nice to know one giant could recognize another." Ed Schwartz (Former WIND & WGN), Lerner Newspapers, Chicago.
** Something Odd at KROQ
"I just wanted to let you know, first of all, that I just recently found your Web site and it's great. I think I'll be checking in quite often. Secondly, I'd just like to comment on something that is happening at KROQ. Their morning show with Kevin & Bean is a great show that I've listened to since its inception. As you may or may not know the Bean half of the show tends to be a pretty eccentric guy. Last Friday Bean moved to a secluded island off of Seattle to be alone with his wife and livestock and away from people in general. This in itself is not outstanding but, Bean continues to do the morning show via satellite. Is this unprecedented or has this been done before on a regular basis?? Keep up the great work." Joe Arreola Compton
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Art Laboe, Norm McBride and Craig Wilabraham
(August 9, 1999) The Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center & Aviation Park was the scene for KFIs Stimuland fan appreciation day yesterday. It should have been called a Love Fest. These were true fans of the all-Talk station.
As I waited in a long line of cars on a balmy Sunday morning on Manhattan Beach Blvd. near Aviation, I saw KABC being mischievous. There was a John & Ken mobile billboard. Drew Hayes was up to his old shenanigans trying to spoil KFIs party.
Scattered through the former Aviation High School grounds and football field were numerous booths with everything from KFI talk hosts, food, Hawaiian music, advertiser/client areas and games for children.
When I arrived Phil Hendrie was broadcasting live on a stage before hundreds of fans some of them in lawn chairs and others standing around. All Phils character voices were there. The audience loved watching Phil talk to himself and play out the various scenarios. After his solo two hours, fans mobbed the stage for autographs and a chance for a photo. One gushing 30-year old swooned to a friend as she passed me. "Frame this pen, he touched it." Another supporter kept yelling, "Hey Phil, kiss the baby!"
During Phils performance. KABC went airborne with two aerial banners circling the area promoting John & Ken and Stephanie Miller.
Computer geeks surrounded Jeff Levy at his booth. He told a 38-year old non-computer owner from Santa Monica, when asked, to buy a Pentium III Micron. "Thats the computer I use." He gave her a phone number and contact at Micron and said he would help her install it.
Every hour a different KFI newsperson hosted the News Booth. A youthful Monica Evans gave me her history after leaving college in Colorado. Monica worked in Lake Tahoe, Reno and New York before joining KFI Jamie Dupree flew in from the KFI Washington news bureau for the Stimuland event. He was a broadcast journalism major from the University of Florida in 1985. After serving time as a farm and agricultural reporter for Midwest and Canadian clients, Jamie joined KFI and has been the correspondent for 11 years. "I work out of the Cox news bureau in Washington and we also have two news booths in the Capitol building. I am the only Cox radio reporter. The rest are tv," said Jamie Orange County reporter Jay Lawrence manned the booth for an hour. Every Saturday Jay plays golf with my former college roommate, so talk of Jim Henderson occupied our conversation Chris Little was wearing a colorful Hawaiian shirt. He went to school in Indiana and started out as a dj before going into news broadcasting. I asked Chris what his next career move was? "Ten years ago a friend said that talk radio was the future. Debra Rich and I are going to team up and see if we can do a talk show together," said Chris.
Rush Limbaughs booth was called Billary Booth. Bill and Hillary Clinton look-a-likes posed for pictures.
A large crowd was gathered at Debra Richs booth to wait for her dominatrix demonstration in Tortureland. Her fiancée flew in from Phoenix to see what he was getting into KFI pd David G. Hall, strangely enough, was also in Tortureland (guards checked IDs and kept the youngsters out). Being pd must be torture for many. We talked about being 2,500 miles from the home office. "It must be awful to be broadcasting in Atlanta at WSB with the home office listening all the time," David offered Bill Handel introduced me to his four-year old daughter who was having a great time.
"Name Tim & Neils cock" (as in rooster) was the contest in their booth. On display was a tattered and badly taped together rooster. "Isnt this incredible," Neil Savaadra gushed as he looked over the large crowd. As I left Tim & Neil, two men in their late 20s were trying to meet the pair and one enthused, "These guys are hilarious."
Weekenders Ted Rall (he was signing his personal tee-shirt complete with original cartoon artwork) and Melinda Lee were always busy greeting fans. A man in front of me spent five minutes describing in detail a personal recipe to a very patient Melinda. Her husband Steven Epstein is a former programmer with XPRS and KLVE.
The new KFI afternooners Karel & Andrew were crushed as they gave away cassettes of Karels music, autographed programs and posed for pictures with babies. "I was really pissed at first when John & Ken left," said Joni Ridgeway of Cypress. "Within two weeks I liked the new guys better than the old ones and I havent even switched over to John & Ken. Ive stayed with Bill Handel. "Another fan waiting to meet Karel & Andrew, Jeff Puckett, a teacher at UCLA medical school, volunteered, "They are hilarious. I love them. Theyre so funny."
It was a quiet, subdued group yesterday at the Redondo Beach Arts Center grounds. The toughest challenge during the day was for those in wheelchairs (I randomly counted at least 50) who had a very difficult time negotiating the football field and rutted grounds. The event was not wheelchair friendly. KFI marketing head, Stuart Turner, estimated the crowd at 10,000. One KFI staffer told me that 48,000 tickets had been given out. I walked with a 30-ish couple to the parking lot after the event. "Was it everything you expected," I asked? Both shrugged their shoulders. The young lady was hoping it would have been more interactive instead of going from booth to booth to register for a prize. She asked me the same question. "I never have expectations at these kinds of events," I responded. "That way I can never be disappointed." It was a terrific radio event.
A memorial service for Gene Weed is scheduled for this morning at St. John's Church in Chatsworth.
Jim Hilliker is a frequent contributor to LARADIO.COM and his historical perspective and appreciation of Los Angeles radio is accepted readily. "First off, nice Email Saturday column," emailed Jim. "Nice tributes to Gene Weed. Wish I had been able to hear him. I recently listened to an aircheck of him from around '57 from WQAM-Miami on reelradio.com. What a fantastic career he had after radio! Interesting email from the guy who went into his feelings about Lohman & Barkley. Anyway, loved reading the column today. People sent in some nice thoughts. And, you do such a good job putting everything together."
