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Airwaves: September 23, 2011

Not Worthy

Having written this column since 1987, I qualify to join the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters under the rule that allows admission once you reach 20 years in broadcasting or a related field. Covering radio for the newspaper is close enough to a related field.

But as I sat among and talked with broadcasting legends at the PPB’s monthly banquet honoring Los Angeles Radio People on September 16th, I sure didn’t feel qualified. On stage at the head table -- the dais -- were honorees Bill Handel, Keri Tombazian, Charlie Tuna, Mark Wallengren, Bob Eubanks, Wink Martindale and “Sweet Dick” Whittington, along with program host and former PPB President Chuck Southcott, current PPB President Sam Lovullo, and Entertainment Chair Jeanne DeVivier Brown.

In the audience was television game host, developer and producer Monty Hall, presented with the Diamond Circle Award, “Shotgun” Tom Kelly (one of my favorite personalities of all time since I first heard him on KCBQ/San Diego), and so many other radio and television legends I could not even begin to name them all.

So many of my radio heroes and more all in one room. “Humbled” is not quite the right word, nor is “awestruck.” But as someone who grew up loving radio and who knows the tremendous talent that so many radio and television personalities and behind-scenes people have, “honored” doesn’t quite do justice either.

The afternoon was a fabulous celebration of radio, which often does not get the credit it deserves. Former KRLA jock Eubanks, who made ABC television’s The Newlywed Game the huge longrunning hit that it was, made mention of it when he discussed how so many television game show and talk show stars of the past started out in radio as did he.

All of the speakers were excellent, and all gave glimpses into their world that most listeners (and viewers) never hear. Hall told of being locked out of the studio after a break while the production of one of his early programs went on inside ... without him; Tuna told of being convinced by KHJ programmer Ron Jacobs to stay overnight after his hiring interviews because Jacobs felt he looked tired ... later finding out that the flight he would have taken back to Boston suffered a tragic accident.

I don’t know if I was surprised when Martindale told me that he reads my column, but it did make me realize ... I better do a good job ... I can’t let my radio (and television) legends down ...

Do you or anyone you know quality to join? The PPB is waiving the registration fee for a limited time.

Goodbye LARadio

For more than 15 years, Don Barrett’s LARadio.Com has been the meeting place for radio geeks, personalities, programmers management and more. Started as a simple website to help promote his self-published books, Los Angeles Radio People (Volumes One and Two) it quickly evolved into an online must-read that helped unite radio fans and created a common area for a network of people who shared a common interest -- radio. For 15 years it kept us together through good times and bad with news -- mostly positive and uplifting -- about the industry and more importantly, the people. In front of the microphones and behind.

Unless something drastic happens -- support from an unknown millionaire, for example, the site will shut down September 24th. It is unknown what will happen with long-term subscriptions, some of which are paid up through June, 2012 ... personally I hope that an email delivery of his daily column will continue. Not that I am holding out hope, but, well, I guess I am. For his part, Barrett says that he had a good run and that it is simply time to move on.

I feel like I am losing a friend, but perhaps something good will come of it. Will someone else step up to the plate and try to carry what Barrett created? For those of you who often visited LARadio.Com ... what are your thoughts?

To you, Don: Thank you. You truly are the Dean of Los Angeles Radio People.


Copyright © 2011 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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