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Airwaves: November 12, 2010

Charlie O Passes

Services were held Wednesday November 11th at St. Charles Church in North Hollywood for Charlie O’Donnell, the longtime radio and television broadcaster perhaps best known for his work as the announcer for Wheel of Fortune ... but known to his fans as a great radio guy.

O’Donnell’s resume includes some of the great early music stations in Los Angeles: the original KRLA (now KDIS, 1110 AM), where he was one of the disk jockeys to introduce a band known as The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964; KGBS (now KTNQ, 1020 AM), KLAC (570 AM) twice; and KBBQ (later KROQ, now dark, 1500 AM).

On television he was the sidekick to Dick Clark on ABC-TV’s American Bandstand, anchored news on KCOP Channel 13 for 16 years back in the Kriss-Kraft days of that station’s ownership, hosted local dance shows, and of course was a legend as an announcer on game shows ... fifteen at least.

He passed away November 1st of natural causes at the age of 78 at his home in Sherman Oaks. He is survived by his second wife, Ellen, four children and two grandchildren. His first wife passed away in 1984.

Friends and fans of O’Donnell paid tribute to the versatile and talented man on Don Barrett’s LARadio.Com this week and last. Chuck Southcott -- a true Los Angeles radio legend himself -- summed up O’Donnell’s personality this way: “I found O’Donnell to be one of the most genial, kind and uplifting professionals ever.” Charlie, you will be missed.

Back to the Music

Just the other day I was wondering which station would pull the plug and go to holiday music first in Southern California. We still don’t know, but the first to announce it was KSPA (1510 AM) in the Inland Empire, which said it will make the switch on November 26th.

That day will also mark the end of talk on the station. Once the holiday music ends on December 26th, the KSPA will return to adult standards music under the direction of programmer Jeff Gehringer, who held the same position when they played music the last time.

For those keeping track, talk lasted about 8 months. Yes, I think it is a good idea. No, I didn’t make the decision, so hate emails will do no good ...

Where is KRLA?

I was playing around with my digital television today and noticed that the audio service KRLA -- Kings Rock LA -- is no longer available on low-power Los Angeles television station Channel 8.5. As well, www.kingsrockla is gone. I have an inquiry out to creators Joe Collins and Jay Stevens ... hopefully it’s just a glitch.

This television version of KRLA played music focussing on the 1950s and was a nice treat.


Dr. Laura Schlessenger, who is retiring from her radio show at the end of the year (and apparently becoming a “bad” girl by sporting a new skull tatoo on her shoulder; see it at had her repeat 3-4 PM hour cut from her program on KFWB (980 AM) so that the station could try out some new hosts.

In the hot seat so far: Cooper Lawrence, Les Brown, Leslie Marshall, Marcia Brandwynne and Dr. Rick.

Maybe I should try out. Nah, I’d just ditch the whole talk thing and play music.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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