Los Angeles Radio People, O
Compiled by Don Barrett
O, Steven: SEE Steven-O Sellers
O'Brien, Bob: KOLA, 2001-04. Bob works at KDES-Palm Springs.
O'Brien, Jim: KBBQ, 1967; KHJ, 1969-70. During a Philadelphia station promotion in 1983, Jim parachuted out of a plane with another guy, and their cords became tangled. Jim cut his own cords and fell to his death thinking that the two jumpers could not both survive. It was his 814th jump.
O'Brien, Pat: KLAC, 2010-13. The sports/entertainment veteran joined the Loose Cannons show at KLAC in late summer of 2010.
O'BRIEN, "Big" Ron: KFI, 1979-81; KROQ, 1981; KIIS, 1982-87; KKBT, 1989-91; KOCM/KSRF, 1991-92; KIIS, 1992-93. Ron was a dj at KFI, KROQ, KIIS (also pd), KKBT, KOCM/KSRF and back to KIIS. He died April 27, 2008, from complications of pneumonia. He was 56. Most recently he had been working at KOGL-Philadelphia
Born in Des Moines, Ron was the md at WFIL-Philadelphia before coming to Southern California in 1979. His earlier stops included WCAR-Detroit, WRKO-Boston, WCFL-Chicago, WPGC-Washington, DC and WNBC-New York. In the summer of 1981 Ron worked as Eugene Oregon at KROQ. When doing research for Los Angeles Radio People, he commented that he was "#1 rated for 14 consecutive ARBs during the glory years at KIIS." In 1988 he went to WKBQ-St. Louis. For seven years he hosted the nationally syndicated CHR show "On the Radio," which was heard on over 200 stations coast to coast.
In the fall of 1991, “Big Ron” was part of the launch of "MARS/fm" and later he worked at KKBT as afternoon drive personality. In the '90s Ron worked for KZDG-Denver and KKBH-San Diego. In the summer of 1996 he went to afternoon drive at WYXR (“Star 104.5”)-Philadelphia.
O'Brien, Scott: KORG, 1973. Last heard, Scott was working at KXDC-Monterey.
O'Connor, Ken: SEE Bob Allen
O'Connor, Mike: KGBS, 1975. Unknown.
O'Connor, Pat: KNAC. "Pounding Pat" sells CDs and records.
(Joe Ortiz, Mike O'Neil, and Gary Owens)
O'DONNELL, Charlie: KRLA, 1964-67; KGBS, 1968-69; KLAC, 1969-71; KBBQ, 1971; KLAC, 1984-89. Charlie was one of those rare renaissance men with numerous careers and he excelled at all of them. He was the original sidekick to Dick Clark on the decades-long, successful American Bandstand. He was part of the KRLA Top 40 jock team on stage at the Hollywood Bowl to introduce the Beatles. For three decades, he was the announcer on Wheel of Fortune. In the mid-90s, Charlie was the voice of the Academy Awards telecast for two years.
Charlie knew early on that he wanted to make radio his life’s work. When he was 12 or 13 his sister was working in downtown Philly across the street from radio station KYW. She was asked to be part of a team representing her company, Du Pont, in a city-wide spelling bee. She asked Charlie if he would like to go along to see a live radio show. When they arrived he was impressed with the well appointed studio and once they were seated, a handsome man came out to the stage microphone and talked briefly with the audience, telling them what to expect and not to help the contestants. Theme music started and the man put his hand to his ear, ala Gary Owens, and opened the show. “I said to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
WHAT-AM, a 250-watt black radio station in Philadelphia, was where Charlie started his career. When Storer bought WIBG, it became the city’s first rock station. Charlie was named news director. Charlie was the morning newsman with Tom Donahue. “We became great friends,” said Charlie when interviewed for LARadio. “He was the Orson Welles of rock and roll radio. He had that marvelous stentorian voice.”
A neighbor friend of Charlie’s encouraged him to audition at a local tv station for an announcer position, which he got and his first assignment was the announcing job on American Bandstand with Dick Clark hosting. “Dick and I hit it off immediately. If anything, I’ve learned so much about the business from him. I still consider him one of the greatest commercial announcers of all time. He’s certainly one of the great businessmen.”
