Radio Waves: January 1, 2021

Hall of Fame Nominations

Happy new year!

We just concluded a tough year for the radio industry, but I want to start the new year on a positive note. As such, let’s take a look at some of the suggestions you made for the West Coast Radio Hall of Fame.

In case you’re late to the party, no worries … this is an ongoing project and your suggestions are always welcome. This all started when I received a letter from a friend asking who I would suggest for the Hall of Fame, and while I have some ideas, I wanted to hear from you. Here’s are some of the early returns:

“I look forward to your column in the OC Register every week. As a teenager growing up in the 60s radio was a huge part of our lives and your column brings back a lot of good memories.

“Two nominees for the WC Radio Hall of Fame come to mind immediately. Number one you mentioned last Friday would be Chuck Niles, who I believe even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was a walking encyclopedia of jazz history. Number two would have to be the Hullaballooer, Dave Hull. I was sorry to read about his passing as he was one of my favorites.” — Pete Whelan

“I have three nominations for the West Coast Radio Hall of Fame:

“1). Jimmy Rabbit, KMET, 70’s pioneer who mixed Southern Rock, (Allman Bros., Marshall Tucker, etc.) with outlaw country, (Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, etc.) on a hard rock channel, and convinced a lot of us hard rock fans to give country music a listen.

“2). Tom Leykis, KFI, early 2000’s, his drive time talk show made AM radio cool again, and launched KFI into prominence.

“3). Phil Hendrie, KFI, his show followed Tom Leykis, and Hendrie was the funniest guy ever on radio. He too helped launch KFI.” — Steve Keller

“I have 3 nominees.

“First..Jim Ladd. He was a staple on KLOS , before he was blindsided and let go. Tom Petty wrote the ‘The last DJ’ for him. Played what we wanted to hear and had great insight.

“Second is Mimi Chin. I got hooked when she played Peace love and Sunday mornings on the sound from 8 to 11 on Sunday mornings. Now she’s on 88.5…great show on

Sunday from 1 to 3 with Peace love and Sundays..never miss it.

“Lastly,  Nic Harcourt on 88.5 weekday mornings.  His taste is impeccable and I look forward to his eclectic show” — KT Simone..Long Beach

“Thank you for the opportunity to tell you who deserves to be in the West Coast Radio Hall of Fame. Growing up in the ’60’s, I’m lucky to have had so many radio legends throughout my life, from Charlie Tuna on KHJ, KKDJ, etc., to Emperor Bob Hudson on KGBS to Machine Gun Kelly (the DJ!), Tom Clay, Dave Hull, Bruce Chandler and Tony St. (Hollywood) James. So many voices have been the soundtrack of our lives and I can’t imagine the history of broadcasting without them.” — Julie T Byers

“Having seen your most recent article, I have a nominee for the West Coast Radio Hall of Fame who is outside SoCal and one many might not think about…Bob Keller.  Bob was the long-time mid-day DJ at the original KZAP in Sacramento who has now been at KSEG up there for ages as well.  Aside from his always friendly style, he should get in just for inventing the waitress for his noontime Cafe Rock segment, Betty Vericose! Thanks!” — Kevin Sammons

All great suggestions, and I will sent them as well as any others you suggest, to the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters/Hollywood Media Professionals who are the sponsors and creators of the West Coast Radio Hall of Fame. Here are a few of my thoughts:

There are so many personalities that I could mention … and for multitudes of reasons. 

The Real Don Steele has to be there, as does Robert W. Morgan, Rick Dees, Ron O’Brian, Bobby Ocean, Sie Holiday (for being so damn sexy sounding on KRLA when I was 10 as well as perhaps being the first female DJ in Los Angeles popular radio). Charlie Tuna!

Saul Levine definitely, for all he has done for radio since putting what is now Go Country on the air in the 1950s. In the rain. When no one was listening to FM radio. The people who launched KNX-FM. Ron Jacobs, Bill Drake, Gene Chenault and Betty Breneman, all of whom were instrumental in launching Boss Radio on KHJ. Casey Kasem, who made American Top-40 weekly staple of listening.

If memory serves right, I believe Danny Martinez was one of the first (known) hispanic DJs on KHJ. And Beau Weaver — who I believe is also Hispanic — is among the first as well. And what about the women? In addition to Holiday and Breneman,  Sam Bellamy has to be there for taking KMET to the top. What about Shana, who was one of the first female top-40 DJs on AM legends KFRC/San Francisco and KHJ right here, before sliding over to that “other” band? Rita Wilde! Can’t forget Rita, who has been a DJ and programmer at stations as varied as KEZY/Anaheim, KMET, KLOS and The Sound.

He’d never accept it, but Dave Beasing from The Sound, who programmed and consulted at stations across the country, would be a great choice. Chuck Martin, former KHJ DJ, music director and programmer who could dominate the competition today, still, if given a station. Some of the DJs and even station owners on the late-great KGFJ and various incarnations of 1580/KDAY, also come to mind … especially JJ Johnson. Speaking of JJs … JJ Jackson is an immediate name as well.

And this just skims the surface. News reporters. Traffic reporters who were as much a part of the show as the DJ (I can still hear KFI’s Bruce Wayne in my head). I know I have left out quite a few … this topic will have to be continued multiple times. Now that you’ve seen a few names — what are you thinking?