People get grey hair because they are dyeing.

12 Years Ago Today 

“I Just Wanted to Be One of the Voices on Radio”
- Rob Brookler 

(May 31, 2011) LARadio has embarked on a series about career reinvention. Due to consolidation and the 2008-10 economic meltdown, thousands of radio jobs have been eliminated and for the most part will never be available again. Today’s reinvention story is not from the ashes of the recent past, but rather it’s about what happens when a dream for a career in radio is suddenly aborted through a station sale. 

Rob Brookler is a name you probably never heard, or if you did hear him on the air during a brief couple of years in the 80s, he’s not been in radio since. Rob was destined to be a doctor when he left his Southern California home to study pre-med at UC California at Berkeley. Rob’s father was a doctor, as well his grandfather and a couple of uncles. Halfway through his second year at Berkeley, Rob dropped out and pursued a career in radio. “I became disenchanted with school and just wanted to be on the radio. I got an apartment just off Hollywood Boulevard.”

Rob was born in 1960. “When I was growing up, I listened to the radio a lot. There were only a handful of television channels, but to me radio was everything,” said Rob, in a recent interview. “In those days you had a relationship with the radio stations. That was a place you went. For me, it had a mysterious aspect to it. The voices and music created this kind of world that I really enjoyed. It was a homey place for me that was wonderful. I just wanted to be one of those voices.” 

He said it was a crazy thing to do to quit college. “My parents practically disowned me,” Rob said. In 1982, he got an entry level job at KIQQ, a Top 40 station run by George Wilson. Rob could walk the dozen blocks to work at the Sunset & Cahuenga building. 

“I answered phones and helped in production. I was trying to get my foot in the door, so I pretty much did everything there – music department, programming department and production – just trying to get in a place where I would be thrown on the air by accident. I would give my audition tape regularly to the program director. I was pretty persistent.”

And then almost as an afterthought and without warning, the pd said, “You’re on.” Rob was petrified with the reality of going on the air. “It was a great opportunity,” recalled Rob. “I started on the weekend graveyard shift, which was the least conspicuous place for a first-timer. It was an incredible opportunity. I had no experience except for doing audition tapes. It was a huge, huge break.”

As the months went by, Rob got additional weekend shifts. “The format was Top 40, right about the period when New Wave was actually New Wave. There was a clear definition between Top 40 and AOR. KIQQ sort of bridged the gap and was innovative and played some crossover New Wave but it was not as extreme as KROQ, which was the cutting edge of that game, but KIQQ had a huge audience. We introduced the ‘Pick Hit of the Week,’ which was usually on the edge between Pop/Top 40 and New Wave. Some of the songs became big hits.”

In 1985, KIQQ became automated. “Nobody had an easy time with KIQQ’s transition,” Rob conceded. “It felt like we were losing our home. We were so involved with the station that during the last days of live programming, it felt like someone died. There was so much good energy in the offices since I started there in 1982. Even the sales people were close to the programming people. I don’t know if it’s like that anymore but we actually liked seeing each other. Suddenly the offices got more empty. The last days were strange with no one there except for the jock in the booth running the board.”

 The thought of a transition to another station was troubling for Rob. He had not networked during these early years of his career. He felt like it was either move to a smaller market or change careers. While trying to figure out his next step, the station kept him on to assist with the automation and help with production." 

He discovered that his work in production gave him much experience with copy and writing commercials. Rob moved to a PR management firm and eventually opened his own business.

“I created an independent business, representing medical, manufacturing and publishing associations doing PR consultation. I sometimes served as a spokesperson and PR contact for volunteer organizations. My largest client was the World Airline Entertainment Association.” He oversaw publications, editorial, media relations, and marketing. 

Two years ago, Rob returned to a long-held interest in meditation, which led him to the creation of an entirely new business. Beginning at age 15, Rob took meditation classes and eventually became a teacher on the side through his various careers. He now works exclusively on his website,

“The website has given me the opportunity to teach more classes and going on the lecture circuit. Meditation is more important to me than ever. I really wanted to put my energy into something that helps people a little more directly.” 

Have his parents forgiven him for not pursuing the medical field? “They went from being very upset to very proud once they heard me on the air. They listened to me at the hospital where my dad worked. The staff knew me because I used to hang around there. They listened to me during the night shift.” 

 “We’ll stay tuned for updates on Rob Brookler’s latest reinvention. 

