LARADIO.com
Archives, December 16-31, 1998
Compiled and written by
Don Barrett

db@thevine.net

Bob Eubanks Returns to KRLA

(December 30, 1998) Bob Eubanks returned to KRLA yesterday. For seven years between 1960 and 1967, Bob was part of an enormously successful period in Los Angeles Rock radio history. He is credited with bringing the Beatles to Los Angeles while at KRLA. Yesterday he teamed with Stephanie Edwards to promote their KTLA/Channel 5 New Years Day Rose Parade coverage. Bob seemed to take delight in giving the call letters again. History intersected, perhaps unknowingly, with the recent switch of KRLA to all-Talk from their historic 39-year run as a Top 40/Oldies station and Bob Eubanks’ appearance. The parade pair reminisced about some highlights while covering the annual event. Stephanie recalled the year she had diarrhea, which was eventually eliminated by an assistant who boiled milk for her to drink. Bob loved the year that Kermit the Frog was the Grand Marshall…Stephanie is everywhere, seemingly appearing on more stations than Sam Rubin, if that is possible. This morning she appeared with Charlie Tuna at KLAC. She has her own nightly show at KKLA.

A second pd has hit the airwaves this week. "Hi, this is Ron Escarsega, program director for the new ‘LA Talk 11-10.’ Everyone here wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. We’re pleased to welcome you to our family at the new ‘LA Talk 11-10.’ And by all means, join us beginning Monday, January 4th. It’ll be a dandy reunion you’ll remember for a long time. Don’t miss it!"

Speaking of KRLA, countdown promos are airing for Michael Jackson’s debut next Monday as he returns to his familiar slot from nine to noon. He’ll be broadcasting from the Beverly Hills Museum of TV & Radio. In the promo Michael says: "I’m reminding you that the conversation that we were having continues in just five days. We really have some catching up to do." Ken Minyard also returns to the airwaves on Monday at KRLA. This morning Michael appeared with Sam Rubin on KTLA/Channel 5’s Morning Show where he talked about his last day at KABC: "I had been there more than half my life and I loved it. I really enjoyed it. I was very saddened. I couldn’t believe that someone else could decide when your career was over and half my friends said, for god’s sake, don’t go to the weekends, it’s demotion. And the other half, bless ‘em, said go to it. I loved being on the weekend but it wasn’t enough." Michael described KRLA: "I have not in many, many years worked with so an enlightened a management as I am with the people at KRLA. The studio itself, their home base, is like Animal House. It is marvelous. It’s just great." Michael announced that guests who will appear in the first two weeks would include his old boss from ABC, Michael Eisner, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw…Tomorrow at this site, the Top 10 radio news stories of 1998…Producer Jeff Shamrock checks in with great news. Frazer Smith will be heard this Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on "Y-107." He will be broadcasting his "20th Annual Rose Parade Review Show." "So expect the usual humor and poking fun at the floats," emailed Jeff…Beginning tomorrow and continuing through Sunday, KROQ will be counting down the Top 106.7 songs of 1998…KFWB’s Ken Jeffries sends out a heads up that the LA Times Valley edition will be running reminisces of people who went through the earthquake five years ago next January 17…"Mega 100" is staging a New Years Eve party for their fans at the Hollywood Palladium featuring the Gap Band and Dazz Band.

On Monday we discussed Radio Free KIIS and the fact that the station was jockless. Marketing head for KIIS, Von Freeman, explains: "KIIS is such a personality driven radio station that our thoughts were that if we took the jocks off for a while and really focused on the music we play that we could cause a reaction from our listeners. Having over 25 years of history playing L.A.'s Top 40, people can sometimes forget how many hits we play and how much we mean to the music business. In a music business town, that means something. Plus, we are highlighting the fact that we truly are the only Variety station in town when it comes to music. [The best of every new music station in town]. This is a way to strip away everything but the music which we believe is just as important as our legendary personality Rick Dees as well as the best jocks in the business. Stunt? Yes. But also an important issue in Los Angeles radio. The radio station that gives L.A. and the world Pop music and ‘Pop Culture’ first is the most variety-oriented station in L.A. We will be back to business as usual when the book begins again. Until then we'll have the listeners be our jocks." There is no question that the music is emphasized and becomes the focus. Thanks, Von…KIEV’s Michael Medved had an interesting twist on the presidential impeachment: "I do not endorse presidential castration. I’m opposed to it. It would probably be a constitutional violation of the provision for cruel and unusual punishment. It has a certain symmetry to it."

Speaking of KIEV, longtime KMPC producer and pd John Felz has joined the Salem station…TV game show host Bob Barker will "come on down" as the "Celebrity Driver Of The Week" on KRLA’s "Traffic Jam" show this Saturday. Mr. Traffic figures that Bob has given away more automobiles than anybody has in America. "Traffic Jam" will air weekly on Saturdays following Michael JacksonBrian Whitman emailed to say that he "had a blast last week" working with Mr. KABC in morning drive. This week Brian is paired with Joe CrummeyMark & Kim at KOST head for Walt Disney World next month. This morning they were giving away tickets to "Disney on Ice" and a 27-inch tv…Does anyone know where KMPC’s Tom Wayman is these days?…We recently reported that Bob Harvey will be in morning drive at KZLA for at least a few more months. A reader wondered if that would solidify Jim Duncan in afternoon drive. PD Bill Fink emailed: "Jim Duncan's future here is largely dependent on Bob Harvey's. I expect both to be in their current shifts for at least the next few months. We have not totally settled on Bob in mornings long term, although he has the inside track on that position. Three to six months from now, if Bob were to return to afternoons, Jim would return to weekends. But that's a big ‘if.’ As of now and the immediate and medium future, Jim Duncan is our afternoon guy."

1999

Instead of the traditional New Years Resolutions, I thought it might be fun to hear a different twist from Los Angeles Radio People. I asked, "What is the one Los Angeles radio change you would like to hear in 1999?"

Glynnis Walker (KFI): Changes in L.A. radio! What could that be. Let's see.....We already have enough men talking in L.A....Maybe we could use some more women in talk radio. We are 47% of the listening audience and we do have opinions, thoughts, ideas and lifestyle issues that are of interest to the rest of the listening audience because we are their wives, mothers, girlfriends daughters and friends. And, we control most of the purchasing power. So how come we get so little airtime? (P.S. my nine-year-old daughter wants to add, "Besides we don't have cooties") Well, we don't!
Jack Hayes
(formerly with KFWB): This may sound like it's totally self serving -- and it is -- But the change I'd like to hear in 1999 would be me ON THE RADIO someplace in LA. Actually on the air -- working for $$$$$$ .
Bill Jenkins
(formerly with KABC): The change I would like to hear in L.A. radio would be a generous heaping of creativity. At present, everyone seems to be reading off the same page. Do something innovative, extremely interesting and toss in a lot of old fashioned class and civility.....and add some excitement. All these things have worn very thin over the last decade.
Leslie Pam
(formerly with KMPC): The change I would like to see for 1999 would be to hear Ann Christie back on the radio. Is there anyone with vision out there? Thank you for this forum.
Mark the Shark Brower
(KZLA): The one Los Angeles radio change I would like is the re-growth of a KNAC type of station. That is one important thing missing for my listening ears. I’m tired of all these new talk stations. I would like to hear a good rock ‘n roll station for a change.
Larry (Jack) Boxer
(Westwood One): I'd like to see a full-service format.
Dave Anthony
(formerly with KODJ): I'd like to hear a return to higher family values on the radio in 1999 because our children's values are at stake. I'd like to hear one more piece of good news in each newscast (not fluff) in 1999 because our mental health is at stake. And I'd like to hear more kindness on the air (not anger) in 1999 because our society is at stake. What on earth are we teaching our children?
Andy Stevens
(formerly with KEZY): Personally I'd like to hear more L.A. stations doing webcasting on the Internet. Then I can listen no matter where I go.
Bill Wright
(KWVE): The repeal of the Communications Act of 1996!
China Smith
(formerly with KLOS): For my taste, the single most important change
in L.A. radio for the new year, would have to be the announcement of yours truly, China Smith, joining the air staff of Los Angeles radio station K???, with the "China Smith Show" premiering in late January or early February of 1999! Sorry Don, but everything else, pales in comparison!
Holly Adams
(formerly with "Groove Radio"): I would love to hear a new station with a new format dedicated to new, hip, cool, progressive dance music and the people who love it, as well as the people who won't want to live without it. It could happen. It's never too late!
Bill Alexander
(KYSR): I would love to hear a hip "adult music"(?) station that featured funny, "up" jocks (not screamers) that would not be restricted by the old-fashioned "forward only" format philosophy. Real pros could handle it, each show would be distinct and unique, and each jock's full talent could be heard. Use of newer technological equipment such as the Internet, cell phones, and digital recorders would only enhance the creative process. No mandatory call letter placement in a rap would be necessary--especially those that must always be included with an insincere-sounding image slogan! I realize this sounds somewhat like what was called "MOR," but this would be hipper and reflective of the "realist" 90s. Creative freedom within a structured, uniform, identifiable format would be the key. I will now leave to go pray for this.
Steve Knight
(formerly with KIEV): The change I would like to hear in Los Angeles Radio in 1999 is an end to auditioning talent on the air. It's the sort of thing you might expect to hear in some rural market. I don't remember hearing this as I grew up listening to Los Angeles Radio. It embarrasses and demeans the medium in what is supposed to be a major market.
Ken Jeffries
(KFWB): How about Talk radio that's evenly balanced? Could that be done for the New Year?
Red Blanchard
(formerly with KNX): Have KNX news announcers stop their annoying break-ins when someone is talking saying "You are listening to so and so on KNX!" We KNOW what station we have on - (But not for long, if this keeps up.)
Steve Ray
(KOLA): For all those programmers who boast how they could beat their competition with it ...L.A. needs an "All Dead Air, All The Time" station. Maybe 1999 will bring some voluntary converts to the "Less Music, Less Talk, Less Commercials" format. I can dream can't I?
Keith Peters
(formerly with KKGO): Some real, thoughtful, interesting, intelligent radio, not only in Southern California, but also across the nation.
Richard Santiago
(Heftel Broadcasting) : What I would like for 1999 is that reporters covering the results of ARB's be truthful and not ignore the fact that the Spanish stations are dominant. Many articles attempt to give the impression that the Spanish stations simply don't exist, skewing the reports on the basis of how "well" the English language stations are doing, this unfortunately is not the reality in L.A. at all.
Ken Stanton
("K-Light"): For stations to dump the playlists and let the Disc Jockeys pick the music for most of the while. I'd like to not hear the same "HOT" Song from the same "HOT" Artist played every thirty minutes. Maybe three a day would be good. Like the old KMET. And the sounds of Good Rock and Roll.
Ronn Owens
(formerly with KABC): Let's just say I’d like to hear more balance in talk shows so that the 80% of us in the middle who decide each issue on its merits has a forum.
Dr. Demento (Barry Hansen):
More programmers with the talent, freedom and confidence to trust their own judgment.
Tracey Miller
(KLSX): Well, if you ask one of only a handful of female broadcasters what they'd like to see changed in radio, you might expect this response: MORE GOOD FEMALE BROADCASTERS. Specifically, more female TALK HOSTS. If you look at the line up of all the major talk stations, you'll find a disproportionate number of males. Not that these guys don't do a great job. Many of them do, but I still don't understand why over half the population who is responsible for most of the major buying decisions do not have more representation on the radio. There, I'm off my soapbox. Happy 99!
K.M. Richards
(formerly with KGIL): I'd like to see/hear next year is for Saul Levine to finally recognize what he has with KGIL and take steps to make it a real challenger to KLAC. (1). Fix the technical problems (audio dropping out, liners not playing, fades that become cold switches, liners from one jock playing during another's shift). (2). Leave the format on the air as much as possible (get rid of Jim Roope's poorly done Sunday night jazz program, the morning drive K-Traffic simulcast, the weekend morning infomercials). (3). Promote, promote, promote! We all know how difficult it is to own and program AM stations in this day and age. Saul has a potential gold mine, but he's simply letting KGIL run into the ground. Hell, if he cares that little for it, he can sell it to me for a couple bucks.

