Happy LARP Thursday Birthdays
The most comprehensive listing of 6,000 Los Angeles Radio People, spanning the last 57 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!
(Dick Biondi, Rick Scarry, Phil Gonzalez, Ace Young, Jeff Gonzer, Stephen A Smith, Jack Salvatore, Dave Zorn, Craig Hines, and Jeanne Zelasko)
Former Mega Man Upped in SF
(December 18, 2014) Don Parker was brought into KCMG (Mega 100) in the late 1990s from KKFR-Phoenix as operations director. He had already worked at KTBZ-Houston, KBOS and KKDJ-Fresno and KEDG-Las Vegas.
Don is currently vp of programming for iHeartMedia in the Bay Area. His duties have now been expanded to include Sacramento.
In addition to overseeing programming for the six San Francisco radio stations, Parker will now oversee five stations in Sacramento. He will bring to iHeartMedia Sacramento more than 25 years of experience in the radio industry. He started with iHeartMedia in 2009 as the Operations Manager for the San Francisco cluster.
Parker had quite the start in radio at Bill Drake owned KYNO-Fresno, then crossed the street to program KBOS. When he left Mega 100, he joined NextMedia Group as VP/Programming. He then started a consultancy in 2005 and launched Energy 92.7-San Francisco. “Then the economy tanked, Energy was sold, and consultants became an easy expense reduction, so business wasn't good! I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join Clear Channel-San Francisco in late 2009,” he told AllAccess.com.
Don grew up in Redondo Beach and was greatly influenced listening to KIIS in the huge growth of the station in the early 80’s. “Wow, what a bigger than life station. I wanted to be every jock on the station - even the part-timers, like Larry Morgan, during that time,” confessed Parker.
“Our Sacramento stations have evolved greatly. With market veteran John Geary at the helm, our leadership team and talent, the Sacramento market is shaping up to be among the best in the business,” said Parker. “I look forward to expanding my role and would also like to thank iHeartMedia for the amazing opportunity."
1999 KBIG Promotion
1999 KBIG Promotion
“A soccer player in Peru was struck by lightning during a match, proving that even God hates soccer.” (Frank Kramer, KLOS)
“Breaking into the radio business at the moment would be like breaking into a bank that’s already been robbed.” (George Johns, radio consultant)
“Olivia Newton-John is extending her residency at the Flamingo. It’s clear that it’s the one that she wants.” (Ira David Sternberg)
“What is red and white, red and white, and red and white? Santa rolling down a hill.” (Dude, character on Gary Bryan Show, K-EARTH)
“Whichever Talk radio host does not show up for work after the Christmas party means they didn’t make bail.” (Doug McIntyre, KABC)
Office Christmas Party Story. Many years ago, KABC’s Doug McIntyre got a writing job with an ad agency in New York. It was during the Disco era of the 80s, “when cocaine was a necessity,” said Doug on his morning show.
He had been on the job for only a few days before the annual agency Christmas party. “They had this big, incredible party on the East River at this place called the Water Club. It was really ‘la dee dah,’” said Doug. They had an open bar and all the food you can eat. “I know NOBODY. I barely know the person who hired me. I had been there for three days.”
Doug said he was standing there with a Heineken. “I am talking with this squat guy with a big handlebar mustache. He’s got a Heineken. He’s got his shirt half un-tucked. He’s the kind of guy I almost always gravitate to at almost all parties.”
The “squat” guy asks how Doug is doing. “I tell him I’m doing okay and he asks my name. I introduce myself. He asks what I do. I tell him the company hired me to write these things. I ask him what he does and he tells me he is the chairman of the board. I laughed. I told him that they offered me that job but it didn’t pay that well. He chuckles and walks away.”
Later on in the party, they introduced the chairman of the board who turns out to be the little “squat guy" with the shirt hanging out. “You’ve got to be very careful what you do at the Christmas party,” warned Doug.
Hear Ache. Stressed out during the holidays? Beginning at 10 a.m., KNX is devoting an hour his morning for a live call-in program featuring experts to help listeners cope with the stress the holiday season. Program was hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman … Joe Scarborough was among the guests at Tuesday night’s White House media holiday party … KLOS is planning to celebrate that big post-Christmas non-American holiday “Boxing Day” (Dec. 26th) with five hours of all Beatles music hosted by Breakfast with the Beatles host Chris Carter from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. “Breakfast with the Beatles was #1 with men 25-54 for the month of November,” emailed Carter … Disney paid $5 million for Orlando’s 990 AM in 2000, sells it now for $1.3 million.
December 18, 2012. Former KRLA dj Rhett Walker dies in Victoria,
Australia, at age 75.
In 1967, KRLA had moved Casey Kasem from his noon-to-3 slot and put him on from 9 to noon. Kasem did not like those hours and, at his request, was moved to Sunday mornings only, which freed him to concentrate on television roles and work on his idea for a syndicated countdown show. To replace Kasem in late mornings, KRLA brought in Rhett Hamilton Walker, who was born in New Zealand to an American mother and British father.