Not everyone agreed with Jim. Gerry Fry was upset about part of Chuck Blores tribute to Gene Weed wherein he discounted Genes years with Armed Forces Radio. "I doubt Gene Weed would have agreed with Chuck Blore's ridiculous comment in Friday's column that Gene was a baby, 24, just out of Armed Forces Radio and only about 3 years real experience, AFRS certainly didn't count. AFRS doesn't count?" a fired up Fry emailed. "Wasn't REAL experience? What hogwash! Just ask Casey Kasem, Bob Kingsley, Al Lohman, Humble Harve, Roger Carroll, Ray Briem, Pat Sajak, Larry Gelbart, Fritz Coleman, Robert Loggia, George Kennedy, and dozens of other successful people in the business if they think AFRTS provided any REAL experience that helped them get where they are today. I don't know what experience Mr. Blore had with AFRS, if any, but, as the long-time AFRTS Director of Programming [now retired], I can assure him that for at least the last 30 years, AFRTS has based its worldwide operations on generally-accepted U.S. broadcast standards in both equipment and on-air professionalism. Gene was one of those who benefited from his AFRS training, and I know the AFRTS family joins the rest of us in mourning his loss." Roger Carroll added: "I talked with Gene quite often when his son Kent and I were working on the Smothers Brothers Show, [Kent was the AD and later directed the show]. Gene and I talked about our days at AFRTS and how important that experience was to our careers. That time did count to Gene, myself and many others who served at AFRTS," emailed Roger.
KLOS took a hit on the front page of the LA Times Business section on Saturday. "A lawsuit filed Friday accused Walt Disneys KLOS of violating anti-discrimination and harassment laws last year through an on-air promotion that distributed Black Hoes black plastic gardening tools to listeners and advertisers. The suit brought by a worker at the station contends the company required employees, including African Americans, to pack and ship the promotional gifts despite staff protests that the campaign was racially offensive." The Times said that talk show hosts Mark & Brian have a reputation for controversial promotions and built the "Black Hoe" campaign around a double-entendre involving a slang pronunciation of the word "whore." "The lawsuit contends that KLOS traffic manager Judy Goodwin has suffered daily harassment and retaliation by managers and co-workers since complaining about the racist and sexually degrading promotion to Disneys human resources department." The suit goes on to contend that Goodwin, who is black and has worked at KLOS for 19 years, got into a verbal dispute with KLOS gsm Leonard Madrid and it "escalated into a physical altercation that sent her to the hospital with a fractured arm," according to the Times report.
KFWB continues its business breakfast series on August 19 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Speakers include Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, owners of the Border Grill in Santa Monica and Ciudad in L.A. Also on the bill Stephen Gnass, head of the national Congress of Inventor Organizations and Vicki Torres the small business columnist for the LA Times. If you do business in the Southland or own a business, this is an excellent opportunity to discover entrepreneurship in Los Angeles.
Jonathan Weiss is looking for an LARP. "I do some freelance stringer work for CBS Sports/Westwood One, ABC Sports and ESPN. I also volunteer at my college radio station KSBR-Mission Viejo. The reason I am writing is because when I was a child, my father was a Santa Ana police officer and was very good friends with a jock named Earl who used to work for KWIZ back in the days of non-stop gold. I don't remember his last name and last I heard, he was teaching or doing classes of some sort. I realize that the Earl reference is vague, but if you remember, I'd love to get in contact with him!" Jonathans number is 949.887.4417.
Last week we reported that Mary Ellen Geist was the reporter in the hot tub with alleged Yosemite Park murder Carey Stayner. The former KFWB reporter is now a reporter for KGO-San Francisco. Heres a first hand report from Mary Ellen Geist describing her experiences:
"Bizarre. That's the only way to describe what has happened to me in the wake of the arrest of Carey Stayner. On Saturday, July 24th, I opened up the newspaper and saw his face: the man suspected of beheading a woman in Yosemite and murdering three tourists. I got goosebumps. He was the man I had met and talked with for about a half hour in a jacuzzi at the Cedar Lodge in mid-March while covering what was then the disappearance of those three tourists: Carole Sund, her daughter Julie, and their friend, Sylvina Pelloso. He told me was a maintenance man at the Lodge; that he had been laid off but was renting a room from his employers. I asked him if he knew anything about the missing tourists. Nothing he said. Nothing more than you guys know. He told me about the tragedy in his family. His brother Stephen had been kidnapped and molested for seven years and, just when he was getting his life back on track, had been killed in a motorcycle accident. He talked about the trauma it caused him. I thought to myself at the time how open he was. But I also thought it was odd he was telling a stranger such deep, dark secrets. After about twenty five minutes, he looked at me in a way that made me uncomfortable. For some reason, I quickly went back to my room. Then I pushed a chair and another piece of furniture up against the door.
Now, five months later, he was a man who may have murdered four people. I called KGO News Director Greg Tantum. I believe I said to him I was in a jacuzzi with this guy. Should we tell anyone? We agreed it was an eerie chance encounter. But as we spoke, we decided it said something about this man: that he could sit and calmly talk with me while FBI agents, police, and reporters swarmed the area, looking for HIM. We decided I would talk about my experience on the news Monday morning with Jim and Ted. Soon afterwards, ABC -7 TV appeared. Then the phone started ringing. It seemed this experience appealed to the mass media and to the public's morbid curiosity about the mind of a confessed serial killer. I did interviews with Good Morning America, CNN and other networks, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, Newsweek and radio and television stations from New York to Seattle to Orlando to Boston to Germany.
I keep going over the events of that day in March at the Cedar Lodge and wishing I had done something. I am haunted by it in the same way the FBI - which questioned and then released Stayner - is probably haunted by it. I keep thinking: what could I have done? These are questions none of us will ever answer."
