The most comprehensive listing of 6,000 Los Angeles Radio People, spanning the last 60 years, is now available just by clicking on your favorite personality. 
The listings provide a colorful snapshot of where they came from, where and when they worked, and what they’re doing now.
Enjoy!   
  
A\B\C\D\E\F\G\H\I\J\K\L\M\N\O\P\Q\R\S\T-Z/W    
   

(Casey Piotrowski, Bryan Simmons, Dick Whittinghill, Dave Mason, and Ryan Seacrest)


Mornings Have Broken 

(February 27, 2017) The biggest surprise in morning drive in the January '17 PPM ratings was the leap of the KNX all-News team tying for first place with MY/fm's Valentine. The election of Donald Trump has propelled all-News stations all over the country to numbers they haven't seen in awhile. The curiosity factor of President Trump's election and transition has kept listeners tuned in for the latest development.
Persons 12+

1. KNX Drive Team
    Valentine (KBIG)
3. Bill Handel (KFI)
4. Pat Prescott (KTWV)
5. Omar y Argelia (KLVE)
      El Show del Mandril (KXOS)   
Persons 18-34

1. The Woody Show (KYSR)
2. Ryan Seacrest (KIIS)
3. Big Boy (KRRL)
4. Omar y Argelia (KLVE)
5. El Show del Mandril (KXOS)
Persons 25-54

1. Valentine (KBIG)
     El Show del Mandril (KXOS)
3.  Omar y Argelia (KLVE)
4. The Woody Show (KYSR)
5. El Bueno, La Mala, y El Feo (KSCA)

Kimmel's Big Night 

(February 26, 2017) Over the decades, Los Angeles Radio People have gone on to huge projects and notoriety. But tonight marks a first. Not too long ago, Jimmy Kimmel was a goofball on the KROQ Kevin & Bean morning show. Tonight he will be hosting the Oscar telecast. “It’s like a Super Bowl for a comedian,” Jimmy said in a Variety cover story.

We've had LARP go on to successful tv talk shows (Wendy Williams, Steve Harvey, Rick Dees, Jimmy Kimmel, Regis Philbin, Les Crane), authors (Dave Diamond, Kelly Lange), game show hosts (Wink Martindale, Bob Eubanks, Geoff Edwards), QVC/HSN (Jacque Gonzales, Caroline Gracie), tv announcers (Gary Owens, Ryan Seacrest, Roger Carroll, Charlie Tuna), sports stadium announcers (Lawrence Tanter, Tommy Edwards), song writer (Roger Christian), tv newsman (Larry McCormick, Charlie O'Donnell) but Jimmy Kimmel is the first to be the host of the prestigious Academy Awards broadcast. We should all be very proud.

Email Saturday, 2.25

  ** San Diego Pioneers

"This picture was taken at the recent Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters luncheon saluting Laugh-In producer George Schlatter. Among the many celebrities was Regis Philbin.  

I was having lunch with Shotgun Tom Kelly, Jhani Kaye, Chris Roberts, Don Elliot and several others.  I saw Regis and told Tommy that he was the reason we became friends about 50 years ago. We both were the first audience members for a taping of his first talk show, The Regis Philbin Show on KOGO/TV (now KGTV) in San Diego.

Tommy was 16 and I was 17….we’re still best friends because of Regis. Stay great!" - Jim Duncan | Director of Production iHeartMedia Los Angeles  
** Bob Crane's Replacement

"When Rege Cordic did replace Bob Crane on KNX, he bombed horribly. The interim team of Mel Balwdin and George Walsh were acutely more popular than Rege. And Rege bombed again on radio, when Bert West put him on KRLA briefly in the morning. But don’t feel sorry for Rege. He had a hugely successful carer doing voiceovers and character acting on tv and movies.” - Tom Bernstein  


Kimmel's Role on Oscar Night is Gold 

  (February 24, 2017) The LA Times devoted almost the entire front-page of the Calendar section Thursday to Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel. The story was very upbeat about Kimmel and there was significant space to Kimmel's beginnings on Kevin & Bean's KROQ morning show in the 90s.  Some highlights:

David Letterman was the inspiration for Jimmy to pursue a career in entertainment.

What's funny is that Kimmel didn't watch Letterman's Oscars live, as he spent the day trying to crash the party afterward. At the time, Kimmel was working at KROQ's Kevin & Bean morning show, and he and cohost Kevin Ryder decided to sneak into the famous post-Oscars bash. Donning black tie, they showed up at the Governors Ball dining room at noon, staying there for the next nine hours. "I was wearing a tuxedo I had probably borrowed from my father-in-law, who outweighed me by 50 pounds," Kimmel says. "I'm sure it was immediately obvious that we had no business being there."

Not having passes, they were ordered by security to leave just as the Oscars ended. Kimmel ran to a pay phone, called the radio station and asked a producer to read him a name as the credits rolled on screen. Kimmel hurried back inside and told the guards they were with Gil Cates, the producer of the awards show. They were again told to leave. Just then, a river of celebrants clad in tuxedos headed toward the entrance and Kimmel and Ryder jumped in the flow and made it inside.

"We were pretty nervous," Kimmel remembers. "John Travolta went and got us dinner, which is kind of crazy, but I think he could sense our fear of being thrown out."

So, yes, Kimmel has come far in 22 years, even if he's being paid, as he revealed on the Kevin & Bean Show, a (relatively) paltry $15,000 to host the Oscars.
 

Liberal Radio Pioneer Alan Colmes Dies

(February 23, 2017) Alan Colmes, the cable news and radio commentator (KTLK [2007-08] and KGIL [2008] who, as half of Fox News’ early and long-running Hannity & Colmes was the network’s go-to voice for a more liberal viewpoint, is dead following a brief illness at the age of 66.  (Artwork from Deadline.com)

A statement on Colmes’ website says he is survived by wife Jocelyn Elise Crowley. The statement in full reads: Alan Colmes passed away this morning after a brief illness. He was 66-years-old. He leaves his adoring and devoted wife, Jocelyn Elise Crowley. He was a great guy, brilliant, hysterical, and moral. He was fiercely loyal, and the only thing he loved more than his work was his life with Jocelyn. He will be missed. The family has asked for privacy during this very difficult time.


Alan was hired by Fox ceo Roger Ailes to co-host Hannity & Colmes, the two hosts offering their right-left (respectively) perspectives to the issues of the day. The program lasted through 2008, with Hannity soon going it alone on his now solo-titled show. Colmes was the author of 2003’s Red, White & Liberal: How Left is Right and Right is Wrong.
Colmes, who began his radio career as a teenager on such Long Island stations as WGBB-Freeport and WGSM-Huntington went on to star on the legendary outlets WABC, WNBC, WHN, WMCA, WEVD in New York, according to Michael Harrison of TALKERS magazine.  His career also included stints at WNHC-New Haven as well as WZLX and WEZE in Boston.  Colmes was a pioneer in the modern talk radio syndication industry launching the seminal Daynet with Barry Farber in the early 1990s.  He also played a role in the developing NYC comedy scene as a successful stand-up comic during the 1980s. 

Colmes was a graduate of Hofstra University and a charter inductee into its radio station, WRHU’s Hall of Fame. 

Jim Governale Finds the Power

(February 23, 2017) Part of the reason for keeping LARadio.com alive is to update Los Angeles Radio People and keep the living history alive as long as we can. Jim Governale checked in this week.

After 23 plus years of doing mornings at 99.5 KKLA, he left the station in October 2016. "My new position is an exciting one," Jim emailed. "I enjoy it thoroughly and there are many areas of potential growth. I now work in the ‘Tower of Hope’ on the old campus of the Crystal Cathedral [now Christ Cathedral] in Garden Grove. My title is Radio Program Manager for the Diocese of Orange. I produce multiple local programs that air on networks such as Immaculate Heart Radio, Relevant Radio, and EWTN Network Radio. Some of the titles include Call Me Catholic, Empowered By the Spirit, OC Catholic Radio, The Don Johnson Show, and Catholic Sports View."