Walker began in radio in 1959 as the overnight host at 2UW in Sydney. In the mid-1960s, he jocked at KUTY-Palmdale, KYNO-Fresno, KOL -Seattle and KFXM in San Bernardino. In September 1967 at Anaheim Convention Center, Walker served as the announcer for a Donovan performance which was recorded and released in 1968 as the album Donovan In Concert. Walker left KRLA in January 1968 and became program director at KRUX in Phoenix.
In 1969, he returned to Australia and rejoined 2UW. He later worked at three other stations before retiring from radio, earning a master's degree and becoming a business professor at Latrobe University in Victoria. (LARadio Rewind is meticulously prepared by Steve Thompson)
It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll. Inductees into the 2015 Rock ’N Roll Hall of Fame were announced this week. Honorees include Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Bill Withers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lou Reed, Green Day and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Ringo Starr will be honored at the ceremony with The Award for Musical Excellence.
Eligible but not chosen include War, The Spinners, the Marvelettes, and Chic, which has been nominated nine times without winning.
Merry Christmas from Dominick Garcia, Maggie McKay, and Nelson Salsa
Listening Trends. Nielsen has ranked national radio listening trends among the more than 243 million Americans (aged 12 and older) who tune in each week. News/Talk remained the top-ranked overall format with listeners 6+, but its lead over the competition has grown smaller with every passing year. And Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) lived up to its name in 2014, rising up the charts with listeners young and old, and moving from fifth to third this year among audiences aged 18 to 34.
TOP 10 AUDIO FORMATS OF 2014 (PERSONS 6+)
Rank Format P6+ Share
1. News Talk Information 8.8%
2. Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 8.3%
3. Country 8.2%
4 Adult Contemporary (AC) 7.1%
5. Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) 6.2%
6. Classic Hits 5.2%
7. Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) 4.9%
8. Classic Rock 4.7%
9. All Sports 4.4%
10 Mexican Regional 3.7%
TOP 10 AUDIO FORMATS OF 2014 (PERSONS 25-54)
1. Pop Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) 9.0%
2. Country 8.0%
3. Adult Contemporary (AC) 6.9%
4 Hot Adult Contemporary (AC) 6.8%
5. News Talk Information 6.2%
6. Classic Rock 5.3%
7. All Sports 5.0%
8. Urban Adult Contemporary (AC) 4.8%
9. Mexican Regional 4.6%
10 Classic Hits 4.5%
We GET Email …
** Favorite Radio
“I have an idea for a great column that may be of benefit to your readers.
How about you list, or better yet, have your readers list, the best AM and FM radios (portable and tabletop) that can still be found in the market.
My old Sony 9-transistor radio has given up the ghost and is beyond repair.
Even though I have iHeart’s app on my iPhone and use a decent set of Klipsch ear-buds, it is not the same thing. And, I am interested in getting another portable radio.
Ideas are like assholes – everyone has one – so here is mine.” – Steve Richard Levine
** Mike Nolan Retirement
“Saddened to hear that Mike Nolan will be leaving the airwaves, but his retirement is certainly well deserved. An impressive broadcasting career of four decades, and how fortunate we are to have had him here in L.A. for nearly thirty of those years.
Whether they bring drivers good news or bad, Mike’s traffic
reports are always interesting to listen to because of his unique voice and
authoritative delivery. I’m sure any of us can think of people in the radio
business that have been less than kind along the way, but Mike, in addition to
being a skilled pilot and talented broadcaster, is a genuinely nice person. His
voice will be missed but his outstanding work is deeply appreciated and will not
be forgotten.” – Reed Berry
Lon McQ Celebrates 30 Years with Stevie Wonder’s KJLH
(December 17, 2014) For three decades, Lon McQ has done it all at Stevie Wonder’s KJLH. In celebrating 30 years with one station, which is quite the feat these days, now Lon has quietly launched a very tasty Smooth Jazz Internet station, McQsJazz.com.
Lon McQ caught the radio bug after returning from a tour of duty in Vietnam, serving in the United States Marine Corps. He did internships in 1976 at KGFJ and KUTE. He was then hired full time in 1979 at KLOM-Lompoc, and later across town at KRQK. In 1980, he was hired at the NFL Hall of Famer Willie Davis’ broadcast facility, KACE in Inglewood. Lon did overnights, served as production and imaging director, and later worked together with Russ Parr as he moved up to morning drive.
In 1984, Lon moved on to Stevie Wonder's KJLH and for the next 30 years has been a main fixture, doing mornings, mid-days, afternoon and evening drive. In 1993, Lon was promoted to operations manager while still maintaining a 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. air shift to present.