Joe "Boomer" Servantez, one of the original jocks at "Power 106" when the station changed from KMGG, has just been hired at Metro Network for news and traffic. "I haven't had the opportunity to fill in yet. I've had formal news training from the hour long news blocks I used to do back in my home state of Kansas. Ive also done local, state, national, and world, closing grain prices, pork bellies, stocks, and play by play. I even used to chase tornadoes in the news girl's car just like the movie Twister. So although many people may think of Boomer as a hiphop or dance dj, I've done soooo much more. I even used to play Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Lanie Kazan and the living strings orchestra on Sunday mornings then AC/DC, Genesis, REO, Van Halen when I worked nights all on the same station, KIUL-Garden City, Kansas
Brian Whitman has just completed day four on the set of Pride and Peril. "I am having lots of fun!," emailed Brian Ken Levine directed the Becker episode that airs tonight on CBS at 9:30. "No one bumps into any furniture and every camera is in focus. I'm pretty proud of it," said Ken.
More nominations for most annoying song. "I have to say the worst song that I ever had to play was Pac Man Fever by Buckner and Garcia. It was a hit in 1982 and at KIIS we played the heck out of it," emailed Raul Moreno...Bill (between career opportunities) Alexander hated the "interminable intro" on The Way We Were Rich Johnson in Pasadena votes for Chick-A-Boom by Daddy Dewdrop.
Doug Roberts, aka Sluggo, has left KROQ again. "Eighteen months ago when Doug came back to KROQ he made it clear to pd Kevin Weatherly that he had other career goals," emailed KROQ operations director Scott Mason. "Since that time Doug has been pursuing a career as a 911 dispatcher in San Diego. A position recently opened and Doug took it. He will still do occasional weekend shifts at KROQ."
Lots going on in Ventura County. Harvey Kern is an active contributor to this site and for 20 years worked at KNJO/KMDY. Harvey reports: "Controversy rages in Eastern Ventura County over recent programming changes by local public radio station and NPR affiliate KCLU-FM (88.3), Thousand Oaks. On July 19th, the station--newest NPR affiliate--summarily ended several weekday news/talk programs produced locally and replaced them with added NPR programming. The move was designed to create a wider appeal for the listener supported station--the only NPR affiliate in California, which does not receive state or federal funds. Based at California Lutheran University, KCLU still carries local news stories and jazz programming, according to pd Jeff Barry. Letters protesting the changes have flooded local newspapers in the area, but it appears unlikely that they will result in any change in the station's position. KCLU primarily serves Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties."
OL H.H. Huntin With Hunter
(August 10, 1999) On September 25, 1954, comedian Stan Freberg had his record parody of the Chords song Sh-Boom played on the CBS show Jukebox Jury, a show that featured new music and a panel of judges who voted a Hit or a Miss. Stan was quoted in Billboard as saying about his parody, "I hope this puts an end to r&b." The article quoted r&b dj Hunter Hancock: "Itll take more than Freberg to stop r&b!"
What Alan Freed was to r&b on the East Coast, Hunter Hancock was to r&b on the West Coast. He set a standard for a new generation of kids who were ready to embrace anything but the prevailing Pop Standards of Perry Como, Doris Day and Patti Page.
The voice was unmistakable to a youngster growing up on the beach in Santa Monica with his tube-infested Philco "portable" radio. "From bebop to ballad, swing to sweet, and blues to boogie some of the very best in rhythm and blues records, featuring some of the greatest and most popular musicians, Negro singers, and entertainers in the world." That was how he opened his show. The man in control was Hunter Hancock, long before there was Chuck Blore, Boss Radio, 11-10 Men or Color Radio.
Hunter arrived in Los Angeles when I was two years old, in 1943. By the time I discovered radio and the world of the disc jockey in my pre-teen years, KLAC and KMPC dominated the personality radio dial playing Pop Standards. Tucked away in a small house with no air conditioning on Sunset Boulevard, at the current site of the Cinerama Dome Theatre, was KGFJ. In a house full of personalities, Hunter had the insight to play the most popular r&b records of the day. He didnt play Rick Nelsons Im Walkin. He played the original by Fats Domino. Today you wouldnt think twice about what Hunter did, but at the time it was a big deal.
When Hunter arrived in L.A. he started working at KFVD (1020AM). He had an hour show on Sundays sponsored by Todds Clothing Store. "My job was to appeal to the Negro customer so I played jazz music and the rest of the time I was the staff announcer," Hunter told me by phone from his retirement home in Claremont. By the late 1940s a fortuitous meeting with a rep from Modern Records encouraged Hunter to play "race" records, which was rhythm n blues music. "I started with one race record a show and the reaction was so strong that the next show I played two and soon my entire show was r&b. My show very quickly went to one hour, then one and a half and a little over a year I was on 3 and a half hours a day," said Hunter. In 1950 the Sentinel newspaper said Hunter was the most popular dj in Los Angeles among the Negro population.
Hunter was born on Good Friday, April 21, 1916. Hunter was born white in Uvalde, Texas. His father built stone buildings in Hico, Texas. "When that job ended my father led a big brass band. During World War One we lived in New Mexico where my dad worked in a mine for the war efforts. After the war we went back to Uvalde and my dad raised fighting gamecocks, which was legal then. He also repaired and tuned pianos. I was two weeks out of high school when he died." Hunters mother was a piano teacher and his brothers have gone on to careers in music. His older brother was a violinist in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the other played in a dance orchestra.
Before Hunter got to Los Angeles he worked on the radio in San Antonio and Laredo. "Where I came from there was no respect for black people. In Los Angeles, my entire career I played black music and worked with black people. They are wonderful people. Thank God I changed," Hunter said. You can imagine the shock of the black people when he first appeared at concerts at Wrigley Field, sock hops, and the Lincoln Theatre and they saw for the first time that the man leading the r&b music radio charge was white. The white people were shocked to learn that he was white. "The black people accepted me because I was playing their music when no one else was," Hunter emphasized.
At one time during the 1950s Hunter worked 2 ½ hours in the evening at KGFJ, 3 ½ hours on KPOP in the afternoons and a gospel show on Sundays. KFVD became KPOP and it was in the mid-1950s that I first met Hunter when I was a gofer for Earl McDaniel. Hunter recorded his evening show from his office in Hollywood and his on-air partner, Margi, would play it back. (He was "shocked" to learn that Margi, who became Morgan Williams, died on July 17.) Why did you record your show? "I was single and wanted to go out in the evenings. It was as simple as that."
