LARadio

Passing Parade 2022

 


 

In Memoriam: 2022

 The passing parade of the Los Angeles Radio People who died this year is staggering. There was such diversity of talent represented from Top 40 to a legendary baseball announcer to an Oldie But a Goodie who entertained us for decades. Please pause for a moment to pay tribute to the men and women who were part of the rich history of Southern California radio who have turned off their microphone for the last time: 

 

Bill Pearl, January 4, (71) One of the most enthusiastic evening jocks in contemporary radio, Bill was a home boy. He died after battling cancer.

Raised in Hollywood, he went to Fairfax High School. "My father spoke six languages and I was a history major at UCLA. I wanted to teach American history, the period between the two world wars. When I walked into UCLA's radio station, KLA, my whole life changed." Bill is a magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA and also holds the degree of Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law. "It was a radio dream that paid for law school." Between KHJ and KMPC Bill became a lawyer.

Bill joined KABC "TalkRadio" in 1982 and for the better part of a decade did air work for the market's then-top rated AM outlet. Bill hosted and produced his own newstalk programs and teamed as a commentator/debater with Bill Press (of CNN's Crossfire and their show was called "Dueling Bills") and in an intervening period with the ACLU's Ramona Ripston, for a Point-Counterpoint show.

In 1976, he became a consultant with Tom Greenleigh to help rebuild Top 40 KRLA, and they created the "Hitman" concept that brought automation to life. The “Hitmen” looked for homemade signs of the KRLA call letters which were showing up in every Southland neighborhood. "We beat the assumed-unbeatable KHJ with a small budget semi-automated outlet." Bill celebrated the feat by doing a live show from KRLA's old Pasadena studios as "Jack Cheese." Bill is a published freelance writer, whose op-ed articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Times and countless dailies across the country. He was married to former KFWB Orange County Bureau chief, Sharon Katchen. They lived in Long Beach and had triplets. He published LBReport.com.


Bill Seward, January 14, (61) William Evan "Bill" Seward was a play-by-play announcer for NBC Sports. He died of cancer.

Bill's award-winning career included major radio stations, KNX, KFWB and KFI and TV Sports anchor work at KCBS, KNBC, NBC Universal and ESPN. Bill was a consummate broadcast professional whose versatility and ability to adapt led to him calling events in two different Olympic Games and doing national play-by-play for sports like rugby, winter sports, horse racing and many others. And no summary of Bill's life would be complete without noting his acting and voice-over talents. He appeared in feature films and television shows and was voice-over talent for many national and regional advertising campaigns.

In addition to calling various professional and college sports in America, Seward was “on the mic” for NBC’s Olympic rugby coverage, Rugby World Cup, Rugby World Cup Sevens, Rugby Sevens World Series, Varsity Cup, Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, FIS Nordic Skiing World Cup, European Figure Skating Championships, FINA Synchronized Swimming World Cup, Vuelta a Espana, Eneco Cycling Tour, Tour of Belgium, Tour of Norway, 4 Days of Dunkirk, Paris Marathon, IBU Biathlon World Championships, Tour de Ski and the Four Hills World Cup ski jumping event. Seward also has appeared on NBC’s Early Today along with programs on MSNBC, CNBC, USA Network, Universal Sports and the horse racing network, TVG.

He earned several Golden Mikes as a sports anchor with CBS Radio in Los Angeles, and been honored with multiple "Best Radio Anchor Staff" awards, the top honor presented by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association. Seward hosted “DodgerTalk” on the Dodgers Radio Network and has been voted "Top Sports Update Anchor" a record thirteen times by the Los Angeles Daily News.  

Seward previously anchored for ESPN, hosting such shows as SportsCenter, ESPNEWS and 2Day at the Races. While at ESPN, Seward was a regular contributor to ABC's World News This Morning. He also was part of ESPN's Summer Olympic Games coverage and was one of the hosts for NBC’s Olympic Zone. In addition to sports anchoring, Seward has been in feature films such as Steve Jobs, Nightcrawler, Good Kill, Zodiac, Ruby and Recount, along with appearances on television shows The Dress Up Gang, I’m Dying Up Here, Scandal, Revenge, Key & Peele, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Touch, Medium, Everybody Hates Chris, The Event and several others. Seward also was the host of Sega’s popular video game, “Virtual Fighter 5.”  

Seward began his television career as Sports Director at KVIQ in Eureka, California, followed by stops at KATY in Oxnard and WNHT/TV in Concord, New Hampshire, before returning home. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Seward was the nation’s youngest head football coach at Saint Bernard High School in Playa del Rey, where he was honored as "Bay Area Coach of the Year." He coached at Saint Bernard and at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and he had the privilege of working with several future MLB, NBA and NFL players.  

Michael Jackson, January 15, (87) The former rock and roll dj was a midday mainstay at News/Talk KABC for over three decades. He had been sufffering from Parkinson's disease.

Michael’s father owned several pubs in London and when he was 11, the family moved to South Africa, where Michael became fluent in Afrikaans. But he always imagined himself in radio, and by the time he was 16 (and finished high school) he was on the air in Johannesburg, having lied about his age. He trained with the BBC.

Michael started his American radio career in Springfield, Massachusetts and moved quickly to the Bay Area where he played rock music at KYA and KEWB. In San Francisco he was known as Michael Scotland, and his program was called "Scotland's Yard."

In 1963, Michael hosted a two-hour Hootenanny show on KHJ. In 1965, when the format switched to "Boss Radio," he moved to KNX. The same year he became a U.S. citizen and married into Hollywood royalty. His wife Alana is the daughter of the late actor Alan Ladd, the man who played Shane. He won a local Emmy while hosting KCOP/Channel 13's The Big Question series. 