You can congratulate Lon at: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 17, 2012. KRTH weekender Charlie Tuna becomes morning show host
at KYNO in Fresno via customized voice-tracks. In 1963, KYNO, then at 1300 am,
was the birthplace of the Boss Radio format created by programmer Bill Drake
and station owner Gene Chenault. Among the airstaff during KYNO’s years
as a top-40 station were Dale Dorman, Dave Jeffries, Bob Taylor, Sam Schwan,
Sean Conrad, Dick Carr, Rick Alan, Ron Sherman, Ted Jordan, Steve Randall, Chuck
Christian, Gary Mitchell, Bill Stevens, Pete McNeal, Big John
Carter and Johnny Scott (who later became Bobby Ocean). In November
2012, John Ostland launched a new KYNO at 1430 am, playing oldies and the
original KYNO jingles. The station ran jockless for a month until Charlie Tuna
began producing a customized version of his daily syndicated show for broadcast
from 6 to 9 a.m. (LARadio Rewind is meticulously prepared by Steve
(LARadio Rewind is meticulously prepared by Steve Thompson)
know that KIIS’ Ryan Seacrest serves on the board at LACMA
alongside other showbiz types. Friends say his interest in art was
heightened with his purchase of Ellen DeGeneres’s 1963 Buff & Hensman
house in Beverly Hills … Richard McIntosh, general manager at
KWVE-San Clemente, had another round of chemo yesterday. “The cancer
indicator numbers have dropped from 11,400 to 2,500,” Richard posted on
his Facebook page. “The chemo is working. I'm certain the Great
Physician has a lot to do with it. Thank you everyone for you prayers.
Blessings this Christmas season.”
... Long-time food host Merrill Shindler is moving to 10 p.m.at KABC ... Friday will be the last regular 2014 column for LARadio.com. Breaking news will be sent to subscriber/supporters by email as news breaks.
Funnie. Just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, KFI's John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou were discussing a report issued by SmartAsset.com noting that the state of California is holding nearly $4 billion in unclaimed property owed to Los Angeles County residents. Among the property is gold, cash, precious stones, payroll checks and safe deposit box contents. Tim Conway Jr. checked his name on the State Controller's website ( http://sco.ca.gov/upd_msg.html ) and discovered that the state is holding $20 for him. He wondered aloud, “What the heck is that for?” Ken said, “It’s probably your paycheck from when you worked at KABC.”
We GET Email …
** Enjoy Your Life Mike Nolan
“Mike Nolan is as positive person as I've known in a medium that can be gratifying, yet uncertainly conflictive and emotionally deflative. It’s your time Mike to slowdown and enjoy your life. Greater days are ahead for you.” – Bob Smith, Vaughn, NM
** Enjoyed Nolan’s Service
“LA Radio Icon perfectly describes Mike Nolan. Year after year hearing that comforting voice, always there. Enjoy your much deserved retirement Mike, thank you.” – JP Myers
** Worked with Mark Taylor
“Great article about Mark Taylor. We worked together at KYA-San Francisco. I hooked up with him the other day after not talking in 15 years. We always call each other Bubba. When he answered the phone. I just said, ‘Hey Bubba.’ He waited a second and then said, ‘Bubba is that you’? Spent the next half hour laughing and gabbing like a couple buddies.” – Brian Roberts
** Tuesday Funnie
“Really, too funny, as any once young parents will admit. Well done, just the smile I needed on a messy LA day. Thanks pal.” – Jeff Baugh
** When Radio Advertising Goes Wrong
“If talent knows how to present the content/ad as entertaining this can be done. I disagree with Mark Ramsey. TV and movie product has been selling visual ads of products in shows for years.” – Michael J. Horn, President\CEO, CRN Digital Talk
** Agree with Ramsey
“I’ve disagreed with the Good Mark Ramsey in the past but he’s dead-on the bulls’ eye this observation ... right on the money (pun intended).” – Rich Brother Robbin
Mark Taylor Back to His Roots
(December 16, 2014) Mark Taylor spent over a quarter of a century in LARadio, working first at KIQQ in 1976, followed by KFI, KBIG, and KABC. After a few years subbing for KRLA’s Dennis Prager and other Salem broadcasters, Mark disappeared to an isolated mountain top farm in West Virginia. His story is amazing. “I used Reagan’s campaign phrase with my wife on the decision to leave the West Coast, ‘If not now, when?’”
The native of Nacogdoches, Texas, Mark attended Texas A&M and Stephen F. Austin State College. He worked in San Antonio and Houston. Mark arrived in Southern California from a pd'ship at KYA-San Francisco.
Mark first gained experience working in a team while at KFI. Mark and traffic reporter Bruce Wayne filled in as a team when Lohman & Barkley were on vacation. When "Bruce Wayne's KF-Eye-in-the-sky" airplane crashed, Mark has vivid memories of his on-air hours following the death of the traffic pilot on June 4, 1986.
Mark co-starred on an Empty Nest episode and was featured on ABC’s Hudson Street. He was featured in an NBC Movie of the Week called Secrets of a Married Man.