Marinko Changes Focus. Rob Marinko announced his last broadcast on KABC yesterday morning. He was filling in for Mark Austin Thomas. “My wife and I agreed that the distraction of radio and the hopes of finding full time employment in the field were preventing me from securing meaningful and paying work elsewhere,” emailed Rob. “After nearly two and a half years of being unemployed, the prospect of making a living in radio became increasingly unlikely. I thanked Jack Silver for the opportunities to fill in over the past several months, but I also let him know that I was no longer in the position to come in on such an infrequent basis. The bottom line is that broadcasting for me became financially impossible.”

KERN Layoffs. Just before the holiday weekend, KERN-Bakersfield laid off two longtime anchors and severed the remainder of its relationship with a popular talk show host, in order to save costs. "It was just a straight-up economic issue. Working for the news department can be quite expensive," said Brett Reckamp, pd at KERN.

Let go were news anchors Danielle Sullivan and Bill Curtis, and former host Inga Barks. KERN's news team was the largest in the seven-station radio group owned by parent company American General Media. The layoffs bring the news team down to six people, including two anchors, one producer, a show host and two anchor/reporters. Reckamp also serves as the program director for the news.

"In addition to the personnel reductions, Reckamp said the station will no longer offer local newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour after the 5 p.m. cut-in. Those newscasts had continued until 11:30 p.m. each evening.

"Less people are listening in the nighttime than during the day," Reckamp said.

Newsbusters. On Thursday, liberal talk-radio hosts Randi Rhodes (l) and Stephanie Miller each protested the one-week suspension of MSNBC host Ed Schultz for calling Laura Ingraham a “talk slut” on his radio show, according to Miller said of the S-word: “So, I wear it proudly. Some women on the right are soooo sensitive!”

It’s understandable Randi Rhodes might think this isn’t offensive. She was suspended by Air America for yelling that Hillary Clinton was a “big f---ing whore” in 2008. But she was really upset at the Schultz apology and suspension, insisting Schultz had used the word on her, too, and neither found it offensive:


RHODES: So, they suspend him for saying that on his radio show - the MSNBC show suspends him. Now, I don't know if he's been suspended for his comments or for moonlighting! I have no idea what's going on there!

But I will tell you that the right wing does not do this to their hosts, they just don't! They let them say anything and they do! They call the President every name -- you're talking about the President of the United States of America! They call him every name in the book, everything! They say he hates white people! They say everything about this president! They say everything about people like me, they call me a Nazi, they call me uh Randi Bin Laden. They’ve questioned my patriotism personally, they have questioned my love of country...these people who have had absolutely no experience loving their country, I mean, loving the country! They, uh, they've never really loved!

And, you know, it's so interesting to me that the left media is always suspending their hosts! You know ... it's the weirdest thing in the world! And like I said, in 2004, Ed called me Randi slut...I don't know what that is, and maybe I'm thinking he just gets excited calling women sluts! So I guess the message would have been, if I were his manager, uh, you know a lot of sluts would charge extra for that, be careful.

You know, I don't know what his deal is, I don't know why he plays like that, but he does, he's always been, you know, kind of in nasty - um, he went on a tirade in 2007 that was so unbelievable and I got on the air uh, you know after that, and people were calling me going did you hear what he said about you did you hear...and, you know, I have my response....we went back and found it...I said, you know, when all this happened and I was the target, what was it that I said exactly, what was it that I you know - how did I react to - because you know they demanded his head on a platter! You know, they wanted him to be fired!”

Another LARP joins the Passing Parade ...

LARSEN, Milt: KKZZ, 2005-06. The owner of the Magic Castle hosted a weekend show at CRN. He co-founded Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle. Milt died May 28, 2023, at the age of 92. Larsen had deep roots in the world of magic and in Los Angeles. His father, William Larsen Sr., was a prominent local defense attorney and a performing magician. His mother, Geraldine, made early appearances on tv as “The Magic Lady.” Milt worked as a writer for tv game shows including Truth or Consequences during 18 years of Bob Barker’s tenure as host in the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s.

Milt was a magician at heart. He spent a lifetime in the magic industry, producing magic-oriented and musical variety shows in and around Los Angeles and in Las Vegas. Since its debut in 1963, the Magic Castle venue has evolved into a local and international hotspot for celebrity magicians such as David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy and the late Doug Henning after Larsen purchased and renovated a run-down, 1909 Victorian mansion. “We grew up as the Larsen Family of Magicians,” Larsen said, referring to himself and his late brother, Bill, and his magic-performing parents.

Larsen, who hosted a radio show on CRN the Digital Cable Network, started collecting recordings of show business personalities as a teenager, and he donated his entire vaudeville collection to UC Santa Barbara.


Thanks for checking into LARadio today. The site salutes the 6,000 personalities who have been part of the Los Angeles airwaves since 1957. Every day there is another  posting of a story from this day in the past from our archives. 

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