Radio Waves: September 17

Ellen K to Host Triathlon

KOST (103.5 FM) morning personality Ellen K has been selected to host the annual 2xU Malibu Triathlon to be held at Zuma Beach in Malibu on September 25th and 26th.

The event is sponsored by Bank of America and brings together triathletes of all levels who compete to support the Pediatric Cancer Research Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Participants come from around the country and include professional athletes, Hollywood celebrities, amateurs and what the organizers call “challenged athletes” to race on what many consider one of the most beautiful courses in the sport of triathlon.

This year the event is expecting to include Super League Triathlon athletes and recent Tokyo Olympic triathlon medalists Flora Duffy, Georgia Taylor-Brown, and Katie Zaferes. Celebrities will include Chace Crawford, Eric Etebari, Daniela Ruah, Sean Dominic, and Alexi Papas … and many more. For a full list of celebrities and professional athletes who are participating, go to  You can be there too, either as a competitor or spectator … go to for information and to register.

Ellen K has been a longtime supporter of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and is even a CHLA Foundation Board of Trustees member. The annual broadcast has helped raise more than $650,000 for CHLA .

Banana Joe Passes

Cable television Game Show Network’s David Schwartz — formerly with the late-great original KRLA (now KRDC 1110 AM) — broke the news locally that Banana Joe Montione passed away on September 11 at the age of 67.

Natural causes is the official reason, though that seems way too young for my 58-year old soul. Regardless, if you  were listening to KHJ (930 AM) during the famous “miracle” that via great programming and a top-notch staff on the air and off brought the station back to greatness, you would have heard him: Banana Joe was an instrumental part of that resurgence.

Then-programmer Chuck Martin recently spoke of Montione on KHJ, stating that he was exactly what the station needed on the air – someone young, upbeat and hip. Unfortunately, personal issues caused Montione to leave the station, something that Martin still feels badly about today, fully 42 years after the separation. Yet in spite of letting him go, “we remained good friends throughout the years,” Martin said.

After leaving KHJ, Montione eventually became a station owner along with an investment group that purchased a station in York, Pennsylvania, and another soon after in Pittston, Pennsylvania. He held them for a few years, then sold them in 1988 to get his production company off the ground, launching the syndicated Banana Joe Flashback Show in 1991 that ran on KIIS-FM (102.7) locally. 

In 2003 he formed the Banana Joe Radio Group, and launched an internet station soon after called FlashbackTop40.Com, a version of which has been syndicated to a handful stations across the country. He called the format, consisting of hits from the 1970s through the ‘90s with a top-40 sound, “a modern version of the great top-40 radio sound so dominant during the eras we cover.”

Through the years of this column I conversed with him occasionally, and he was always upbeat and sounded just as I remember him on KHJ. Even though he hasn’t been on the air here in many years, he will be missed.

Titanic Limits

The National Association is trying to convince Congress and the FCC to allow even more stations to be owned by even fewer companies than is currently allowed — including total abolishment of ownership caps in some cases. This means that one company could own every AM station in a city, as but one example, depending on circumstances.

Considering how poorly the radio industry has fared under deregulation, the NAB’s position is akin to thinking that the Titanic would not have sunk had it only hit more icebergs.