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Radio AM to FM: December 25, 1998

DeMarais Passes

Longtime Los Angeles radio newsman Adam J. DeMarais passed away on December 11th from complications due to lung cancer. He was 69.

Originally studying to become an actor, he DeMarais toured with a company out of New York while still a teenager. He once told Los Angeles Radio People author Don Barrett, "I decided to pursue Hollywood and the world would pave my way with palm branches and gold, not the myrrh and pyrite it turned out to be."

1948 brought him to Los Angeles, where he would ride the Angel's Flight daily to catch a street car for "cattle call auditions." This stopped with his induction into the military and a stint in Korea.

Upon return to Los Angeles, he decided to enroll in the Don Martin School of Broadcasting where he was classmates with such future legends as "The Real" Don Steele. His first broadcast job was as a dj at KACY/Oxnard; he later moved on to stations in San Bernardino, San Diego, Las Vegas and Honolulu where in addition to radio, he appeared in many episodes of CBS Television's Hawaii Five-O.

His Los Angeles resume includes KHJ, KBLA, KEZY and KRLA, where he worked three times, most recently from 1988 until 1991 when he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. Six months later he was back to normal.

Big John Carter (aka Johnny Yount) worked with DeMarais at KEZY in the 1970s. "Adam was my partner," he said. "I could never have done what I did at the old KEZY without him. He was the guy who made Lorne Greene sound like a tenor. I am profoundly saddened to learn that my old friend and partner has signed off ... try to think of it as how Stan Laurel must have felt when Oliver Hardy passed away. At the moment I wish I felt that good."

Fistell Returns

KRLA adds yet another former KABC personality to its roster as Ira Fistell joins the lineup late nights, 11 pm to 3 am, beginning January 4th.. That makes more than half of the lineup ex-KABC personalities, with only Don Imus and G. Gordon Liddy having never entered the hallowed halls of the former talk radio giant.

The move also brings up an interesting question. With KRLA manager Bob Moore spending more on personalities this next year than he did in total for the previous six or so years, who's spending more: Moore, or Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone?


Does talk radio discriminate against seniors? In a word, yes. And it has on certain shows for years, as younger-skewing shows shun older callers because programmers, screeners, and personalities all feel that older callers are a turn-off to the listeners of the younger, "hip" shows like KLSX's Tom Leykis and KFI's John and Ken.

Are all shows like this? Fortunately, no. But it happens often enough, and this generally unspoken rule of screening out older callers got put into the limelight by entertainer Edie Adams, who was not allowed on the air of Jeff Levy's computer show on KFI. According to Adams, the the Levy screener told her that KFI's policy is to put on only people younger than 50.

You read that right. On a computer show, an older person was not allowed on the air. I guess their problems are just not as exciting as a younger person's.

In this case I suppose its not much of a problem as over 99% of the calls to Levy's show are in regard to problems with Wintel computers, and I firmly believe that older people are wise enough to buy a computer that doesn't run Windows.

But it does bring up an interesting point. If KFI, KLSX and now apparently KABC are doing their best to avoid sounding "old," will KRLA end up doing well by default as they recreate the KABC of years past and earn the loyalty of their "older-leaning" demographic?


Copyright © 1998 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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