You can catch the podcasts at occatholic.com/radio. Jim's office is less than a mile from the old KYMS studios at the Katella Commerce Center, just down the street from Honda Center. "I really ‘grew up’ at KYMS during my formative years in radio from 1988 to ’93, working alongside such pros as Dave Armstrong, Austin Hill, Roger Marsh, Bill Reitler, Mike Villani and so many more.

Hear Ache 

(February 22, 2017) Bruce Chandler calls it “the great radio mystery.” Jennifer Jones Lee (l) joined the KFI morning show as the news lady last year but she has been off the air more than on. “She got back Monday and not a word was said about how long she was gone (a few months) or why- just ‘welcome back.’ So weird," emailed Bruce. "She sounds great. I like her on air. Maybe she had to take care of an ailing parent? Who knows?” … Dave Williams and Anita Garner have relaunched their site, www.theagingofaquarius.com and made an adjustment to the format to fit mobile devices. Both are such fun reads … Seen any good movies in 2016? Academy Award time comes up this weekend. Which of the nine nominated films do you think will win? Send your choice to me at db@thevine.net and put your pick in the subject line. No prizes. I struggled with my Oscar vote this year. Lotsa B and B+ movies. But one movie was almost perfect and it got my vote … Dan Prince of El Centro saw the photo of Johnny Otis and remembered that  he had a show on XERB, the "Mighty 1090" in the mid/late sixties. “Same guy that recorded Willie and the Hand Jive,” wrote Prince. “Wolfman Jack was on XERB as well during this period.” … Ryan Seacrest's Beverly Hills home suffered from a fire over the weekend. TMZ reports there was, "some heavy damage," done to the $50 million structure … The dementia challenges facing David Cassidy  brought up a familiar name, Danny Bonaduce. The fellow Patridge Family player offered his support. Over the years, Cassidy has also been a supporter of Bonaduce's, especially when Danny was going through a very dark period. Danny has been doing mornings at KZOK-Seattle since 2011. I checked the KZOK website this morning and you can watch the morning show. He's still a great communicator. Remember his running battles with co-stars Jamie White at Star 98.7 and Adam Carolla at KLSX?

KNX Makes Huge Jump in January '17 Ratings 

(February 21, 2017) KOST narrowly held on to the #1 spot in the just-released January '17 PPM ratings. The AC station came down five points from its lofty position when it was playing Christmas music. The big ratings story, however, was a full-point jump for all-News KNX, moving from 2.7 to 3.7 in the 6+ Mon-Sun, 6a-12mid ratings.

Go Country KKGO experimented with early playing of Christmas music for the first time. "Our holiday programming was a huge success," emailed Saul Levine, owner of KKGO. "Country formats are hurt most of all formats by all-holiday programming. Each year we took a huge hit with audience dropping during that period. Our cume during December 2016, at just under 2 million, was the highest cume ever achieved by a Country station in the USA since PPM was adopted in 2008. We are evaluating our plans for 2017." Saul added: "KKGO just celebrated its tenth year as a Country station. We proved KZLA wrong that LA would not support a Country station. Almost every month, KKGO has the highest cume of any Country in the USA."

1. KOST (AC) 10.7 - 5.2

2. KBIG (Hot AC) 4.7 - 5.1

3. KTWV (the WAVE) 4.7 - 5.0

4. KIIS (Top 40/M) 4.6 - 4.5

5. KRTH (Classic Hits) 4.1 - 4.3

6. KLVE (Spanish Contemporary) 3.6 - 3.8

7. KNX (News) 2.7 - 3.7

8. KCBS (JACK/fm) 3.2 - 3.5

      KFI (Talk) 3.1 - 3.5

10. KRCD (Spanish Adult Hits) 3.2 - 3.2

11. KRRL (Urban) 2.9 - 3.1

12. KYSR (Alternative) 2.8 - 3.0

13. KPWR (Top 40/R) 2.7 - 2.9

14. KAMP (Top 40/M) 2.9 - 2.6

15. KLOS (Classic Rock) 2.0 - 2.4

       KXOS (Regional Mexican) 2.1 - 2.4

17. KJLH (Urban AC) 1.9 - 2.3

      KSWD (Classic Rock) 1.9 - 2.3

19. KKGO (Country) 2.8 - 2.2

20. KXOL (Spanish AC) 1.8 - 2.1

21. KPCC (News/Talk) 1.5 - 2.0

       KROQ (Alternative) 1.8 - 2.0

23. KLAX (Regional Mexican) 2.1 - 1.9

24. KLYY (Spanish Adult Hits) 1.5 - 1.8

25. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 1.5 - 1.7

26. KCRW (Variety) 1.3 - 1.4

27. KUSC (Classical) 1.2 - 1.2

28. KRLA (Talk) 0.8 - 1.1

29. KSPN (Sports) 1.0 - 1.0

       KSSE (Spanish Oldies) 1.0 - 1.0

31. KWIZ (Spanish Variety) 1.0  - 0.9

32. KABC (Talk) 0.6 - 0.7

       KEIB (Talk) 0.6 - 0.7

       KLAC (Sports) 0.7 - 0.7

35. KFSH (Christian Contemporary) 0.7 - 0.6

       KKJZ (Jazz) 0.6 - 0.6

       KWKW (Spanish Sports) 0.4 - 0.6 


Found Natalie Urias and Turk Stevens Living in Vegas 

(February 21, 2017) Over our 20 years with LARadio, we have tracked those you have listened to on Southern California radio. From time to time, we update and introduce you to someone behind the scenes. Today two stories and who better to tell you about Natalie Urias and her husband Turk Stevens than their friend, KOST’s  Ted Ziegenbusch.

Both Natalie and Turk worked at Premiere Radio. She has two young children and is now living near Las Vegas. After seven productive years with Premiere Radio, Natalie still keeps her hands in marketing/promotions and PR. But  being a full-time mom is Natalie’s first call. Turk was the sports update, anchor and color commentator for Premiere. He spent 25 years on various networks, including Fox Sports, Sporting News Radio, and NBC Sports. Besides his national work, Turk was even the voice of the Macon Whoopie Hockey team. As Natalie puts it, Turk was the Whoopie’s Chick Hearn, “but not nearly as famous!” Turk was also a staple on the Big Ben Maller Show on Fox for many years. To reiterate, Natalie’s biggest thrill nowadays is her family. That, and the fact that she often works out at the same gym with Britney Spears.

As I recall, Natalie was Delilah’s right-hand assistant back in the 1990s. She would often accompany Delilah on publicity and business tours. Natalie was also the only Love Songs producer at KOST that would stay late (often well past midnight) and help me produce the second-half of the KOST Love Songs Show. Before the days of email, Natalie would help edit the hundreds of listener letters that we received weekly, in addition to so many other tasks that helped me tremendously. Natalie accompanied me on our many remotes, the best of which were Disneyland Main Street as well as our weekends at The Rio in Las Vegas. Doing a call-in show while the Disneyland Parade or the Mardi Gras Parade marched past the KOST microphone was a real challenge, with or without a producer. However, Natalie made the effort and the journey much more fun. I still miss her delightfully cheerful attitude and willingness to take on any assignment.

Mr. Pop Culture

(February 20, 2017) In June 1965, Bob Crane, the popular morning personality on KNX- 1070 in Los Angeles, tells his audience he’s leaving the show to star in a new television series Hogan’s Heroes. Crane says he hopes to leave by mid- summer. “I’m not going to make a big deal out of it. I’m just going to say it’s been nice, we’ve all made money and good-bye. Crane says he’s been considering offers for years. Most recently, he co-starred on The Donna Reed Show while still doing mornings on KNX. In September, KNX staffers Mel Baldwin and George Walsh are the station’s interim morning personalities until Rege Cordic arrives from Pittsburgh to replace Bob Crane. Rege has contractual obligations with KDKA until the end of the year.

This story is part of Gary West's 50,000-page tribute to modern pop culture. His site is a great resource plus Gary makes a great guest. He gave the Internet its first "week in history" destination back in 1999 with www.pophistorynow.com. Here's a look at the site via the waybackmachine and 1999 (Click Here). Gary has contributed to the media with his own syndicated newspaper articles during the 1990's. His "this week in pop culture history" was a contributor to the History Channel and their version of the genre. Mr. Pop also echoed into such shows such as, Behind The Hits, gameshow Jeopardy and other MTV/VH1 shows and countless radio shows.  Gary West can be contacted at mrpophistory@gmail.com. 

