Airwaves: November 27, 2015
Honoring Bob and Stephanie
The Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters honored two Los Angeles broadcasting icons earlier this month during their November luncheon held at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City: Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards.
The pair are most recently known as television stars, having hosted the KTLA-TV Channel 5 coverage of the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade for most of the past 33 years. Eubanks has been the host since 1979; Edwards joined him three years later. Both announced that this will be their last year presenting the parade and they insist — and I believe them — that they are leaving on their own terms.
Eubanks, of course, is also well-known for his stint as host of the tremendously popular Newlywed Game that ran on ABC Television from 1966 to the mid 1980s. But it was radio that gave him his start.
After a short time at KACY/Oxnard, Eubanks became part of the famous 11-10 Men who propelled the original KRLA (now KDIS, 1110 AM) to the top of the ratings in Los Angeles in the early-mid 1960s, defeating previous leader KFWB (980 AM). This was done through an energetic staff of young DJs such as Eubanks and luncheon dais speaker, Dave Hull, along with a faster-paced presentation and a tie-in with an up-and-coming young pop band called The Beatles.
It was Eubanks who saw the potential in The Beatles as a promotional tool, and after being denied loans to pay for it he actually mortgaged a house he owned with a business partner to bring The Beatles to the Hollywood Bowl in 1964. The price? $25,000, an amount would equal about $190,000 today. The first concert sold out in 3-1/2 hours. Eubanks was also the promoter behind such artists as The Who, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones and more.
He was with KRLA from its top-40 inception in 1960 until he left radio for good in 1967 due, I am sure, to the popularity of The Newlywed Game and his other business interests.
Edwards has no radio experience to my knowledge, outside of advertisements for the much-missed Lucky grocery store chain that ran in the 1970s and ‘80s. But she is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and therefore qualifies to be placed in my column …
“Don’t know if you know this site, but thought you’d enjoy.” — Joe Daigle
What Joe is referring to is a site called Dumb.Com — “a site for dumb stuff” that happens to have a huge library of old time radio programs. See the full listing at dumb.com; scroll down to “cool stuff” and click on the box for Old Time Radio.
A few people responded to the inquiry last week on “the AM sound;” Greg Wood was the first who noted: “the sound is amazing and brings me back to the KHJ sound I remember (and what I heard from KFRC whenever in SF) – rich, full, and a better sound than just about most FM’s in LA today (attribute that to poor engineering I imagine, and stations now satisfied with putting out a lousy product).
“This is the type of sound I would love to bring back to AM in LA.,” he said. “Just need a few million dollars.” No kidding.
Cumulus Death Watch
Cumulus Media stock was down to 19 cents per share at the final bell November 20. That’s eight cents and over 29 percent lower than the 27 cents per share close on November 13. If this continues, perhaps Wood’s (and my) dream of owning a local AM may not be such a pipe dream after all.