In 1955, KNXT (now KCBS)\Channel 2 gave Hunter a half-hour on Friday nights to feature a show with local black artists. "We had everyone from Duke Ellington to Fats Domino to Little Richard," remembered Hunter. The show was called Rhythm n Bluesville.
Hunter was a hunter. The walls of his office were filled with his prize trophies. "Your hunting wouldnt go over so well today?" I asked. He was quick to retort, "If you dont hunt, the herds get out of control and they die of malnutrition. Most people dont know that." I asked if he had any of his animal trophies left? "A wolverine. Im looking at it right now. Its sitting on top of a wall unit. I dont know where the rest are. For a while I had them stored next to a gun shop where some of the boys would gather every Tuesday and tell lies. The rest were kept at a gas station in Glendale, but the guy went out of business and I never saw him or them again." He has killed buffalo, moose, elk, deer antelope and goats. He has camped or visited 49 states and hunted in California, Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, British Columbia, Mexico and Texas.
In the late summer of 1982, Hunter was camping with his wife Dorothy in an isolated area. Two days later he was home when he experienced chest pains. He was rushed to Cedars Sinai Hospital. "Two days earlier and I would have been camping and I wouldnt be here today," Hunter said matter-of-factly. He was going to have three-way by-pass heart surgery but the vein in his leg was so good, they did a six-way by-pass surgery.
I asked Hunter if he thinks much about those glory days in early Southern California radio? "Only when someone reminds me. At my retirement home there are a couple of workers who remember my radio work," according to Hunter. He quit radio because of the "nervous strain" of putting together daily shows, mcing at records hops, running a record label. "I was taking Valium four times a day and finally got off that and started taking Zantac," he said. "My stomach is not really in great shape and my heart has been acting up." His wife of 42 years passed away in February.
Hunter continues to talk these days. "Im still using my mouth yakking it up," volunteered Hunter when asked about how he fills his days. He records text at the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic eight hours a week. In my retirement manor I try to do everything I can do to make the people here feel good. Many are depressed and getting old." The 83-year old recounted a recent dinner conversation where everyone talked about his or her spouses. "I told them that I promised my wife that I would never marry again," said Hunter. One elderly lady swooned, "My heart is breaking knowing I dont have a chance to marry you, Hunter." Another offered: "Who would want to marry him?" Those at the table laughed. Last Saturday night Hunter entertained the people living in his manor with music and airchecks from the Cruisin series. He told the marriage story to the delight of the group. "People cheered me up when I was sick. Now its my turn," said Hunter.
Hunter Hancock was a pioneer in the history of Los Angeles radio. He led the charge in the airing of r&b music when no one else was. His contribution to Southland radio has been indelibly etched.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Mimi Chen-Spring and Jack Danahy
(Thanks to Bill Ward for
providing the program
from Gene Weed's
Standards, Swing and Changes, Too
(August 11, 1999) A little over a year ago, Frank Sinatra died. All the local tv stations descended on KLAC to get footage of the djs receiving requests for Sinatra music and maybe some comments, too. General manager Ed Krampf politely told the news crews that there were no djs because the programming came via satellite. It was at that point that Ed decided he was going to have a live Pop Standards operation and he hired Bob Hamilton who had much success with KABL in San Francisco to put the station together. His first hire was three-decade market veteran Charlie Tuna who continues in morning drive. Bob launched the format and is now leaving. "I am moving my base of operations to WMXJ-Miami," emailed Bob. "Ill be working for Jefferson-Pilot and will still be doing KABL." Who will replace Bob at KLAC? "The music is in place and theres a lot of knowledge in the building," remarked Ed. "Were going to be just fine. There will be life after Bob. He got us launched." Ed dispelled speculation that KLAC might abandon the live Pop Standards format and acquire the Music of Your Life service. "I want live, local announcers to make personal appearances and to endorse products."
KZLA morning man Bob Harvey was let go yesterday. The move comes only days after the program director Bill Fink was dismissed Ray Briem will be leaving his daily show at KIEV by the end of the month, according to several inside sources. Listen for other changes at the Salem station.
KABC production whiz Howard Hoffman just returned from vacation and he shares part of his journal with us. "Negril, Jamaica is one place to get away from radio. FAR away. Cuba jams practically every AM signal from the states. Highly recommended. We stayed at a cottage on the cliffs and heard nothing but the ocean and distant reggae for two weeks [we spent our honeymoon there last year, but it was only for six days]. It was about 90 degrees and humid, but you get used to it after being there for oh, several years I'm guessing. Bonnie and I rented a motorbike and ate our way from the beach to the cliffs. The best food was at the Rockhouse, but stay away Thursdays around 2 p.m. because one of the all-inclusives sends a cruiser full of naked guests into the area. Yeesh. Nothing better with lobster and limeade than a swinging boatload of cellulite doing the lambada. It psychologically scarred us for life. Biking gave us the freedom to crash every resort, swimming pool, beach and amenity in town - all for the price of our rental [which was remarkably inexpensive during the off-season]. Perfect for the average LARP's salary. We say, Do it. Oh, and we flew from Florida to LAX with Hulk Hogan and his family. Great guy. I wanted him to try to lift my suitcase. He hit the flight attendant over the head with a folding chair because he didn't get his kosher meal. Then he posed for pictures. A great trip. 3-1/2 stars."
Native Texan Charlie Van Dyke lost a bet to Joni Caryl when Cleveland beat Dallas on Monday Night Football. Charlie had to pay off the bet with a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. Charlie solicited a truck driver to make the trip to Orange County and found a tow truck driver to make the pick up and he arrived at the "K-Earth" studios with horns blaring and lights flashing. This morning the truck drivers sister called Charlie to complain that her brother never did anything that nice for her.