The Passing Parade in 1998

(December 29, 1998) Before they unplugged their microphone for good, they touched our lives in special and magical ways…ways that make the radio voices a part of our lives.

Paul "Panther" Pierce, March 11 (87) Paul was the aerospace editor for KMPC and a colorful traffic reporter for 20 years. He won four individual Golden Mike awards. Paul grew up in Detroit and was one of the original scriptwriters for "The Long Ranger" series.

Robert W. Morgan, May 22 (60) Robert arrived in Southern California in 1965 to be part of the launch of KHJ/"Boss Radio." Except for a brief trip to Chicago radio in 1971, Robert delighted the Southland with his wake-up cry of "Good Morgan" continuously until earlier this year. In addition to KHJ, he worked at KIQQ, KMPC, KMGG and KRTH. In early 1994, Robert was inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He also has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In late May 1997, Robert announced that he had lung cancer, perhaps due to being a two-pack-a-day smoker for 35 years before quitting in 1996. In an emotional on-air statement he said he was taking some time off work to fight the disease full time. He retired from KRTH on January 9, 1998, with a three-hour on-air tribute from the Museum of TV & Radio broadcast live. Los Angeles Radio People, covering the period between 1957 and 1997, voted Robert the 3rd most popular dj.

Sam Yorty, June 5 (88) After 12 tumultuous years as Los Angeles mayor, Sam joined KGBS as a talk-host. Mike Downey of the LA Times said the teaming of Yorty with Wally George made Rush Limbaugh seem like "a meek little mouse."

Don Page, July 10 (64) Don distinguished himself as the radio critic and tv sports columnist at the LA Times from 1956 to 1973. At KLAC he hosted sports commentary and "Inside Radio," a two-hour Sunday show featuring industry guests. Shortly before his death he commented on the quarter-century from 1950 to 1975 as the Golden Age of Southern California radio. "Radio was long on talent and short on time. Today radio is long on time and short on talent. There are too many chairs and not enough talent."

Bill Angel, July 18 (79) Bill started at KFWB in 1956 and stayed until his retirement in 1983. He bridged the gap from rock and roll to an all-News format. Bill was assistant to pd Chuck Blore when "Color Radio" was launched and became an anchorman during the all-News period.

John Gilliland, July 24 (63) John was one of the original members of KRLA’s "Credibility Gap" and host/creator of "The Pop Chronicles." John graduated from Texas Christian University with a B.A. in English. During his career he also worked at KLIF-Dallas, KOGO-San Diego, KSFO-San Francisco and KRBE-Houston. In 1987 following the death of his mother, he returned to Quanah intending to sell the family home and ended up settling in. During the 1990s he was doing video production, local and regional voiceover work and in 1994 published an audio book, Pop Chronicles: The Forties.

Bob Starr, August 3 (65) Bob was the play-by-play broadcaster for the California Angels and Los Angeles Rams at KMPC. He arrived in the Southland in 1980 from eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Sam Balter, August 8 (88) Sam was one of the most popular sports broadcasters in Los Angeles radio history. He was the former captain of the UCLA basketball team and a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. basketball team in 1936 when the sport was introduced to the Olympics for the first time. Sam was the voice of UCLA football and basketball teams and worked at KLAC from 1946 to 1961. He also was a sports columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Express.

David Cloud, August 27 (60) David was best remembered as a radio pioneer who raised the level of public awareness of classic music at KPFK (in the early 1970s he was pd) and KCRW. He arrived in the Southland in 1961 after finishing graduate work at the University of Alabama. In 1981 he left radio join the staff at UCLA to train students in audio technology.

Richard Beebe, August 29 (68) Best remembered as a co-founder and member of the nationally acclaimed and highly innovative satirical news group, "The Credibility Gap." Born in Pasadena and raised in Alhambra, Richard had a relationship with KRLA that lasted over five decades. He played Colonel Splendid on "Emperor" Bob Hudson’s daily drama.

Phil Little, September 12 (58) Phil was the KRLA engineer when the station launched a Top 40 format in September 1959 and he stayed until the mid-1980s when he joined KIEV. He eventually returned to KRLA.

Alan Harvey, September 21 (70) Alan graduated from Northwestern University with a speech major in 1948. His passions in life were equally split between jazz music and liberal politics. Alan came to the Southland to be a jazz dj. He eventually became news director for several stations and wrote editorials for socially liberal causes. Alan remembered a line from John Chancellor when talking about his radio career, "I have outlived my culture."

Gene Autry, October 2 (91) The former owner of KMPC and KSCA was America’s first singing cowboy. Gene did it all. His career spanned more than sixty years in the entertainment industry. He has been the only entertainer to have five Stars on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, one each for radio, records, movies, television and live theatrical including rodeo performances. Beginning his radio career in 1928, by 1937 he was America's Favorite Cowboy. His CBS radio show "Melody Ranch" ran for 16 years. He produced and starred in close to 100 television shows. Gene appeared in 94 feature films and made 635 records including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which has sold over 30 million copies. In 1961 he acquired the California Angels. He owned a hotel in Palm Springs. His Western Heritage Museum opened in November 1988 and has attracted millions of tourists.

Russ Barnett, October 16 (69) Russ worked at KLIF-Dallas and when Gordon McLendon (owner of KLIF) turned XTRA into the world’s first all-News station in 1960, he tapped Russ as manager for the launch. On New Years Day 1963 Russ joined KMPC as pd and was named Program Director of the Year by Gavin. "From the time I was a young guy, I felt that if I could go on the air and add a few smiles to the lives of my listeners through my rather corny sense of humor and make enough money to support my family, I’d be well pleased with my contribution to life. Know what? I am." At his memorial, the Count Basie band played in honor of Russ.

Hugh Cherry, October 22 (76) Elected to the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in 1977, Hugh worked at KFOX, KGBS, XPRS and KLAC between 1960 and 1976. When his daily on-air career ended, he became a college instructor and lecturer on country music. In 1977 he joined R&R as the Country editor and also worked for the Long Beach Press-Telegram. During the 1980s, Hugh wrote and narrated many country radio specials, including "Country Report Countdown." He penned over 300 album liner notes.

Charleye Wright, October 27 (61) Known as "The Coach" Charleye Wright, he had been a sports broadcaster at KNX since 1995. Charleye was born in Inglewood in 1937 and he graduated from Lynwood High and Compton College. He graduated with an M.A. from Baylor University with plans to enter the ministry, but while in college Charleye got into broadcasting. In 1969 he became part of the news operation at KLAC. From KLAC he joined KIIS, KPOL and then KIIS/FM for most of the 1980s as one of Rick Dees’ sidekicks. In 1990 he worked the mornings at KKBT for "John London’s House Party."

Philip Sterling, November 30 (76) Philip hosted "Goldensterling," a weekly two-hour program that aired on KCSN. He died from complications of myelofibrosis, a bone marrow disease.

Adam J. DeMarais, December 11 (69) One of the Rock radio’s booming voices, Adam was born in Montreal and originally studied to be an actor and toured with a company out of New York while still a teen. "I decided to pursue Hollywood and the world would pave my way with palm branches and gold, not the myrrh and pyrite it turned out to be." Adam went to Korea and was promoted to combat platoon sergeant and received a Purple Heart for serious wounds suffered in action. He returned to the Southland, and during the 1960s, Adam worked at Rockers KHJ, KRLA and KBLA. For the decade of the 1970s he was the news director at KEZY. For much of the 1980s he worked as an announcer at KTTV/Channel 11. Adam died from complications of cancer.

Cleve Hermann, December 31 (80) Cleve was the continuity glue to the sound of KFWB for almost 40 years through many formats wearing a patch over his left eye – the eye being blinded in an accident at birth. His colleagues called him the Damon Runyon of radio. Born in Peoria, he came to the Southland with his parents when he was six. His mother was a teacher. Cleve grew up in South Central Los Angeles and was a stringer for the L.A. Examiner when he was 14, earning 25 cents a column inch. When I interviewed Cleve for my book, Los Angeles Radio People, he told me: "For a brief time I thought about being a preacher or lawyer. Perhaps this influenced my on-air style." He retired at age 72, having worked at KFWB for 37 years (with a brief nine-month stay at KGFJ).

Radio Free KIIS

(December 28, 1998) During the holidays, KIIS has been running jockless. Listeners are voicing their song requests over the intros. PD Dan Kieley has a long promo as well as the music director. " Hi, this is Dan Kieley, program director of KIIS/FM. What you are now experiencing is Radio Free KIIS. Wall to wall music and you’re controlling it. Our playlist is being fed directly by the requests and comments coming in by phone, fax, the Internet and even mail. You’ve taken over. But it’s a revolution for radio’s evolution. Contact KIIS now and tell us about the music you like. What you think about the playlist and how you think radio should sound in the 21st century. This is your moment to shape radio for the new millennium. Radio Free KIIS. Radio’s future starts here." Between music, there is future sounding effects along with references to Radio Free KIIS. "Hi, this is Tracy Austin, KIIS/FM music director. Normally I put together the KIIS playlist each day. Right now you are doing it. This is Radio Free KIIS and every song is being selected from the comments and requests that you are sending in. It’s your time to shape radio for the future and vote for the music you want to hear on L.A. radio. So get in touch. Phone or fax KIIS now or log on to www.KIISfm.com. Radio’s future starts here." Nice way to give the on-air staff the holidays off and generate a nice promotional buzz, or do you think? Naw. Couldn’t be, could it?

Brian Whitman is solo this morning drive at KABC. Tomorrow and for the rest of the week he will team with Joe CrummeyDebra Rich gave KFI listeners a terrific holiday gift Saturday and Sunday night. She paired those who have with those who are in need. Some wonderful radio.

Saturday night was Kevin Ross’ last show at KABC. Beginning January 4 he takes over as a municipal court judge. He told his audience shortly before signing off: "We made a decision, my family, my wife and I. I even talked with my pastor, Reverend Cecil Murray at First AME Church and we decided that it was in the best interests to leave this, focus on making sure I know what I’m doing as a judge. It’s a big responsibility. I’m going to be marrying people. I’m going to be sending people to jail. I’m going to be handling civil cases. And I want to make sure I’m doing a good job. And that’s why we’re saying goodnight for now." The youthful Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney joined KTZN in 1997 and moved over to sister KABC when Radio Disney took over the 710AM frequency. After marrying his junior high school sweetheart in early 1995, Kevin organized and operated a grassroots political campaign for a seat on the L.A. City Council. He finished a strong third out of an initial field of seven candidates. KABC management has not decided on a replacement…Former "B-100" dj Zack writes for the Westwood One Radio Networks. With the end of the regular NFL season he said, "This would certainly be the wrong year for it to come down to a coin toss." Good thought.