A 1974 LA Times profile said, "He is of small stature, as compact as a lightweight boxer. His facial expression is one of bemused, continental curiosity - a man secure in all things intellectual but having too good a time to be excessively tweedy." 

Michael has won seven Emmys and four Golden Mike awards. He has also received many other honors, including Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) presented by  Queen Elizabeth, the French Legion of Merit Award, presented by president Mitterand in 1988, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984. 

In the spring of 1984, he suffered a minor heart attack at the age of 50 while riding horseback through Griffith Park. Journalist Norman Cousins advised Michael during his recuperation period and told him, "A heart attack is something to laugh at. It really is."

In 1992 he was off the air for almost two months following heart surgery. In the summer of 1997, Michael moved to weekends on KABC, eventually leaving the station in 1999. He was a regular substitute for Larry King on CNN.

 

 
Alan Ross, January 24, (80) Alan worked at Traffic Network/Los Angeles as a news anchor for KRLA/870am and many other stations. He died January 24, 2022, at the age of 80.

"Alan had unbeatable qualities. When he entered a room with his blue eyes and red hair, standing tall, and looking sharp with his long arms and legs in a well-tailored suit, your eyes couldn’t miss him," wrote his wife and fellow LARP, Debra Grobman. "And, his voice didn’t disappoint either. He talked the way you think a man of his stature should talk. He had a deep resonant voice, with sharp consonants and neutral American vowels. He sounded like the all-American man."

Debra and Alan met at a station in San Luis Obispo. Debra was the new dj coming in from NYC to join KVEC. He said he wanted to meet her after hearing her alto-intoned-voice and her eclectic music sets. Debra and Alan loved to travel together with frequent trips to Salvador, Bahia and New Orleans. Alan's sister Barbara remembers that her brother was given the privilege of doing the school announcements at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach. Alan and KEZY/KFI's Mark Denis were roommates while attending Long Beach City College where they hatched their plans to take on the Radio industry. Alan's first step in the radio door was at KNOB on Signal Hill where he pulled records for jazz jock Chuck Niles.

Born on March 28, 1941 in Long Beach, Alan's voice was heard over the span of 55 years on dozens of radio stations from the 1960’s until 2019 as morning man at KVEC-San Luis Obispo, to weatherman on KSBY/TV, San Luis Obispo to field reporter and evening anchor on KCOY/TV in Santa Maria and host of the then newly created morning show On The Coast. One of Alan’s stints included filing reports live from the Pacific Stock Exchange to KFWB and was a frequent substitute and fill-in anchor for the legendary Jim Newman.

While at KCOY/TV Alan was awarded the California Associated Press (AP) TV Radio Association Certificate of Excellence for Best Special Report News covering Diablo Canyon Protest. One of his proudest awards was the Airwatch (now TTN) Ed Berger Award for Outstanding Employee on and off the air. Neighbors of Alan and Debra may know him as the co-founder of the Carthay Square Citizen Patrol, part of the Wilshire Police Division in Los Angeles. He was an active member of the community working side by side with Debra in tree plantings on Fairfax Avenue and alley and trash clean-ups. It’s one of the lasting legacies for all those who knew and loved Alan Ross.

KING OLIVER, February 2, (85) Oliver Nelson Harris Jr. had a long run at KJLH. "Oliver had some sort of blood infection from treatment of brain cancer," said his friend Bill Gardner.

Oliver grew up in Newark, Delaware, in fact before he settled on the King moniker at KJLH he called himself “the square from Delaware.” “Someone told me, ‘you’re no square, you are a king.’ And that’s how my name came about,” said Oliver. Radio didn’t always pay the bills for his growing family, so he became an electrician at Texaco Oil Company where he retired in 1999.

His radio career was confined to evenings and some after midnight shifts. Rhapsody in Black host Bill Gardner called Oliver the ‘baby maker’ because of the soft and soulful r&b music he played while on the air at KJLH. “Some called me the ‘Voice of Love,’ because I drifted towards that kind of music, like the O’Jays and Spinners, those groups with the deep voices singing that great, sweet stuff,” said Oliver.

His father was a sailor so the family moved around. Oliver had three brothers and three sisters. When Oliver was sixteen, the family moved to the island of Guam, where he finished high school and then off to Park College located in Parkville, Missouri. After graduation he joined the Army and spent eight months at Fort Ord before going to Bamberg, Germany for the remainder of his time with the service.

He was discharged from the Army in July 1962. In those days, the government sent you back to wherever you called home. “I went to my parents’ home.” That’s how he got to Long Beach. “My father was still serving in the US Navy and stationed at a navy base in Long Beach. During my college years, my family lived in San Diego. I usually spent my summers with the family in San Diego. We had an antenna on top of our home so I could listen to Hunter Hancock broadcasting from Los Angeles. At that time was no r&b station in San Diego,” Oliver remembered. 


Mike Masterson, March 21, (75) The former KNX Newsradio general sales manager passed away from a heart attack, in Seattle. He retired from KNX in November of 2006 and moved to Portland.

Masterson joined KNX as an account executive in 1978 and left in 1985 for an AE position with the CBS Radio Spot Sales office in Los Angeles. He later became general sales manager at KNX for George Nicholaw. Prior to KNX, Mike worked for KRLA and KFWB and Los Angeles advertising agencies Ted Bates, and Gumpewrtz, Bentley, Fried, and Scott.  

