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Radio AM to FM: August 13, 1999

Gene Weed Passes

Gene Weed, best known for his work at Color Radio KFWB (980 AM) from 1958 - 1968, passed away August 5 due to lung cancer. He died at the age of 64 on the second anniversary of the death of The Real Don Steele, whose passing was also due to lung cancer.

Weed began his radio career at the age of 17 in Texas, going on to work in Nebraska and Florida before moving to KFWB in 1958 when he was 23. When he first arrived, he worked weekends and fill ins while assigned to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in Hollywood.

He was made assistant programmer to Jim Hawthorne in 1961 and moved to afternoon drive, becoming one of KFWB's highest-rated personalities with an average share of 38. During his tenure at the station he worked every shift, and was the last top-40 voice to be heard when the station changed formats to all-news on March 10, 1968, telling his listeners, "We'll be back with more music, right after the news."

He left KFWB and started producing a new art form he called "Song Films," known today as music videos, for such artists as Glen Campbell, The Fifth Dimension, Credence Clearwater and Debbie Boone. Eventually he found himself at Dick Clark Productions, developing, producing and directing major television series, specials and annual events.

Clark was one of the last to see Weed before Weed died at 1 am. A memorial service was held on August 9th at Saint John's Church in Chatsworth.

Beaten Path

Rumors are flying around The Beat (KKBT, 92.3 FM). Joel Denver's reported recently that WQHT/New York morning man Ed Lover was scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles this week to walk the Beat's hallways, possibly starting a "domino effect" that pairs Lover, current Beat morning co-host Doctor Dre and current Beat mid-day host Big Lez for the morning shift, places the Baka Boys into afternoons and slides afternoon host Theo into the mid-day slot.

Where does this leave current morning man John London? On sister station Mega 100 (KKBT, 100.3 FM), according to this version of the rumor. If true, wouldn't it be wonderful to reunite London with former partner Ron Engelman? Los Angeles hasn't had a morning show that even approaches the creativity and humor that London and Engelman had when they were on KRTH (101.1 FM) and K-WEST (now KPWR, 105.9 FM). As one of their biggest fans, I would love to hear London and Engelman together once again.

A station spokesperson had "no comment" on the rumors.

Better All The Time

I've been listening a lot to the "new" Mix (KXMX, 95.9 FM) lately. Yes, the name stinks. Yes the personalities are, uh, lame (why do programmers like fake-sounding British accents?). But overall, the station has one of the best-sounding presentations among all the "top-40" stations in Los Angeles, and the musical variety is fabulous. It will be interesting to see how programmer Ron Price ends up promoting the station. And I have just got to send a tape and resume of myself down to Anaheim ...


Copyright © 1999 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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