Missed Neil Ross and Larry Huffman wandering the grounds at KFIs Stimuland last Sunday. You cant miss Neils work on tv. He has been narrating some E! True Hollywood Stories lately. He also did a two-hour segment on Diana, Princess of Wales, which has already aired twice. His two-hour Elizabeth Taylor segment he narrated reruns tonight at 9 .KFI marketing maven Stuart Turner emailed to say the final gate count at Stimuland was just over 20,000 with 10,000 at any one time.
Ted Quillin, original KFWB Color Radio dj, and his wife Eve are on the road in Branson, Missouri visiting Eve's daughter. "What a beautiful place," emailed Ted. "Will write you with the news from the Ozarks when we get back to Las Vegas. So sorry to hear of Gene Weed's passing. Have some wonderful memories of Gene, which I will share when we get home and on our own computer. In the meantime we are looking at LARADIO.COM every day, to keep up with 'our' real world."
Good news from Carrie Dunn at KIKF. She was nominated for the 1999 Billboard/Airplay Monitor Radio Awards for Music Director of the Year - Country - Secondary Market. "I'm very excited about this. Nominees were determined by a write in ballot in Airplay Monitor. The final ballot will run in the August 21 issue of Billboard in the August 13 issue of Airplay Monitors." Winners will be announced October 9th.
Gil Stratton, retired longtime KNX and Channel 2 sports anchor, was an actor early in his career. Tonight on KNXs drama hour, the lead in "Escape" is none other than Gil. The episode is "The Drums Fore & Aft" and Gil is a British drummer boy in India. Gil also starred in classic movies Stalag 17 and The Wild Ones.
Recently Mark & Brian and newsman Chuck Moshontz were reminiscing about past radio jobs before getting to KLOS. Chuck worked in Las Vegas, Dallas, Boston and Seattle. "I was once working for a tv station in Las Vegas and it was a hostage situation," said Chuck. "A guy was in a house and he had a gun and he had fired shots. So youve got this scene that went on for a couple of hours. The police are surrounding this house in a residential neighborhood and theyre all behind cars and theyve got guns drawn. All the stuff you see on tv. And theres all of us from the news media and we all know each other and were strutting around casually, just shooting the breeze and the police keep yelling get down and it wasnt that we were ignoring the police. They were responding like police and we were responding like reporters. That was kind of a weird, dangerous situation."
The Hunter Hancock piece yesterday provoked many memories. Bruce Harris from San Pedro wrote: "Today's [8/10] is the best work you have ever done for the column. The tribute to Hunter Hancock obviously came from some very special personal memories, and I'm kind of sorry I was born too late ('50) to have been aware of him. I was, however, greatly impressed by the fact that he does a number of sessions a week reading for the blind and dyslexic. The letter from Gene Weed's son was also very moving. Almost enough to make me quit smoking. Anyway, just wanted to let you know how good I thought today's column was." Steve Ray shares a memory about Hunter: "One of my most prized possessions is a pristine aircheck of Hunter Hancock on KPOP from 1953. Growing up in the turbulent Old South atmosphere of Washington, DC in the 50's & 60's, it would have been very easy to develop the same inane feelings towards black people that HH experienced in Texas in the 40's. For me, it was an invitation to listen to records in the basement of a black classmate that broke down those attitudes. For many in Los Angeles, it was Hunter's personality that cut through the barriers. To listen to those airchecks today is to get a lesson in what radio is all about. HH had a high-pitched, often frenetic delivery, proving that you don't have to have the deepest set of pipes to make the biggest impact. It was all about having a real love for the music and the artists, and translating that respect into something the listeners could grab onto. It's the feeling that Hunter was talking directly to you, not at you. It's a lesson more card readers and screamers and pukers need to learn...no matter what the format. Thank you Don for presenting the story of an important pioneer on your pages," emailed Steve "That reminiscence about Hunter Hancock was terrific," emailed Gene Sculatti from Billboard. "I'd only heard him on airchecks and the Cruisin series but always appreciated his enthusiasm for the music and his genuinely upbeat style. That sort of thing, it seems, is in ever shorter supply in radio as time goes on."
Zoe Walrond has been working at KFWB for the past year and a half. "Im usually anchoring in the early mornings hours filling in for Jim Burson or Bob Howard," emailed Zoe. Before joining the all-News station, Zoe did the news on KABC during the Michael Jackson Show and was the morning news anchor on KPCC. "Actually I've been in the business for years. I worked as a television reporter and anchor at KOA in Denver and WDAF/TV in Kansas City, under the name Zoe McCray." She was born in Greencastle, Indiana, and moved to Kokomo at 5. "My father was from Pittsburgh and my mother from Minnesota -- but he was a Presbyterian minister and spent most of his career in Indiana," said Zoe. "I got hooked on radio because my dad had a Sunday night radio show [sort of a religious hour] at the local radio station in Kokomo. Would you believe the call letters actually were WIOU. I would go out to the station with him every Sunday night. It was located at the site of the tower, in the middle of a cornfield. But oh, once we got inside. The glass partitions; the microphones, the speakers, turntables, the weird stuff on the walls.....wow. And then to watch my daddy talk into the mic and hear it through the speaker. Didn't every little girl from the Midwest want to be on the radio?" Zoe majored in radio and tv at Indiana University and after graduation began moving around the country. From Indiana to Washington, DC to Pueblo, Colorado to Colorado Springs to Denver to Kansas City to Los Angeles. Shes a student of Zen. Her husband, Myron Levin, is an investigative reporter with the LA Times.
Former KMPC newsman Scott Shurian has jumped into the discussion on the importance of AFRTS. This is all in response to Chuck Blores remark about the late Gene Weed and his service with AFRTS. "I put in three plus years with the AFN station in Munich, Germany back in the 1950s," emailed Scott. "Worked everything from dj to sports to news and programming. I must have learned something, on my return to the U.S. A 50kw clear channel station in Dallas immediately hired me. From there my career took me to L.A. and eventually a network slot with ABC. I know a bunch of AFRTS grads who not only learned a lot but also put what they learned into worthwhile, practical and professional broadcast projects. Sorry Chuck, you missed the boat on this one." Rick Scarry added some more names to the list of people who count their years doing Armed Forces Radio as very important to their careers. "My entire broadcasting career was born at AFRTS on the AFN European Network," emailed Rick. "Other LA people who were part of it include Gene Gleeson of Channel 7 News, Paul Dandridge of Channel 2 News and Don Burns of KTWV.