Mark left KBIG in late 1997 when Chancellor Media took over from Bonneville Broadcasting. In 1999, Mark teamed with Guy Davis for the Taylor-Davis show at KABC. In late 2000, Mark then joined Gloria Allred for a midday show at KABC. He was seen frequently on talking head shows. “I’ve appeared on FOX News Channel’s O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes along with CNN’s Talkback Live and ABC’s Politically Incorrect,” said Mark.
He detailed the decision to leave Southern California. “My father and his ancestors were all from this part of West Virginia and I came here every summer of my childhood,” remembered Mark. His wife thought they might end up in Texas but both thought it was just too hot and crowded. “I began bringing my wife to West Virginia and Virginia ‘Civil War’ trips and she fell in love with the area. That was my plan all along,” confessed Taylor.
In 2010, they bought a 130 acres mountain top farm in Monroe County. “We live in the mountains above Union, West Virginia. The county seat is about 550 people, making this a bustling little agricultural town,” said Taylor.
Monroe County has no stop lights, only two-lane roads, and not one fast food joint or chain restaurant in the whole county. “If we get the craving, that stuff is in Greenbrier County about 45 minutes away,” continued Mark. “I got involved in all kinds of things. I’m the president of the Monroe County Historical Society, on the board of the Monroe County Republican Executive Committee, board member of the Monroe Arts Alliance, etc. As you can see, I have a problem with saying ‘no.’”
The Taylors grow about 60 acres of hay. Some of the hay is for their horses and the rest is for sale. They plan to begin raising goats this spring, along with increasing our chicken production. They also sell timber from some of our back forest areas.
“To my surprise the phone company was able to run three miles of copper up the mountain to my farm to install an ISDN line,” said Mark. “I never thought it would happen. That allowed me to continue guest hosting for Dennis Prager. The other shows I used to guest host for have all been cancelled (Mike Reagan, G. Gordon Liddy, etc.). I decided in September to take the rest of the year off. I was having some Internet problems that needed to be fixed and I was getting a bit tired of doing it. I realized that every time they called me I was annoyed that I had to stop working on my farm to prep and do a show, not to mention all that other stuff on my plate. After the holidays I have to decide if I want to return to Dennis’ show or not. I’m leaning toward...not.”
former KFI newsman, lives about an hour and a half from Mark. “We visit back and
forth from time to time, in fact, I got my farm dog from his wife. Ken, I’m sure
you remember, was Bill Handel’s newsman, and he was mine for many years
on KFI. He's been out here for 9 or 10 years. Charlie Cook, who I worked
for at Westwood One, is also here in West Virginia. We communicate occasionally.
I’m also in frequent touch with Guy Davis who lives in Central California now.”
(You can reach Mark at:
(You can reach Mark at: email@example.com )
Hear Ache. Gene Sandbloom has been the assistant program director at KROQ for many years. In 2004, AllAccess.com asked Gene what he liked best about his job. “The variety. We’re encouraged to try and not do the same thing the same way twice,” replied Gene. I would guess the same holds true today … Don Martin takes on additional duties at Premiere Networks and Fox Sports Radio, along with his current role as svp of sports Los Angeles.
Break. As a
kid, Keith Olbermann would daydream of being a tv broadcaster.
The only question was: sports or news? After nearly 40 years in the
business, Olbermann has done both, with gigs at CNN, Fox Sports, MSNBC,
twice, and ESPN, twice. As it turns out, the guy who gave Olbermann his
“First Big Break” in tv would give him another break later on.
Click artwork for the story)
“The first station I ever consulted was in LA and when the Sales Manager picked me up in his fire red Ferrari on my first visit I thought just maybe this market may be different.” (George Johns, radio consultant)
Kings Broadcaster to
Receive RTNA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Bob Miller, award winning play-by-play man for the LA Kings will receive
special awards at the 65th Annual Golden Mike Awards next month.
Miller will receive the Radio and Television News Association of Southern
California’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his 41 seasons broadcasting games
of the Los Angeles Kings, who have won hockey’s fabled Stanley Cup two of the
last three years.
The author of two books of vignettes about hockey, Miller also has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1998, The Kings presented Miller a “lifetime contract” and named their arena press box in his honor.
Morning at K-EARTH and KTWV
WONDERful Morning at K-EARTH and KTWV
Stevie Wonder stopped by CBS/LA headquarters this week and made the rounds.
Left he is flanked by Gary Bryan and Lisa Stanley.
On the right, Maggie McKay of The WAVE, gives Stevie a holiday hug
Stevie Wonder stopped by CBS/LA headquarters this week and made the rounds.
Left he is flanked by Gary Bryan and Lisa Stanley.
December 16, 2005. Howard Stern broadcasts his final show on
terrestrial radio. A year earlier he had signed a five-year contract
with Sirius and XM Satellite Radio giving him two channels, Howard 100
and Howard 101, beginning January 1, 2006.
