Top 10
 Los Angeles Radio People of 2004
Compiled and written by Don Barrett 

Presents the
BEST LARP of 2004

(June 3, 2004) Every spring we ask 50 active Los Angeles Radio People (management, promotion, talent, engineering and support staff) to vote for the Best On-Air and Off-Air Active LARP. Each week during the summer we reveal another finalist in the Top 10. The process is similar to the Academy Awards in that it is peer group voting for one of their own. Ballots were spread out between commercial and non-commercial stations; English speaking and Spanish speaking; and across all ownerships. There were two categories. Those receiving ballots were asked to vote for the five Best on-air Los Angeles Radio People, which included djs, talk show hosts, traffic reporters, news/sports people and even sidekicks. The criterion is they had to be on the air at the time of the voting last month. 

A second category was added a few years ago for the Best off-air Los Angeles Radio People. This category includes, but certainly not limited to: management, engineering, promotion and support staff. 

The voters listed their choices from 1 through 5. We gave each #1 vote five points. The #2 vote received four points, and so on. Each voter was promised anonymity with his or her choices and comments. Drum roll please…the BEST Los Angeles Radio People of 2004.  

#10 On-Air  LARP #10 Off-Air


Sean Hannity   Lynn Duke

Sean Hannity, noon to 3 at KABC and syndicated around the country, including KVTA in Ventura, makes his debut in the Best of LARP at #10. Born December 20, 1961, in Franklin Square, Long Island, New York, Sean is co-host of Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes. Sean got his start in commercial radio after drawing attention and enthusiasm from his college radio station. He placed a "Job Wanted" ad in R&R, billing himself as "The most talked about college radio host in America."  

A station in Huntsville, Alabama took a chance and WGST-Atlanta quickly followed. In the fall of 1996, Sean moved to New York to co-host the new Hannity and Colmes Show for the fledgling cable news outlet. Fox was so confident of Hannity’s ability to attract viewers; it slotted the show at 9 p.m., opposite Geraldo on CNBC and Larry King on CNN. The Hannity and Colmes Show consistently beat Geraldo and rivals the veteran King. Sean joined WABC-New York. After working as a late night host for a year, Hannity moved to the prestigious afternoon slot where he quickly became the #1 show on New York radio’s fiercely competitive AM dial. In 2001, Sean joined KABC, the same year he was voted "Talk Personality of the Year" by the readers of R&R. Some of the comments about Sean: 

Lynn Duke is the engineering manager for “K-Earth” and, like Hannity, is making his debut as BEST off-air Los Angeles Radio People at #10. Born in Pendleton, Oregon, on May 22, 1948, his first full-time job was in 1969 where he was the evening Top 40 jock and chief engineer at KAGO-Klamath Falls, Oregon.  

“I feel very fortunate to have found my place in Radio. During my years at the RKO stations and more recently with the Infinity Los Angeles stations, I have been able to work with some of the most talented names in the business. I have been quoted saying ‘This is much better than having a real job.’”  

In the mid seventies, Lynn was involved in rebuilding the transmitter plant and studios for KFRC-San Francisco. In 1977 he joined KRTH and KHJ along with chief engineer Bob Kanner. Bob had hired him in San Francisco in 1972.  

In the early eighties, Lynn was involved in rebuilding the K-EARTH studios and moving the station from an automated operation to full-time live format. In the mid-eighties he built new studios for KHJ (AM) and moved the station across town. “In 2001 I was lucky enough to design and supervise the construction of the new ‘all digital’ KROQ studio facility. In 2002, I moved the KRTH operation into a temporary facility at the original home of KHJ on Melrose in Hollywood.” 

Lynn continued: “In the late seventies we were involved in testing AM Stereo for the FCC. KHJ was one of the first stations to operate in AM stereo full time. In September of 2002 I was involved in getting KROQ on the air as the first full time HD radio station in the country.” 

Lynn is playing a leadership role in designing the new facilities and supervising moving three of the Infinity fm stations, (KRTH / KTWV and KLSX) later this year. “This is one of those great projects engineers hope they will get to do someday. It’s a very interesting group of people that are drawn to work in this radio business. The combination of talent and insanity is better here than in any other industry I know of. I can’t imagine anything I could be doing that would be more fun!” 