Randy West worked at KMGG in the mid-1980s. While growing up in New York he was the chapter president of WABCs Cousin Bruce Morrow fan club. After leaving "Magic 106" in 1987, Randy became the announcer for Hour Magazine and The Chuck Woolery Show and a number of game shows including Trivial Pursuit. Randy checks in: "I continue in a voiceover career that keeps my mortgage paid, and keeps me from having to take a real job." Randys on the Nestles Tandem spots now running. "Wonderful to find your site, and of course now have it bookmarked," concluded Randy. If you worked with Randy and want to say hello: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ill be on assignment Thursday. This column will resume on Friday. This is the time to review the Where Are They Now? page. You will find hundreds of photos of your favorite LARP and perhaps you will know the whereabouts of some "unknown" radio people.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: (8/11) John Frost -- (8/12) Jerry Lee, Charlie O'Donnell, Wendi
Trifecta to Program Country KZLA
(August 13, 1999) Following the departure of KZLAs pd Bill Fink, gm Dave Ervin has created a new "Programming Team." Dave, who was Bonnevilles national pd prior to being elevated to gm, says he will serve for at least the foreseeable future as gm/senior consultant and steer the stations programming. The KZLA "Programming Team" will be made up of Dave, marketing director Marida Pitijean, who has been elevated to interim operations manager and music director, Mandy McCormack, who has been promoted to apd. "I want to take the power of Nashville and the power of Hollywood and combine them to make a great radio station," said Dave. A new morning show (morning driver Bob Harvey was let go earlier this week) will be announced at a press conference Monday morning.
KZLA has been languishing in the ratings for years and many industry leaders, reflecting on the strength of Country numbers elsewhere, feel the station has never realized its potential. Some stations, like KRTH, need a new coat of paint. KZLA on the other hand needs some grenade marketing. The difference between the two is the recent revitalization of KIIS. KIIS has been a market leader for decades. Last year pd Dan Kieley gave KIIS a new coat of paint. He shook up the staff, refocused the music and promoted the heck out of the station jumping on every headline grabbing act like n Sync, Ricky Martin and Backstreet Boys. The station has been on fire in the ratings and revenues ever since. I liken the task at KZLA to many challenges Ive faced in the past. In some situations you just have to pull the pin and throw the grenade in the middle of the room and find a solution before it goes off. The process wakes people up to the urgency of the situation and that is when the B-I-G Idea comes about. If the B-I-G Idea doesnt come, that tells you volumes about who is sitting in the room. Are these the people you want to be in the foxhole with when the scud missiles are heading your way or when someone pulls the pin on the grenade?
Bill Handel shared with his KFI morning drive audience about his addiction to drugs. "I had been a coke addict for four years. I started snorting cocaine in 1979 studying for the bar while working full-time. I had a construction business. I had to study many hours for the bar and something had to give. Back in the 70s, cocaine was the thing and I started snorting cocaine. By the time I had taken the bar, I was a full-blown addict. For the next four years I went through an awful lot of money and snorted a lot of cocaine. Finally one July evening in the summer of 1983 I hit bottom." Bill claims he has been straight since hitting bottom.
Robert Dornan, former talk show host at KLAC and KABC and former U.S. Congressman from Garden Grove is starting a new syndicated talk show. No word on whether an L.A. station will carry him In the spring of this year Dennis Martinez left "Mega 100" for KDON-Monterey. He has added music duties to his life Have you tried the Internet radio yet? Ally McSqueal will be on www.knac.com tonight at midnight Thanks to a number of you who were concerned with no column yesterday. Geoff Edwards was typical. "My day, and I'd wager many others, was not complete without my daily dose of LARADIO.COM. I hope you are not ill." Some would question the illness part of your concern but I had to take a meeting in Columbus, Ohio yesterday. If you have ever been there, you know there is no easy direct way to get there. Thanks for the emails Gennifer Flowers, author of Sleeping with the President, guests with George Putnam at KIEV this afternoon LARP Ed Arnolds replacement at KTLA/Channel 5, Claudia Trejos, continues to get hammered in the press for her, as the LA Times Larry Stewart puts it kindly, "her struggles with the English language." The NY Times has now picked up on the story. Incidentally, is there anyone nicer than Ed Arnold? John Kennedy of Bellflower was listening to the "Dawg Pound" yesterday during lunch with Dave Denholm, Newy Scruggs, along with KXTA operations manager Mike Thompson who announced that NFL Hall of Fame quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Fox NFL analyst Terry Bradshaw will have his own show on "XTRA Sports 1150" during the noon lunch hour beginning August 23.
Mark Wilson, Frank Murphy, Anne Litt and Anthony Schermerhorn, the morning team at "Y107," is at the Morning Show Bootcamp in New Orleans Ryan Seacrest looks very comfortable sitting in the Sam Rubin KTLA/Channel 5 Morning chair...Steve Knight hosts a food and dining show at 4 tomorrow on KRLA Bill Ogden, frequent contributor to this column from the Northwest, reports that Pat Cashman, who Mark & Brian replaced on "The Buzz," has found a new home at Seattles KOMO (1000AM). Cashman told a local newspaper "Ill still be the same dumb guy that I was before and thats a guarantee."
Scott Shurian was a newsman for over a decade in Southern California at XTRA and KMPC. He now lives in Salt Lake City. "I am alive and well in downtown Salt Lake City. The tornado touched down about a mile or so from where I live but caused no damage to my place, just outed the power for several hours," emailed Scott. "It was sort of like old times for me. The fire bell rang and this old fire horse came running out of the building to cover the event for the ABC radio networks out of New York. For those of you who may not know, I was a reporter for ABC for about 8 years in my other life. I'm also pretty good at covering disasters, I've done of a lot of that for ABC and CBS. So I filed about 30 reports with ABC after surveying most of the downtown damage...all within two miles of my home. As any news guy or gal will tell ya, things like this really get the adrenaline going."