His mother and father created and produced the famous People’s Court tv series, staring Judge Wapner. They were also founders of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters. They were both killed in a terrible automobile accident on the Pacific Coast Hwy in Malibu, near where they lived, in 1995, according to Terry Saidel and Tom Bernstein.
 

 

Craig Hines, April 8, (70) Craig had been dealing with MS for a number of years.

After his radio career, Craig became a computer consultant and voiceover actor in the Los Angeles area. He owned DuTel Communications and retired to Lompoc.

Known as "Hurricane Hines" during his radio stops, Craig grew up along the Central California coast in Lompoc and Morro Bay. He started in radio at KNEZ-Lompoc at age 15. Between semesters at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Craig helped launch WDRQ-Detroit. He worked middays at the launch of K-100 (KIQQ).

In the mid-1970s, when he left Southern California the first time, he went to program KMBY-Monterey. He spent a few years programming WMBR/WSNY-Jacksonville, beginning in 1977. Craig came back to Southern California in 1984 to work for the Transtar Radio Network as director of programming/operations for the five satellite-delivered radio formats until 1987. Craig hosted several nationally syndicated radio shows for Westwood One and Transtar/Unistar.

He started doing middays at KBIG and moved to afternoon drive, until he left radio in late 1990.

My Memories of Craig Hines
by Don Barrett


My first job out of college was at KNEZ in Lompoc. One day this 10th grader from Lompoc High School came into the radio station lobby, which faced the control booth. He came right up to the glass and waved. He said he wanted to be a radio man.
That’s how my 57-year relationship with Craig Hines began. Craig had been living with MS (Multiple Sclerosis), but was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma.

In the early 1970s I was launching a new radio station in Detroit, WDRQ. We were building the station from scratch on 8-Mile and the Lodge Freeway. Craig was going to Cal Poly in SLO. He spent his summer vacation with my family in Detroit and we were at the station daily. He was an enormous help with our chief engineer and contractor. Craig managed to get a semester credit for the experience.

When it came to launch KIQQ (K-100) in Los Angeles, we hired Craig to be the on-air midday man. He was “Hurricane Hines,” sandwiched between morning man Mike Butts and nooner Roger Christian. And he was sensational.

Craig spent many a Sunday afternoon visiting with my parents in Santa Monica. My mom and Craig were great talkers and they exchanged stories for hours. My mom, confined to a wheelchair due to ALS, cherished the visits from Craig. And vice versa.

Craig went on to great success in the radio business. Later he owned DuTel Communications for years. But I’ll remember Craig for his humanity. Not only did he become an excellent radio man, Craig became a wonderful man and friend.

And he was a dog owner, owning as many as eight at the same time.

Craiger, you will always live in my heart!  R.I.P.

 

Dave McClelland, May 22, (85) Dave was the announcer for all NHRA racing events and their commercials. Dave died of natural causes.

At the 39th annual American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters’ All-America banquet, Dave became the very first media person to get the Pioneer Award, presented to him for years of dedication to his art. Dave stood out from the herd all these years in a world of blinding speed and spectacular automobiles, hot rods, cruisers and dragsters. Honored by the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, some highlights from his incredible career: Known as “The Voice of NHRA,” Dave was one of the most recognizable voices in all of motorsports. He was heard not only on the tracks, but also on radio and television coverage of the events, a role he filled for some 50 years. Dave retired from the announcing staff at NHRA Powerade Championship Drag Racing events after 44 years of service. Through the year 2000, Dave had served as the anchor play by play host of the NHRA Speedworld coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 for 27 consecutive years. Dave announced his first drag race in 1959. Spending the bulk of his full-time broadcasting career in Louisiana, McClelland honed his skills as a racetrack announcer throughout the South and Southwest. In 1969, Dave left his post as pd of a NBC TV affiliate to begin a full time career in racing, starting as a track manager at Southland Dragway in Houma, Louisiana. He then moved to Dallas International Motor Speedway in Texas as VP/GM. He joined the NHRA promotions department in 1971, spending seven years as Publicity Director, Public Relations Director and Communications Director, plus his duties as a race announcer and tv host. (Thanks to Tal Barratt and more trilbutes at: www.NHRA.com)

 

Stu Levy, June 27 Stu, a veteran of KLAC, KGIL and KIK/fm, died after a two-year brave battle with Parkinson's disease.

In 1995, Stu joined Century Cable TV Sales, which was purchased by Adelphia Media Services in 2000. Then in 2006 Time Warner purchased Adelphia and he remained with Time Warner Media until June 2010.

“I was one of the lucky broadcasters to work with Stu during KLAC's Country hay and wagon wheel days. He was one of the unsung heroes of our business: the men and women who keep us radio programming people having most of the fun. Stu was one of the best and it was an honor to know and work with him," wrote Jim Duncan
.

 

Vivian Porter, July 7, (74) The former Community Services/Public Affairs Director at CBS/LA Radio left the cluster in the fall of 2008.

Vivian was born in Los Angeles and went to John C. Freeman High School and Cal State Los Angeles. After working for a State Assemblyman she joined KRTH as a sales assistant. Within a few months her interest in public service led to a job in the public affairs department. She talked about her job: "The basic 'core' issues in our community really haven't changed significantly. However, the changes that do occur in the nature or aspects of the issues we seek to address in programming, require an ongoing assessment which provides the basis for the job I do."

The joy in her job was finding problems and creating programs that addressed those problems. "It is particularly gratifying when listeners respond to the programming. It's very rewarding." She attributes her long-running involvement as director of public affairs to "hard work and loving what you do." In the face of deregulation, many stations abandoned their public affairs department. Her numerous community service commendations and awards include AP's Certificate of Merit and Excellence in Best Editorial and Documentary categories. She's won The Black Women of Achievement Award as well as commendations from the NAACP, United Way, Martin Luther King Foundation and Black Achiever in Industry. Vivian enjoyed classical music and loved to cook Chinese, Caribbean and California style cuisine.



