Radio Waves: 1/4/19

Art Laboe to be honored by the PPB

He was among the first DJs to play rock and roll records on the radio in Southern California. He was among the first to do listener dedications on the radio. He was the man who coined the term “Oldies but Goodies” and later launched a record company dedicated to the preservation of those tunes. And in 2018 he celebrated 75 continuous years on the air.

And in 2019, this legendary DJ — Art Laboe — will be honored by the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters at their February 1st luncheon, to be held at 12 noon at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City.

Laboe is an amazing broadcaster who well-deserves the recognition. He understood the power of radio and the power of marketing, attracting huge crowds to live remote broadcasts in the 1950s and later hosting over 300 live dance shows at the El Monte Legion Stadium and others. 

He is credited with not only helping to save the original KRLA (now KRDC, 1110 AM) in the 1970s but with making it a ratings powerhouse in the 1970s when he credited HitRadio 11, a format that combined contemporary hits with those oldies but goodies he was so good at selecting. 

He was among the first — if not the first DJ to program to the vast market of Latino listeners in East Los Angeles, creating a loyalty among fans that is unheard of. Generations of families listen to The Art Laboe Connection, heard locally Sundays from 6 p.m. to midnight on KDAY (93.5 FM) and on Old School 104.7 FM in the Inland Empire weeknights from 9 p.m. to midnight, as  well as about a dozen more throughout California, Nevada and Arizona.

It was once said that the format Laboe helped create at KRLA was one that grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren would all listen to … together. 

Scheduled to appear on the dais at the PPB luncheon are legends themselves: Danny Trejo and Johnny Mathis. Others are still being confirmed and as additional names are added, I’ll let you know.

PPB President “Shotgun” Tom Kelly was excited about the event. “Art is a longtime friend and I’ve been a fan even longer,” he told me. “I am so excited to be honoring him and look forward to filling the room with fans and colleagues … me being one of his biggest fans.”

This is a well-deserved and long-overdue honor for Laboe, who has brought so much to Southern California in radio, records, and music in general. Tickets for now are available only to members of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, but the rumor is that they might just open it up to the general public. Let’s hope so … I’ll let you know.

Celebrating Life

A private Celebration of Life will be held for Scott St. James on what would have been his 76th birthday January 25th; the longtime radio and television broadcaster and reporter passed away December 17th at the age of 75.

In recent years he was suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease, and spent the last year of his life at senior care facility in Canoga Park.

Perhaps best known on radio as part of the KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM) Station of the Stars, joining Robert W. Morgan as part of the Good Morgan Crew. He later worked on other stations in addition to acting as sports director and doing on-air sports reports on television Channel 9.

Longtime friend Kevin Gershan put together a nice video interview-tribute to St. James on Facebook; find it at The best part? Hearing St. James’ friendly voice once again. Please check it out.