Bob Harvey will continue in morning drive at Country KZLA for "at least a few more months," according to pd Bill Fink. Apparently he has the "clear inside track" to take over the spot permanently…Former KROQ host, Stanley Sheff has placed a few "Young Marquis and Stanley" shows online in RealAudio G2 format. The site is called "The Vault of the Young Marquis and Stanley." The URL is: www.brainex.com/radio. Stanley says the complete shows, about 2 hours each, have great sound quality…Starting this Saturday, KROQ will be running down the top ten albums of 1998, as chosen by the fans. You can vote for your favorite album of 1998 by calling KROQ at 1-800-520-1067…Charlie Tuna interviews Mike Douglas this morning on KLAC. Charlie was the announcer for Mike’s nationally syndicated tv show.

Radio Unica 1580AM, the new home of Radio Unica Network in Los Angeles, will launch on January 1. The 50,000-watt, powerhouse station hits the Los Angeles airwaves with Radio Unica Network's popular programming starring internationally known personalities such as Pedro Sevcec, Maria Elena Salinas, Cristina, Dra. Isabel, Jorge Ramos, Fulvia Peimbert and William Restrepo. Radio Unica’s launch will be supported by a massive marketing campaign that includes commercials, billboards, painted buses and bus shelter signage. Radio Unica’s campaign stars Daniela Castro, the telenovela sensation who most recently starred in Univision's highly rated novela, Desencuentro. The first commercial of Radio Unica 1580 AM's campaign will begin airing tomorrow.

For two decades beginning in 1970, Lee Marshall has been an active on-air voice in Southern California working at KHJ, KDAY, KABC and KBLA. In recent years Lee has gained much celebrity doing the commentary for World Championship Wrestling including the very popular Monday Night Nitro. Lee stopped by the KFI studios last week and received an unexpected holiday gift. Lee emailed: "Phil Hendrie's three step-sons are big WCW fans, and I had some WCW items Phil and Maria wanted the boys to have for Christmas. Phil asked me to join him on the air for his 7-8 p.m. hour, and it was great fun. It made me aware of two things. Number one, I really miss being on radio. Number two, Phil Hendrie is, without question, the biggest talent on the air in Los Angeles. L.A. radio has become bland and unimaginative. Phil Hendrie is a reminder to me that when radio is done well, it's not only fun, but it really is ‘more stimulating.’ We played it straight, but funny. We talked about wrestling and other sports, told some stories, took some calls, talked a little about radio, played some Christmas songs and goofed on Linda McCartney. Although we took only a couple of calls, we were told that the phones went totally crazy. Personally, I thought it was what radio is supposed to be. It was a lot of fun!"

Bill Ballance spent the holidays in Southern California with his son, Jim, and longtime business manager, Beverly Wood…Mark Taylor and Guy Davis broadcast for a second Sunday yesterday on KABC…"Star 98.7" is presenting the last party of 1998 and the first party of 1999 at the Beverly Hills Hard Rock on New Years Eve…A group of locked-out NABET-represented program coordinators at KABC radio have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to decertify from their union. A NABET-represented radio employee said, "We all want to get back to work." A decertification election has been set for January 14, and if a majority approves, they would be free to cross their former union’s picket line…Steve Smith, longtime promotion head at KLOS, has joined Catholic Family Radio as an account executive. "I was out of work for five months and mostly I heard that I was overly qualified. This opportunity at KPLS [830AM] just presented itself. The job found me. It is very exciting to be on the ground floor for both the local and national network." The Catholic Family Radio network has 7 stations. The studios are in Orange, just a few minutes from the Anaheim Pond. In April the station is set to jump to 50,000 watts.

1999

Instead of the traditional New Years Resolutions, I thought it might be fun to hear a different twist from Los Angeles Radio People. I asked, "What is the one Los Angeles radio change you would like to hear in 1999?"
Johnny Chiang
(KOST): Since so many radio stations claim to be geared towards women, in 1999 I'd like to hear a station that actually puts its money where its mouth is. For example, all female jocks, female station voice, and female-oriented promotions. Sort of a "Lifetime" television on radio.
Dan Avey
(KFWB): I'd like to hear a station playing current music with a playlist longer than 9 songs. I'd also like to hear music of the 50s, 60s and 70s done the way it was then - recreated - Top 40 radio (sounds of old, made of gold, that really sold – from the middle of the dial, center of the aisle....)
Whitney Allen
(formerly with KIIS): One wish that I have for Los Angeles Radio is that it was not so cash driven. I know it is a hopeless wish, based in anything but reality, but...I just got back from San Francisco where I heard the most incredible MUSIC on the radio...the jocks may not have been the BEST and the production my not have been the BEST, but the music was incredible. I heard stuff from the Americana chart played next to something old from Dar Williams, I heard "oldies" I NEVER hear in Los Angeles, I heard album cuts I have not heard in years. I know from past experience anything like this kind of radio does not thrive in L.A. And what a shame that is....but I can still wish, right? Have a wonderful New Year!!
Jeff Davis
(formerly with KYSR): I would like to hear someone - in any format - create exciting, inventive radio. Cuz it ain't happenin' right now.
Ralph "The New Guy" Garman –
(The Kevin & Bean Show/KROQ): Call-in listeners who do not turn their radio down before going on the air would be punished by death.
David Hirsch
(formerly with KTWV): I know this may not be possible in the most competitive radio market in the world, but the one radio change I would like to hear in 1999 is continuity of personality. There have been so many people coming and going that it's very difficult to get any organic feel for a particular station. Getting to know the person on the radio by absorbing them into your daily activities over a long period of time is what makes radio a special medium.
Jeff Gehringer
(KIKF): The one change I would like to make in 1999 is for more accurate ratings. It gets so frustrating every year to watch the way the industry lives and dies by these Arbitron ratings. I wish there was some way to get accurate, and informed information about just who and how many people are listening. It would make a large difference in what was programmed in the city.
Geoff Edwards
(formerly with KMPC): The one change I want to see in Los Angeles radio is I want my funny, informative, irreverent, interactive travel show to be on every weekend. Then I can finally get famous again and become the number 49 most popular radio personality instead of the 50th.
Steven Marshall
(formerly with KNX/FM): I'd love to have a station that doesn't insult the intelligence or pander to the lowest common denominator; one that consistently plays a list of only the very best rock 'n' roll (both albums and hits) available; one that screens out stupid and obnoxious spots and maintains a total listening environment. Oh well, a fella can dream, can't he?
Steve Propes
(formerly with KLON): There's a lot of oldies and "old school" programming in this market, however no one has gotten right what KGFJ did effortlessly in the 1960s - though many have tried. KGFJ for 1999 would be just right. Really, what I'd like to hear and listen to is something akin to how rock and roll as we know it came alive. Someone with courage would have to decide that programming a broad sweep of American music, from blues to rap, complete with surprises, would attract and hold listeners. So my change would be - a stake in the heart of narrowcasting...or a steak with fries, medium rare.
Joe Crummey
(KABC): The one change in L.A. radio (and everyplace else for that matter) would be the reversing of deregulation. It may be good for the owners but I wonder whether its been good for the on air people.
Shelley Herman
(formerly with KMPC/KTZN): For the year 1999, and all the years to come, I would like to hear funny, intelligent women hosting shows on talk radio. Enough with the yelling already! Since this is an industry town, I would like to hear a daily program centered around the entertainment industry that isn't hosted by someone who "really wants to direct." I would hope that the credentials of all men and women who represent themselves as a "Doctor" or and expert of some kind are more carefully scrutinized. And finally, I would like to hear more contemporary radio dramas and comedies, either remakes or original stories to help make the daily commute a less stressful.
David Wayne
(KWVE): I'd like to be able to hear an oldies station not owned by CBS, maybe an MOR/Top 40 formatted station, and Bill Ballance (without camera) in L.A.
Sherman Cohen
(formerly with KRLA): I would like to hear an oldies station with more variety than KRTH.

Drew Hayes Reviews the Talk Radio Year

(December 23, 1998) Radio & Records reviewed 1998 with leading broadcasters. KABC pd Drew Hayes responded to the question about topics and stories that made for exciting Talk radio dialogue in Los Angeles. Drew said: "Well, the president and Monica took on special significance here in L.A. First, because this is Monica’s home, and secondly, her first loudmouth attorney was based here. Paula Jones’ spokesperson, Susan Carpenter-McMillan, lives here and was a regular guest on KABC, and Paula herself is living out here in the L.A. area. Probably the best story of the year was Sherman Block, the dead L.A. County Sheriff who was still running for office. This story had everything – humor, sadness, absurdity. Block died five days prior to the election, but his campaign continued right through the election, with this supporters and campaign manager asking L.A. voters to elect a dead guy!" In the NAC/Smooth Jazz section, Carol Archer singled out KTWV, "under the guidance of pd Chris Brodie, achieved its 11th top five book in the 25-54 demo, a feat unparalleled in format history – specially in a market so brutally competitive that a tenth of a share can determine whether a station is included in a buy…Following his evening show tonight at KFI, Phil Hendrie will make an appearance at midnight at the Planet Hollywood in Costa Mesa. He’ll sign his CD with proceeds going to kids at risk.

As we come to the end of the year, many reflections come to me about Los Angeles Radio and this Web site. I wondered how far away from Southern California did our readers come from to read the daily doings. When I asked the question last month, readers from 19 different states checked in along with fans from three foreign countries. Brett Rosenberg from Melbourne, Australia emailed: "Thanks for your page. I'm sure you wouldn't get too many letters from Melbourne, Australia regarding L.A. radio! I lived there from 1990-96 and was a constant KABC listener. Finally they start webcasting-but the station is decimated! It's quite amazing to me that I can sit here and listen to Dennis Prager live, but the rest of them-it seems like warmed over KFI. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like KRLA is webcasting but hopefully that will soon change. I would love to hear Michael Jackson again." Thanks Brett… "

Power 106" djs and celebrity friends recorded We Are The World in the basement of KPWR. This version will not make you forget the Quincy Jones original…Is KABC’s Stephanie Miller claim that she is Larry Elder’s love child true?…I wonder what Bobby Ocean was doing in the hallways at KRTH earlier this week?..Tom Milner recently discovered what you’ve been enjoying for months, LARADIO.com. He was operations manager at KEZY in the early 1970s and is doing a novel about L.A. radio from 1972 to 1975. He’s looking for former KEZY gm Howard Kester and Jerry Harms. You can reach Tom at: TMilner341@aol.com …"Goodtime" Steve Mitchell, who worked middays for me at "K-100FM" checked in from Atlanta: "I'm still pd at Atlanta's Number 2 Country Station. It's a joke, Disney owns both #1 and #2."…"Cool Yule" at "Star 98.7" starts Christmas eve at 8 p.m. with solid Christmas music…Optimistic radio ad on KXTA. They are selling season tickets for the Clippers 1999/2000 season at the new Staples Center. Think the lock-out will be over by then?…"We stop the music less often so you can listen longer" is one of KZLA’s promo lines.

John Fox, mornings at KEZY has a wonderful story about "Furby" and the spirit of Christmas: "The day of our second Furby auction we got a call from Vicki Wulwick of Cypress, she'd just come from the veterinarian where she'd made the difficult decision to put the family's 14 year old Golden Lab, Ziggy to sleep. Her next unenviable task was to tell her 10-year-old daughter Amanda what had happened. In doing so, she imparted what her mother had always said, "When something bad happens to you, go do something good for someone else." Recently, the family had been at a Costco where their shipment of Furby's was causing quite a commotion. Not really knowing how big a deal the toy was becoming, they bought one for Amanda. In talking with her mother the morning of Ziggy's passing, Amanda decided that her Furby was the good thing that needed to happen to someone else. Vicki, seeing how much more beyond the mere value of a toy we were accomplishing with our auction, offered us the Furby in the name of Orangewood Children's home. KEZY has always been a big supporter of Orangewood, so we called our second highest bidder for that day's auction and offered it to him for his last bid, $800. Within the hour Vicki and Amanda brought the Furby to the station and the buyer delivered us a check to Orangewood. The open ended part of this story is that when Vicki tells us Amanda is ready, we're going to hook her up with one of the three animal shelter/rescue groups we feature on the morning show every week for the pet of her choice, all fees covered, with a year's supply of food courtesy of Canine Caviar. Just standing by watching this one unfold was all I needed to know the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Orange County"…Listeners to "Love Songs on the KOST" between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. have a chance to be a couple for the weekend on New Years Eve at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas including a January 1st performance by Neil Diamond.