Johnny Gunn, July 29, (96) Johnny had a great radio career. Proving that LARPs come in shapes, sizes, and colors, Johnny provided a first for us as he revealed all in his book. He lived in a “dream world of 37 shades of green jungle of giant trees and flowers at the Motion Picture Country House, at the edge of LA.” Johnny started his broadcast career in 1947 in the then-territory of Alaska. After programming KENO-Las Vegas in 1967, Johnny won the world championship Sheriff’s Rodeo Mule races for three years. In the mid-1970s he was producing commercial spots. At the San Fernando Big Band station, KGIL, Johnny worked evenings and was the pd. Born in Buffalo, Johnny spent all his school years in Akron, Ohio. “It was at Akron University where I got shot in the ass with show business. I moved to Seattle, auditioned at every station in the Northwest and got my first job in 1947 at KFQD-Anchorage. I worked my way down the coast with stops in Juneau, Ketchikan, Tacoma, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego and then the Southland.” He retired to Morro Bay in 1992 and was writing Our First 103 Moves.

“I’ve been blessed with so much. At the Motion Picture Home, I have an independent cottage and Jo-Ann resided 172 steps away at the Alzheimer’s facility. We spent the last half of every day together. Yes, she still knows me, is still my favorite conversationalist, has a great sense of humor, we chat, have dinner together, wheelchair around the acreage, I tuck her in for the night, read to her and sneak back to my digs when she goes to sleep. It doesn’t hurt, and one forgets all details of what happened from ten minutes to ten or fifteen years back. Jo-Ann was diagnosed more than 10 years ago, by comparison Peter Falk died in six months.

Right after the war we moved “out west.” It took two months of looking before we ended up in Seattle. Seattle is not “rainy.” It’s misty. And sunshiney. And beautiful. I got married there and we had Gloria there. Gloria retired from Mary Tyler Moore as Post Production Supervisor. We all lost our beloved middle one, Emily, to cancer in 2013. We left Seattle twice for Alaska, once for Anchorage before I knew Jo-Ann, and once for Ketchikan and Juneau when Gloria was 2 years old. Both times for radio station employment.

Back to Seattle for a couple years and then Las Vegas in the 50’s. That was Las Vegas at its best. Every big-city mob owned a casino, New York – Desert Inn and Riviera, Bugsy Siegal, The Flamingo, Meyer Lansky, The Sahara. Brunches and celebrity shows were unbelievably cheap, before the city with its burgeoning population and big-city behavior gradually took the town over. The prices went up and the bad guys disappeared. We moved to San Diego and L.A. and more radio. We’ve had a fun-life, including being divorced for four years because of a misunderstanding. We misunderstood each other. We finally wised up and talked and got remarried. So, why did I write a book called, I’m Dressed, You’re Not? I’ve had a good reason: Since I was five years old, secretly ‘dressed up’ in my mother’s clothes. The word, cross-dresser is in the book a lot, the word transvestite, not a whole bunch. I also admit to “daddy.” Good husband for 67 years and 3-time grampa, a lovable, old curmudgeon. Cross-dressers don’t want to be organized or identified. You couldn’t get one to march in a parade. They don’t want to be recognized or divorced, fired or even glanced askance at. Don’t want their wives or kids to find out. It isn’t fun. But it is. But it isn’t. That’s where I was when I told my wife about it. She had a tough time for a while and finally told her “best friend,” our daughter. Nobody got mad or disappointed at anybody. Isn’t it amazing how intelligent people can be. I’ve lectured on the subject to hundreds of college classes, for every Cal State. and U. of Cal’s. this century and last. Crimany! I wish I could have made this shorter. It happens."  


 

 

Bill Russell, July 31, (88) William Felton Russell was the greatest winner in professional sports — Russell’s 11 championships in 13 seasons is a mark unlikely to ever be matched — had a career that included 12 All-Star appearances and an Olympic gold medal in 1956. He was at his best in the biggest moments: In 30 elimination games at the college, pro and Olympic levels, Russell was a staggering 28-2.

There was no mistaking Bill's on-air cackle while doing talk shows at KABC. Bill hosted KABC's "SportsTalk" show. In 1973 he joined the Seattle Supersonics. Bill was talked into the KABC job by Keith Jackson and others. Russell moved to L.A. after leaving basketball in 1969.

A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 12-time All-Star, the angular center amassed 21,620 career rebounds, an average of 22.5 per game, and led the league in rebounding four times. He had 51 boards in one game, 49 in two others, and a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds.

Bill was born on February 12, 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana. His family moved cross-country to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Bill attended McClymonds High School in Oakland. He was an awkward, unremarkable center on McClymonds' basketball team, but his size earned him a scholarship to play at the University of San Francisco, where he blossomed. (Photo courtesy of NBA)



Vin Scully, August 2, (94) Vin was the premiere voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2016, he returned as Dodgers announcer for his final season, his 67th with the team. .Considered by most to be the best baseball announcer ever, Vin was born in the Bronx, the son of a silk salesman. His father died of pneumonia when he was 7 and his mother moved to Brooklyn where he grew up playing stickball in the streets. He spent two years in the Navy before graduating from Fordham University where he was a varsity basketball player.