The timing of American Bandstand certainly worked, as rock ‘n roll music had not only peeked behind the entertainment curtain, but arrived as it rocked around the clock. Before he knew it they had moved to Los Angeles, Clark believed the music trend was moving as the Beach Boys, Righteous Brothers and Jan & Dean were topping the charts.
One night at the local watering hole for radio/tv people, Martoni’s, Charlie met the man who would be responsible for his greatest radio experience. Reb Foster was the pd at KRLA, which was in a Top 40 battle with Chuck Blore’s KFWB. “My three years at KRLA were sensational. Casey Kasem was doing his bios. The Hullabalooer, Dave Hull, was the silliest son of a gun I ever heard. He was unreal. If I was a kid in this city, there would be nobody else in this city that I would listen to. Dave Hull was the best. And Bob Eubanks was slick. He knew what it was all about. Bob was the Dick Clark of radio for the West Coast. I found myself in the middle of these people and wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into.”
Charlie was between jobs when he ended up as the staff announcer at KCOP/Channel 13. “I would do three newscasts a day for ten years, host Dialing for Dollars, and then the afternoon newscast. I always liked news. I have some kind of affinity for it and I took it very seriously when I did it.”
“It has been a great ride,” reflected Charlie. Charlie’s family sent a personal note that was included in the program for his memorial service. “Charlie was not only the voice of the world, but a loving husband and father. He was the voice in our heads, in our hearts and in our lives. He was a handsome, tall, silver-haired Irish presence. When he walked into a room, you couldn’t help but fall in love with this genuine and generous kind man who would captivate you for hours with his knowledge of pretty much everything, his stories of his past [and boy, he had some stories to tell] or just listen to whatever you had to say. No matter who needed him, nothing was too much trouble for Charlie.”
Charlie died November 1, 2010. He was 78.
O'DONOGHUE, Deirdre: KPPC, 1970-71; KKGO, 1979; KCRW, 1980-86; KMET, 1983-87; KNX/fm, 1987-88; KLSX, 1988-99. Deirdre, longtime host of "Breakfast With The Beatles" on KLSX and "Snap" on KCRW, was found dead in her apartment on January 20, 2001. A friend claims that she died of Multiple Sclerosis.
Born in 1948, Deirdre started her radio career in 1974 at WBCN-Boston, a station that she maintained was "the best radio station in the world." She worked at "underground KPPC" as part of the "community switchboard" in the early 1970s. Beginning in 1983, Deirdre was heard on two FM stations - non-commercial KCRW and KMET. She was with KMET until 1987 when the station changed format and call letters. Her show "Snap" (acronym of "Saturday Night Avant Pop") on KCRW aired three nights a week with anything considered on the cutting edge of contemporary Pop music. She started at KKGO in 1979 and went on to work for KCRW, KMET, KNX/fm and KLSX. Deirdre was 52.
O'HAIR, Thom: KMET, 1975-76; KFI, 1984. Thom was a pioneering radio pd and dj who helped revolutionize rock radio at the groundbreaking San Francisco station KSAN in the early 1970s. He was the pd under gm Tom Donahue at KSAN (during the days in which Tom was known as the only vice president of a major American corporation to sport a full length pony tail). Thom was named major market program director of 1975. Thom was a lifelong believer in the power of radio as a communication tool. "He knew what radio could do, and he went places with it that no one else had," said his son, Tim Gubbins. Thom suffered a stroke on January 8, 2001. He was 58.
Born and raised in a suburb of Chicago, one of Thom's first jobs was in a mechanic's garage, where he took over the turntable, becoming the in-house disc jockey during his shift. After a short stint in the Air Force, Thom moved to California in the early 1960s. He helped create KCSE, the radio station at California State University at Chico. He met and married his wife, Kay, in 1965. After working at radio stations in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon, Thom went to KSAN in 1971
KSAN had already gained a national reputation as a place where disc jockeys played what they wanted, where irreverence mixed with politics, and where album-oriented rock radio began. His fellow djs described him as wonderful, funny, and irascible. In 1977, it was time to start something new, and he returned to San Francisco to launch KMEL. After his AOR experience, Thom worked in Portland in 1980 at KQFM. Off the air he worked at various audio, video and computer firms. He developed training programs for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System. In 1985, he started a syndicated radio news service called "Rip 'n' Read." At KOFY in 1988, he called his new format AS (“Adult Smoking”). "If it smokes on the air, we'll play it. We're looking to portray the spirit of San Francisco."