A Holiday Tale

Pam Baker is head of marketing for KFWB. She shares a holiday tale:

A couple of years ago during the holiday season, I took my 4-year old niece (Janell) to the L.A. Zoo to see all the decorations and animals. As we were waiting for the next tour bus, an African-American little girl and her mother were sitting on the same bench next to us. Janell offered the little girl one of her animal crackers and they started talking about kid stuff -- then out of the blue, I hear my niece say, "You’re so lucky. You must live at the beach because you’re so tan. I wish I was as tan as you." After the little girl’s mother and I laughed to ourselves, I got all choked up - little girls are the sweetest creatures. Every holiday time, I think of this special moment.

The Big Nasty Speaks Out

(December 22, 1998) Former afternooner at KXTA and longtime sports radio figure Joe McDonnell has settled his termination with the station and is free to talk about his exit. You can find the complete story at Joe’s Web site www.thebignasty.com. Some of the highlights from his Web: "First of all, I don't really know what happened. I thought everything was going along well. The show, in my opinion, was better than ever. However, when a new program director is hired, you worry about your job status. That is just a fact of life in radio. No matter who you are or where you're at, you could be gone at the whim of the new man in charge. Unfortunately, when this [Mike] Thompson character came in, he NEVER gave a critique. All he ever said was, ‘Hey, it sounds good. Keep it up.’ Right then, I knew there was going to be trouble. Fact of life #2 in radio: the new program director ALWAYS critiques you--almost immediately. [Actually, he did sort of critique me. Once he asked me why I was called the Big Nasty. I explained it was a nickname Doug Krikorian had given me. He said I was too nice of a guy to be called Nasty. That was it.] PD's always want you to know who's in charge, and they will nit-pick you to death. They'll always say you don't give the call letters enough, and that you should get to the caller quicker, but don't keep him on too long. Remember, you're the star of the show, they'll say. And that's it. You go back and do the show exactly the way you had been doing it, and they never say another word. Until it's once again time to establish authority. But Thompson was different. He said virtually nothing. Early on, I asked him about my job status. He told me not to worry, that I would have a place on the station, but it might not be afternoon drive. Also, he was thinking of getting me a partner." Joe reports they tried to hire Arnie Spanier from "One-On-One Sports" but it didn’t work out. More from Joe at his Web site.

Last Friday Eric Tracy and Steve Edwards reunited at KXTA for a two-hour shift. KXTA om Mike Thompson said of the pair: "I was impressed...thought they had great chemistry...AND personality." Eric and Steve were paired at KABC for 19 months for a SportsTalk program…KXTA will be experimenting with different morning drive combinations now that Steve Mason has joined WNEW-New York…You have been voting for your favorite Southern California radio personalities. John Irwin of San Pedro checked in with his Top 10 Los Angeles Radio People:

Jim Healy - the most unique - long term player - miss him daily
Dick Whittinghill - great wit and wonderful taste in music
Vin Scully - the master in sports event broadcasting
Walt Desilva - great voice - fine jazz dj
Sleepy Stein - early jazz dj influence - club remotes - wonderful taste
Gene Norman - someone who expanded his radio talents into related areas
Dennis Prager - wonderful thinker and moral person
Larry Elder - Cleveland's welcome gift to LA - a breath of fresh air
Larry Mantle - incredible knowledge - top interviewer
Ken Poston - wonderful talent whose research adds so much to his programs

KKBT’s afternooner Theo relayed a stirring story about a down time for him when he was in the Bay Area and help that Thomas McElroy, who put together En Vogue, gave him: "Right before I came to L.A. I lost my job at KMEL. I lost my job at a real funky time. I was in the middle of working on an En Vogue record, Runaway Love. I remember I got the bad news. It’s a hard thing to be creative and be on top of your game after you just lose your job. I remember going to the studio over at Too Tough where we working and told Tommy, ‘I just lost my job. I want to go to work for you all full-time. I just want to do production, work on records.’ He said, ‘Theo, look, I want you to go to L.A. because my boss wants you to come to L.A. and we’ll put you on the air at The Beat doing some mix shows, some overnight stuff and just get out of the Bay Area to clear your head.’ I told Tommy, ‘I’m through with radio. I’m done. I just want to start working on records full-time.’ He said, ‘Theo, don’t make your decision so quick. Why don’t you go to L.A., check things out and see how things work out for you and if they don’t work out, then come back and we’ll talk about it.’ It has been six years." He thanked Tommy…In the hard-to-find category, Orange County Register radio columnist Gary Lycan is looking for anyone who has a photo of the old KWNK studios in the Simi Valley. It may have been at the Fallbrook Mall or at another location.

Daniel Thomas Brady of the KKLA Communications Group found some photos of the old KHJ at the LA Times Web site: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/ABOUTLAT/HISTORY/atpa06.htm. KHJ ("Kindness, Happiness, Joy") was owned by the LA Times for over 5 years…Mark Wallengren shared some Christmas memories with his KOST morning audience the other day: "We used to have a singing program where the kids on Christmas eve would perform for the adults. So those kind of memories that I think are real positive, wonderful kind of family things."…The other night KYSR’s Leah Brandon was giving away tickets to next year’s Rocky Horror Picture Show stage play at the Tiffany…Joan Rivers was listening to KLAC and Charlie Tuna all the way in from Palm Springs to the L.A. Airport and was prompted to call following a very strange conversation between Charlie and Phil Crosby. You never know who is listening to your show.

Kahuna Claus is still falling off reindeer in KRTH’s Reindeer Rodeo. Is this promotion lasting longer than One-Two-Three last summer?…Mornings at KABC this week are very different. Brian Whitman is co-hosting with Mr. KABC. Brian, best known for doing voices with Rick Dees at KIIS, brought along his voices on Monday. Brian impersonated a cookie-eating Larry Flynt for the better part of a half-hour…Last Sunday MOR djs Mark Taylor and Guy Davis spent three hours hosting a talk show at KABC. In the past there has been a horrible history of music djs attempting to recreate their music shows (with no music) on a talk station thinking that their audience will follow them or care about their past life. Mark and Guy wisely jumped into the issues of the day attempting to establish a new identity as talk show hosts. Their friendship made for a seamless on-air comfortability…KABC’s Joe Crummey complimented his station on sending Al Rantel to Washington during the impeachment proceedings. "You know they got their money’s worth on Al Rantel in Washington. He’s just done a great job," said Joe.

A Holiday Tale

KEZY morning man John Fox shares this holiday tale:

This holiday story comes from another market, but it was a tradition that appeared to be dying until we at KFMB, "B-100" revived it. Bob Dale is a well-known and beloved fixture on San Diego tv, going back to the early 50's at KFMB/Channel 8. Every Christmas eve after his weather segment, he would tell the story of "the Booze Balls." After a couple of years of no story we got him to tell it on "B-100." He later went on to KNSD-TV and brought back the tradition there. Based on a tape of our morning show on "B-100," Bob tells the tale:

One Christmas I had just finished the 5 o'clock news in which I'd made a comment about all the wonderful holiday cookies and candies and I got back to the newsroom and there was a call on hold for me. I picked it up, said "hello," and this gruff Brooklyn man's voice at the other end said, "Hey Dale, ya want some Booze Balls?" I said, "Excuse me?" He said, "I axed yas if ya want some Booze Balls." The easy way out was just to say, "O.K." He hung up. Next day there's a shoebox tied with string waiting for me at the station reception desk. Obviously this was many years ago because now you would just call the police and be done with it. But I took it up to the newsroom and opened it. Inside were these chocolate looking confections with a note that read, "Hey Dale, here's yer Booze Balls." Again, a different age, wouldn't do it now ... I bit into one. Whoa! If there's such a thing as over 200 proof, this was it! I was in the Navy and I never drank anything this strong. So of course I talked about it on the air the next day. From then on, every year a few days before Christmas, I would get a call in the newsroom, "Hey Dale, ya want some Booze Balls?" It came to be a very much anticipated and appreciated part of the season around the Channel 8 newsroom. Never a name, and no one ever seemed to notice the box being delivered, the Booze Balls just always showed up.

Finally, one year ... no call, no shoebox wrapped in string. I figured that was the end of it. A strange little mystery that'll never be solved. A couple of years went by and right before Christmas I got a page from the reception desk, there was a package for me. I went to the desk, hadn't had a phone call that year, but there was the shoebox tied with string just like it always had been. I opened it and there were the Booze Balls and a note ... different handwriting this time. The note read, "Dear Mr. Dale, This is your final shipment of Booze Balls. My husband was a professional baker here in town for 40 years as well as your biggest fan. You'll never know the kick he got out of sending you these Booze Balls every Christmas, hearing you talk about them and wondering who the mysterious gruff voice on the phone was. He was the sweetest man who ever lived. He passed on two years ago and took his recipes with him to his grave. I've tried to duplicate the Booze Balls as best I can so he and I can treat you to his specialty one more time before I go east to live with my daughter. Enjoy! and thank you. Signed, A Friend."

Planets Guide Wilde

(December 21, 1998) During the best-yet KLOS Mark & Brian Christmas Show, I sat behind Chuck Moshontz, Rita Wilde and the Skylord, Scott Reiff in the packed-with-fans Wiltern Theatre last Friday morning. Between an incredible performance by Dishwalla (they had performed in St. Louis just the day before) and Kenny Loggins, I asked Rita when her promotion to program director would officially be announced. "I was waiting for Mercury to get out of retrograde," she said. "Tommy Hadges hired me at KLOS in 1983 and coordinated my hiring to coincide with the strength of Mercury. Mercury is officially out of retrograde so I'm planning on signing my contract by the end of the week." Hey, it has worked so far. The morning show "family" was introduced on stage before 2,500 fans and Rita received a standing ovation. (The Skylord took off his shirt to the delight of hundreds of screaming fans.) Rita did mornings at KLOS prior to Mark & Brian’s arrival, has been music director, hosted "Rock Report" and worked middays. From the moment John Duncan stepped down as KLOS pd last year, Rita was the perfect candidate to program the station. The staff loves her, she’s smart and you can already hear the subtle changes on the station. The station has been doing an excellent job of cross-promoting. Friday night Jim Ladd touted the early morning show and played the live performance of a Christmas song by George Thorogood. Garth Kemp was critical of Dishwalla, but, hey, he mentioned the Mark & Brian morning show. Rita was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina and went to school at Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach. She started her radio career as an intern at KEZY and two years later had an air shift. Now that Mercury is out of retrograde, congratulations to Rita Wilde. By the way, she is Aquarius with a Libra moon and Sagittarius rising.

Brian Whitman, morning/character voice guy on KIIS with Rick Dees, is co-hosting KABC's morning show for two weeks beginning this morning with Mr. KABC and next week with Joe Crummey who will be sitting in for Mr. KABC. Brian responded to a caller this morning that as far as he knew he was not related to Walt Whitman, Slim Whitman, or has anything to do with the candy company that makes the Whitman Sampler.

