Radio Waves: 2/8/19

Art Laboe luncheon draws huge crowd

Close to 300 people were on hand at the Airtel Plaza Hotel next to the Van Nuys Airport to honor longtime radio broadcaster Art Laboe. The recognition came via the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters, who presented Laboe with the Art Gilmore Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in radio, television and records.

The Program had a few last-minute changes, not the least of which was the location. Normally the PPB holds luncheons at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, but a fire in the Lodge kitchen necessitated the move. In addition, two of the presenters Johnny Mathis and Danny Trejo — had last-minute obligations, so they sent video tributes instead.

The program began with three songs from Calabasas High School’s award-winning a’cappella group, Unstrumentals. Soon after, former KHJ (930 AM) and KIIS-FM (102.7) morning man Rick Dees took to the stage to begin the tribute, stating how nice it is when your age is the same as your body temperature, in Laboe’s case 93. I hope that doesn’t mean he has a fever …

Other speakers included Mary Beth Garber, former President of the Southern California Broadcasters Association, comedian and television star Paul Rodriguez, KDAY (93.5 FM) morning man Romeo, and the legend himself, Wink Martindale.

Dave Grudt, who once worked at KLON (now KKJZ, 88.1 FM) on the campus of Cal State Long Beach, mentioned the similarities between Dees and Martindale: both worked at WHBQ/Memphs, both are fans of Elvis Presley, both worked as the morning man on KHJ (20-years apart, Martindale starting in 1959; Dees in 1979) ands both went on to successful careers in television. Neither one ages, either. Uncanny.

Laboe has slowed down a little was he has gotten older, but he still has the same spirit he has when he began in radio so many decades ago. And his history is filled with firsts:

• First (or among the first) to play rock and roll in Southern Californias

• First to build entire shows around requests and dedications

First to put together compilations of music for his “oldies But Goodies” records on his record label, Original Sound

• First to coin the term Oldies But Goodies

• Taking the original KRLA (1110) to first place ion the hearts of listeners (and close to first in ratings) when he was programmer of the station.

Garber mentioned that Laboe takes requests and makes dedications for anyone and everyone, always without judgement. He believes in the goodness of people, which is probably why he is beloved by generations of listeners, some of whom still remember his live shows held at venues in East Los Angeles and probably still listen to him on KDAY.

New Station

Saul Levine’s Mount Wilson Broadcasters has added a “smooth jazz” format to the streams available via an HD Radio, in this case 105.1 HD3. This marks the first time he has used the HD streams to compete against another of the same format: The Wave 94.7 HD2.

“I think we beat them on programming,” he told me. If you have an HD radio or listen to it online via SmoothJazz.Com, let me know what you think, especially as it relates to The Wave HD2.

Write Back

“Love your column….glad the Register brought “Radio” back … but miss (former radio columnist) Gary Lycan.

“Anyway, your observation regarding “Ken and John” on KFI was spot on. However, their format changed a while back and it is applies to all their shows starting with Bill Handel at 6:00 a.m.

“It simply starts at the top of the hour, say 10:00 a.m., with news, weather, traffic, sports, and the ever repeating SAME commercials. Then at 10:06-7 their morning show begins, then at 10:15 we are back to the same report from the top of the hour including the SAME commercials! Then at 10:21-22 it’s back to the show…which is usually just a recap of the previous segment then a hook for what’s up next and then at 10:30 it’s time for another break of news, weather, and again the same commercials. MIND NUMBING!!!! This just goes on all day long.

“Needless to say they have lost me as a listener and so many other people I know. I wish you would do a column on this and ask for feedback from your readers” — Roy Rymas