Thom moved to Eugene, remaining active in radio, serving as general manager of Fat Music Radio Network, an online radio station based in Santa Cruz. He also produced Mountain Blue Grass Festivals for many years. Always interested in exploring new ways to use radio, Thom founded Hog Ranch Radio in the 1980s, which aired the twice-annual Strawberry Music Festival. The roots music and bluegrass event, held at Camp Mather near Yosemite National Park, attracts as many as 5,000 people every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend. But he remained active in radio until near the time of his death, serving as general manager of Fat Music Radio Network, an online radio station based in Santa Cruz.
O'Hara, Russ: KGFJ, 1968; KRLA, 1969-72; KKDJ, 1972-74; KEZY, 1975-77; KROQ, 1979; KRLA, 1981-82; KRLA, 1992-93. Russ is working at KDES-Palm Springs.
O'Hara, Steve: KFWB; KCBS. Unknown.
(Pat O'Brien, Raul Ortal, and Paul Olden)
O'Keefe, Walter: KHJ, 1962. Unknown.
O'Leary, Jim: KBIG, 1960; KFI, 1965-68. Jim also worked as John Patrick. He spent some time in San Diego. Jim worked the all-night shift at KFI. He died in the late 1960s.
O'Loughlin, Sean: KLON, 2000. Sean hosted a midday weekend show at the all-Jazz station.
O'Malley, Paul: KYSR, 1997-2003. Paul was made station manager at "Star 98.7" in early 2001. He's now Citadel cluster manager in Dallas.
O'Neal, Don: KIIS, 1990-94. Don left Fresno radio in late 1997. Unknown.
O'Neil, Garvey: KLAC, 1959. Unknown.
O'Neil, Mike: KHJ, 1969-71; KWIZ, 1972-73; KUTE/KGFJ, 1974-76; KIQQ, 1975-77; KUTE, 1977-78; KIIS, 1978-83; KLAC, 1983-86; KRTH/KHJ, 1986-87; KMPC, 1989-90. Mike produces and distributes Keith Olbermann's radio commentaries from his studio/home outside of Las Vegas.
O'Neill, Erin: KACE, 1979-80. Unknown.
(Royal Oakes, Bobby Ocean, Jim O'Brien, and Susan Olsen)
O'Neill, Gary: KGFJ, 1983-84; XHRM. Last heard, Gary was working at Warner Bros. Records.
O'Neill, Greg: KSRF, 1988-90; KXEZ, 1990-96. Greg is a writer and is involved in tv and film productions.
O'NEIL, Scotty: KNX/fm, 1965-71; KGIL, 1971-74; KPRZ, 1983-85; KKLA, 1985-86; KMPC/KLIT, 1985-92; KJQI/KOJI, 1995; KGIL, 1998. Scotty collapsed onstage during a broadcast remote in Las Vegas on March 24, 2011 and died. He was 69. A report in the Las Vegas Sun-Times said, "They were in the dressing room, going over the monologue. Scotty seemed in really good shape, jolly like he always was. They came out, did the monologue and sat on the couch. They went to commercial. Scotty got this expression on his face, his eyes rolled up, and he just looked very peaceful. Everyone thought he'd fainted. His partner thought he might have been doing it as a joke, a comedy bit. A nurse from the audience rushed to the stage but she could not find a pulse."
Scotty was born in 1942 in Raleigh and graduated from the University of North Carolina with a broadcasting journalism degree. He arrived in the Southland in 1965 from WKRG-Mobile to work at KNX/fm and within two years was appointed pd. He replaced one of the legendary voices on KGIL, Paul Compton. He spent a number of years in the 70s at KGIL. At KKLA in 1985, he hosted an afternoon drive show, "Music on Faith." At 710/KMPC Scotty was the midday host. When KMPC's sister station KLIT joined the Lite AC format battle, Scotty was deejay and pd. When the all-Sports format was attempted on KMPC, Scotty "was brought in and asked to save a sinking ship," according to Larry Stewart of the LA Times. "O'Neil did the best he could. He immediately lifted morale and brought in upbeat Charlie Tuna to host the important morning drive shift. Scott was part of “Music of Your Life" for a time. Throughout the 2000's, Scotty had been living and working in Las Vegas.