Andy Ludlum, executive producer at KFWB found himself in the middle of a major breaking story on Saturday. The Ventura Freeway, near Westlake Village, was closed for hours when a gasoline truck overturned and exploded, engulfing the road in flames, killing a motorist and injuring four. Traffic was gridlocked in every direction for miles. Andy, who lives nearby in Oak Park, jumped on his bicycle and pedaled to the traffic scene and filed reports all afternoon. Crys Quimby, KFWB’s news director, was at the station coordinating the impeachment/Iraq coverage. She called Andy knowing he didn’t live too far away. "I wound up on a bike for a couple of reasons," Andy recounted. "First, my daughter had just left for a friend's house with the last of the family cars. And second, when I heard how bad the traffic was on Thousand Oaks Blvd. I realized I'd get a look at the accident a lot sooner if I rode my bike. It took a little talking to convince the sheriff I was legitimate news media...my bike just wasn't as convincing as a mobile unit." Andy’s ride home was all uphill giving a new meaning to "News Bike 98."…Gary Lycan of the OC Register is doing a piece on Kelly Lange, the KNBC/Channel 4 news anchor who announced her retirement from KNBC. If anyone has memories or stories to share, send him your thoughts at info@tvla.com. Kelly, as many of you know, got her broadcasting start as a traffic reporter at KABC in 1967. By the way, did you know that Gary has a Web site on the world of tv at www.tvla.com?

Friends of former KRLA pd Mike Wagner got together at the El Torito in Anaheim on Saturday. In the fall of 1995, Mike left the states for Disneyland Paris where he is manager of marketing, but returns each year and his friends get together to reminisce. Suzi Peters, KRLA promotions director in the mid-1980s, Shauna McNamara Steele, then music director, and Mike talked and laughed about putting on the 30th anniversary of KRLA on Santa Catalina Island. Suzi said, "Never think you can easily do an event on an Island. Everything has to be brought in by boat." Shaune remembered The Real Don Steele riding surf guitarist Dick Dale around the beach like he was a donkey. Rhonda Kramer arrived at El Torito looking stunning in her Los Angeles Radio People tee-shirt. Rhonda has the best stories about The Real Don Steele and Robert W. Morgan. Also on hand were Mark Denis (midday KFI traffic and imaging voice), Jeff Leonard (md /apd), Mark Morris (who is having a ball doing production at "Mega 100"), Mike Daniels (Mike produced the first two weeks of the Huggie Boy show when Dick joined KRTH evenings recently), Daily Breeze radio columnist Richard Wagoner and his wife Jean, Jan Newton (promotions under Wagner), Kim Miley-Carey (music asst with Jeff Leonard), David Schwartz (longtime KRLA marketing manager) and OC Register’s Gary Lycan.

Tickets for "Y-107's" Winter Recital went on sale over the weekend. The Universal Ampitheatre show features Devo, The Violent Femmes, and Ween. The show takes place at the Universal Ampitheatre with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Ronald McDonald Charities...KFI’s Scott Hasick and Casey Bartholomew explained shortly after 2 Sunday afternoon about the trouble they stirred up with the Anti-Defamation League. The following is a portion of their rambling response: "The House was voting on the 4th article of impeachment at the House Judiciary Committee. We happened to notice that they were going to be voting on a Saturday which according to the newspaper was a Sabbath, causing a problem for some Jewish members of the House of Representatives and we proceeded to make jokes about the situation being not limited to ‘Jew politicians,’ ‘lox eaters’ and ‘sea parters.’ We also pointed out that while the Jewish people in olden times were more than willing to condemn Christ to death, for some reason in modern day America, they were having a hard time simply impeaching a president. And this got us in a bit of hot water. First of all, quite a few of our audience members, those who listen to the show with any regularity, understood the point we were trying to make and understood that it was all intended to be ridiculous, outrageous and silly. We didn’t hold those views to be our personal viewpoints about those of the Jewish faith. Every so often on this show we will take a viewpoint that may be in the paper to the extreme in order to point out the absurdity of it, in order to put a light on how stupid the points of view are and that’s what we were doing on that particular day. It was a day we aren’t normally on the radio and people made have heard it who don’t ordinarily hear the show and not familiar with our senses of humor or understand the way we handle issues in a particular sort of way. Unlike any other show on KFI we’re more than willing to say certain things, illustrate things in certain ways in order to point out simple facts and like Scott said those who listen to the show understand this. Those who may not be so familiar with the program, may have been taken aback by things we said. If you heard comments by David Lehrer, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League about how this went on for forty minutes, it was not forty minutes straight. It may have been off and on but it was done to illustrate a point, which I feel we were successful at. And he said his phone lines were jammed with phone calls about that and he went on to talk about how it was all anti-Semitism and idiocy without probably hearing the show himself and without taking the time to contact Scott or myself in order to find out what was going on. We were called anti-Semites and idiots in the paper. And we’re not anti-Semitic. We may be idiots, but we’re not anti-Semitic. It wasn’t done with intent of insulting anybody. When we do things it is not limited to Jewish people. We will do it again, too. Whoever is in the paper, whoever is doing something stupid. If it’s Mormons, we’ll talk about Mormons. If there is a silly article about the sensitivity of Jewish issues, we’ll talk about that. It’s gonna happen again. If this offended you, this might not be the show for you to be listening to at this point in time. We are being monitored right now by certain groups and just so you know, it was not with the intent of spreading any KKK, young Hitler, and anti-Semitic message. It was with the sole purpose of showing the idiocy of people who are ignorant about the Jewish faith and that’s all we were trying to do."

A Holiday Tale

Tracey Miller spent over a decade at KFI, first as a news anchor and then as co-host of the morning "TNT" Show. She has won four Golden Mike Awards and has been honored with many prestigious awards. Tracey currently co-hosts the Jonathon Brandmeier Showgram at KLSX. She shares a wonderful holiday tale:

One of my most memorable Christmases was also one of the most poignant, because it was the year I found out that my mother was probably Santa Claus.

I was six at the time, and wanted more than anything a toy called "Saucy Walker." This may sound like the name of someone who used to work for Heidi Fleiss, but it's not. Saucy was about four feet tall, made of flesh-colored plastic and had a bright red bow in her hair. (Wait a minute! That does sound like one of Heidi's girls!). Anyway, the mega-doll was definitely my "Furby" that year. I wanted nothing else for Christmas. Just the Saucy Walker.

One day, a giant box, wrapped with red and green stripped Christmas paper appeared under our tree. I knew it was Saucy! Each day before school, I spoke to the package, reassuring the doll I knew was inside that she would soon be released from her prison, and I would be back by three and we'd watch the Soupy Sales show. I'd kiss the box and head off merrily out the door.

After what seemed like an eternity, Christmas morning came and I unwrapped my treasure. There she was in all her glory. The shiny brown curly hair, a red and black plaid dress with a bright red satin bow at the waist. Her feet were perfectly flat, and on each there was a flimsy black velveteen shoe. She was more beautiful than I imagined! I carried that life-sized doll around with me everywhere, and of course slept with her at night.

Shortly after Christmas, it dawned on me. (Actually, it took several weeks for it to dawn on me, since as a child I wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed). Saucy had shown up before Christmas...how could that be?

My mom was a single parent of three. Christmas time must have been incredibly stressful for her. I suspect she ran out of room in her bedroom closet and available space became more important than keeping the magic alive.

That was the year I asked the question all parents dread. "Mom, is there really a Santa Claus?" I can't remember what her response was, but you know, it didn't really matter.I had what I wanted. I had Saucy Walker. (And I still do!)

(December 19, 1998) We Get Email…
** Hendrie’s Faked Suicide
"While I understand the richness of emotion many former KFWBer's [read 12/16] feel regarding the halcyon days of broadcast news at that worthy plant, I must step in and fortify Gary Franklin to this degree: I think Gary is one of the finest people, one of the most genuine characters and one of the truly generous cats this sometimes kooky but always thrilling business has yet produced. To hose fetid and stench-drenched shot-bombs on this worthy man really makes me sad enough to fall off my supervised diet. I think there are more than a few former News 98ers hanging their heads into paper bags this morning having read your column of a day ago. Some of my angst is personal, I admit. In 1971, fresh out of a communications class at PCC, I faked my own suicide and then tried to feed it to KFWB as part of their Teen Tips feature. I used the name Danny Jazz and told the chick at the assignments desk I was a stringer hired by Beach Rogers. She didn't buy it but what is worse, she didn't even dig my whole, you know, wanting-to-get-into-the-business thing. Maybe I should get over it. - Phil Hendrie

** Franklin, My Dear…
"L.A. Radio People Current News is a must every day. Thanks for putting in all the effort required to put it all together. I don't know why you give Gary Franklin the time of day, unless you enjoy seeing him make a total ass out of himself [he does it so well] every time he has something to ‘contribute.’ I don't know him, but what I have seen and heard from him over the last 25 years gives me the impression he's a know nothing blowhard with a huge ego that needs to be fed. - Dennis Gibson, Goleta

** Former KABC PD Remembers KFWB
"I was music director at KFWB when the switch to all-News took place in 1968. A real testimony to my ability to program music...don't you think? Those of us who stayed on were trained for the all-News format by Frank Georg. Herb Humphries was news director prior to the format switch and continued in that role. Jimmy Lightfoot was the architect behind the station's sound, but left for WBZ shortly after the all-News format was in place. Lightfoot was one of the real innovators in radio, who rarely gets recognized for his contributions. I was lucky to work for him at both KFWB and WBZ-Boston. As Roger Barkley used to say about the switch to all-News: ‘Then one day we threw it to news, and they never threw it back.’" – Bob K

** Canadian Fan of L.A. Radio
"For the past year, I have read greatly and immensely enjoyed your site on Los Angeles Radio. As a fourteen-year-old aspiring radio personality, this site is really teaching me a lot more about radio in Los Angeles [and how obviously superior it is to radio in Vancouver, B.C., Canada]. This holiday season, my family and I will be driving down to Los Angeles to go to Disneyland and I can't wait to be able to finally listen to the stations and personalities that I've heard so much about on this site over the past year! I'd also be interested to hear from any disc jockies who are totally blind. I am totally blind and I want to see how many blind disc jockies are out there." - Donovan Tildesley

** Mourning KABC’s Morning Maneuver
"I think the biggest and saddest news is the firing of Ken Minyard and Peter Tilden on KABC. They were two of the best during the a.m. hours. They gave such a light and humorous look at politics and current events. They can't ever be replaced. I will listen to Ken and his son Rick but Peter is surely missed. I will also listen to Michael Jackson. KABC just doesn't get it!! Good luck to KRLA and hope they pick up Peter!! NO Toni Grant." - Cathy Garcia, San Gabriel

** KRLA Gets a New Listener
"Great news about Ken Minyard joining staff of KRLA. With Michael Jackson and Minyard, my radio will tuned to KRLA for sure. What are Peter Tilden's plans? Thought he and Minyard made a fairly balance pair." - Virginia Fraser, Ventura

** Dr. Laura Balanced
"In your 12/16 column where you reported about Dr. Laura Schlessinger dropping her lawsuit, you said she had the affair with Bill Ballance while she was married, making it appear that she was cheating on her husband. According to her, she had left her husband and was separated from him when she met Ballance. Not neatly done, perhaps; I think people should be divorced before they start to date again -- but hardly in the same league as screwing one man and then going home to another. And as she had no children at that time, I don't see that she was harming anyone except herself.

I used to listen to Ballance occasionally, but I never cared for the ‘Feminine Forum,’ or whatever it was. There was a tone to it that was unpleasant to listen to -- a sort of whiny, self-centered, smarmy, desperate sound, like some tired burlesque comedian eking out an existence with weary, leering, stale, predictable jokes. It wasn't sexy, and neither was he. He had some cute one liners but that was it.