Born in 1954 in Jackson Heights, New York, Stern decided at age five that he wanted to go into radio. While attending Boston University in 1975, he worked at campus radio station WTBU and at WNTN in Newtown. He later worked at stations in Briarcliff Manor, Hartford, Detroit, Washington DC and New York City.
In February 1986, Stern took over the morning show at WXRK in New York and six months later the program went into syndication. Stern was heard on KLSX from 1991 until 2005, when he made his final terrestrial radio broadcast. He can now be heard on Sirius XM and online at http://www.howardstern.com/howard-on-air/howard-100-101
Sound Opening. Next month, 100.3/The Sound is embarking on a new morning show with Mark Thompson and Andy Chanley. The Sound is looking for a third personality on the morning show. The description of the job from their website: “We are seeking a co-host that will engage with primary hosts Mark Thompson and Andy Chanley and the music we play, is quick witted, communicates localism and relevant information with brevity and a smile, is charitable and philanthropic. This person may also be asked to dj by him/herself at times or to deliver news and traffic and host public affairs programming – as assigned by KSWD management.”
Details on job requirements can be found at The Sound’s website. Job pays $60,000 - $80,000.
We GET Email …
** Nolan Fixed KOST Ratings
“I would add to the story that Mike Nolan fixed KOST ratings. Mike is a voice of reason, voice of trust, voice of empathy. It’s not just about the traffic, it's the fact that his listener knows you sincerely care about them.
Mike is one of two remaining reasons that the former #1 station in Los Angeles, The Official KFI AM 640, has not seen its ratings tank further. It was #1 when we worked together there. LA Radio needs Mike, and we'll have to record you this week since traffic teams worldwide will want to study the secret sauce of the best on earth." – Sam Botta
** Nolan’s Time Was Coming
“Mike Nolan told me this day was coming at lunch about 16 months ago. It was hard to believe then and even harder to believe now that the moment is upon us. A fantastic career for a fantastic guy!
Hopefully we'll get to see Mike & Laurie in Arizona when it's time for spring training baseball.” – Jack Hayes
** Nolan Coverage
“You did it again with your Mike Nolan retirement story. Such great coverage storytelling. Thanks for the awesome recap of KFI’s In the Sky remarkable flight in LARadio.” – Brian Holt
** Met Nolan Through Mark Denis
“What a great review of Mike Nolan’s remarkably varied career. Thanks. I've known Mike almost 30 years, met him through the unforgettable Mark Denis during those halcyon days at KFI.
Mike's the nicest guy I’ve ever met! Friendly, helpful, team player, and good spirited with a huge smile. I get a thrill every time Mike comes in the studio and we say hi.
He’ll always be the Angel on my shoulder every time I open the mic to do a report. Enjoy retirement Mike, you’ve more than earned every second of it.” – Alan Ross, Total Traffic & Weather Network
** Nice Guy Nolan
“Thanks for including Mike Nolan’s email address.
He is one of the nicest people ever.” – Ellen Brownstein
Nolan Retires – “I
Will Never Not Fly”
by Alan Oda, LARadio senior correspondent
(December 15, 2014) For many, Southern California evokes images of Hollywood, the beach, Disneyland, Beverly Hills, the mountains and the deserts, and all points in between. Yet local residents know getting to these different places can be a major hassle – even a nightmare –due to the dreaded phenomena of crowded Southland freeways. For years, Mike Nolan, perhaps better known as “KFI in the Sky,” provided a friendly airborne voice guiding commuters each weekday through the SigAlerts and traffic jams. After a 28 year run, Nolan has decided it’s time to click off the microphone and enjoy the ride for himself.
Growing up in the Valley, Nolan and his friends literally ran on the freeways – well, sort of – exploring the open land near Victory and Van Owen boulevards which later became the Hollywood freeway. “I used to hang on the fence at the Hollywood-Burbank Airport. One day, Tom Roberts allowed me to meet (KMPC pilot) Captain Max Schumacher, and eventually got to ride in the copter with him.” Nolan graduated from North Hollywood High School and initially did street sales for the Herald Examiner newspaper. “My brother signed up for the Marine Corps Reserve, but decided to go full-time into the Corps. So I took his place.”
“One of the Captains of my unit was Bob Bononomi, a sales rep and account executive at KMPC. I asked him about radio and he told me about the Don Martin School of Broadcasting,” where Nolan studied broadcasting while working as a frozen food clerk at the Ralph’s Market in Sherman Oaks.
By then, Jim Hicklin became the next “KMPC Airwatch” traffic reporter. “Hicklin was my mentor, I flew with him a lot. I wanted to someday work at KMPC.” Nolan was attending a class at Don Martin when he learned Hicklin had been murdered by a stalker aboard a cruise ship.
Ten months into his broadcasting coursework, Nolan received a call from KTRT in Truckee, where he worked for the next nine months as a disc jockey. He headed back south and was on the air at KORJ in Orange County and KREL, “a station in Corona and a city where I still live today.” Nolan then took time off from radio and drove an 18-wheeler before he returned to Northern California.