Lynn’s peer group said of him: 

Next week #9. We’re going out to the ball park and steal some bases!

Vin Scully and Jimmy Steal in the Top 10
Best LARP of 2004 Ball Park

(June 8, 2004) Fifty active Los Angeles Radio People from all areas of L.A. broadcasting covering the complete spectrum of ownership voted for their peer group in the annual Best LARP of 2004. Last week we revealed KABC’s Sean Hannity as #10 Best On-Air personality while Lynn Duke, engineering manager for Infinity’s KRTH, was voted tenth Best Off-Air LARP. 

#9 On-Air Best LARP of 2004 #9 Off-Air
Vin Scully   Jimmy Steal

Even though he only broadcasts a few LA Dodger innings on radio each game, active Los Angeles voted Vin Scully the 9th Best On-Air LARP of 2004. Considered by most to be the best baseball announcer ever, Vin Scully was born in the Bronx, the son of a silk salesman. His father died of pneumonia when he was 7 and his mother moved to Brooklyn where he grew up playing stickball in the streets.  

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

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

Scully is the recipient of virtually every honor that can be bestowed on him including the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting. To baseball fans, including the original Brooklyn Dodgers diehards, Vin is beloved as much as the game of baseball itself. A master of the English language, steeped in the knowledge of the sport and with an understanding of what fans want to "see" and "hear," Vin has enriched and refined the art of sportscasting.  

Some of the comments from those voting for Vin: 

  • “The BEST in sports. What’s summer without hearing Vin Scully say, ‘Hello friends.’?”

  • “Every game he calls is living art, celebrating our nowadays with a warm connection to our yesterdays. The worse play-by-play announcers get, the more we need Vinny.”

  • “Simply the best!”

Jimmy Steal took over the programming reins at “Power 106” on July 6, 1999, and it has been quite a ride. The station has been #1 in the last half-dozen Arbitrons. Last year, at the R&R Industry Achievement Awards, it was a clean sweep for KPWR in the CHR/Rhythmic category.  Jimmy was awarded Program Director of the Year, while Big Boy won Personality of the Year, E-Man was Music Director of the Year and the station won Station of the Year. Jimmy was voted the 9th Best Off-Air LARP of 2004. 

In the fall of 2000, Jimmy was promoted to regional vp of programming for Emmis Communications. Prior to joining "Power 106," Jimmy was the director of programming and operations for Clear Channel in Dallas, which included KDMX. Other assignments included pd at WKRQ-Cincinnati, assistant pd/md and dj at KEGL-Dallas and nighttimer at WHLY-Orlando. 

Some comments from those who voted for Jimmy: 

  • “KPWR is still the number one station in the most competitive market in America.”

  • “I listen to his station and I’m in ahhhh. What a programmer!”

  • “Jimmy and Damion Young make for a great programming team for a station that is to L.A. radio what the Lakers are to L.A. sports.”

#8 Best LARP of 2004 

(June 17, 2004) The Best of LARP 2004 continues to unfold each week over the summer. In the on-air category, we have already announced that KABC’s Sean Hannity was voted #10, while Dodger legend Vin Scully came in 9th. In the off-air division, Lynn Duke, engineering manager for Infinity’s KRTH, was voted tenth Best of 2004, while Emmis programming vp Jimmy Steal came in 9th

Fifty active Los Angeles Radio People from all areas of L.A. broadcasting covering the complete spectrum of ownership voted for their peer group in the annual Best LARP of 2004. At #8, Val Maki-Candido was voted Best off-air, while KROQ’s Jed the Fish and KIIS’ Rick Dees tied in the on-air category. To qualify for the Best of LARP 2004, the candidates had to been employed at the time of voting or on the air. Even though Rick Dees lost his full-time morning gig, he continues his Weekly Top 40 on Sundays.   