He began his broadcasting career at Fordham where he announced school games over the campus radio station then at WTOP-AM in Washington, DC Scully's remarkable tenure as the "Voice of the Dodgers," the longest consecutive service of any current major league broadcaster for one team, began in 1950 when he joined Red Barber as a member of the Brooklyn club's radio team one year after graduating from college. Vinny is one of the most recognizable personalities in sports broadcasting.

A 1998 cover story in the Los Angeles Times Magazine said that Vin was “voted the most memorable personality in Los Angeles Dodger history.” He considers his inclusion in the broadcast wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, as the crowning accomplishment. Vin says that Barber once gave him a piece of winning advice: "There's one thing you can bring to the booth that no one else can and that is be yourself."

Vinny was a very private man. His two-decade-long partner Ross Porter has never been to his home.

In 1998, Vin was named #1 in the Annual Daily News Best and Worst of L.A. Media/Play-By-Play Broadcasters. Scully is the recipient of virtually every honor that can be bestowed on him including the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting. A four-time winner of the Outstanding Sportscaster Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award, the "Ronald Reagan Media Award," a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a 21-time winner of California Sportscaster of the Year, and a Baseball Hall of Famer in the broadcast wing in Cooperstown.

To baseball fans, including the original Brooklyn Dodgers diehards, Vin is beloved as much as the game of baseball itself. A master of the English language, steeped in the knowledge of the sport and with an understanding of what fans want to "see" and "hear," Vin enriched and refined the art of sportscasting.

 


 

Ken Draper, August 8, (89) Ken owned Ken Draper Creative Communications in Southern California. After programming successful radio stations for Westinghouse Broadcasting in the 1960s, Draper moved to Chicago to program WCFL, which is still one of the most-talked-about and revered Top 40 radio stations in the Midwest. While there, Draper assembled a stellar line-up, which included Jim Runyon, Dick Williamson, Joel Sebastian, Jim Stagg, Barney Pip and Ron Britain. He also brought Larry Lujack to Chicago, as well as Dick Orkin, who created the legendary "Chickenman."

Draper and the legendary Chuck Blore also worked on those classic WCFL jingles. In the '70s, after WCFL, Draper and Blore launched Los Angeles-based syndication/consulting firm Programming db that consulted WPIX, WCAR, KFWB and others. Draper also created the first "voice-tracked" 24-hour automated formats, including Olde Golde, Big Country, Rock Unlimited and others, which aired on hundreds of stations across the U.S. Draper and his longtime colleague Jim Hampton teamed up in the '80s to produce syndicated shows for ABC, CBS and RKO Networks, plus thousands of radio stations around the world, and in the late '90’s, Draper helped to write the charter and launched the first of 99 Neighborhood Councils mandated by the City of Los Angeles as a grassroots way to connect LA's diverse communities to City Hall. In 2003, Draper launched CityWatchLA.com, an online resource featuring original content regarding political news and views about Los Angeles and SoCal with the mission of promoting civic engagement, exposing corruption and educating the public. He also created a network of over 60 writers providing original articles, opinions, etc.
(Part of his obit was courtesy of The RAMP and Jim Hampton)

Mark Driscoll, August 22, (72) Mark operated a successful voiceover and packaging, creative content and imaging/programming company for many years.

Mark was elected and nominated by peers and a research panel, to the Radio & Records magazine 25th Anniversary, in which they assembled the Top 25 Individuals (living) that influenced radio in the past 25 years. He won numerous awards including DJ of the Year, Program Director of the Year and Group PD of the Year.

During Scott Shannon's "Pirate Radio," Mark was the voice of KQLZ. His 30+-year radio career included: three New York stations, WOR/fm, WNBC and WHTZ (“Z-100”); WRKO-Boston; WIBG-Philadelphia; WRC-Washington, DC; WHB-Kansas City; KSTP-Minneapolis; KUPD-Phoenix; KSLQ-St. Louis; and, “13Q”-Pittsburgh.

From RAMP: “In the early to mid 1990s, I decided to go out on my own, advising, consulting and, a major influence on that decision, was a successful voiceover career that had been growing for years.” In late 1996 Mark narrowly escaped death. He was golfing in Santa Barbara when he pulled his golf cart to the edge of a cliff in order to snap a shot of the ocean view. The ground gave way and Mark and the golf cart plunged 120 feet down the rocky cliff. A four-foot ledge kept him from falling another 100 feet into the Pacific Ocean."

An Oklahoma native, Mark started his broadcast career as a teen, getting his start in Texas with Gordon McLendon, nearly 50 years ago.  

Bret Lewis, August 28, (75) Bret broadcast morning drive sports at News/Talk KFWB. He left in the summer of 2013. After 16 years at KFWB and also a career in television, Bret retired from the local airwaves, but the rocking chair is nowhere in sight.

Brett co-hosted with Doc Harris a weekly sports show on KLAC. In 1988, Brett began reporting sports for KNBC/Channel 4. During the 1996-97 Lakers season, Brett hosted the postgame show on KLAC. In the spring of 1997, he joined KFWB for weekend sports and became part of the morning drive team. Born in Dallas, Bret started out in Austin as an all-night dj.

He left his high-profile entertainment shows to pivot to a journey of faith. Lewis reminisced in an OC Register profile about the late Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry and time spent with him while working in Dallas. “I worked with him through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I saw a side of Coach Landry that most people don’t get to see. Once a week, we’d talk less about sports and more about success and failure, particularly under pressure.”