O'NEILL, Jimmy: KRLA, 1959-62; KFWB, 1963-67; KDAY, 1969-71; KRLA, 1984-85 and 1990-93. Jimmy was the host of one of the earliest network (ABC) tv rock shows, Shindig! when he was only 24 years old. The program regulars were Leon Russell, Darlene Love, and Billy Preston, and one of the dancers who "frugged and twisted" was actress Teri Garr.
Jimmy died January 11, 2013, at the age of 73. His daughter Katy wrote on Facebook: "On January 11th our beloved father Jimmy O'Neill peacefully transitioned into a better place. His vivacious laugh, talented voice, sense of humor and warm heart will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. His legacy will live on and he will never leave our hearts. Thank you to all our friends and family for all of your support during this difficult time. Blessings." He suffered for many years with a heart condition and diabetes.
"When I first arrived in LA to work at KRLA, Jimmy was the first to welcome me," emailed Sam Riddle when he heard the passing of O'Neill. "Jimmy always invited me to Sunday dinners at his mom's house. Jimmy was on the air 3-6 p.m. and I was 6-9 p.m. so I saw him just about every day. Jimmy was definitely 'one of a kind.'"
In the mid-1960s, Shindig! brought some of the greatest names in rock 'n' roll into America's living rooms. Born in Enid, Oklahoma in 1940, Jimmy worked three times at KRLA. He arrived in Southern California from Pittsburgh radio. Jimmy was one of the original "11-10 Men" when the Rock station debuted on September 3, 1959.
In 1960, at the age of 20, he became the youngest deejay ever to be rated #1.
In 1962, Jimmy opened the first Los Angeles teenage nightclub, Pandora's Box, a former coffee house on the Sunset Strip. He opened two other teenage nightclubs in Los Angeles: The Showboat on Melrose (partnered with Phil Everly and Sam Riddle) and the Chez Paree on La Cienega. Jimmy's first tv exposure was The Jimmy O'Neill Show on KCOP/Channel 13. It was a 1962 youth-oriented talk show. Rhino Records released Shindig! on home video in 1992.
People magazine chronicled Jimmy’s journey: “In 1966, unable to find steady work in showbiz, he began a downward journey that would take him through several careers, three marriages and years of drug and alcohol abuse.” When his first wife, Sharon (Poor Little Fool) Sheeley, left him the same month Shindig! was canceled, the stress was too much. People reported that one night shortly after the show’s demise, a drunken O’Neill tried to set Sheeley’s house on fire. When police and firefighters arrived, he says, they took pity on the obviously troubled former star and told him to go home and sleep it off. Since he couldn’t burn the house down, he took a sledgehammer to it. He was taken to a psychiatric hospital for observation but was quickly released without treatment. He then went to radio jobs in Albuquerque and Omaha, where he met and married the sister of actor Troy Donahue. Jimmy found a 12-step recovery group and gave up drinking. He spent the seventies selling stocks and cars and managing nightclubs. He ended the People piece: “I have walked through every nightmare you can imagine and HAVE come out okay.”
O'Neill, Sean: KLYY, 1999-2002. In late 1999, Sean was appointed gm at "Viva 107.1." He left the station in early summer of 2002.
O'Reilly, Bill: KABC, 2002-09. The host of FOX's O'Reilly Factor started working the 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. shift at KABC on May 8, 2002. He abandoned is syndicated show in early 2009.
O'Shea, Michael: KPOL, 1979; KMPC, 1979-80. Michael is market manager for Sonoma Media Partners.
Oakes, Robert: KFWB, 1967. After a stint at WBZ-Boston, Robert has been seen as an ABC reporter.
Oakes, Royal: KPCC, 1983-88; KFWB, 1988-2006; KABC, 1994-98. Royal shares his legal expertise on KFWB and other media outlets.