“I was the all-night jock at KOWL in South Lake Tahoe. The big station there, KTHO, heard me and made me an offer to move over,” where Nolan worked for three years. “A highlight was I got to emcee the Bicentennial Air Show, featuring the Thunderbirds.” He then decided to make the transition into sales and moved back south. “I was interviewed by Lotus Communications and (ironically) returned back north to Reno.”
“While I was in Reno, I suddenly became really ill. My right ankle swelled up and my elbow locked up. I got myself to an ER, where they found a spot on my kidney. The diagnosis was Reitor’s Syndrome, once the blood clot was OK I haven’t had any problems since,” said Nolan. During his hospital stay, a visiting colleague brought a book entitled A Gift of Wings, written by Richard Bach (also author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull). “I hadn’t flown in years, but after reading the book, I realized I belonged back in the sky.”
He returned to sales, once again working at KTHO. “The station had a feature called ‘Skywatch,’ where a pilot flew around Lake Tahoe and described the area and its sites, talking about everything but traffic. I cleared my physical and took over the plane and ‘Skywatch,’ my first time back in the air in ten years.” Nolan recalled the memorable fete of a young man with muscular dystrophy who wanted to raise money for the Jerry Lewis Telethon by riding around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe. “I got to describe his ride overhead. It took a struggle, but he did it.” Nolan convinced KTHO to allow him to offer weekend traffic reports from the air to help travelers with the drive to local ski resorts.
In addition to radio, Nolan’s friends got him involved in a local production of The Wizard of Oz. “I met this beautiful young lady who was right behind me in the play. Nine months later, Laurie and I got married.” The couple celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in September.
“My news director at KTHO was Stan Bunger (now at KCBS-San Francisco). He left KTHO for KXRX in San Jose. They needed a new traffic reporter, so he arranged an interview for me with Don Schrack, who actually was once at KFWB.” Almost immediately, Nolan was given an offer from KXRX and KSJO/fm and worked there until a format change in 1981.
He was busy doing marketing work when Nolan heard of a job opening for a traffic reporter at KOY-Phoenix. “It turns out Don Schrack knew the KOY news director, so he wrote a letter on my behalf. I fly down to Phoenix on a Friday, and got an offer after that weekend.” Nolan worked at KOY for five years. “Back then, it was basically one freeway with different names – the Black Canyon and Maricopa Freeway. I primarily covered the traffic on the surface streets.”
In 1986, legendary KFI pilot reporter Bruce Wayne was killed in a plane crash during takeoff at Fullerton Airport. “The station was looking for a replacement and Laurie was getting homesick for Southern California. But I wasn’t sure if I was good enough for L.A. I went ahead anyway and sent a tape, KFI sent a ticket, the weekend after the interview the station made me an offer.” Nolan later learned KFI was looking for a new traffic reporter who knew the local freeways, but had to be currently working outside of the Los Angeles market. He fit the bill perfectly.
“I had a great respect for Bruce Wayne. You can’t replace him, you could only succeed him,” said Nolan. He proudly refers to a letter he still keeps at home, “where Jhani Kaye (then KFI pd) said that hiring me was one of the best decisions he ever made.”
Kaye offered his remembrance. “Mike had big shoes to fill with the passing of Bruce Wayne, and he did that with grace and a superb talent that earned him an equal right to the title ‘KFI in the Sky.’ These two traffic reporters were among the most recognizable voices in LA Radio. They were trusted by many, and respected by all of us in the industry.”
The death of Wayne was just one element of the station’s turmoil. “Lohman and Barkley had split, the station’s gm Don Dalton unexpectedly died from a brain aneurysm, and then the tragedy involving Wayne,” recalled Nolan. The station’s ratings were sagging, with programming best described as inconsistent. “The music was interrupted by a midday talk show…a good joke at a party would get a bigger audience than KFI."
The station would start the road to recovery, with the addition of Gary Owens and Geoff Edwards to their lineup. “KFI was becoming the KMPC that I always wanted to work at, it was a full-service station with great talent and a strong news department.” In addition, Nolan provided reports to a revamped KOST. “No matter what the format was at KFI, I was basically part of the news department. But at KOST, it was different. I’d worked KSJO when it was a music station, still I was strongly coached by Jhani (who was also KOST pd), he wanted a certain style. It was the biggest adjustment I’ve ever made.”
“Mike has consistently been one of the finest broadcasters I’ve ever worked with,” offered Mark Wallengren, KOST morning man for almost three decades. “Traffic reporting was never better with eyes like his actually on the scene. He painted pictures that can only be imagined by those covering traffic in front of computer screens. I’m proud to say that Mike was an extremely important ingredient to the Mark and Kim Show on KOST 103.5 for more than 20 years.” (Mark Denis with Nolan)
Nolan was once offered a job in Phoenix to be a telecopter / pilot. “I was doing audio-only reports for KPNX / Channel 12. The helicopter pilot, Jerry Foster, was going to retire, but after I got the offer from KFI I couldn’t pass it up.”