Size Matters

(February 19, 2017) Sometimes one can determine the importance of a person during their lifetime by the amount of space devoted to the obituary in the LA Times. With such a wealth of distinguished people who die in the Southland each day, the Times devoted a half-page to sports broadcaster, Mike Walden.

From the Times' obit:

"Walden's time intersected with another legendary USC broadcaster, Tom Kelly, when Kelly began calling the university's games on television.

USC's current play-by-play broadcaster, Pete Arbogast, said Walden's style of calling a game represented a 'younger and hipper' era. Walen bestowed nicknames on players and veered away from the more staid style of previous generations.'

'He's talking to college kids, basically, and younger with the parlance that he was using,' Arbogast said. 'I really enjoyed listening to him.'"

Steve Thompson sent along this: Bizarre was a sketch comedy series hosted by John Byner which aired on CTV and Showtime from 1980 to 1986. In several sketches, Bob Einstein portrayed Super Dave Osborne, an incompetent stunt man, and Walden was his interviewer. Several of the sketches can be seen at   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nnl2kRsyVk  

9 Years Ago

The Birth of the Mellow Sound at KNX/fm
by Steve Marshall
 

(February 2008) One of the great pleasures in radio is something that has not been accorded very many people...the opportunity to create a format that has never been done before. It was my honor to have been in that very fortunate position throughout much of the ‘70s when KNX/fm in Los Angeles became the birthplace of something that is now generically referred to as “soft rock.” Back then, we just called it “The Mellow Sound.” We didn’t like the phrase “soft rock.”

For one thing, the word “soft” is often used to denote some kind of deficiency. We also never used the word “rock,” even though we played plenty of it. We thought of ourselves as rock for people who thought they didn’t like rock. 

I wanted to write this to set the record straight about the birth of “The Mellow Sound.”  

A frequently used flyer for ads, sales brochure covers, and promotional items featured two Victorian homes on Carroll Street with the 30-year-old skyline of downtown Los Angeles in the background. Copy on poster:

"The Feeling of LA.

There's a feeling, an attitude at KNX/fm that's mirrored in our music. A special blend we call Mellow Rock. With thought provoking special features and news.

The sound is Southern California's own. And there's not another like it - anywhere. KNX/fm. Rocking L.A. the Mellow Way

During that growth period in the ‘70s, I got most of the credit for the creation of the format. The real truth is it was an amalgam of the hard work and boundless imaginations of a number of extremely talented people. 

My employment with KNX/fm began because of a long-standing association with its first program director, Rodger Layng, a friendship that dated all the way back to college. When I got out of the navy in 1966 and decided I wanted to break into radio, Rodger was the person responsible for making it happen, greasing the wheels for me to work weekends playing jazz at KBIG/fm. 

Not long after that, Gordon McLendon was throwing out his unsuccessful all-classified ads station K-ADS and launching KOST on 103.5 and Rodger brought me into that operation as part of the original announcing staff. [As a side note, McLendon had a national program director we answered to ... some wet-behind-the-ears kid by the name of Don Barrett). 

By September of 1970 after spending a few years apart, Rodger decided it was time for us to work together again. I was babysitting automation equipment and a transmitter for KJOI on a mountaintop in Coldwater Canyon. Rodger called and told me that CBS had finally allocated some money to develop its fm properties. KNX/fm had, for a number of years, been on the air with something called “The Young Sound.” The entire station had consisted of two reel-to-reel tape decks and a rotating cart machine in the engineer’s coat closet of KNX 1070. It played a bland assortment of rock covers...that is, when the engineers remembered to change the tapes. Often, the air went stone cold dead for minutes or longer until an alarm would summon an engineer who resented being pulled away from what he was doing in order to service a station that no one listened to. 

Rodger had been hired by KNX/fm’s new general manager, Neil Rockoff, to put yet another elevator music format into place in Los Angeles. [You can tell from my use of that term that so-called “beautiful music” was not my personal favorite ... then or now]. However, the station’s studio wasn’t ready and the automation equipment hadn’t been delivered as yet. So Rockoff entrusted Rodger with creating an interim format ... something to bridge “The Young Sound” with the musical wallpaper that was yet to come. This was purely a holding action until the real station would be in place several months hence. 

Rodger hired me as music director and on-air talent and KNX veteran Mel Baldwin to do some voice tracking to augment what Rodger and I were doing. Mark Bragg was brought in as public affairs director. 

We all went out for beers one evening and talked about what to do for this temporary place-holder of a format. Rodger said, “We’ve all done Beautiful music. We know how it works ... how it depends on flow and tempo sequencing. I’d like to do the same with contemporary music.” For lack of a better term, he called it “pretty rock.” Rodger and I started listening to music and assembling a hodge-podge playlist of folk [Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot], MOR [Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand] a smattering of elevator music instrumentals [Percy Faith, Mantovani] and some people who was just coming onto the scene with a newer and, yes, “softer” approach to rock; people like James Taylor, Cat Stevens and Carole King. (Photo: Steve Marshall in the 1970s)

I mentioned to Rodger that one of the biggest drawbacks to elevator music was that it tended to recede into the background. I was afraid if our playlist was too melodic, we risked doing the same thing. I never understood why advertisers would spend their money on a station that people weren’t really listening to. I suggested that we salt the music liberally with foreground features that would command people’s attention. We began to write little vignettes, some comic, others informational, to drop into the middle of commercial clusters. 

Rodger came up with a radically different clock, throwing out the standard beautiful music four-breaks-per-hour on the quarter hour approach and structuring breaks at the top of the hour as well as the :20 and the :40, thus being in music for much of the hour when other stations were breaking for commercials. At that point, the bare bones of what would become The Mellow Sound were in place, even if we were still broadcasting from that engineer’s coat closet. 

Neil Rockoff liked what he heard and took the unusual step of buying some billboards to promote a format that was only supposed to be temporary. What happened after that was that people started to listen; not in great numbers and not for very long at a time, but we were being sampled and people were liking what they heard. (Outdoor campaign for KNX/fm)

Shortly thereafter, Rockoff was hired to manage a station in Chicago and left Los Angeles. Robert Nelson, veteran promotions director for what was then KNXT/Channel 2, got the general manager’s chair and brought in former USC football great Hal Bedsole as sales manager. By this time the studios were ready and the automation equipment in place and on the air, running fitfully and somewhat unreliably.  

 

(Copy on flyer:

In LA, it's 93 every morning

Morning, noon, and night.
LA listens to KNX/fm.
The music is mellow rock.
The news is no joke.
And the features are thought provoking.
KNX/fm. The sound is Southern California's own.
And there's not another sound
like it - anywhere.
)

 

Rodger Layng and I were functioning as a team by then and practically finishing each others sentences. We went together to Bob Nelson and pitched the idea of staying with what we were doing. We really felt we were onto something and the Arbitron numbers backed us up. Bob turned out to be one of the most supportive general managers in the history of the medium. He not only gave us the green light to continue with what we were doing, but got Hal Bedsole to agree to limit the station’s commercial load to nine minutes an hour. That meant three minutes in each of our three clusters and never being out of music for more than a few minutes at a time. The idea was to keep the commercial inventory steady but raise the rates as the numbers went up. It worked.  

At this point, CBS corporate took notice of the ratings increase at KNX/fm and rewarded Rodger with the general managemanship of KCBS/fm in San Francisco. I was then promoted to program director and started looking for my own staff of people to populate this strange new format.  

I had one rule of thumb... no one could sound like an announcer. They had to appeal to the listeners as conversational human beings. The audio environment was everything. I was relieved when Hal Bedsole agreed with my insistence that we would not air any spot that screamed at the listeners or otherwise violated our very identifiable sound.  Also, I was grateful that Bob Nelson believed, as I did, that we shouldn’t try to buy our audience with contest money. We both knew that kind of an audience is just as easily purchased by someone else waving a bigger check. 

My first staff find was Tom McKay, who replaced me as music director. Tom had worked in rock ‘n’ roll formats and had shoulder length hair and a very mellow disposition. He was, in fact, the person who suggested during his employment interview that we call our format “The Mellow Sound.” 