OBER, Ken: KLSX, 1995-96. Ken was part of the experimental “Real Radio” at KLSX during the mid-1990s. He hosted MTV’s Remote Control before teaming up with former Brady Bunch star Susan Olsen as part of the launch of “Real Radio,” a non-traditional Talk format. He and Susan left KLSX in early summer 1996. Ken hosted a revised tv version of Make Me Laugh and he worked briefly at Comedy World. He died November 15, 2009. He was 52.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he worked in Boston radio before moving to New York to pursue comedy and acting. He appeared in the tv sitcoms Parenthood and Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Ober had worked as writer and producer on Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia in recent years and also did a stint as a consulting producer on The New Adventures of Old Christine in 2006.
Obuchon, Homer: KGFJ, 1940s - 1970s. Homer was an engineer at KGFJ. He died May 1, 1977, at the age of 67, of multiple myeloma. He helped build a number of new studios in several locations.
Ocean, Bobby: KHJ, 1975-80; KWST, 1980-82. Bobby is a premier imaging voice based in Northern California. He's working at XM Satellite Radio.
OCHLAN, PJ: KMZT, 2011-12. A veteran of the original K-Mozart, P.J. is also an actor with a career spanning more than 25 years. He has appeared on Broadway, been in several critically acclaimed films, performed in Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival, and been a four-time tv series regular. He left Saul Levine's operation in the summer of 2012.
Ochoa, Anthony: KWST, 1981-82; KTSJ, 1983; KYMS, 1985-86; KWVE, 1986-92; KUSC, 1993-2000; KKLA 1993-2002. Anthony now specializes in designing talk studios & production facilities for The Salem Radio Network, owner of KKLA/KRLA/THE FISH.
ODM, KIIS, 2004-07. Robert Gutierrez, aka ODM ("One Dope Mexican"), worked late evenings at KIIS from KGGI-Riverside until late 2007.
(Daniel Oshe, Keith Olbermann, Warren Olney, and ODM)
Ofgang, Jeff: KFWB, 1998-99. Jeff is an executive producer at KBAK/TV-Bakersfield.
Olbermann, Keith: KNX, 1985-92; KSPN, 2005-07. Keith hosted Countdown on MSNBC until November 2010 when he was suspended for contract violations. He came back and officially left MSNBC in January 2011. He abruptly left Current TV in March 30, 2012.
Olden, Jackie: KNX, 1978-86; KABC, 1986-87; KGIL, 1988-92; KABC, 1992; KNX, 1994. Chef Jackie is working in Palm Springs.
Olden, Paul: KMPC, 1990-91; KNX, 2005-09. Paul is the public address announcer for the New York Yankees.
OLEESKY, Mark: KABC, 1996-2006. Mark co-hosted a computer show at KABC for almost a decade with Marc Cohen called, The Marc & Mark Show. Marc was the radio geek and Mark a computer geek. They came from two very different places but the show worked. Marc turned to Mark to be his expert on the radio show. Marc was a graduate of CSUN and a member of Mensa. Oleesky remembered their first remote that took place at the PC Club in Burbank. “It was a rainy day and I remember driving up to the store and seeing this huge line of people and wondering what they were there for,” said Mark. “I couldn’t even imagine the whole parking lot of Toys R Us was filled to capacity. I couldn’t park in the lot. Turned out they were there for our show.” He was head of an IT division for a real estate/property management company in West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. He died of a heart attack on January 11, 2011, at the age of 60.
Oliva, George: KFI, 1989-91. George is now writing.
Olivas, Kevin: KFWB, 1996-99. Kevin is Parity Project Director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Washington, DC.
Oliver, King: KJLH, 1979-86; KACE. King is now retired.
Olney, Warren: KCRW, 1992-2014. Warren hosts “Which Way, LA?” locally and “To the Point” syndicated nationally, both produced by KCRW.
Olsen, Susan: KLSX, 1995-96. The former star of The Brady Bunch tv show is spokesperson for Migraine Awareness Month and a mother. She hosts a weekly show with Sheena Metal on LA Talk Radio.
Olson, Stu: KVFM, 1969-74; KWST, 1971-72; KWNK, 1987. Stu is an actor.