Dr Laura was young and stupid when she lived with him. I was still unconscious at that age myself, so I think I understand how things were for her, and I can't blame her much. I don't think she's a hypocrite for changing her mind about sexual ethics. I too think there ought to be some. The only thing I truly blame her for is picking Ballance to fool around with. Yuck. What a lapse of taste!" - Janice Jacobson, Culver City

** KRLA Sounding A Lot Like (old) KABC
"It sounds like KRLA is bringing back all the ex-KABC hosts. Who will be next....Ray Briem, Mr. Blackwell, Carole Hemmingway, Jackie Olden, or maybe even Ed ‘SuperFan’ Bieler? If they really want to attract an older crowd, why not let Bill Ballance do a weekend show from his house?" - Kurt Kretzschmar

** And the New KABC
"First may I say, I have been a loyal listener for 20 years. I have enjoyed the medley of opinion, the diversity of expression, and the thought-provoking forum that once made KABC the poster child for integrity.

The dismissal of Ken Minyard and Peter Tilden is the final straw in the demise of what once was a station that could endure diversity of thought and self effacing humor. KABC appears to be, settling for the warmed over talent as long as the talent is in agreement with the KABC agenda. KABC is refusing to recognize the importance of contrast in getting a clear picture. I take comfort in the knowledge that ignoring this fact will not change it. The sound of KABC’s ‘single drum radio’ has landed somewhere between monotonous and boring and is in the fast lane toward irrelevance. The credibility that came with contrasting views has all but disappeared, as KABC’s right wing has grown larger. A bird with one wing at best can only fly in circles.
I hope this unbelievable reconstruction of KABC will be exposed as the grandest act of stupidly since they remade Coca-Cola. I may be wrong, but I’ll be watching the ratings and listening to KRLA 1110AM, the new landing zone for intelligent talk radio." -Franko Toth, Manhattan Beach.

** All News Coverage
"The recent email concerning KNX during the big fires reminds me of KABC and the night the Los Angeles riots broke out. I was driving home that evening listening to the Dodgers' game. The Dodgers are down by a run. Two outs. Bottom of the ninth inning. Bases loaded. A 3-2 count on Daryl Strawberry. Vin Scully intones ‘ . . . and the 3-2 pitch . . . .’ A brief silence. Then, an announcer from KABC: ‘We interrupt to bring you this special bulletin . . .’ About the riot of course! While there is no question about the importance of the bulletin, at the time I couldn't BELIEVE someone would have timing like that!!! That only happens in the movies! - Ed Berger, Fullerton College, AirWatch America

** Holiday Reminiscing
"Several weeks ago Roger Carroll and I were reminiscing about the Christmas tale that he shared with you. There is one part of Roger's recollection that I need to set straight. I did not set up anything with my 5-year-old daughter. Dana was quite capable of causing all sorts of mischief even at that tender age. I first brought her to work with me when she was about four. Being the cute, precocious little tyke that she was, she endeared herself to just about everybody, but she brought deep crimson to my face, not just at Christmas with ‘Santa Carroll,’ on several occasions. A few examples:

I'm at my typewriter in the newsroom listening to the air monitor, just starting to wonder where my little daughter has gone when I hear Dick Whittinghill - in mid-commercial saying, ‘well, hello little girl, and who might you be?’ Far off mike, I could hear Dana's voice saying, ‘I'm Dana and my dad's a newsman here. Who are you?’

Another time, actor Forrest Tucker, who was a good friend of Whittinghill's was sitting in for Whit while he was on vacation. Tucker rolled onto the lot that morning with a very large Manhattan in one hand. About 6:20 a.m., the door to our newsroom swept open and our indefatigable publicist Warren Turnbull blazed in declaring, ‘some little girl spilled Forrest Tucker's drink. We've got to get him another one.’ Forrest Tucker just laughed, and a couple of us solved the problem by prying open a secret cabinet in the general manager's office.

There are other Dana-tales. I think I earned my first gray hair during a visit to KMPC by my daughter. I think Dana simply inherited her dad's ear for voices. That coupled with her inherent ability to embarrass her dad was all that was needed to give Roger a story to tell for many Christmases to come." – Mike Botula

** A New Pair of Glasses
"I have been an avid reader of this Web site since it was mentioned in the Daily News a couple of months ago. The name that always jumps out at me is Jim Hawthorne. Is he only known as a station pd and television weathereyes? Hardly! Those of us who were teenagers in the late '40s-early '50s remember him as just plain Hawthorne on KXLA---playing the Hogan Twanger, singing Nyah-Nyah-NyahNYahNyah, and building the five lane canal to Omaha. He was the zaniest person to hit L.A. radio and television, and we still miss him. If you have a chance to read this Hawthorne, your loyal fans are out here and whenever your name is mentioned it always brings laughter and happy memories." -Laura Vance

** Former LARP Sales Exec Checks In
"Recently found your page. Had to vote for "Sweet Dick" Whittington as I worked at KGIL from 1972 to 1992, that's right, a few months shy of 20 years at San Fernando Valley radio. I had lunch with him just a few weeks ago and he looked great. We shared many memories together. Started as an AE, then moved up to gsm. "Sweet Dick" came and went a few times as I remember. Dick helped pay the mortgage on my home and helped send my kids to college, so I'm very greatful for the years I spent working with him. He truly is one of the great creative radio talents of our time. After the MOR format we moved on to soft AC for a while, then on to BBB2 (Ballads, Blues & Big Bands Too), then to News Talk until the station was ultimately sold. I moved on to manage KNJO in Thousand Oaks...it was sold. Then on to Greater Pacific Radio Exchange's four stations in Oxnard/Ventura (KCAQ, KELF, KKZZ, KTRO).....they were sold. Then on to KBBY.....it was sold to KHAY/KVEN. Well, that's the way the bizz is. Now I'm on my way to retirement in Morro Bay by way of Santa Maria, where I'm having a great time as gsm for Bayliss Broadcasting Company's KSNI (‘Sunny Country’) and KSMA, a news talker. Really enjoy keeping up and reading your web page. Happy Holidays." - Ed Krovitz

Roger Nadel Frank on Franklin

(December 18, 1998) The gm of KFWB, Roger Nadel, responds to the talk this week about the early days of KFWB and Gary Franklin’s reference to KFWB "being close to being sold." Roger emailed: "I've been ‘silently’ following the debate over Gary Franklin's remarks, both this week and a few weeks back. His retort this morning [12/17] requires my intrusion into what is an otherwise sophomoric debate. His comment about ‘Today, the station appears close to being sold and thus eliminate the sales competition with KNX’ is a) baseless, and b) typical of the kind of uncaring, non-thinking prattle that occurs when a medium such as the Internet allows self-described experts to bray on uncensored. I don't mean to speak for anyone in my corporation, other than to say Mr. Franklin has no business scaring dozens of loyal, hard-working employees into thinking KFWB's future is in jeopardy. The people he likes to think he speaks for deserve far better than to read him writing falsehoods about the future of the station. Infinity operates multiple information stations in the three major markets. Gary ought to spend more time looking, listening and observing [aren't these the things a journalist does] before demonstrating his lack of business acumen by suggesting the company should eliminate sales competition between two highly successful radio stations. It's even more of a shame to read this on a day [12/17] when the KFWB news department has done an absolutely superb job covering the bombing of Iraq and its implications on impeachment hearings in Washington."…Speaking of KFWB, listen for on-air programming changes after the first of the year. Subtle changes have already been heard. "All news, all the time" has replaced "non stop headline news." There are other phrase changes that hint the station is getting back to the basics in the presentation of an all-News station.

Mark & Brian’s KLOS Christmas show is broadcasting live this morning from the Wiltern Theatre…Dr. Drew Pinsky, co-host of KROQ’s "Loveline" (also seen on MTV), was interviewed for Emmy magazine. Drew was asked if he feels uncomfortable when the show gets too racy? "For years I’ve questioned whether this is a good thing or a waste of my time. And as long as I feel we’ve done some good, I’ll feel validated. But, yes, it’s very difficult at times for me to trust the vehicle, which sometimes seems so inappropriate." Dr. Drew has triplets and plans to tell them to not have sex and to not have kids. But he’s only kidding.

Phil Hendrie has raised almost $100,000 from the sales of his KFI CD to raise monies for My Friends Place, a resource center for homeless and Runaway Youth in Hollywood. More than half has come from Internet sales…Mr. KABC had in-studio guest comedian George Carlin talk up to the vocal of a Hall and Oates song. It was first-rate…Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue will appear tomorrow on KRLA’s "Traffic Jam" with co-hosts Reed Berry and Kenny Morse…KNX’s Michael Josephson is this week’s guest on "Radio AM/FM Live" that airs at 7 p.m. on KIEV, hosted by Dick Heatherton and Alicia Flannery…Sunday night at 10 p.m. "Arrow 93" features the nationally syndicated program "Off The Record with Joe Benson." This week hear the music of The Doobie Brothers and conversation with Michael McDonald and Patrick Simmons.

The publisher of TALKERS Magazine, Mike Harrison, was once a talk host himself. Mike told Doug Stephan on KRLA recently: "Los Angeles is a great talk market. I used to do talk radio in L.A, in the seventies. I hosted a show for 10 straight years called ‘Harrison’s Mike’ at the now-defunct but still legendary KMET and that was 1975 to 1985. It was considered ‘youth talk’ in those days, of course now everyone who listens to it today is old." Mike’s publication is a must for anyone connected to talk radio…Former KBIG djs, Mark Taylor and Guy Davis, will team up this Sunday afternoon on KABC from 4 to 7 p.m.

Roger Cheng in the Pasadena City College campus paper, Courier writes that the school is entertaining a proposal made by Minnesota Public Radio to form a partnership with the college to manage KPCC radio, the campus station. MPR would run the station with an allocation of $1.25 million in the first of a three-year partnership. There would be an increase of $250,000 in the second year and an additional $500,000 over that in the third year. Cheng wrote: "The upside is that PCC would no longer take any financial risks for any monetary discrepancies. However, within a year of operation, PCC would have to relinquish its KPCC license to the new corporation, effectively ending its ownership. The proposal comes in wake of the controversy that surrounded KPCC last year. As a result, Rod Foster, general manager, and Larry Shirk, the assistant station manager, were removed from their positions due to a major budget deficit." MPR owns over 30 facilities.

The Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles charged KFI’s Scott Hasick and Casey Bartholomew with using "anti-Semitic stereotypes with reckless abandon." The pair plans to address the charges at 2 p.m. Sunday on KFI…Your voting for favorite Los Angeles Radio People was updated this morning. The big news is the continuing rise in voting for Vin Scully, the legendary longtime voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Vinny is currently #3 behind The Real Don Steele and Robert W. Morgan...Certainly a sign of the times as a little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual, "And what would you like for Christmas?" The child stared at him open mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped: "Didn't you get my email?"

A Holiday Tale

Kenny Morse is better known in the Southland as Mr. Traffic. He started his entertainment career at the age of 2. Kenny has appeared in two Broadway shows, many tv appearances and began his L.A. Radio career on KFI with Bill Handel on "Handel On The Law" and now co-hosts KRLA's "Traffic Jam" on Saturdays, 10 a.m. –1 p.m. Kenny shares his holiday tale:

When I was 13 years old at Chanukah time, my parents said to my brother and I..."Do you want a Bar Mitzvah or would you rather go to Europe?" Not being very religious Jews...VERY unorthodox....we chose the Chanukah gift of the trip. At the time, my dad was the production manager of the famed tv series Naked City and the star of the show, Horace McMahon, gave us the name of his friend, the head of the American Catholic Church in Rome, to contact. When he was told the auspices of the trip, he suggested something novel.....that we get the Rabbi from the Rome Synagogue and bring him to the Vatican and there, I would do my "Haf Torah" in audience with Pope Paul VIth. And so I did...and afterwards, we attended a Papal public audience with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that were there at Christmastime to be blessed by the Holy Father.