#8 On-Air (Tie) #8 On-Air (Tie) Best LARP 2004 #8 Off-Air
Rick Dees Jed the Fish   Val Maki-Candido

Val has been the general manager of KPWR, “Power 106,” since 1998. The hip-hop station has dominated the top spot in Arbitron for the past half-dozen ratings books. KZLA duties were added to Val’s responsibilities when Emmis bought the station a few years ago. Born in Minnesota, she grew up in the Twin Cities and graduated from DePaul University. Prior to working in L.A., she was with Holiday Broadcasting in Salt Lake City. Val began her radio career in the early 1980s and joined Emmis in 1984. Before arriving in the Southland, she was gsm of “Q101”-Chicago. She’s on the board of directors for the SCBA. 

One of the participants summed up Val’s success with: 

  • “Val proves that ‘nice’ and ‘number one’ CAN go hand-in-hand. Maybe organized and passionate have something to do with it, too.”

Jed the Fish has had a long and controversial run with Heritage Modern Rock KROQ, beginning in 1978 as md/night shift. Born Edwin Fish Gould III on July 15, 1955, Jed the Fish grew up in the beach cities of Orange County and in Casa Grande, Arizona, where his first radio job was at KPIN-AM.  

Before his long run at KROQ, Jed worked at KIQQ, KEZY and KORG. In 1984, Jed went to San Francisco for a year working at Modern Rock KQAK and AOR KRQR-San Francisco. He returned to KROQ in 1985. His passion for new artists makes him one of the most influential music radio personalities. He once said, "If I have a gimmick, it is simply trying to be myself on the air." Jed, known for his fiendish laugh, lives in Pasadena in an 1894 Victorian home once occupied by a California governor. In 1997 and 1999, Jed was awarded the Billboard Air Modern Rock Personality of the Year award. In 1998, he received an award for the Radio & Records Local Modern Rock Personality of the Year. 

His peer group wrote about the KROQ afternooner: 

  • “Amazingly inventive, makes the music sound way more relevant than it is!”

  • “He is still the best pure disc jockey in Los Angeles. I pick him every year because even the stupid things he says are compelling.”

  • “Beyond KROQ’s inconsistent morning show, no other dj stands out at all on a hugely successful station. Longevity there is also a factor.”

After 23 years as the morning man at KIIS, Clear Channel made a change in early 2004 and all of a sudden L.A. mornings were different. One of the top morning personalities in modern Southern California radio history, Rick left mornings at KIIS. He continues with his syndicated Weekly Top 40, which airs on KIIS Sunday mornings. Born Rigdon Osmond Dees III in Jacksonville, Florida, and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, he worked weekends for a local station until starting at a campus radio station at the University of North Carolina. He later got a degree in radio, television and motion pictures. 

Rick's first full-time radio job was with WKIX-Raleigh. He reached national attention at WMPS in Memphis recording a novelty hit that parodied the disco craze, Disco Duck. The song went platinum in 1976 and sold more than 4,000,000 records, earning him a People's Choice Award. He brought his cast of idiots to KHJ - John Revolting, Candy Plastique, Rex Rona, Groan 'n' Bear It, Road Hog Dees, Pelvis, Sparky and Chiquita and Willard Wizeman, many of whom were voiced by his wife, Julie. In 1979, KHJ’s gm enthused about Dees: "He's the hottest piece of radio talent in the business, one whom we believe will help return KHJ to the dominance it held."  

Barely a year later, in 1980, the format switched to Country, and Rick was out of work for over a year. He landed the show on KIIS in 1981. Rick hosted the tv show, Solid Gold in 1982 and 1983. In 1990, he hosted a late-night ABC/TV show called Into the Night, Starring Rick Dees. In 1994, Rick reflected on why the show didn't work: "I had the misfortune of being released to the public on late-night television in the middle of Johnny Carson's last year on tv and in the middle of the Gulf War. Our show didn't come on half the time until about 1:45 or 2 in the morning. I'd love to have another opportunity, but who knows." His peers have recognized him with 12 consecutive “Number One Radio Personality in America” Billboard awards, and he has a Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. His syndicated countdown show, "Rick Dees' Weekly Top 40," originally aired on KIIS in 1983, and grew to 600 markets in 70 countries.  It was voted Best Syndicated Top 40 Program of the Year by Billboard magazine in 1988 and 1993. Rick’s words to live by: "There's no point in being stupid, unless you can prove it."  