Onink, Dirk: KFOX, 1983-85. Dirk hosted a Heavy Metal show at KFOX.
(Kevin Olivas, Homer Obuchon, Ronn Owens, and Ron Oster)
Orchard, Ken: KHJ, 1959-80. Ken serves as FCC Compliance specialist for Public Inspection Files, EAS, Stations Logs and other FCC rules and regulations for over 125 stations in seven states.
Ordunio, Doug: KFAC, 1973-86; KKGO, 1991. Doug is senior music programmer for AEI Inflight audio service.
Orman, Suze: KFI, 2001; KLAC, 2002. Suze's syndicated show aired at KLAC until a format change in late 2002.
Ornest, Laura: KFWB; KNX 1997-2009; KUSC, 2009-13. Laura was a news lady at KNXNewsradio for over a decade. After she left KNX in 2009, she started doing features on the arts (6 minutes long each) for KUSC Classical Radio 91.5/fm. The features run on the Arts Alive program, Saturday mornings between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Orozco, Lance: KCLU, 2003-14. Lance is the award-winning news director at KCLU.
Orr, Vern: KZLA/KLAC, 1982-85. Unknown.
Ortal, Raul: KCAL, 1966-71; KALI, 1971-95; KWKW, 1995-98; XRPS, 1998-2004. Raul owns a consulting company, Video Sol Communications, dealing primarily with Spanish-speaking stations in the States and Veracruz, Mexico. He now with MundoFox 34-Las Vegas.
Ortega, Sam: KRLA, 1996-98. When he is not working in radio, Sam is a graphic artist.
Ortiz, Arianna: Arianna is a traffic reporter.
Ortiz, Joe: KABC, 1971; KLOS, 1972-73; KPFK, 1975-76; KPPC, 1986; KPZE, 1988-89, KABC, 1992. Joe lives in Redlands, managing three blogs and two web sites and is still President of the Official Tom Flores Fan Club, pushing for the first Latino to win two Super Bowl rings to get elected to the National Football League's Hall of Fame. Joe is a public relations consultant in the Inland Empire and also writes for local and national periodicals.
ORTIZ, Yesi: KPWR, 2006-14. Yesi works middays at Power 106. Born and raised in Orange County, she commuted every weekend during college to Las Vegas to get her start in radio.
She is part of the Style Network’s “Latina Modern Mom” initiative, which targets Hispanic moms between 18 and 49 years old with new programming and makeovers of existing shows. Yesi hosted a new reality show called, Single With 7. The Style Network is part of NBC/Universal, which has been focusing on the Hispanic female market.
Osborn, Dale: KMPC, 1966-69. Dale lives in Portland and does occasional free-lance voice work.
Osborn, Dave: KLSX, 2001. Better known as "Super Dave" Osborn for his bizarre stunts that always go awry, was part of the broadcast team of the Xtreme Football League.
Osborn, Jamie: KQLZ, 1989-91; KRLA, 1999-2000; KLSX, 2001-03. Jamie was the commercial production director at KLSX.
(Ken Orchard, Paul O'Malley, and Anthony Ochoa)
Osborne, Lisa: KMNY, 1990-92; KKLA, 1995; KFI/KOST, 1996-2003/ KSUR, 2003; KFI, 2005-07; KFWB, 2009-14. Lisa broadcast traffic/news and was a fill-in anchor at KFWB until a format flip in September 2014.
Osborne, Sean: KRLA, 2002. Sean was co-host of "Ian Faith's Music Scene Revue" at KRLA. He's also produced the Dennis Prager Show. He's music supervisor at CanApple Productions.
Oscar, Carlos: KLSX, 1995-97. Carlos is a comedy actor and writer.
Oshe, Daniel: KHTZ, 1979-82; KABC, 1982-2003. Daniel was part of the engineering team at KABC.
Oshin, Steve: KBIG, 1983-97. Steve is gm of KBSG/KNDD-Seattle. In the summer of 1999, he was promoted to head the Entercom cluster of five stations. He left Entercom in February 2008.
Oster, Ron: KWIZ. The former California Man of the Year owns Rawhide Travel Agency (7 offices around the world) based in Phoenix. His Arizona agency is #1 out of 631 in the state. He's currently writing a book, The (mis)Adventures of a Travel(ing) Agent.