It was the BEST Chanukah/Christmas gift a boy could have been given, not PRESENTS, but the chance to feel the spirit of the season by LOVE (and you COULD "feel" the palpable sensation...a first for this kid) emanating from the people for their spiritual leader. He gave a blessing for me, and a connection with the roots of Judeo/Christianity, which lest one forget, are "spiritually genetically" linked. The ONLY Jewish boy who ever got Bar Mitzvah'ed by a Pope!!!

May the spirit of Chanukah and the message of Christmas remind us all that as broadcasters, we should leave our listeners a little better off then before they tuned in....something many have forgotten. – Kenny Morse

TALK RADIO DISCRIMINATES AGAINST ELDERLY

(December 17, 1998) Last week, Edie Adams caused a minor stir when she claimed that KFI’s Jeff Levy refused to put her on the air because they have an age limit on callers. She appeared on KFI’s John & Ken show this week and John defended the practice. "Younger people don’t want to hear older people prattling on. They turn off the radio. It’s just human nature. They don’t want to hear grandma on the radio prattling on about something. The one thing about having older people on, even if they have a point, is that they seem to want to announce their age. I don’t want people to have the impression that this is a show that just old people listen to. That is the hardest thing about AM radio and talk radio in general, is that everybody thinks it’s for old people." John defended the role of the screener to weed out the old people…Andy Williams will guest with Charlie Tuna tomorrow morning at KLAC.

Kevin & Bean spent much of the early week relaying delicious backstage stories from the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas show. They did an entire segment on the devastating interview with the Cardigans that resulted in 30 "yes" or "no" answers. Even the normally unflappable Richard Blade couldn’t get much more out of them… "The Planet" in San Diego "never plays the same song twice in a day." Every day is a no repeat day. Can any station in Los Angeles make the same claim?…Richard Kaplan thinks one of the top radio news stories of 1998 is the continuing success of Spanish language radio with KSCA and KLVE both hitting number one.

"XTRA Sports 11-50 is almost anti-radio. We have a fraternity of listeners and I’ve got to get them to listen longer." That’s how a recent phone conversation with KXTA operations manager Mike Thompson started out. "I don’t have to add a single listener to go from a 1.3 to a 1.9. It’s the Arbitron methodology. My goal is to get the existing core listeners I do have to increase time spent listening from six to eight to ten hours." Mike is a radio guy first and a sports radio guy second. "I don’t want journalists or celebrity guests as hosts. When my listener is on the way home from a tough day at the office, I want foremost for his trip to Torrance to be entertaining. I’m not programming for the LA Times or the Daily News. I don’t care what they write. I want all my hosts to be connected. I want the different hosts to mess with each other. We can do a better job of servicing the market if the listener thinks of the station as a place to be entertained rather than searching out one particular sports host. I want to surprise people. When nothing is happening, we have to make it happen. There are just not enough sports fans." Mike cited the success of an all-Sports station in Dallas that achieved Top 5 status without carrying a sports team. KXTA has the cache of the LA Dodgers. "My job is to get on the radar screen. I am trying create an identity." For 19 months Eric Tracy and Steve Edwards hosted a sports talk show on KABC, which was and is a talk station. The chemistry between the former newsman/ex-morning jock and tv host was magical. The pair will be heard tomorrow at 1 p.m. on KXTA. As the Beach Boys once sang, wouldn’t it be nice to hear the magic once again. Good call by Mike Thompson.

Tomorrow afternoon beginning at 3, KLSX will host its 6th annual celebrity art auction live from the Hollywood Entertainment Museum at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. Tom Leykis will be live with Grammy winner Chris Isaak. Fun stuff being auctioned includes the park bench from Forrest Gump, Rolling Stones tour jacket and Van Halen and KISS guitars. Proceeds go to the Museum’s "at risk" kids…Al Rantel is broadcasting live in Washington from the ABC News Bureau for the rest of the week. His guests yesterday included Maxine Waters and Congressman David Dryer…Jamie, Frank & Frosty, morning team at "Star 98.7," wondered out loud why we eat cows but won’t eat dogs…Stuck on a cool gift to give a radio fan, check out "Radio Goodies" at the main menu. Jack Hayes sent an unsolicited email: "Great Los Angeles Radio People tee-shirt! Quality good, looks terrific and it got here in 1 day! Very nice!" Thanks, Jack.

Earlier this week Gary Franklin presented his views on the embryonic days of all-News KFWB, which struck a dissonant cord with some of the early pioneers. Their responses appeared yesterday. Gary emails back: "All that angry stuff; like a beehive struck by a stream of cold water. I'm not about to rebut the comments from the KFWB old guys point-by-point. It's only natural that as some of us head into the sunset, we would try to adjust our ancient history to please our scarred egos as well as the view the young'uns have of us....except for one point important to me: the comment that I wasn't around when KFWB transitioned from Top 40 to all-News. During that period I was news director of WIND-Chicago - with a news staff that I would match with any staff in the country, news director of KYW/TV- Philadelphia and assistant news director at WJZ/TV, Baltimore - all Westinghouse stations. I attended numerous management meetings and knew about the Los Angeles plans and, indeed, was asked for input. Prior to the WBC work, I was a network writer-producer for ABC News, New York [TV & radio], and my input was taken seriously and with respect...all the way up to the great WBC Chief, Don McGannon. Fact is that in WBC and ABC management circles, the local news operations in the western colonies were often cause for derision and laughter. And ABC [NOT at Westinghouse], news executives who screwed up were punished by being transferred to California, where they could do the least harm. KFWB was based on the experiences with KYW and WINS ["Give us 22 minutes and we'll give you the world" did not originate here!] and New York executives like Chaseman and McGannon were firmly in charge and Chaseman was out here often, before and after the transition. Working at KFWB was fun. That may have been one of the problems. You ask me to lighten up. OK. You lighten up, too and recognize that early KFWB/News was a grand western-style experiment, manned at the lower managerial levels by some hugely interesting characters in cowboy boots…people with some strange attitudes towards broadcast journalism. Today, the station appears close to being sold and thus eliminate the sales competition with KNX. With memories of the numerous awards we shared from 1972-1980 [I never really believed in awards; buy a table for the dinner, and you get an award] - including that for the Great Cinque Shootout, the cute feature stories, Barbara Esensten's coverage of ‘women,’ etc…I wish you all a Happy Chanukah [especially to Don Schrack], Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Love, gsf/Car 98." Additional email on Gary’s comments will appear here on Saturday.

A Holiday Tale

Dan Avey has been around Southland news since 1976 working at KWIZ, KFI and KFWB. He has won 11 Golden Mike Awards and has been decorated with a long list of industry nods matching his military service in Vietnam as a Green Beret captain. Dan shares a holiday tale:

11-year old Jennifer is the third of my four daughters. When she was two, I bought a full tilt boogie Santa suit - beard, hair, boots - the works. The whole family thought it would be "neat" if little Jenny could get to actually "see" Santa Christmas Day. It would be explained to her that sometimes Santa comes back during the day to see if all the gifts were okay.

So, (don't read any further if you are a first grader or younger) I put on the Santa suit at about 11 a.m. Christmas Day, rouged my cheeks, practiced my Ho Ho Ho! and rang the doorbell. When I came through the door everyone welcomed me heartily and thanked me for their gifts. Jenny backed away, no doubt wondering what the big loud guy in the red suit was doing. Finally, I approached, talked to her, had a photo-op, and Ho Ho Ho'd my way to the door, backing up, waving... very satisfied with my performance.
Then, amid a chorus of "Bye, bye, Santa!" - came a little voice saying "Good-bye, Daddy." She had spotted my wedding ring immediately, but didn't want to spoil the gig. Next time (which will be this year with my four grandchildren) I'll wear gloves. –Dan Avey

(December 16, 1998) Gary Lycan, radio columnist of the Orange County Register, reports in today's edition Ira Fistell is returning to local radio. He'll be on KRLA/1110 AM weeknights 11 p.m.-3 a.m., starting January 4. Fistell was at KABC 1977-95, until he was involved in a fatal traffic accident. His last air work was at KKGO in 1996. In recent years, he's been teaching history in a private school and in a University of Arizona extension class in L.A…Meet KFI morning man Bill Handel at Robinsons-May on Monday, December 21, at the Santa Monica Place Mall…Hal Fishman co-hosts with Doug Stephan at KRLA tomorrow morning at nine.

Mark & Brian’s Christmas show will air live at KLOS from the historic Wiltern Theatre on Friday. The show features: Chicago, George Thorogood, Dishwalla, Kenny Loggins, comedian John Pinette and a special appearance by Donny Osmond…Former KHJ personality and now imaging voice for hundreds of radio stations, Bobby Ocean, emailed about his recent emceeing chores for the annual KFRC Jingle Bell Rock. "I was reminded of the Cow Palace concerts and Tami Shows that Tom Donahue and Bobby Mitchell put together in the sixties. There were seven acts performing -- The Crystals, Sam Moore [Sam & Dave], Dr Elmo, Tommy Roe, Gary Lewis & Playboys, Ronnie & The Daytonas, The Fleetwoods -- on one stage within a two-hour period. It was almost like a dj show, one familiar hit after another. The whole thing came off as a glittering, warm ‘family of old friends’ evening. Middle age demographics filled the house with a loyalty to the Oldies that was close to what I've seen in Country music fans. Very happy audience. The morning team of Dean Goss & Karen Dee, the inimitable Sue Hall, afternooners Ron Parker and Cammy Blackstone all decked out looking healthy and glad to be there. It was infectious."

KFI’s Dr. Laura Schlessinger has dropped her suit against Internet Entertainment Group, the Seattle based company, for posting a dozen revealing nude photos of her on its www.clublove.com Web site. The so-called "Dirty Dozen" photos of Dr. Laura Schlessinger and an accompanying news story originally aired on clublove.com on October 23rd. She got a temporary injunction that forced IEG to remove the photos, but on November 2nd, a federal judge lifted the injunction and within hours the photos were again displayed on the Web site. The company had purchased the photos from retired Los Angeles radio personality Bill Ballance, a former lover of Dr. Schlessinger who had an affair with her 20 years ago when she was married to another man.

One of the BIG, booming news voices from the Rock era, Adam J. DeMarais, passed away last Friday. According to Mark Denis, Adam’s health had been "deteriorating in the last few months." Born in Montreal he originally studied to be an actor and toured with a company out of New York while still a teen. When I interviewed Adam for my book, he recalled: "I decided to pursue Hollywood and the world would pave my way with palm branches and gold, not the myrrh and pyrite it turned out to be." Adam arrived in Southern California by bus in 1948 and stayed briefly in the old Bunker Hill section of Los Angeles. While going on cattle call auditions, he worked on the loading docks of Coca-Cola while pursuing theater arts and communications courses at L.A. City College. When the draft board caught up with him he had a choice of returning to Canada or going in the service. Adam went to Korea and was promoted to combat platoon sergeant and received a Purple Heart for serious wounds suffered in action. He returned to the Southland, "but I had lost the directions to the yellow brick road and bought a beer/wine bar and graduated from the Don Martin radio school. The Real Don Steele was a classmate." During the 1960s, Adam worked at Rockers KHJ, KRLA and KBLA. For the decade of the 1970s he was the news director at KEZY. For much of the 1980s he worked as an announcer at KTTV/Channel 11. In 1991 he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and six months later he was back to normal. When I asked for his highlights of working in the Southland, Adam said being personally involved with police and a gunmen during a bank hostage situation, covering five U.S. presidents, Academy Awards and flying in the Blue Angels plane. Big John Carter remembered Adam: "Adam was my partner. I could never have done what I did at the old KEZY without him. He also did the book at Channel 11. He was the guy who made Lorne Greene sound like a tenor. I am profoundly saddened to learn that my old friend and partner has signed off. Try to think of it as how Stan Laurel must have felt when Oliver Hardy passed away. At the moment, I wish I felt THAT good." Adam died from complications of cancer. He was 69.