“I’m a functional alcoholic. Though I was a classic born-again believer back in 1972, I didn’t quit drinking. I could still work and I thought I was under control. … I took a year off from drinking, I always stopped so I could go to bed by 8 p.m. since I knew I had to work the next day. But I needed something to get off that treadmill. It was impeding my emotional growth.” One Saturday morning, Lewis experienced what he believes was a divinely-inspired message – that his faith would go no deeper unless he quit drinking. “That day – June 3, 2006 – I went to an AA meeting that very night.”

 


 

Eric Tracy, September 15, (71) Eric was a sports anchor at KFWB News 980. He died after a long battle with cancer.

Eric was the creator of the Charity Golf Online Guide, the Internet's only clearinghouse for charity golf tournaments in Southern California. Eric was very active in the golf community, serving as Master of Ceremonies for more than 50 tournaments a year. “I joined KFWB soon after an unceremonious sacking at KABC Talkradio. After 15 years, I wasn't even able to say good-bye when I was let go in the fall of 1996.” He did his farewell on the op-ed page of the LA Times.

Born in Detroit on March 7, 1951, Eric grew up in the San Fernando Valley and worked in Montana, Colorado Springs, Wichita, Kansas, WOKY-Milwaukee, WWL and WSGO-New Orleans and KSFO-San Francisco prior to starting in L.A. At KSFO he worked afternoon drive and was involved with the broadcasts of the Oakland A's and the San Francisco 49'ers. Eric was part of the launch of RKO's "American Overnight" in 1981. The launch was based on the overnight success of Larry King. He shared the six-hour talkfest with Ed Busch, who was hosting from Dallas. The program was heard on about 80 stations. In 1982 he went to KABC to work sports for the first time. However, because of his talk radio background he soon was the station's #1 fill-in general talk host who proudly claims to have worked every weekday shift on the station, even doing fill-in work for psychologist Dr. Toni Grant. General manager George Green called him "a true radio renaissance man."

Eric spent 12 seasons as a member of the Los Angeles Dodger radio broadcast team as the pre- and post-game host. He co-hosted KABC's "SportsTalk" with Steve Edwards. He had several tv and theatrical credits, and was an active "Big Brother."

 


 

Ira Fistell, September 26, (81) Ira was a newspaper editor, adult education ducator, newswriter, radio and tv personality, lecturer and writer. He died on September 26, 2022, at the age of 81.

Fistell grew up fascinated by the radio industry and as a child enjoyed pretending to be on the radio. Coupled with his affinity for reading, he found that in college he could combine his interests and hone them in the field of broadcasting. After earning an AB from the University of Chicago with honors in 1962, he earned a JD from the institution in 1964.

Ira continued his journey with learning by earning a Master of Arts in the United States and American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967. Though he earned a law degree, his true passion aligned with broadcast, and in 1968, he joined WKOW-Madison, Wisconsin as a radio personality. He went on to be an on-air radio personality at WEMP-AM in Madison from 1971 to 1977 and then KABC.

In addition to these roles, Ira was a national radio personality with the TalkAmerica Radio Network from 1998 to 2001 and an editor for the LA Jewish News from 1995 to 1996. He's been a faculty member at the University of Pheonix and as an English instructor for Concord Prep High School.

 


 

Tom Watson, October Tom was the operations manager of Amaturo's JILL/fm stations until late 2009.

Tom arrived in the Southland from KERN-Bakersfield. He also worked at KXKL-Dallas. Tom went on to be a producer and programmer at Premiere Radio Networks in Los Angeles for the National Network shows: Country Music show, “After Midnight with Blair Gardner,”  Delilah Love Songs, Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, Jim Rome Show and others.

 

Tom also did production for William Shatner’s Malibu based company, “Heartbeat of America.”



Art Laboe
, October 7, (97)
When Art died, he was the longest on-air personality on the local airwaves. Recipient of the LARadio Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 (photo), Art was on the air in Los Angeles since 1947, programmed a number of stations, started Original Sound, an enormously successful record label, among many other achievements. 

Art was born and lived in Utah until he was 13. His father was a smelter worker, while his mom was a maid. “They divorced when I was nine or ten,” remembered Art. “My mother used to work in this motel/gas station for four hours every morning for twenty-five cents an hour so my brother and I could have lunch. I came from pretty simple beginnings.” 

Art was known in his neighborhood as the fix-it kid who could fix appliances or anything electrical. “Neighbors would bring me a broken toaster. Usually it was just an AC cord but I got a great reputation for fixing things. I still like to fix things. If something breaks, I fix it.” With his next door neighbor, Art built a telephone with earphones while the kid next door had a pair of earphones. “If we connected the two earphones together we could talk with each other. I ran some wire between the two houses with a little switch and it was our own personal telephone. They didn’t realize until I listened to them one day that I could listen in on everything going on in their house. I thought that was pretty slick. They never messed with the switch and it was always on. I knew how to click it off.”

Art continued to tinker and built a Ham radio set and a broadcast station that was heard a couple of miles away. One day he got the scare of his life when officials from the FCC knocked on his door. “Before World War II, the government was really monitoring the airwaves,” said Art. “These two guys came to my house and busted me for this Ham Radio rig I had. I also had a second one, which was on the broadcast band. For all you engineers, it was an electron coupled oscillator that I built with some of my buddies at school who were radio people. I played music. They scared the bejesus out of me. They told me I could go to jail for five years and be faced with a $10,000 fine. I had a good looking sister and the guys kinda liked her. The FCC guys said to me that they would come by the next day and if the antenna was down they’d let it go but they told me to get a license. I went and got a Ham license and I was only 14 years old. I still have it – W6TTJ.” Pioneer Broadcasters luncheon.
He also earned both a First Class License and Second Class License. 