“The problem with tv news is if there’s no picture, there’s no story. There have been pursuits I’ve covered on the radio that weren’t seen on tv because there were no pictures to offer… I’m glad I stayed in radio, it worked out better for me.”
Nolan also offered a pilot’s perspective with breaking news. “During the riots after the Rodney King verdict, KFI abandoned ship from their Koreatown studios, so I was a primary source as a reporter. Looking towards the Westside, I could see smoke rising, it looked like a scene from the Middle East…people asked me if I was concerned for my safety. If somebody did shoot at me, no one hit me.”
Other events include a heavy
rainstorm, “so severe that I could see Topanga Creek challenging the
ocean flow.” In 1994, Nolan took to the air on the day of the Northridge
earthquake. “It was all dark at first, I didn’t realize an entire
building and parking structure had collapsed, nor was I immediately
aware of the damage to the Newhall Pass and the Santa Monica Freeway,”
“On the day of the North Hollywood bank shootout in 1997, I was at the station and getting ready to take the rest of the day off. It was all over by the time I was overhead in the plane, but at the time they didn’t know that the gunmen had been killed during the shootout. The police tried to shut off the entire Valley. Using the cliché, the ‘needle’ was the gunmen, the ‘haystack’ was the San Fernando Valley.”
Then there was the story Nolan missed covering. “When O.J. Simpson was in a slow-speed chase with the police, it was on a Friday afternoon before I was going on vacation. I had taken the plane apart to give my plane a safety inspection. Realizing that by the time I put the plane back together, the story would probably be over, so I watched the story on tv while enjoying pizza and a beer in Corona.”
Nolan has high praise for the talent he’s worked with over the years. “I like Tom Leykis, we actually first met in passing while we were both in Phoenix. He’s still a friend, I admire how he’s reinvented himself…I had the chance to work with radio idols such as Gary Owens and Geoff Edwards, something I previously could only imagine.” Of his current colleagues, “Bill Handel is a great guy, he’s the same on and off the air. He probably doesn’t want people to know he’s a very loyal individual.” As for the afternoon duo of John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, Nolan said “I always enjoyed their company, the experience was absolutely fantastic…I used to enjoy breaking John up with a sarcastic comment on the air.”
Two years ago, an engine malfunction resulted in a plane crash where Nolan suffered a broken clavicle and three broken ribs. He’s still thankful that Commander Chuck Street, who was the first person at the hospital, helped take care of Nolan and his family during the recovery period. He also appreciated the visits and support from KOST’s Wallengren, former KGIL / KMPC pilot Pamela McInnes, and Total Traffic reporter Rhonda Kramer, among many others. Once out of the hospital, Nolan’s first thought was “when am I going flying again?” Several weeks after his discharge, Nolan was back in the air with his son Jeremy, also a pilot.
Overlooked is the tenacity and endurance of Nolan’s work at KFI and KOST, working both morning and afternoon drive. “Mike made a split shift over two decades seem easy,” said Kaye, his former boss. “Believe me, it was not. That’s one of the hardest shifts in modern broadcast and Mike delivered consistently, day after day, year after year. He will be missed by many LA commuters who have relied on his voice to guide them through their commutes. Be well, my friend, and it’s time for you to get some seriously good sleep!” (Nolan with Barbara Brooks)
Once he leaves the local airwaves, Nolan already has plans for the days ahead. “I have a SAG card so I can work as an extra. I also plan on riding my (Harley-Davidson motorcycle) with a group known as the Patriot’s Guard. They attend funerals for indigent veterans to ensure they receive the proper respect, they also blocked off Westboro Baptist Church protestors trying to interfere with services for military personnel.”
Hearing Nolan describe memorable
scenes while flying helps explains why he states “I will never not fly –
I’ll always fly.” He recalled a morning when “the moon was on one
wingtip, the rising sun on another. Nowadays you might capture that
scene on a panoramic camera, but I still can picture it.” Nolan was
flying over Downtown Los Angeles when he saw “a wall of clouds, then a
747 punch right through and emerge. And I’ve seen wind turbulence from
the plane disturbing and redistributing the fog on a different morning.”
“I don’t consider myself in the same
league as Captain Max, Bruce Wayne,
John McElhinney, or Jim
Hicklin, but 35,000 hours of flying, 50 years of working, 34 years in AM
/ PM drive, the last 28 at KFI / KOST…if you had told me I’d be doing
this when I was taking classes at Don Martin, I’d never have believed
you. I’m lucky to have had an incredible career.” You can reach out to Mike Nolan and congratulate him on his
AMAZING career at:
Hearing Nolan describe memorable scenes while flying helps explains why he states “I will never not fly – I’ll always fly.” He recalled a morning when “the moon was on one wingtip, the rising sun on another. Nowadays you might capture that scene on a panoramic camera, but I still can picture it.” Nolan was flying over Downtown Los Angeles when he saw “a wall of clouds, then a 747 punch right through and emerge. And I’ve seen wind turbulence from the plane disturbing and redistributing the fog on a different morning.”