For news director, I found the inimitable Christopher Ames, a veteran of the news departments of KHJ and KRLA. Before he cut his audition tape, I gave him only one direction: don’t read the news, just tell it to me. He got it instantly. His strong writing skills and smooth voice fit perfectly with what we were doing. Mark Bragg left around that time to go into business for himself, syndicating a radio show for former California governor Ronald Reagan (whatever happened to him?).  Chris Ames absorbed Mark’s public affairs duties as well. 

In keeping with the idea of high profile features, I tried to hire Lew Irwin, who was then best known for his Earth News reports. I was a big fan of those and found myself stopping whatever I was doing when Earth News came on the air. That’s just what I wanted for KNX/fm. But Lew was in business for himself and not enamored of the idea of working for anyone else. So I turned to someone with whom I had worked at KJOI, Paul Crosswhite. Paul was an extremely talented and likeable guy who had started at KJOI when he was a mere 17 years old and was only 19 when I brought him into KNX/fm. In addition to doing news, Paul was charged with creating something with the high-interest quotient of Earth News, but I told him he had to do it in only 60 second hunks. He took to the task immediately, but it was Tom McKay (whom you remember had christened “The Mellow Sound”) who came up with the name for Paul’s feature. He said it should reflect an audio odyssey through contemporary America. There was a film out around the time called The Odessa File. Tom merely flipped it in his mind into “The Odyssey File.”  

To augment that very popular feature, Chris Ames brought public affairs out of the Sunday night ghetto, cutting up the compelling interviews he did into engaging sound bites, then packaging them into a one-minute top-of-the-hour feature called “60 Seconds.” We also wanted a feature that focused on entertainment, since Los Angeles was and is a company town. For that, I found a smooth voiced young woman named Dara Shulkin and rechristened her Dara Welles (I was a big Orson Welles fan). Dara did hard news, but also produced an entertainment news feature and pioneered a new approach to film reviewing that consisted of interviewing audience members as they left the theater, including their sound bites and reporting on what percentage of them liked it and disliked it.  

For a decade, KNX/fm was the darling favorite of the radio landscape. Though never a huge ratings finisher.

(Copy at bottom of poster from 1987:

There's a feeling, an attitude at KNX/fm that's mirrored in our music. A special blend we call Quality Rock. The best album rock from the 70's to the present. The sound is Southern California's own. KNX/fm Continuous Quality Rock.

 I began working with Tom McKay to refine the playlist, throw out the last of the elevator music, get rid of the MOR and really turn KNX/fm into an AOR station, but one that still steered clear of hard rock and heavy metal. In addition to adhering to the enduring radio principal of playing familiar music, we also dared to venture out and break new songs and showcase new artists, people you couldn’t hear on any other station because no one knew who they were. That was “The Mellow Sound” at its purest.  

There was one other behind-the-scenes character who played a huge, albeit silent role in the success of KNX/fm. His name is Bob Cole, a former jazz musician who served on the corporate level in New York as Vice President of the CBS FM Group. Bob reported to the head of CBS Radio, an austere, impeccably dressed man named Sam Cook Digges. Digges, you see, hated rock music in any form. It had been his idea originally to turn KNX/fm into an elevator music station. Bob Cole achieved his heroic status in this story by simply letting Sam Cook Digges think KNX/fm was indeed a “beautiful music” station. He literally spent years hiding our true format from Digges, accompanying him whenever he was in Los Angeles and making certain that he didn’t turn his radio dial to 93.1. 

In the late ‘70s, KNX/fm went through a number of personnel changes with Bob Madigan replacing Paul Crosswhite on ‘The Odyssey File’ and bringing his own distinctive approach to it, Joanne Ehrhart stepping into Dara Welles’ shoes as entertainment reporter, and Tom McKay giving over his music director spot to Michael Sheehy. Michael further revolutionized the playlist by determining in what key each song began and ended so that the tunes could be woven together even more seamlessly. Michael ultimately succeeded me as program director and put his own stamp on KNX/fm. (Pictured: KNX/fm Bob Nelson)

When Michael became pd, he hired the gifted Robert David Hall to succeed him as music director and replace my voice on the air. Dave proved to be multi-talented as an air voice at KNX/fm, then later as a gainfully employed commercial voice over artist. Today, he can be seen as coroner Dr. Al Robbins on the immensely popular CBS series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

That decade in the ‘70s remains among the best memories of my professional life. I have often reflected that KNX/fm couldn’t happen today. In fact, it’s a miracle that it even happened then. It was born in an era when decisions in radio depended heavily on research, yet we never conducted one focus group while I was at CBS. We did it by the seat of our pants, certain that, if we loved it, others would too. 

I left in March of 1979, having achieved everything I had ever dreamed of and more in radio. It was time to reinvent myself and I did so by joining the writing staff of WKRP In Cincinnati. But I still kept a car radio button on 93.1. 

Thanks to Steve Marshall (l) for taking us into the enormous success of “The Mellow Sound.”

Doug Brown sent along a collection of iconic jingles ...


Hear Ache 

  (February 17, 2017) While the future of 100.3/The Sound has yet to be determined (owner Entercom is merging with CBS Radio, the new company will have to sell one of the fm stations because it will be one over the FCC limit of ownership, “Uncle Joe” Benson (photo) has signed a new multi-year agreement. He works weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Joe is the best known and most loved classic rock dj in Los Angeles,” said Dave Beasing, pd of 100.3/The Sound. “The reason is simple. He’s literally written the book on Classic Rock, and he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.” ... In 2015, Erin V worked morning drive sports at KFI with Bill Handel. She left in the spring of 2016 and Erin moved to Detroit because her mom was ailing. Yesterday she was on-air auditioning in morning drive at KRLA/The Morning Answer for an open slot. She's on again this morning ... Speaking of KRLA, Brian Whitman revealed that his friend's father is buried right next to Carl Karcher, founder of Carl's Jr. ... Matt Damon was asked if he had any advice for Jimmy Kimmel on hosting the Academy Awards: "Evidently, he said that he doesn't care at all who wins as long as I lose. I tried to get on his Oscar show last year. I mean, I was nominated; he still didn't let me on. Somebody asked me, 'Do you want him to do bad?' I just want him to live up to my extremely low expectations." ... Reader John Nielsen heard that Perry Como was in the hospital with burned hands. He tried to catch a falling star ... Versatile news anchor Debra Mark has a VO newscast gig on Criminal Minds. Great hustle ... Howard Stern doesn't get much publicity these days but TMZ is reporting that Stern is being sued by a woman who claims that her personal and tax information were broadcast on Stern's radio show two years ago. The complaint alleges "outrageous violation" of her privacy has resulted in difficulty finding employment, anxiety, loss of sleep and irregular eating patterns ... Checking with hockey legend Bob Miller following his recent mild stroke: "I'm feeling better and resting at home." ... Lost another singer, this time on the morning of the Grammy Awards. Al Jarreau, with such a sweet voice, was a seven-time Grammy Award winner. He was 76.

Sports Voice Mike Walden Dies

(February 16, 2017) Mike Walden, a prominent voice in sports broadcasting in Southern California for over 30 years, died Sunday, February 12, from complications of a stroke. He was 89.  There will be a celebration of his life on March 18 at 11 a.m. at Braemar Country Club (4001 Reseda Blvd., Tarzana 91356).

He’s the only announcer in radio and tv to serve as both the voice of the USC Trojans in football and basketball, and he later became the voice of the UCLA Bruins for both sports. He’s also well known for his play-by-play work on NCAA football and basketball, including tennis telecasts for the Prime Ticket Network (now Fox Sports West). Mike has done seven Rose Bowl games and called major league baseball for the Dodgers, Cardinals and Braves.

In addition to his work in sports, Mike served as sidekick (“on-scene” reporter) for the Super Dave Osborne tv comedy specials originally broadcast on Showtime. He was always introduced by studio audience members with the words: "Take it away, Mike Walden." Walden would often say "Get that thing out of here!" after a failed stunt using dangerous machinery.