(Ariana Ortiz and Ozomatli)
Othenin-Girard, Linda: KPCC, 1998-99. Linda worked mornings at KPCC.
Otis, Don: KHJ, 1965. From the world of ad agencies, Don was operations director at KHJ. He passed away in the 1980s.
OTIS, Johnny: KFOX, 1958; XERB, 1967; KPPC, 1970-71; KPFK, 1975-89. Born John Veliotes on December 28, 1921, of Greek parentage in an integrated section of Vallejo, Johnny decided early on to live in the black community.
In a 1979 LA Times interview, he confirmed, "Despite all the hardships, there's a wonderful richness in black culture that I prefer." In a 1995 OC Register profile: "The kids in my neighborhood that I played with, they were of the African American culture. We were raised together and I didn't care to leave and go anywhere else."
How did he get to
? Johnny told Billy Vera: "I was working with the Love Otis Band at the Barrelhouse in L.A. . Jimmy Witherspoon and Nat Cole came to Omaha and they wanted me to play drums. At first I thought it was too good to be true, but that's how I got to Omaha " L.A.
In the early 1940s, he was making $75 a week as a drummer at the big band Club Alabam. By the late 1940s, r&b was beginning to take hold. Johnny was one of the forerunners of the r&b music of the 1950s, leading his band to a #1 single, Willie and the Handjive. Johnny hosted a local tv show with all the r&b stars.
Johnny was a regular at the El Monte American Legion Stadium. As a writer he scored hits with Dance With Me Henry, So Fine and All Night Long. He produced early hits for Little Richard, Johnny Ace and Etta James, and he discovered Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John, Esther Phillips and Hank Ballard & the Midnighters. With the advent of the Beatles, r&b suddenly died. Johnny then became involved in the civil rights movement, wrote a sociopolitical column for the LA Sentinel. He twice lost the Democratic nomination for a California State Assembly seat and was chief of staff for former Lt. Governor and Representative Mervyn Dymally.
In the early 1990s, he bought a farm near
Sebastopoland converted his barn into a recording studio. In 1995 he was selling Johnny Otis Apple Juice in health food stores. His artwork is featured in Colors and Chords: The Art of Johnny Otis. Johnny and his wife Phyllis were married for over a half century. San Francisco
died January 17, 2012, at the age of 90.
(Lisa Osborne, Ken Ober, and Bob O'Brien)
Owen, Ray: KPOL, 1961-69. Ray is retired and living in Aqua Dulce.
OWENS, Buck: KBBQ, 1967. The legendary country singer once worked as a dj. By 1970 Buck owned four radio stations, four ranches, a travel agency, a recording studio, a million-dollar publishing company and a syndicated tv show that was shot in
. Oklahoma City
Buck was born on August 12, 1929, in
. The son of a sharecropper, he left school in the ninth grade to work in an Sherman, Texas nightclub. His first big hit was Under Your Spell Again in 1959. A big break came in 1963 when his song Act Naturally was recorded by the Beatles. The single that launched his singing career was Tiger by the Tail. Arizona
Buck died March 25, 2006.
Owens, Gary: KFWB, 1961-62; KMPC, 1962-81; KPRZ, 1982-84; KKGO, 1985-86; KFI, 1986-89; KLAC, 1992; KJQY/KOJY, 1993-95; KGIL, 1997-99; KLAC, 2005; XTRA, 2005; KSUR/KKGO, 2006-07. Gary has an active voiceover career doing commercials, voicing cartoons and acting in films.
Owens, Ronn: KABC, 1997-98. Ronn works middays at KGO-San Francisco. He was on KABC from July 14, 1997 to July 31, 1998. Ronn announced in the summer of 2014 that he had been diagnosedd with Parkinson's disease.
Oxarart, Frank: KFWB, 1968-69 and 1977-84. Frank retired from his post as vp/gm at KCBS-San Francisco in late summer 2003 and moved to Sarasota, Florida.
Ozomatli: KYSR, 2008. The six members of the L.A. based band, Ozomatli took over mornings in late summer of 2008 and left two months later.
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