Radio Waves: January 8, 2021

More of your nominations for the Radio Hall of Fame

Oh, my … I don’t think I’ve ever received so many emails so quickly after a column ran than last week’s call for Radio Hall of Fame nominations! I will try to respond to all of them so that you know I received your suggestions, but if I miss you, be assured that I am compiling the suggestions and reasons in a list that will be presented to the Hollywood Media Professionals/Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters’ nominating committee. That is the group that is working on setting up the West Coast Radio Hall of Fame.

Speaking of that, it is “West Coast,” not just Los Angeles or even Southern California. Nor just the major cities. And it is an idea whose time is long overdue.

Here are a few more of your nominations:

“Since you asked … the mid to late ‘60s DJs at KHJ (along with Dave Hull at KRLA) should be inducted as a group. Humble Harv, the Real Don Steele, Charlie Tuna et al., were part of a remarkable cultural moment in Southern California pop music that may not be duplicated and still resonates over a half- century later.” — Mark Kemp

“Cannot imagine that Dick Whittinghill was not at the head of the list. Just the mention of his name recalls his Story Records, Costume of the Day and of course, the Romance of Helen Trump ( “Down the hill and up your street”). Thinking of him makes me smile; he did some pretty racy things in his time, and was severely reprimanded by ‘Mahogany Hall’ per his reports.” — Sue Olholler

“Jim Hawthorne — an early example of the drive time crazy DJ.  (What TIME is it?) (I once knew a man with a wooden leg named Sam.  Oh, yeah?, what was his other leg’s name?).  He was really funny and the one I’ve always used to measure drive time DJ’s.  I think those that followed did too.

“Hunter Hancock and the Harlem Matinee.  Ol’  HH played black music in the early 50’s and it was the first time us white kids had ever heard anything like that! (What the heck is THAT? Wow, I guess some of this is pretty good!)

“And, of course, the eternal Art Laboe.  What can one say about Art Laboe?  Going to Scrivner’s was a long way for a burger and a malt but I’m sure glad I got to go a few times.” — Duffy Walton

Others also mentioned Art Laboe, along with such stars as Roger Carroll, sportscasters Chick Hearn and Vin Scully, Paul Compton, “Sweet” Dick Whittington, Bob Hudson, Bob Crane, and some suggestions from stations as far away as Fresno.

“We cannot overlook Lohman and Barkley, of KFI morning drive time fame, says Steve Cate. “You mentioned you can still hear Bruce Wayne in your head. Likewise, I can hear Lohman and Barkley’s banter in my head, including impressions of Dominic Longo of Giant Longo Toyota in El Monte. You mentioned Rick Dees … Well, we can’t forget his friend, Liz “rug burns” Fulton.”

“In my mind no hall would be complete without Brother John, Brian Beirne, Tom Murphy, and Shadoe Stevens, writes Joe Daniels (from KIIS, KHTZ, KRTH, and KLAC fame) “In fact there should be an award named after Brother John (similar to the Walter Payton award in the NFL. He was a great talent, but maybe the best person I ever was around in radio …  or life … period.”

Legendary talk hosts Ken Minyard, Bob Arthur, and Michael Jackson were mentioned by a few, as was B. Mitchel Reed, who was instrumental in launching free-form rock radio on the FM band both in Southern California and in the Bay Area.

As I said before, this is not an easy selection process. There are SO many deserving people both in front of the microphones and behind that it is a daunting task just putting together a list. Perhaps the initial inductees will be a “class” rather than a few, and that we will learn even more about their histories than just names and stations. I am certain that we will.

In that vein, I will be presenting biographies right here, when I can, of the nominees so that they aren’t just names passing in the ether… And keep those suggestions coming!

Radio Disney Returns

The country programming on KRDC (1110 AM) has stopped, and the former pop music of Radio Disney has returned to the station. It’s a limited time appearance, however, only until the station is sold to a new owner. The change happened December 31st.

LA Oldies has returned to the digital airwaves, as long as you have an HD radio (and you may in your car without knowing it). If you do, tune into KKGO (105.1 FM) HD2. Or listen on line, via a smartphone app, or through what I consider the future of radio in the home, a smart speaker.

Speaking of Smart

My brother-in-law Chris just dumped his clock radio in favor of a Google “smart display.” With it, he gets a clock, a more than decent speaker, and the ability to tune in to any online playlist or internet station he wants just by saying “Hey, Google, play …” 

Pretty slick, if you asked me. And another way that you can listen at home. Stations, especially AM stations, should embrace this evolution and make sure that they stay relevant to listeners and keep their online streams up, running, and clean … and the programming compelling. Local radio, especially, can have an exceptionally promising future if owners want it.