He was born in 1931 and grew up in Springfield, graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. While in school, Mike worked on the Illinois Sports Network. After serving in the Air Force, he spent 10 years in Milwaukee broadcasting Wisconsin football and basketball, the Green Bay Packers and Braves. From Milwaukee he went to CBS radio in Chicago. In 1966, Mike started as the play-by-play voice for  USC on KNX.

In 1970, he became sports director at KFI. He has won four Golden Mike awards, an L.A. Press Club award and has served five terms as president of the Southern California Sports Broadcasting Association. 

Hot Hits Back in the Day

(February 16, 2017) "Reading this memo made my brain go into hyper drive and rethink if I could have ever hung with a format like this," emailed LARP veteran Bruce Chandler. "I may have gone into another line of work. Thought you'd be interested in reading this memo from Mike Joseph, programming consultant for WHYT in Detroit, and later for many of the fm stations in the CBS Radio chain, including KKHR (formerly KNX/fm) in Los Angeles back in the 1980s. He introduced many of the Top 40 formatics back in the sixties, including WABC when they first went Top 40 in 1960, and later created the 'Hot Hits' format that was introduced at the aforementioned CBS stations across the country in the 1980s, and duplicated by many others. If you think Bill Drake was strict at KHJ and other RKO stations, read this memo."

New Incarnation of KRLA's Morning Answer

(February 15, 2017) Jennifer Horn (pictured with Rick Perry and Brian Whitman) is now officially part of the KRLA Morning Answer, according to Chuck Tyler, director of programming for the Salem/LA stations. She is paired with Brian Whitman. The morning show has had some recent upheaval with former co-hosts Ben Shapiro and Elisha Krauss "moving on to do other things." Tyler said he is recruiting (and trying out people this and next week) for the Ben Shapiro spot. 

"The Morning Answer with Brian and Jen is sounding great" emailed Phil Boyce, svp/Spoken Word format for the Salem Media Group. "It's fun and informative, and has great chemistry between the hosts.  

Former KNX Newslady Uncovers New Career

(February 14, 2017) Brooke Binkowski, a KNX reporter from 2006-07 and KPPC from 2007-12, is managing editor with the myth-busting website, Snopes.com. Over the years, so many LARP have had to change careers from radio because of the ever-changing climate of jobs shrinking, and LARadio.com has chronicled the career trajectory for many of those who found themselves unemployed due to budget cutbacks and format changes.

This time, the LA Times has profiled the journey of Binkowski. Brooke was a freelance journalist who had worked with CNN, KPBS, Southern California Public radio, CBS Radio, as well as KNX. In the Times' bylined story by Gary Warth, he writes: "Binkowski said the last couple of years have seen a shift on the Internet from viral videos about busty women, puppies and aliens to fake news, propaganda and racist stories created by sites seeking a quick buck from the gullible public."

Brooke sifts through 1,500 daily emails responding to a myriad of questions. She assigns a team of four staff reporters and two contract writers to look into the ones that are the subject of most inquiries. Some are easily solved and traced to hoax or humor sites. Others can take days or even weeks to track down.

AMP's Carson Daly Wins Pebble Beach Pro-Am 

(February 13, 2017) Carson Daly, with his pro golfing partner Ken Duke, won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament. After it was over, Carson jumped on plane and got back to New York to celebrate with his Today Show colleagues. "I played golf in the 80s before golf was very cool," Carson told Matt Lauer and Sheinelle Jones. "It was how I built my relationship with my stepfather on the golf course where he taught me all the great life lessons through the game of golf."

Carson said he played the Pro-Am before and the goal was always just to make the cut. "Winning it has been so surreal."
 

How Do You Listen to Music? 

(February 13, 2017) The CBS Sunday Morning spent a number of segments devoted to last night's Grammy Awards show. In one of their bumpers they had an interesting poll from CBS News. Radio was still the #1 way people listen to music.

KOST morning host Ellen K was the announcer for the show and did a great job, as well KIIS' Ryan Secrest who intro'ed a couple of segments.


Email Saturday, 2.11
** Sonny Geraci Dies
"Thank you for this. I love Precious & Few and didn't know it was the same singer on Time Won't Let Me. We play both tunes on the east coast radio stations that I'm on! Good show prep." - Lisa Osborn

 
** Dutton's a Destination
"I remember Dutton's all too well. The NoHo store was near the same intersection as my dentist, which took a little of the pain off of those visits. Dutton's NoHo was where I bought my copies of both editions of Los Angeles Radio People, and it is also where I attended a book signing and panel discussion when Gary Owens released his book on how to go about pursuing a voiceover career, How to Make a Million Dollars with Your Voice (Or Lose Your Tonsils Trying). I believe you organized that event as well, Don, if my memory is correct.  

At that event, I also met the late Steve Landesburg and Rovert Donner, both of whom were pleased to hear that I knew them from their stand-up comedy gigs and not just for their television work.  

As for my copy of Gary's book, he dutifully inscribed it 'To K.M., Happy Krelbs, Gary Owens.' A perfect." - K.M. Richards

 
** Voiceover Help
"I clicked a link from your posting and discovered a MOST educational article by Don Elliot (photo with Vanessa Gilbert). Wish I had seen this when it was first published in 2003 - it would have saved me a bunch of headaches. Thanks for all you do." - Laura Brodian Freas Beraha

**Elliot Comment on VO
"It's been kind of a reality check and I hope none of you become deterred [pun intended]. Let's see, maybe we could say that we hope this brings the pie in the sky a little closer to the ground so you can partake! Or, far-fetched as it sounds, if you want to walk on water, just know where the rocks are. Get some coaching, make a new demo, and be persistent." - Don Elliot

 
  ** KFAC Clarifications
"While you were away, your site featured a list of several facts about Los Angeles radio. I would like to post a correction about one item from that list, regarding KFAC-AM (1931-1989; has been KWKW (AM) since January 18, 1989). It said that for many years, the transmitter for KFAC-AM (1300 kHz. in 1931, moved to 1330-AM on March 29, 1941) was on top of the Auburn-Cord automobile dealership on Wilshire Blvd. at Mariposa Avenue. 

While the towers on top of the car dealership that housed KFAC (in the Penthouse) had the letters KFAC on them, they were 'dummy' antenna towers, only for looks and to advertise the station to drivers and pedestrians in the area. The KFAC antenna and 1,000 watt transmitter was located at 18th and La Cienega Streets from 1932 to 1947, on part of the property that was the Adohr Dairy Farm. In 1947, a new two-tower directional antenna and transmitter was in use at 3725 Chesapeake Avenue. [Early FCC files showed the cite as Rodeo Road and Santa Barbara Ave., now Martin Luther King Blvd.] 

The new transmitter power was 5,000 watts day and 1,000 watts night, and was later incresed again to 5 kw day and night. Two years earlier, Errett Lobban Cord purchased his first radio station, KFVD-Culver City from the MacWhinnie Electric Company of San Pedro.  The daytime-Limited Time station was located on the Hal Roach movie studio lot from March of 1929 to 1932. The first license said the owner was the Auburn-Fuller Company, which Cord invested in during 1928. But, the station's license was soon changed tro show the owner was the Los Angeles Broadcasting Company, a new wholly owned subsidiary of the Auburn-Fuller Company.  
  When E.L.Cord purchased Christian radio station KTBI from the Bible Institute of Los Angeles in 1931, the transmitter and antenna was on top of their building at 536 South Hope Street in Los Angeles.   Cord changed the calls to KFAC to reflect the new owners, Fuller-Auburn-Cord. Fuller was O.R. "Ollie" Fuller, who held the Auburn auto distributorship in L.A., from 1923 to 1932, when it was taken over by E.L. Cord. KFAC remained inside the Bible Institute on South Hope Street, while the new Auburn-Cord dealership and studios for KFAC and KFVD (now KTNQ-1020) were constructed at 3443 Wilshire Blvd. The new radio studios were inside a specially constructed penthouse on the top of the car dealership. 