It was the summer of 1942 when Art graduated from George Washington. He joined a special program for the Army signal corps, studying radar. He was in that program for a year before he learned that the signal corpsmen sent to the South Pacific, were the first to go ashore and they would run along the beach with a big spool of wire and lay the telephone wire. This way when the soldiers hit the beach they would have communication, but the Japanese were sitting the hill watching these two guys with a big spool of wire. I heard the casualty rate was 85% and I thought that was a little high.” In the class with Art was Engineer Bill (Stula). He suggested to Art that since he wasn’t 18 and never signed with the Army and was just a student, he could get out of Army duty.

“I checked on it and Bill was right. I joined the Navy. I weighed 111 pounds and looked much like I do today. They were thrilled with me because I had these FCC licenses. I became a radio officer on the Pan American Clipper fleet for three years and flew to Hawaii 147 times along with trips to the South Pacific carrying blood and important people.”  Art was stationed at Treasure Island in San Francisco between assignments. He lived in the City and decided he wanted to get his first commercial radio job. There was a 250-watt AM station, KSAN, which was housed in the Merchandise Mart. With some trepidation he went to the station and was taken to see the general manager, a gruff man who declared that Art had a squeaky voice and was too young.

“I kicked the ground and started to walk away,” Art recalled. “And then he says, ‘Besides, you have to have an FCC license. We need at least a 3rd Class license. We’re a combo station.’ I walked back and pulled out of my jacket pocket these certificates and said, 'You mean one of these?' I laid out a First Phone, 2nd Telephone and a Ham license. He looked up at me and said, “You’re hired.’ He put his arm around me and said, come with me. He took me to a room with three huge transmitter boxes and asked me if I could tune one of these things. I told him I thought so.” 

There was a sign on butcher paper in the transmitter room on the wall: “If these damn things works leave it alone.” Art asked him why he was hiring him. The radio station owner had been operating illegally because all his engineers had been drafted into the war. “Now with your First Class license, I’m legal again,’ the owner said. “That First Class license got me my first job in radio.” 

In late 2012 he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. In addition to syndication, Art was heard in the Inland Empire on KDAY. In early 2019, he was honored at a Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters luncheon.

Steve Ray, October 11, (64) Steve was living in Washington DC and was the official Presidential Announcer for Inauguration Parades, Concerts & other events. He also worked as a news anchor for WBAL Radio in Baltimore. Steve died October 11, 2022, at the age of 64. He posted on Facebook, a final message: "I am being transferred to Manor Care in Arlington in preparation to leave this earth under hospice care. The care will be primarily pain management with no resuscitation in the event of a heart attack or other life altering event. Unfortunately the infection has taken over with no further surgical solution available. I have lived a wonderful life, traveled all the way around the world, experienced meeting my heroes, and hosted or announced once in a lifetime events. God bless my friends and family. Thank you for your unending love & support. I never got the chance to write that book, but I promise you it would have been a great adventure. I love you all. This will most likely be my final post."

Steve started his radio career at WOHN-Herndon, Virginia. In the mid-1970s he worked at WPGC-Washington, DC. “I got out of radio to join the Jaguar IMSA Trans-Am Racing Team as director of PR. I was promoting the LA Times Grand Prix at Riverside and at the end of the racing season I returned to the Southland to follow-up on media connections and restart my radio career.” He ended up working in a number of motion pictures.

In 1989 he joined KKUR-Ventura. “I sounded as bad as I did over a decade earlier.” After a stint at KMPC/KLIT, Steve became gm of Radio Catalina, KRCI. He has spent time at WW1's Oldies Channel. In the mid-1990s Ray programmed a station in Taipei, Taiwan. “While there I fulfilled a dream by becoming a contributing writer for the international editions of Playboy.” For many years at KMPC and KRLA, Steve also produced the California Angels, Los Angeles Rams, UCLA and Mighty Ducks network feeds. In the summer of 1999, he returned to Washington, DC as one of the first format managers for satellite-fed digital radio at WorldSpace.

 

Wallace Smith, October 27, (87) Wally was the longtime manager at KUSC. In recent years, he was General Manager Emeritus at WLIW-New York. Smith managed WLIW until 2020, when the WNET Group of New York City acquired the license. 

When Wally took over control of KUSC he decided that a university radio station should not have much to do with a university - outside of accepting its monies. He moved the station off campus, got rid of the students, switched to Classical music and signed up with National Public Radio. He was KUSC's first general manager, and except for one year ('87-'88) in New York running WNYC, has served in that capacity until 1996. In a 1994 profile of Classical music radio in the LA Times, Wally described KUSC: "Our objective is to bring...Classical music to a new public."

Dr. Wallace was born in 1936. He is a graduate of Waynesburg College and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, receiving his master's and Ph.d degrees in communications from the University of Southern California. Dr. Smith resigned in the fall of 1996, according to the LA Times, "amid a review by a USC task force of the station's finances and management structure and an analysis of its listenership and programming." The station experienced a $500,000 deficit in his last fiscal year. In the summer of 1997 he became gm of WPBX-New York.

 

Steven Segal, October 29, (76) Best known as the Obscene Steven Clean during his AOR days at KPPC, KROQ, and KMET, died in his sleep. Segal also worked as "The Seagull" at WBCN-Boston in the late 60s and returned to the station for afternoons in 1977-78. In 2021 Steven shared some health challenges on Facebook: "I apologize for disappearing and owe you all an apology and an explanation. Many of you know I have spent the last few years off and on fighting various infections and other immune system problems. Well, it has hit me once again. Since mid-April, I have been waging either my 4th and or 5th battle with pneumonia (I may have lost count or been misdiagnosed on at least one occasion.) If you count the other infections I've been treated for, it's (to quote the Buckinghams) kind of a drag. After going back and forth between the hospital and physical rehabilitation for parts of April, and much of May and most of June, I'm finally being sprung back to my apartment on Monday, July 5th.