KABC pd Drew Hayes is profiled in the current issue of R&R. The sub headline is "ABCs Los Angeles radio flagship seeks resurrection, respect." The long story by Al Peterson offers nothing new that hasnt been covered on these pages. He says when he came aboard a little over a year ago, whatever success KABC was enjoying at the time, it was little more than residue from better days. Drew described his task to Peterson. "Its a pretty simple game of pitch and catch. Generally speaking, the station needs to be dealing with issues of relevance to people in Southern California. KABC is a smart and funny radio station with big personalities who talk about issues Southern Californians are interested in." Drew got another opportunity to promote his new morning team. "John & Ken not only bring to KABC the element of a track record of success and the fact that they are legitimate stars in the Los Angles radio market, but theyre also dying to win! And that has had an immediate, gigantic impact on the radio station in just the first few weeks since theyve been here." Drew said that KFI was his primary competitor. "If youre going fishing, go where the fish are and in our case that means KFI. I always assume that all of our competitors are smarter than we are, and that theyre always going to make the right move. Thats why we have to be at 110% all the time."
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jacque Gonzales James and Mark Mendoza
(August 14, 1999) We Get Email
** Memory Flogger
"Thanks for this Web page. I was wondering whatever happened to George Putnam and Dick Whittinghill and was persistent enough to make it to your page. It's quite a memory flogger seeing the various names, mostly from years gone by that I recall. I grew up in L.A. and West Covina but left 25 years ago. My dad, now deceased and his twin brother, still very active at age 82, went to USC with Cleve Hermann. Ole Cleve, like Stan Chambers, had an astonishingly long career at one L.A. station no less. These days radio is like musical chairs.
No one in our immediate family was in broadcasting. I was intrigued by it as a kid and still enjoy and appreciate the personalness and illusion of the radio medium. My kids get a real kick out the few old radio Dragnet shows I'll play in the car on a long trip. The tv show was nothing more than the radio script with a camera.
Dad used to mention various people he went to school with at USC who did broadcasting such as Cleve, Jack Slattery [announced Art Linkletter's House Party I think], Stan Chambers [came to USC a couple of years after dad], John Beradino who died not too long ago and some others I've forgotten. You know, the WWII vet generation is getting long in years now and you have to admire those that are still active, preferring that to retirement.
I've bookmarked your page and will visit from time to time. There's a KFWB page of bloopers I ran across a year or so ago. You'd like it and have probably heard most of them. By the way, my all time favorite blooper was on KFWB during a time when the California Prune Board was doing advertising. The ad was a grocery checkout clerk naming off the items as she tallied the register and when she got to prunes broke up laughing and there was voice over the PA that said 'Could we have a replacement at checkstand #4?' Well, a couple of minutes later back into the KFWB news, I think it was Herb Humphries who botches a line and the news partner says 'Can we have a replacement on mike #4?' They promptly dissolved and could not continue even after several ad breaks and finally the team for the bottom of the hour had to be moved up. It was hilarious and I've never heard a gaffe like that since. Thanks again." - Bob Elliott, Meridian, Mississippi
** If Its 10 Past the Hour, Which Hour?
"I'm not a radio professional, just a guy who enjoys listening to our various L.A. stations and reading the inside scoop on your Web site. It's a daily read, thanks.
Am I the only one who has a problem with talk shows that start out local and then syndicate to other markets? I'm very supportive of the talent who work so hard to carve out a niche for themselves but as a listener, I shudder when I hear that my favorites are going to be heard in other areas.
Why? Well, mostly because we lose the local flavor that makes radio such a personal medium. Suddenly, issues have to be 'of national interest' or so broad that everyone starts to sound the same. Even the banter among the on-air folks gets canned. For example, a handoff from the host to a local traffic or news reporter. Where it used to be so, what's happening in the news, Carol? Is it still hot out there? now becomes a recorded Here's the news. The time of day even becomes a generic it's 22 minutes past the hour. The hosts rarely even acknowledge what city they are in [kudos to Tom Leykis for doing so!] for fear of offending some listener someplace who thinks the broadcast is coming from his local town.
I know, it's small stuff but to be honest, I do think it makes a difference and I end up tuning out when shows become so bland. Just my two cents worth. Keep up the nice work." - Sheldon Lefkowitz, West Los Angeles
** Quillin Clan Remembers Gene Weed
"I was saddened to hear of Gene Weed's death. We had a special relationship. Gene opened the door for me with AFRTS. He called, told me that they [AFRTS] had an opening and asked if I was interested. Gene supported and recommended me to everyone he knew there. It turned out to be one of the most important and richest experiences of my entire radio career. I was a little apprehensive, because I didn't know what they expected of me. What I heard from them was the GREATEST compliment that any personality disc jockey could hear: We like your style, you've got a great voice and there are no music restrictions. You can play anything you want to play. We just want your personality on our network!
There were none of the hidden ego power trips. Lt.Col. [RET.] Bruce Wendell was my producer and absolutely the greatest! We had a great relationship for many years. We laughed a lot! The other part of the team was our engineer, Sandy. They made the shows outstanding!
Another vitally important fact that I found with everyone I came in contact with during my years with AFRTS was that their word was their bond. A mans word is his bond. If not, nothing else he has is of value.
Even to this day, living in Las Vegas, I still receive phone calls from personnel passing through who will say Hey Quillin, I was listening to your show in Munich, or in the Mediterranean, or somewhere else in the world, just wanted to say hello. I know that somewhere in the world, on AFRTS, they're still re-running some of my old shows. Thanks to Gene Weed. My life is so much richer for knowing him. HEY GENE, BLUE SKIES AND GREEN LIGHTS !!" Ted Quillin
** From Across the Pond
"I am a BBC radio producer based in London and I have just come across your fantastic radio Web site. What a treasure trove of information! I very much hope that you might be able to help me with a very interesting project. I am producing a new BBC monthly one-hour radio programme called A World in Your Ear. This features the best in English-language radio from around the world. We have had material from all five continents in a range of styles, from phone-ins to news to documentaries to drama. But we are always looking for more unusual and distinctive material.