Meanwhile, due to the Depression, the Auburn-Fuller Company went bankrupt in 1932 and its assets were acquired by E.L. Cord. In 1953, KFAC moved to new studios and offices at 5773 Wilshire Blvd. in Prudential Square. Owner E.L. Cord sold KFAC AM and FM in 1962, 31 years after putting the station on the air. I've sent along some photos of the towers on top of the Cord auto dealership building and former KFAC studio site, and one can see why people thought the towers were the actual transmitter site. After all that writing, I forgot to include the fact that E.L. Cord sold daytime-only KFVD in 1936, and by 1938, KFVD moved from the KFAC Wilshire Blvd. site  to studios at 338 South Western Avenue. The station remained there for some 40 years, through the years as KFVD, KPOP, KGBS and KTNQ." - Jim Hilliker, Monterey
 
 
 


** Privileged to Work in LARadio
"I have been privileged to work in radio in Los Angeles for many years. I have had the pleasure to work with some of the most talented people in the history of our wonderful business. And I believe strongly that all of us owe you a debt of gratitude for doing the great job you have done and continue to do with LARadio.com.

Obviously our business has changed over the years, and you have been there every step of the way. For all the fans of L.A. radio and for those of us who have been lucky enough to work in the industry, I thank you for all your hard work and dedication to keeping radio alive here in the City of Angels.

And I don't want to forget Alan Oda who does a terrific job as well.  Keep up the great work!" - Geoff Witcher


Wendy Williams Conquered the Daytime TV Talk Wars

(February 10, 2017) Wendy Williams was on KDAY in 2007 and 2008. She left radio when she was given a 6-week tryout for a syndicated tv show. It worked and audiences love the audacious host who is willing to say almost anything. As of the last week in December, 1.7 million people tune in to The Wendy Williams Show. Her show was renewed through 2020. She was profiled in a full-page this month in Fortune. Some highlights:

"Born and raised in New Jersey. Her parents are academics with three master's degrees between them. Wendy has written seven book. They aren't typical celebrity pabulum. Instead, she writes fiction. Her latest is a romance novel.

Wendy has a Home Shopping Network clothing line that has grown 75% year over year in gross sales.

Her charity, the Hunter Foundation, helps families affected by drug addiction, which she once struggled with."


Hear Ache

(February 9, 2017) In the early 1960s, NBC and CBS owned the tv ratings. One columnist said if you were trying to hide SLA fugitive Patty Hearst, just put her on ABC. Nobody would find her. ABC changed its approach and started presenting alternative programming that went after the young demographics. Dick Clark's American Bandstand was part of the strategy. How did it happen? A fascinating read. Click Clark artwork ... Aretha Franklin told a Detroit tv station that she plans to quit making music after the release of her new album, produced by Steve Wonder, later this year. Guess we have to give her some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. She also said she would drastically cut back on performing ... Remember Scott and Casey at KFI a decade ago? They have since split. Casey Bartholomew is the new pd at WFSX-Ft. Myers, Florida ... Jim Rome was on with KROQ Kevin & Bean this morning. They chat weekly. They said the parade in Boston for the Patriots looked like Ferris Bueller's day off. Jim's been doing a national show since 1996.  He will remain with CBS Sports Radio for the foreseeable future. He's signed a new contract. Unfortunately his syndicated show does not appear on a terrestrial LA station. You have to have HD or listen on the Internet. “This is a huge day for the show,” said Rome. “CBS RADIO is an unbelievable place, everything I had hoped it would be and more. There have been so many exciting changes in the industry and I’m as motivated as ever to capitalize on them with CBS Sports Radio, our affiliates and sponsors, and our business partners at Westwood One." ... Steve Harvey is moving his base of operations from Atlanta to Los Angeles. His tv show is moving from Chicago to L.A. Many more opportunities for guests. Wonder how or if it will affect his show on KJLH? ... Batman super fan, KROQ's Ralph Garman, has a role in the new Lego Batman movie ... New Entercom/CBS ceo/chair David Field wrote on his Twitter page: "Another terrific day visiting the excellent teams in Los Angeles and San Diego. Five down, 21 to go!" ... Singer Sonny Geraci of The Outsiders (Time Won't Let Me) and Climax (Precious and Few) has died at age 69. He'd been ill for quite a few years.


Dutton's Heart and Soul Dies 

(February 8, 2017) In the early 1990s I wrote my first book, Los Angeles Radio People, kind of the precursor to the LARadio.com Internet version. I sent the book to 17 publishers. All turned it down. I resisted self-publishing because I thought it was vanity press and that's where you went if you couldn't get a "legitimate" publisher.

Someone turned me on to the works of Dan Poynter, self-publishing guru, who wrote over 130 books. His manual gave me the insight to self-publishing and my first book sold all 5,000 printed books (2nd edition sold 10,000). When you self-publish, the Crown Books and Barnes &  Nobles won't carry your books.

At the time of my self-publishing journey, I placed my book in 22 independent bookstores around the Southland. My second store I approached was Dutton's in North Hollywood on Laurel Canyon. Dave and his brother Doug (ran Brentwood store on San Vicente) sold over 100 of my books. We had events, book signings, and readings. Dave encouraged my efforts and offered advice and made phone calls on my behalf.

I was sad to read that Dave died last month. His store had closed years earlier but the special relationship with Dutton's will always be part of the success of LARadio.

Leeann Tweeden Joins Doug McIntyre at KABC

(February 7, 2017) Leeann Tweeden is joining McIntyre in the Morning, as news anchor. She most recently co-hosted LA Today with Fred Roggin on KLAC. She is a frequent social and political commentator on tv shows including: Hannity, Dr. Drew, Red Eye, and Good Day L.A.

"I’m thrilled Leeann Tweeden is joining us on McIntyre in the Morning," said KABC's Doug McIntyre. "Leann will bring a different vibe to the show, smart, funny, patriotic and all that good girlie stuff I am sadly lacking.” 

Tweeden was formerly co-host of UFC Tonight on FOX SPORTS, was co-anchor of Good Day L.A. and developed a national profile as a cast member of FSN’s The Best Damn Sports Show Period. She was also host of NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship and the popular late night show, Poker After Dark.  

Drew Hayes, operations director, KABC, said: “We are delighted to have Leeann sign on as the newest addition to the KABC on-air team. She is not only a bright, high energy, and plugged-in broadcaster, she brings a broad reservoir of life experiences. Leeann is a perfect fit for McIntyre in the Morning.”  

“I am so happy to be joining KABC and McIntyre in the Morning," said Leeann. "Sitting with Doug McIntyre and getting to be a part of his crew for five hours every day is going to be an adventure. I’ve been a sportscaster for much of my career, but I love politics and have deep attachments to our military-- and I'm a mom of two small kids. I'm ready for anything!”        

Using CBS Call Letters

(February 6, 2017) Entercom can use the “WCBS” and “KCBS” calls for the next 20 years, according to a story at NOW newletter. Tom Taylor writes at his tasty website: "So it keeps those important brands in New York (news WCBS/880, classic hits WCBS-FM/101.1), Los Angeles (variety hits 93.1 “Jack FM” KCBS-FM) and San Francisco (news KCBS/740). The agreement also covers “certain station call letters and brands.” Presumably that includes places with co-owned radio/TV properties like Boston (news/talk WBZ at 1130 and “Sports Hub 98.5” WBZ-FM), Chicago (news WBBM at 780 and rhythmic “B96” WBBM-FM) and Philadelphia (news KYW at 1060). Entercom’s allowed to continue using “CBS Radio,” but only for 12 months after the closing. It gains the use of “CBS Sports Radio” and associated trademarks. (We’ll see how David Field and his team feel about the CBS Sports Radio partnership created by CBS and previous Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey – and we might eventually learn how new Cumulus boss Mary Berner likes the deal.)"