Some of the comments from those who voted for Rick: 

  • “Too many of my greatest radio memories involve Rick not to mention him.”

  • “I guess this is my sentimental vote. Rick entertained us well, year in and year out and deserves to be on this list. Can’t wait to see where he lands when his Clear Channel contract allows him to work again”

  • “Forever. No comment required. The name says it all.”

  • “His sign off was touching and pretty much everything a die-hard Dees fan would want.”

Big Boy and Kevin Weatherly Voted #7
in Annual LARP Poll

(June 30, 2004) We’re up to #7 in posting the results of the Best of LARP 2004. Fifty active Los Angeles Radio People from all areas of L.A. broadcasting covering the complete spectrum from on air to ownership voted for their peer group in the annual Best LARP of 2004.  

In the On-Air category, we have already announced that KABC’s Sean Hannity was voted #10, while Dodger legend Vin Scully came in 9th. There was a tie at 8th: KROQ’s Jed the Fish and KIIS’ Rick Dees.

In the Off-Air division, Lynn Duke, engineering manager for Infinity’s KRTH, was voted tenth Best of 2004, while Emmis programming vp Jimmy Steal came in 9th. At 8th in the On-Air category was Emmis’ Val Maki-Candido

And now at #7: 

# 7 On Air Best of LARP 2004 #7 Off-Air


Big Boy   Kevin Weatherly

Big Boy was just awarded Best CHR/Rhythmic Air Personality of the Year at last weeks R&R Convention and he comes in 7th in the annual voting for Best LARP On-Air 2004. He has been part of “Power 106” since 1994. Born in 1970 in Chicago, he moved to Culver City at age 2. He will always be known as Big Boy, despite the fact he lost close to 100 pounds after bariatric surgery last year. The former bodyguard for rap artists started hanging out at “Power 106.” The then-morning team of the Baka Boyz got to know Big Boy through his club gigs and recommended him to be a dj. In the summer of 1995, Big Boy moved from evenings to afternoon drive and in late 1997 to the coveted morning slot at KPWR. 

Some of those who voted for Big Boy shared a comment with their selection: 

  • Fantastic show, partnered with an incredible station and amazing marketing. He can strike a chord with a demo better than most of us could ever dream of.”

  • “A classic example of the next generation of radio where the personality comes first and then management trains the personality how to do radio.”

  • “After talk of being thrown off the morning show, the Big one turned in constant numbers and is very entertaining.”

  • “Big Boy created a neighborhood that is the envy of many radio shows.”

Kevin Weatherly was voted 7th Best Off-Air LARP 2004. At last weeks R&R Convention, Kevin was voted Best Alternative Program Director 2004 and KROQ was voted Best Alternative Radio Station 2004. 

Born in 1963, Kevin started his career at age 12 working for his father at KPIN-Casa Grande, Arizona. He came to "the Roq" from KKLQ (“Q106”)-San Diego. Before “Q106,” Kevin was the md at KIIS and KMEL-San Francisco and on the air at KZZP-Phoenix. When he arrived at "the Roq," he immediately tightened the play list, reflecting his Top 40 background. 

In the summer 1993 Arbitron, KROQ catapulted to #5 in the market - ahead of all other rock stations including Top 40 KIIS. In a 1995 issue of Requests, Kevin was listed among the "25 Most Influential People in the Music Industry." He was the honoree of the seventh annual T.J. Martell Industry Roast. He was listed in Entertainment Weekly's 100 Most Powerful People in the entertainment business. During the summer of 2001, Kevin was made vp of all Infinity music stations in the LA cluster. 

  • “Kevin has the Midas touch with music radio and I believe he has really improved ‘Arrow 93’s’ presentation despite its deeply flawed concept [Rock without black people].”

  • “KROQ continues to be one of the most successful Alternative Rock stations in the country under his leadership.”

  • “Always pushing people to get the best out of them and that’s what makes his stations ‘sound’ make so much money.”

  • “It’s been said it’s easy to get to the top, but hard to stay there. Kevin’s been at the top a long, long time. But, I do question his handling of ‘Arrow.’ Still, he’s a star!”

  • “He wields his power gracefully. Smart, and well liked.”


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Last modified: September 13, 2004