“I don’t consider myself in the same league as Captain Max, Bruce Wayne, John McElhinney, or Jim Hicklin, but 35,000 hours of flying, 50 years of working, 34 years in AM / PM drive, the last 28 at KFI / KOST…if you had told me I’d be doing this when I was taking classes at Don Martin, I’d never have believed you. I’m lucky to have had an incredible career.”
You can reach out to Mike Nolan and congratulate him on his AMAZING career at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Decade Old Ratings. The September 2004 ratings:
1. KPWR (Top 40/R) 5.1
2. KFI (Talk) 4.4
3. KLAX (Regional Mexican) 4.0
KROQ (Alternative) 4.0
5. KIIS/KVVS (Top 40/M) 3.8
6. KOST (AC) 3.7
7. KBUE (Regional Mexican) 3.4
KKBT (Urban) 3.4
KTWV (Smooth Jazz) 3.4
10. KRTH (Oldies) 3.3
LARadio Rewind: December 15, 2013. Chris Carter, former KACD/KBCD dj and former bass player for alternative rock band Dramarama, hosts Breakfast With The Beatles' 30th anniversary program on KLOS. Guests include Micky Dolenz, Peter Asher, Edgar Winter, Jackie DeShannon and several members of the touring bands of Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Carter pays tribute to Deirdre O'Donoghue, who had launched the program in 1983. Carter became host after O'Donoghue's death in 2001. The Sunday morning program had begun on KMET and later moved to KNX/fm and then to KLSX. Two months after KLSX canceled the program in September 2006, it was picked up by KLOS. The show began simulcasting on Sirius XM's Underground Garage channel in 2008. Breakfast With The Beatles airs from 9 to noon Sundays on KLOS and online at http://www.955klos.com/common/page.php?pt=Breakfast+with+the+Beatles&id=321&is_corp=0
Dahl Book. Steve Dahl, an iconic personality for decades in Chicago radio, got his start in L.A. at KPPC. During his time in the Windy City, Dahl hosted a ‘Demolition Derby’ at Comisky Park between games of a White Sox double header. He’s writing a book about the incident, when 20,000 Disco albums were blown up in center field. Bob Feder, a Chicago columnist, says “He exploded a box of disco records and thousands of drunken fans stormed the field in the ensuing riot.” And “riot” is a not an exaggeration. Feder recalls that “the damage was so severe that the White Sox had to forfeit their second game against the Detroit Tigers.” Nobody was happy, and 24-year-old Dahl took a lot of heat.
Can’t Reach the Mic Switch. Charlie Van Dyke posted on Facebook a reoccurring nightmare . “First day on the air in a new, confusing studio. Equipment doesn't work, songs run out, dead air, can't find music or commercials, can't think of anything to say, can't find format clock, and more. I woke up exhausted!”
A number of radio fans posted that they had similar dreams. Do you have a reoccurring nightmare involving radio?
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** Dana Miller Memories
“That was great coverage of Dana Miller’s passing! Thanks for doing it. Dana deserved it.
He had so many ‘best friends,’ which is a real measure of a human. And, what a varied career; he even worked at KLOM in Lompoc. Lompoc AND Shannon and Hope and so many people and places, and still a nice, funny, caring guy.” – Craig Hines
** Dana Miller’s Passing
“What an amazing story on the career of Dana Miller!” - Bob Koontz
** Sound Changes
“A quick comment regarding The Sound's new plans for mornings: The news release said Joe Benson had increased the numbers in AM drive by 98%. With no disrespect to Mark Thompson's talent, this seems like a case of management saying, ‘It ain't broke, so let's FIX it!’"- Bill A Jones
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December 2014 Archives
Vin Scully outstanding LARadio personality; Larry Elder fired from KABC; Peter Burton leads the way in combatting Pandora perception with ad agencies; Al Jazzbeaux also worked in LA; Reaction to Elder's firing; Celebration of Scott Greene's life; Casey Kasem "rotting" in Norway; Hendrie hacked; Mary Price takes on announcing chores of new game show; 80th birthday party for Don Graham; Mark Thompson to return to Classic Hits Radio at The Sound; Is your radio operation protected against cyber-attack; Remembering LARadio Day at Museum of TV & Radio; Country radio rumors; San Diego ownership changes; Laid off from radio but a voice for pride in her work; Amy Stevens honored; Dana Miller: best producer/manager of the stars on the planet found dead; Shadoe Stevens walks down the aisle as a proud papa; Under Smogberry Trees: the true story of Dr. Demento and Barrett Hansen hits snag; LA Observes Kevin Roderick's seven years at KCRW; Mark Thompson hears a Sound; Kevin & Bean to be inducted into NAB National Hall of Fame; Sony hack attack - is LARadio prepared for a cyber-intrusion?
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