Charles Laquidara had high praise for Segal, “Steven was the most brilliant disc jockey that ever existed – made Howard Stern pale. In June 1968, when WBCN needed more talent to complete its first lineup of djs, the station imported west coast underground radio veteran Steve Segal, who had been working for the legendary Tom Donahue at KPPC. Since every jock at WBCN had been encouraged to play their own choice of musical selections, Segal’s taste and greater experience would serve as a beacon for the others to follow. On the air, Steven Segal became ‘The Seagull,’ commenting, “I guess [the name] had something to do with me coming in from California.” Steven worked for Shadoe Stevens: "I really loved the guy. He worked for me at KROQ and at KMET … and when he was ‘ON' there was nobody funnier. Like an audio National Lampoon." Rob Barnett also saluted
Steven.

 

Alan Mendelson, November 9, (70) Alan worked at KCAL/Channel 9 for 25 years as the money reporter and on-air consumer reporter until the fall of 2006. He was the business reporter at KFWB.

Born in New York City on April 7, 1952, Alan started in radio at age 14 on WRRC-Spring Valley, New York. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1973. Alan has been in the Southland since 1987. “I married for the second time. I have two from a previous marriage and she has two from a previous marriage. We know better than to have any more.”

He had a long career in broadcast journalism, beginning his professional journey as a disc jockey and news reporter for two local Rockland County radio stations (WRKL and WKQW). Alan eventually made his way to Los Angeles. Later, he moved to Las Vegas and ran his own television production company until his death.

 



Wally Clark
, November 14, (84) Wally arrived in the Southland from KSD-St. Louis with new pd Gerry DeFrancesco and started as president/general manager on March 30, 1982. In 2011, Wally suffered two strokes.

In a major LA Times profile in 1983, Wally talked about the success of KIIS. He said it stemmed from community contact and charity work. He said: "It's the willingness to go out and meet the public, shake their hands and get direct feedback on the station - that's the real secret to being No. 1." Wally is credited with packaging and executing the first $1,000 spot while helming KIIS/fm through unprecedented financial and ratings success. Wally consulted KIIS for a number of years after leaving 102.7.

He successfully teamed with Rick Dees to syndicate a Top 40 Countdown Show.  

Wally was born and raised in DuQuoin, Illinois. He graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1960. He was 16 when he started his first radio show at WDQN-DuQuoin.

In 2016, Wally was honored with a Diamond Circle Award from the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters.

 


Josefa Salinas, November 16, (53) Known as “the Angelita de la Noche,” Josefa worked the major markets up and down the California coast. She died unexpectedly. Her colleague Jimmy Reyes wrote: “Today has been an emotional day, found out that our hermana Josefa Salinas passed away. There’s so much to say about her, she was an amazing person with a beautiful soul! She loved making a difference in the community, she touched so many lives with ALL she did. From her -How to be a girl camps to wanting to give EVERYONE a free Christmas Tree/presents on the radio. 22+ years of friendship and I’ll never forget it. It was an honor to call you a friend and to have worked on the radio with you all these years, we went through a lot! I know you’ll forever live in our hearts. It’s gonna be so hard for me not to say that your coming on next on the radio. I’ll never forget you. Salinas’ death comes two months after the passing of her ex-husband rap star Coolio.

Most recently, Salinas worked at Old School 104.7, with Reyes. This breakthrough female Latina personality had become a role model for women and a powerful symbol for Latinos. After studying at the University of Michigan, she worked in juvenile probation. Wanting a forum to express herself, in the mid-1980s Josefa convinced KSOL-San Francisco management to give her an opportunity. From there she joined KKSF and hosted “Lights Out San Francisco.” She moved over to KBLX-San Francisco before joining KJLH as an air personality and promotion director. While at KACE, she orchestrated the first ever all day Hip-Hop show called “Jam for Peace” at the Irvine Amphitheatre.

“Within days of the successful show, ‘Power 106’ hired me to enhance their community image.” She was the originator of their Knowledge is Power foundation, raising $750,000 on a CD project. Josefa worked with the Baka Boyz and had her own “Slo Jam” show. In 1998, she took a break from radio and managed recording artists, most notably Grammy Award winner Coolio. She wrote the best-selling book, 101 Things to Know Before You Date My Daughter, My Best Friend or Me! In 2001, she joined HOT 92 Jamz as community director. During the Iraq War, Josefa appeared on many cable news shows.

 
Norm Pattiz, December 4, (79) Norm was the ceo of Courtside Entertainment and founder of Westwood One. He was considered a founding father of modern radio syndication.

Under his leadership Westwood One became America's largest provider of news, sports, entertainment, talk, and traffic to the broadcast industry. In the spring of 2013, Norm launched PodcastOne.com, a one-stop site that offers shows from hundreds of online broadcasters for listeners to browse and download.

In the late 90s, Norm was instrumental in launching the Beverly Hills building that housed the Museum of TV and Radio. He orchestrated funding for many Radio-only events, including two successful "LARadio Day" events. The Museum at North Beverly Drive closed in 2020. H was married to popular KMET's ("The Mighty Met"), Mary Turner.

He was appointed by President Clinton and re-appointed by President Bush to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, overseeing all U.S. non-military broadcast services, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2009 and that same year received the Giants of Broadcasting Award from the Library of American Broadcasting.

 

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