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Radio AM to FM: September 4, 1998

Richard Beebe passes

Longtime Los Angeles radio newscaster Richard Beebe, whose connection with KRLA (1110 AM) spanned five decades, passed away August 29th due to lung cancer.

He was diagnosed last April, but only recently became very ill, according to his wife Ann who told Don Barrett's Los Angeles Radio People that they had just taken "a lovely trip to Maui in June, a trip I thought he would not be able to make."

Beebe began his Los Angeles radio career doing fill-in work at KRKD while he waited for his "big break" as a performer. He had a B.A. in Theater Arts, and was in a repertory company with Dyan Cannon in 1959 when he was hired as a newscaster at the all-new KRLA, which had just adapted a top-40 format under new owner Jack Kent Cooke.

This would be the first of three stints at KRLA, lasting until 1970. He returned to the station for a second tour of duty from 1981 to 1985, then again a third time from 1991 to 1994.

Beebe was known across the country as a co-founder and member of a satirical "alternative news" group called "the Credibility Gap," which began on KRLA in the mid 1960s, later moved to KPPC (which became KROQ AM, and is now off the air) and eventually recorded four albums. Beebe was a writer, performer and producer for the Gap, which in addition to radio performed live at college campuses throughout the United States.

He managed to keep his career in Los Angeles almost from start to finish, working at KGIL (1260 AM), KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM), KABC (790 AM) and KMNY (1600 AM) in addition to KRLA and KPCC. His most recent radio work was morning local news anchor for the Don Imus program on KLAC (570 AM) until earlier this year.

Ironically, his last voice work was a reading of a how-to stop smoking book on tape, "Seven Steps to a Smoke-Free Life," which he completed after his chemo therapy had begun. It was apparently very important to him to take that particular job.

Beebe is survived by his wife and two children from a previous marriage.

Mas Mucho

Mucho Morales, heard (but not here) on the satellite-fed Oldies Channel national format, can now be heard locally on KXEZ (92.7 FM) every Saturday and Sunday from 3 - 7 pm.

Morales -- an RKO radio veteran from KFRC/San Francisco and KHJ here in Los Angeles -- is one of those SoCal lifers, working more recently at KIBB (now KCMG, 100.3 FM), KRTH (101.1 FM), KKBT (92.3 FM), KMGG/KPWR (105.9 FM), KGFJ (1230 AM) and KRLA.

CBS Splits

CBS' radio division, which is actually a combination of CBS, Westinghouse and Infinity since Westinghouse bought or merged with the others, is splitting off from the rest of the corporation.

The highly-successful radio division, which will now be called Infinity Broadcasting, is being spun off in order to shield it from CBS' poorly performing television division.


Copyright © 1998 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press