For the next two programmes we are particularly looking for items on two themes:
1. Stunt radio
2. Radio drama
As you obviously have your finger on the pulse of radio in L.A., you might be able to help me find material on these themes - especially stunt radio which I understand is big news right now. Any suggestions would be very gratefully received." - Hugh Levinson, London email@example.com
** Thanks for the Kudos
"Just had to say, don't know how you do it. You have to have the best on the net!" - Pete Turpel
** A Joy to Remember Joy
"This is a wonderful resource for anyone whose life has been touched by the business.
One of the people who touched my life, professionally, and as a friend, was Dick Joy, formerly with KNX, KFAC and CBS/TV -- including the voice of Playhouse 90, Sam Spade, etc.
I've lost track of the date, but Dick died in the early 80s, I believe. I had met Dick as a news writer at KFAC. He was a great mentor, as was Russ Barnett, who I notice, died at age 69. Ouch! The connection there is that Russ and Steve Bailey asked me one day, as I [age 25] sat on the plushy leather couch in Russ's none-too-palatial office in the old KMPC [now the Spaghetti Factory], how would you like to go on the air? There's only one right answer. So, I did a lot of fill in work for Pete Smith and others on KMPC, until drafted in September 1966. Everyone at KMPC was wonderful!! Glad your Web site is there." - Dale Osborn
** The Earl of Trout
"In response to Jonathan Weiss' query about a KWIZ/Santa Ana jock from the 70s named Earl- - Jonathan is referring to Earl Trout III, who held down the morning-drive slot at the Bill Weaver/Phil Davis-owned station.
Earl was a legend at KYOR/Blythe before making the move to Orange County. Pat Michaels was the pd at that time with LARP talents Jim Bain, Bill Martinez, Mike O'Neill, and voiceover extraordinaire Mike Villani also on board." Chris Parker
** Stand At Attention
"Just wanted to echo my support for AFRTS. Thanks to my friend Jim Pewter, I hosted a Modern Rock show for AFRTS in Hollywood from 1983 to 1985 that was heard around the world. Gerry Fry had assembled an astounding dream team at that time. The line-up included Dick Clark, Casey Kasem, Wolfman Jack, Charlie Tuna, Mary Turner, Bob Kingsley, Jim Pewter and Roland Bynum [to name a few]! Trust me, this was more than an experience, it was an adventure. Kudos must also go to the guys twisting the knobs and cutting the tape ... especially Denny Dewinter and Dick Jocelyn. I remember Gerry Fry's retirement party was a real shindig. Wolfman presented Gerry with a gold record for his help and support over the years. I'm sure Gerry cherishes that trophy to this day. Best regards always, Don. Thanks again for your super Web site!" - Phil Harvey
** Hunter Hancock Revisited
"I just read the H.H. article [8/10] for the third time. I really liked how you wove together the different facets of his life, past and present. Some parts of it, mostly about his radio days, leave me wanting to know more.
Maybe you can do a bit more on him later or when the next book comes out. I guess I was wondering various things about his radio career, such as, how were his ratings, or were there ratings in those days, especially before KFWB went Top 40? Maybe you could find out or ask him what he thinks was his greatest moment on the air in Los Angeles, biggest radio thrill, or happiest memory of being on the air.
He mentioned getting out of radio because of the pressure, etc. I'd like to find out if he had any fun being a dj, especially in the '50s, and what the best and worst parts of the job were for him. Also, did he have to follow a format or was he on his own? Later on, toward the end of his radio days, did he follow a format and did that have anything to do with his decision to get out of radio? There were apparently some jokes going around about KFVD being the only station in L.A. where you can get the time, temperature, and a social disease! So, the owner apparently decided to change the call letters to KPOP. Dont know how true the story is.
I liked how you opened the story with the Stan Freberg incident. I wonder what he thinks of Freberg today and if he ever met him? It sounds like Stan must've heard H.H.on the air or knew of him. I haven't heard his parody of Sh-Boom in years, but I think there was a part in there where the record producer [played by Freberg] tells the singers to mumble more, or he would take away their Hunter Hancock fan club cards, or something to that effect. I also wonder what H.H. thinks of music today and race relations today, but maybe that's not relevant to his story.
I also like how you related things in your life such as your age when H.H. came to L.A. and listening on a tube radio/Philco in Santa Monica. Quoting the opening words of his show was a cool idea too, since I never heard him before. But that opening shows how he set the mood for the music he played. Thanks for giving me some insight into this L.A. radio legend. But if he does feel like talking more someday, those are questions I'd like answered. Hope you get some good reactions to the story. Thanks again for posting it." - Jim Hilliker, Monterey
** Photo Postings
"Thanks A LOT for posting my photo on your Where Are They Now site. It's neat to be right next to Dr. Toni Grant, especially since I listen to her almost daily on my commute home each afternoon. Your site seems to get better all the time. Thanks for doing it." - Jim Governale
** The Business of the Business Hour
"Thanks for giving some attention to the business news on radio in the market. When co workers at KNX pointed out that you did a little comparison shopping, I thought, what a breath of fresh air. Seeing as how the local press doesn't pay much if any attention to news stations in this market unlike San Francisco and Dallas where I've worked before.
I think both CBS stations do a good job of offering listeners something they could previously get only on cable television. Looking through some previous emails on your site, I see you worked at the first all-News/Talk FM station in the country in my home town [WDRQ] where I shared some times with Michael Benner. I worked the Bartel station in Milwaukee before coming to the West Coast. Thanks again for the time you took to monitor the shows." - Bob McCormick, KNX
** Non-Commercial Radio
"As an alternative format station [KCSN, KUSC, KPPC, KCRW, KPFK] subscriber who deplores the moronic wastelands of Limbaugh, Dr Laura, Leykis and Stern as well as the unending plethora of interchangeable cretin co-hosts, I would appreciate more in-depth coverage of the situation concerning the Pacifica Broadcast Network and particularly KPFA. We don't have that many alternative/non commercial choices and I am distressed to see dissension in these markets which could portend a decline in future access to quality programming choices. Additionally, I would like to call your attention to two stellar offerings from KPPC in the afternoons, The World and Larry Mantle's Air Talk." - Marianne Howell, West Hills
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Dusty Morgan
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Last modified: August 17, 2000