Ed McMahon guested with Doug Stephan on KRLA yesterday. Next year will mark Ed’s 50th anniversary in the television business. In 1949 he hosted a live 3-hour tv show on WCAU-Philadelphia for $75 a week. Ed said, "the 11 o’clock news was on at nine o’clock." The news was over at 9:15 and the station went to a test pattern.

Gary Franklin talked about the early days of all-News KFWB. If you didn’t read his note in yesterday’s column, you might want to read it before you read the following. It didn’t take long before the email links were burning up with rebuttals. Andy Park was one of the original newsmen at KFWB when the station went all-News on March 11, 1968. Andy was the first newsman to interview Charles Manson. Andy left KFWB after a stint in Vietnam for Group W and went on to KNBC/Channel 4 and KABC/Channel 7 as a reporter. Andy emailed: "I am livid at the ad hominem attacks by former KFWB entertainment feature reporter Gary Franklin on the journalistic integrity of the people who put all-News KFWB on the air. When I used to say or do stupid things like Gary has just done, I used to blame it on being drunk. I trust Mr. Franklin has some excuse other than stupidity for what he has written. First of all, let me say since Mr. ‘Car 98’ has started his screed, in his words ‘...in the interests of historical accuracy’ that Gary Franklin didn't even appear on the scene in L.A. until 1972, that he had nothing to do with the inauguration of New York's all-News WINS in radio and that his personal attacks deserve a point-by-point reply in kind. Accuracy never was one of Mr. Franklin's attributes anyway, but that's another matter. Herb Humphries and Bruce Mac Donell WERE involved in putting the nation's first all-News station on the air in New York, WINS. Franklin was not. Herb Humphries' spellbinding ad-lib [something Mr. Franklin has never mastered, by the way] on-air account of the Austin, Texas U. of Texas Tower shootings from WINS helped convince then Westinghouse President Don McGannon to start all-News in Los Angeles. Joel Chaseman played no on-scene part in the creation of all-News KFWB in Los Angeles; on the contrary he delegated the very people Franklin attacks to start it...and they did. While I take second place to no one in my respect for Art Schreiber, both as a journalist and, later, as gm of KFWB, Schreiber himself, I believe, will attest that he was not the first gm [Jimmy Lightfoot was, and then Gordon Davis, with Schreiber to follow] and that his duties at KFWB consisted of unprecedented support of the news crew rather than any hands-on journalism. [Schreiber has that unique ability to be a world-class journalist himself but to know when to let others do it under his leadership.] While Gary Franklin was still under a rock somewhere, Jimmy Lightfoot, Frank Georg, Herb Humphries and Bruce Mac Donell set to work to convert KFWB from Rock and Roll to All-News. These people who Mr. Franklin refers to as ‘not intellectually nor professionally prepared to run a world-class, all-news radio station’ not only were, they did just that. What has Mr. Franklin ever done that was ‘world-class?’ Half-assed, maybe! In his diatribe Mr. Franklin also casts stones at the reputation of other stellar ‘early-days’ KFWB people like Paul Cassidy, Rolland Tooke, Charlie Brailer and Bruce Marr. The awards won by KFWB in 1968 alone are without precedent in radio history. The work of KFWB on the Manson case, the Robert Kennedy assassination, brush fires, earthquakes, and the SAS air crash all took place long before Mr. Franklin was dispatched from New York to help break a strike at KFWB. Herb Humphries personally made one of the most difficult decisions in journalism in the Manson case when, after KFWB had discovered Manson, Humphries agreed [in a highly competitive market] to withhold broadcast in the public interest so as not to jeopardize the imminent arrests of others. I know this for a fact; I was involved. Gary Franklin wasn't even in Azusa at the time. The assertion that ‘KFWB never reached its potential...’ may be in Franklin's mind because it had already done so long before he arrived and began broadcasting trivia from a mobile unit. His charge that these great broadcast journalists were, in his words, ‘Hollywood/showbiz/trivia oriented’ is not only wrong, but he wasn't even there to form an opinion. The lack of facts, I do admit, has never bothered Mr. Franklin in the past so I can understand why it doesn't even today. I may be wrong, but to the best of my recollection Charlie Sergis also was not on board at the inauguration. Gary Franklin collected a paycheck under news director Don Schrack who wrote the tribute to Herb Humphries to which Franklin so nastily objects. I will not presume to speak for Schrack, but I believe him to share an admiration for those who went before him at KFWB and I think Schrack followed in that tradition. Finally, Mr. Franklin has the unmitigated gall to state: ‘The people mentioned .....are nice people and veterans of the radio wars of 1972 who deserve to be honored--but it is a disservice to radio history to make them key-players in the creation of the station.’ He is just wrong. The radio ‘wars’ were in 1968 and Gary Franklin was, as usual, away from the scene of fire. I respectfully submit that the real ‘key-players’ need no defense from Mr. Franklin's error-ridden accusations; the facts speak for themselves. I understood Mr. Franklin had retired. It appears not. He apparently has just changed podiums to spew his brand of bullshit. I would suggest Mr. Franklin himself do radio history a ‘service’ and stay retired, and shut up unless he knows what he's talking about. Considering his track record, that should keep him silent for eternity."…Charlie Brailer was the operations manager for Group W News, Washington News Bureau from 1960 – 1969. He went to KFWB in 1969 as the executive producer and was a news anchorman from 1973 to 1993. Charlie’s email: "Gary Franklin's note in the ‘interests of historical accuracy’ falls far short of the mark. Because of ignorance or a failing memory, Franklin has done the history of KFWB's early days of all-News a great disservice. First of all, in his self-serving diatribe, he has omitted some of the key players and inserted wrong ones in their places. The initial team that guided KFWB from music to all-News was Jim Lightfoot, general manager; Frank Georg, managing editor; Herb Humphries, news director; and Bruce Mac Donell, assistant news director. Although Joel Chaseman, Art Schreiber and Charlie Sergis worked for Group W, they were NOT directly involved with KFWB at the time. All seven of the men I have named, by the way, were scarcely ‘amateur professionals’ ... they were professional in the finest sense of that word. And the team of writers, editors, reporters and anchors that Lightfoot and Company assembled were topnotch broadcasters, too. Taking cheap shots at them 31 years after the fact is not a matter ‘opening some old wounds’ ... it is more a case of inflicting new wounds. From its very beginning, KFWB news was a first-rate operation. Less than three months after the music-to-news transition it provided an award-winning, compelling coverage of the Robert Kennedy assassination ... hardly a ‘Hollywood/showbiz/trivia oriented’ kind of story. The list of important stories covered in a serious, professional way by KFWB News in those early days would be a long list. So would the roll of men and women who provided that coverage. Many of them are retired now ... some are dead. That's not a good reason to kick them. Nor to besmirch the memory of the work they did."

Don Herbert, who celebrates a birthday today, was with KFWB from Day One of the all-News operation until his recent retirement. Don emailed: "I have no idea why this brouhaha has erupted over the quality of the staff when KFWB switched from a music format to all-News. I was one of the original staffers for that all-News format and as I remember it, I was in awe of the credentials of the people I would be working with. And my own credentials were not exactly chopped liver...Capitol Hill, The White House, and CBS plus many years as a general assignment street reporter. The original staff of KFWB all-News was comprised of people from the LA Times, the old Herald Examiner, plus other print and broadcast outlets. I am sorry that Gary Franklin believes only Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley are good enough for him, but even they had to start somewhere. And KFWB's format was NOT patterned after WINS in New York. The format was created first, then applied to WINS and KYW in Philadelphia and eventually to KFWB. And really, who cares? We went on the air in Los Angeles and in very rapid time, were a hit, covering stories big enough to give anyone nervous fits or gray hair. So Gary, lighten up."…Herb Humphries graciously shared "A Holiday Tale" for my daily series leading up to Christmas. It was in my introduction of Herb when I quoted Don Schrack that prompted Gary Franklin’s observations and now all this response. Herb has the last word: "Regarding Gary Franklin's crap...It's amazing that he speaks with such authority on the beginnings of all-News at WINS in New York. He wasn't there. Bruce Mac Donell and I were there. It's amazing that he speaks with such authority on the beginnings of all-News at KFWB. He wasn't there. The late Frank Georg, Bruce Mac Donell and I were there. In the interest of historical accuracy when KFWB went on the air with all-News on March 11, 1968, not one of the fine men and women on the KFWB news staff had ever heard of, much less seen, anyone named Gary Franklin. I don't understand how he knows so much about us." Will this be the end of it? Look for some additional email that will be posted on Saturday…Mr. KABC will have George Carlin as a guest this morning, which should be a welcome relief to the incessant impeachment talk. Former Senator Paul Simon will join Mr. KABC at 8:30 for his perspective on the hearings…At noon Al Rantel broadcasts at KABC from Washington, DC with newsmaker interviews and phone calls.

A Holiday Tale

Chuck Blore is the man responsible for formatted Top 40 radio in Los Angeles at KFWB, and is the winner of virtually every advertising award known to man. Targeting his target audience of Los Angeles Radio People, Chuck wrote his holiday tale in the form of a script:

INT. LIVING ROOM. NIGHT
A YOUNG MOTHER is sitting in the glow and the warmth of a very friendly fire.
CHRISTMAS MUSIC is HEARD from the radio.
A LOWER LEFT SCREEN GRAPHIC READS: "Based on a true story."
The young mother sits on the couch with a pad and pen preparing to write a letter. Her son, WENDELL is FIVE YEARS OLD. Wendell sits down beside her and slides up real close,

WENDELL
Whatcha writin'?

MOTHER
I'm writing to Santa Claus.

WENDELL
I could help you.

MOTHER
You wanna help me write to Santa Claus?

WENDELL
I can write.

Mother pauses only a moment. She gets up, hands the pencil to Wendell, walks to the window and looks out at the snowy night. Through the window we can see the relection of the moon.

MOTHER
Okay. Write Dear Santa Claus. That's
spelled D E A ...

WENDELL
I could spell too.
(Getting down to business)
Deeee

MOTHER
Dear Santa Claus. First, I think we should
say Thank You for...

WENDELL
Deeee

Again, from the window POV we see the reflection of the moon. Was that a sled loaded with gifts and pulled by eight tiny reindeer flying cross the face of the moon.

MOTHER
Uh.... Thank you for the joys of last
Christmas ... of every Christmas.
The three of us are ...

WENDELL
Deeeee

MOTHER
The three us are never more aware of how
much we mean to each other than we are
at Christmas. Knowing the multiple joys of
giving to someone you love something they love.

WENDELL
Deeeeeee!!!!!!!!

MOTHER
Do you need any help with that?

WENDELL
No.

MOTHER
Okay.

WENDELL
But ...

MOTHER
What?

WENDELL
Well ... How do you make a Dee?

FADE OUT
Merry Christmas to all. Enjoy the glow and let nothing you dismay. May all three wishes come true. – Chuck Blore


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Last modified: January 1, 2001