Hear Ache, 2.6
(February 6, 2017) Even though the deal to merger CBS Radio with Entercom is months off, the CBS/LA staff will get a chance to meet with their new ceo/chairman David Field (l) and his lieutenants, along with CBS brass, tomorrow. Joining Field Tuesday morning at the Wilshire Blvd and Venice locations will be Weezie Kramer, Scott Herman, and Pat Paxton. All employees are invited to an 8 a.m. Town Hall meeting, followed by a meeting with department heads and tours of both locations ... KOST morning super star Ellen K will be the announcer on the 59th Annual Grammy Awards broadcast next Sunday ... Former Pittsburgh Steeler QB Terry Bradshaw left his radio gig at XTRA Sports 1150 (KXTA) 17 years ago, right  after the Super Bowl. Watching him yesterday, he's really ballooned into a big boy. LARP Chris Myers did a FANTASTIC job of getting through the crush of people on the field to get the first interview with Tom Brady after the Super Bowl win ... In the current issue of Los Angeles Magazine, a reader wonders if Wally George and Dr. Gene Scott were brothers? "The conservative talk show host  and the preacher both yelled at tv viewers in the 1980s and '90s and had sunshine-bright hair, but they were not related. George died in 2003; Scott, in 2005. UHF hasn't been the same since." ... Can't wait for the new book by KNX airborne reporter Jeff Baugh, titled Stick With Us and We'll Get You There. Just when you thought you knew what was going on in our freeway system, Jeff and his co-writer Mary Walker Baron rip back the curtain and take us behind-the-scenes with a completely new perspective on our daily commute ... Rick Thomas, former pd at K-EARTH, is the new om at the Cox cluster in Tampa/St. Petersburg … Want a reminder of how tough the voiceover world is? Check out this link ... Bobby Freeman died at age 76. Remember The Swim and Do You Want to Dance?


San Diego Veteran Dies at 99

 (February 5, 2017) Jack Vincent, a San Diego veteran dj during the  Top 40 era (notably at KCBQ), died January 29, at 99. Karen Pearlman wrote Vincent's obit for the San Diego Union Tribune.

Jack told friends that when he was in his mid-30s, he was ready for a career change. He’d had a four-year stint as a U.S. Marine, helped lay concrete for the building of Hoover Dam and labored many years working heavy construction. So, looking for a job that didn’t involve hours of physical labor, he began a foray into work in AM radio. And while he sat in chairs for the rest of his career, he actively made a lifetime of memories for himself and the listening public as a disc jockey.

“He was known as one of the ‘KCBQ Good Guys’ along with Happy Hare and Don Howard,” said his lifelong friend and fellow dj Shotgun Tom Kelly. “They were like local celebrities, they made a lot of public appearances. They were there when Elvis came to town.”

Born on November 7, 1917 in Youngstown, Ohio, as John Vincent Oatsdean, he dropped out of high school in 10th grade and joined the U.S. Marines in 1942. Discharged from the military in July 1946, he settled in Southern California. During his tenure in construction, Mr. Vincent was also part of the building of Boulder Dam, also known as Hoover Dam, in Nevada.

Upon deciding on that fateful career change, he attended a radio broadcasting school in Hollywood and found a job in the early 1950s working at KXO-AM in El Centro. He then moved on to KFXM-AM San Bernardino. In 1955, he was hired by Lee Bartell at KCBQ AM Radio as an announcer broadcasting from what is now known as the Lafayette Hotel on El Cajon Boulevard. When KCBQ upped its transmission to 50,000 watts in 1958, Mr. Vincent began broadcasting an all-night show from what was once the station’s transmitter site, located on Mission Gorge Road in Santee.


Email Saturday, 2.4 

** CBS Merger
"The pending demise of CBS Radio led to some reminiscing about my years in radio over lunch.

A Chicago song came on and that led to some discussion of elevator music. I recalled how one time I actually played a song for the elevators in the city of Chicago. I worked at WFYR/fm. The station was using a sub carrier to stream elevator music to local hotels and office buildings. After a 90-day turn off notice, the chief engineer had me go into a studio, flip some switches to make it hot on the sub carrier and read an announcement that all programming is coming to an end.

I did as instructed and then punctuated it all by playing a song by Screamin' Jay Hawkins called Constipation Blues. We got a lot of calls from irate hotel managers in the morning. But the engineer though it was hysterical and nothing ever came of it." - Tom Haule
** What New Entercom May Look Like
"We should also probably take into account that in two other California markets -- San Francisco (#4) and San Diego (#17) -- there will need to be some divestitures to stay under the market ownership cap. And there are a lot of markets in the Midwest where Entercom is under the caps but will acquire no new stations from CBS. I expect some horse trading. And then there is the ripple effect of Entercom surrendering the KDND license in Sacramento to make that legal mess go away. Could that end up being a 'sale without profit' rather than an outright going silent? And does that have any effect on whatever dealings happen on the other side of the Diablo Mountains in S.F.? I agree with you that this is going to get interesting." - K.M. Richards
** Birdcage Yarn
"What a great yarn by Jim Hilliker.

Thanks for rekindling my remembrance of the old Birdcage at Knotts and making my Saturday morning so bright after being so glum when I finished reading the Times at breakfast." - Bill Mann, South Pasadena
** Passing Parade
"I was sorry to hear of the passing of Messrs. Bob Coburn and Bob Elder. I worked very briefly with B.C. at KZLA when John Sebastian was pd [thanks for the big break] and worked with Elder at KEZY and KDOC TV.

Time is moving way too fast.” – Bob Harvey

** Power to Elder
"Bob Elder just started doing a sports show on our stations and was excited to be back on the radio. I first met him at KEZY AM/FM-Anaheim  when I was pd there back in the 80's. When I moved over to KIK/fm in the 90's, I hired him there too! Bob wanted to pay me back, so he got me a job as the stadium announcer at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim when he was working for the Ducks and the Bullfrogs! [Many thanks, Bob]. I always loved Bob as a person, his on air work and his work ethics! Bob was handsome, with movie star good looks and he was truly an all American guy! Many will miss you Bob! RIP Job well done!" – Craig Powers
** Three Amigos
"Here's a photo I snapped at the Southern California Sports Broadcasters luncheon. I was at the next table and sitting just a few feet away from the three most influential L.A. Dodgers in the city's history. It was literally a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity of Vin Scully, Peter O'Malley and Tommy Lasorda. WOW." -  Bruce Chandler
** Chris Little, Harvey Levin, Steve Gregory
"As I glanced at the headlines when LARadio.com popped-up, my eyes picked up 'Chris Little, Harvey Levin, Steve Gregory' as 'Little Harvey Levin.'

I did one of those 'wait a minute…that can’t be right…' and went back to double-check, then chuckled over the eye-faux pas.  Hope it made you chuckle a little [no pun intended….] too.  

Thanks for keeping up your immeasurably invaluable site, Don." - Andrew Schermerhorn

What Will the New Entercom Sound Like in Los Angeles?

(February 3, 2017) With yesterday’s announcement that Entercom would take over the CBS stations as early as this summer, speculation has already started on what the Los Angeles landscape will sound like. First of all, not to have CBS radio is a true passage of time after more than a century of tiffany programming and management.

The following thoughts are based on nothing more than the facts as we understand them - today.

Taking on the existing CBS/LA stations and adding its LA station (KSWD, The Sound/100.3fm), Entercom is one over the FCC limit of stations they can own. They will have to sell one of the fm stations. Which one will go?

KROQ was the biggest biller of the CBS/LA cluster in 2016. KTWV was the lowest. The Sound was below any of the CBS stations. You might think, based strictly on revenue, that The Sound will be sold off.

But are there other considerations?

What if you need operating revenue? Maybe selling one of the better performing stations will result in a big return for operating capital.

CBS Sports is missing in LA. It is currently heard on the KCBS (JACK/fm) HD-2 channel, but HD is not generally considered a viable outlet, with limited listenership. Changing JACK/fm to a Sports/Music station makes sense from the standpoint of the correct attitude the station already has. Could be a double winner.

Is it time for an FM Sports station in LA? The Sound aired the LA Rams broadcasts this past season, and Entercom seems to be very interested in sports based on their California commitment in other markets. Specifically, in San Francisco, there’s KGMZ / The Game 95.7 (Oakland Raiders, the Oakland Athletics and the Golden State Warriors) and in San Diego, KBZT (Padres home).

An FM Sports station would also give Jim Rome a permanent home in LA, a great anchor for an all-Sports station.

Assuming CBS programming genius Kevin Weatherly stays when Entercom takes over, it seems improbable that he would keep two stations that fit into the Classic Rock fold – JACK/fm and The Sound. This format conflict might be the impetus to drop one of them or change a format. If The Sound changes format or is sold, score big win for KLOS.

And what about signal strength? As the marketplace keeps expanding into the suburbs, could the new Entercom contemplate moving KROQ to a stronger signal and maybe sell the weakest signal? Despite the competitive Alternative format from iHeart’s ALT 98-7 (KYSR), KROQ performs exceptionally well in the revenue department because of its heritage status. Maybe it is time to upgrade the signal.

Lotsa options. Will Entercom want to bring in its own management team or will they retain the existing CBS/LA structure? Corporately there is undoubtedly much duplication, so there will initial cost savings as jobs are consolidated or eliminated.

This will be fun to watch.


Entercom Will Become 2nd Biggest Radio Group 

(February 2, 2017) CBS Corporation and Entercom are set to merge CBS Radio with Entercom in a tax-free merger. The transaction will create a preeminent radio platform, with a nationwide footprint of 244 stations, including 23 of the top 25 U.S. markets, as well as digital capabilities and a growing events platform. In Los Angeles, Entercom owns  KSWD (100.3/The Sound).

“This agreement is great for shareholders and achieves our previously stated objectives by separating our radio business in the best possible way,” said Leslie Moonves, chairman/ceo, CBS Corporation. “Entercom is a superbly run company, and together with CBS Radio’s powerful brands and remarkable people, we are creating an organization that will be even better positioned to succeed in this rapidly evolving media landscape.” David J. Field, president and ceo of Entercom, who will lead the combined company, said, “These two great companies, with their impressive histories, complementary assets, and premier content and brands, are a perfect strategic and cultural fit, enabling us to deliver local connection on a national scale and drive accelerated growth. We look forward to welcoming our talented new colleagues at CBS Radio, and we have the utmost respect for their significant contributions to the industry.”

Andre Fernandez, who will continue as president and ceo of CBS Radio through the closing of the transaction, said, “I couldn’t be more proud of the CBS Radio team and all of the exciting breaking news, live events, and business initiatives happening every day across the country. Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for us as we join with an organization with an equally deep tradition in radio broadcasting. The opportunities for the new company are enormous – thanks to our combined collection of industry-leading stations and brands.”

The merger will create a leading local media and entertainment company with strong, complementary assets on a national scale, including: A leading sports platform with the rights to broadcast 45 pro sports teams, including the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, the New England Patriots, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Golden State Warriors, and 100+ popular local sports talk shows, including the most-listened-to sports talk station in the country, as well as the CBS Sports Radio Network, which is made up of 300 affiliated radio stations across the country Leadership in news and news/talk format, with some of the most-listened-to news and talk radio stations nationwide, including 1010 WINS in NY, KNX in LA, and WBBM in Chicago, a diverse array of music and entertainment formats (in LA: K-EARTH, AMP Radio, KTWV [the WAVE], KCBS [JACK/fm], and KROQ), a leading creator of more than 4,500 live original events per year, from music festivals and large shows to intimate performances with big-name artists, a growing portfolio of digital content that expands reach and engagement by local on-air talent through original programming and social media.

The combined companies’ pro forma revenue on a trailing 12 months basis was approximately $1.7 billion – which would make it the second-largest radio station owner in the U.S.  The combination of CBS Corporation’s radio business with Entercom will be effected through a “Reverse Morris Trust” transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to CBS and its shareholders. As part of the transaction, CBS shareholders will have the opportunity to exchange all, some, or none of their CBS shares for CBS Radio shares.

How Will Jimmy Kimmel Do Hosting the Oscars?

(February 2, 2017) Jimmy Kimmel, formerly with KROQ, is set to emcee the Oscars. Deadline.com's Peter Bart and Mike Fleming, Jr., argue how well he will do:

BART: Kimmel admits to a case of nerves, but he should take comfort in these realities: His show won’t be a ratings hit no matter how smart and funny he is. The slate of nominations has put a lid on his TV audience. It’s also eliminated the need to recycle any diversity jokes. F In his usual display of Kimmel candor, he acknowledges that “I don’t think a lot of people will have seen the nominated movies,” hence the proverbial Oscar ratings issue.
FLEMING: I think Kimmel is the right guy at the right time and that under his skillful steering this could be the most memorable Oscars in a long time. This might be the most politically charged Oscarcast since the Vietnam War raged and Brando sent Native American civil rights activist Sasheem Littlefeather to accept his Best Actor trophy for The Godfather. Kimmel isn’t Carson, but he might be better this year as a referee to balance pictures with polemics. Even though La La Land has all those Oscar noms, the overriding presence will be President Trump, who has a full month to further inflame the Hollywood elite.
BART: From Kimmel’s standpoint, jokes about Manchester By the Sea are not only difficult to shape but may go over the heads of most of the audience. Rogue One humor may be tempting but irrelevant. The Wall St Journal last week computed that the nine nominated features had grossed an average of $52 million domestic – good numbers for the indie world, but not for the mainstream Hollywood that tv viewers think they’re buying into. Over the past ten years only a few big hits (in studio terms) have appeared on the nomination list – Toy Story 3, Gravity and The Martian.
FLEMING: The purpose of the Oscars is to reward quality and excellence, and there’s a fine crop of pictures here, and many more good ones that didn’t make the cut. Maybe more people will be moved to discover Moonlight or Manchester By The Sea, or Viggo’s performance in Captain Fantastic. To pander and try to nominate to anticipate a viewing audience, you might as well turn the Oscars into the People’s Choice Awards or MTV Movie Awards.

Alex Cohen New Morning Edition Host

 
(February 1, 2017) Later this month, KPCC's Take Two co-host Alex Cohen is moving to mornings as the station's local Morning Edition host. With Cohen's move, Take Two will continue as a one-hour show with A Martinez continuing as host. Larry Mantle's Air Talk will move up an hour to 10 a.m. - noon; and Fresh Air will add an airing at noon. "With so much happening locally, nationally and globally, we wanted Alex to be the first voice our audience hears in the morning," said Melanie Sill, vp of content. 

Alex was born in New York City but her parents moved her out to L.A. when she was just a toddler. She had big dreams of becoming an actress - dreams that compelled her to leave L.A. and attend a performing arts high school in northern Michigan. She went on to study theater and religious studies at Brown University. Upon graduating, Alex realized a thesis in 13th century Zen Buddhism may not have been the best way to get a job.

She spent years traveling the country and working various jobs, including as a parade float designer. Eventually she spent a few years teaching English in Japan before deciding she wanted to go into journalism. Alex attended UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism where she learned the craft of radio. She went on to work at NPR in Washington, DC as a producer and director. Then she came back to California where she worked at NPR affiliate KQED in San Francisco.

Alex then decided to have a turn in front of the mic - so she moved back to Southern California to be KQED's LA Bureau Chief. She was stationed in the downtown offices of the public radio show Marketplace where she was approached to guest host on a new show called Weekend America. She fell in love with the host seat and went on to co-host NPR's Day to Day, All Things Considered on LA's leading public radio station KPCC and KPCC's most highly-rated local program Take Two. In two weeks, she takes the helm as KPCC's Morning Edition host.


LARadio

2017 News in January


2016 News

Compiled and Written by Don Barrett
db@thevine.net

About the Publisher of LARadio.com, Don Barrett

As publisher of LARadio.com, Don Barrett chronicles radio news and lists 6,000 people in Los Angeles who work or have worked in radio in the past 50 years. Barrett is a historian of contemporary Los Angeles radio history and author of Los Angeles Radio People, published in 1994. He published a second volume of the book a year later, along with the launch of a daily website column.

In 2013, he started as the radio columnist for the Orange County Register.

Barrett's Southern California roots (Santa Monica) include a bachelor's degree from Chapman University. He also earned a master's in psychology. He spent 10 years in radio working as a disc jockey, program director and general manager (W4-Detroit and WDRQ-Detroit).

He launched KIQQ (K-100) Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

In the mid-1970s Don joined the motion picture business, working as a marketing executive at Columbia, Universal, and MGM/UA. Barrett was part of the marketing team that released E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Back to the Future, Thelma and Louise, Rocky and James Bond movies.

He also represented a number of films at the Cannes Film Festival.

He was the first recipient of TALKERS Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award. Don has been honored with an honorary Golden Mike and Special Recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists. 


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