If you are wondering where “Shotgun” Tom Kelly has gone, you’ll have to visit the hospital. The popular KRTH (101.1 FM) afternoon jock had recently gone in for a routine physical, when his doctors found some blockage in his arteries. On March 8th he underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery and is resting comfortably as he recovers from the procedure. He is expected to be back on the air within another week or so, and is apparently very anxious to do so.
A great radio talent, Kelly received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year. In a future column, I plan to show you a side of Kelly that few outside of his close friends know ... stay tuned.
The last few weeks are turing out to be a tough time for fans of some Los Angeles radio legends.
Geoff Edwards, once heard on KHJ (930 AM), KFI (640 AM) and the original KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM) passed away March 5th at the age of 83, due to complications from pneumonia.
Known also for his talents as host of various television game shows including “Jackpot” in the early 1970s, Edwards began his broadcast career on the radio airwaves of WOKO/Albany, New York. He later made his way to KFMB/San Diego (760 AM).
On November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Edwards was preparing to move up to Los Angeles’ KHJ where he would become program director; instead of making that trip he took a detour to Dallas where he reported on the assassination for KHJ and the Mutual Broadcasting Network of which KHJ was an affiliate. By luck or chance, it was Edwards who reached the single payphone in the Dallas police department garage where Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspect in Kennedy’s killing. KHJ and Mutual were the first to get the news.
When KHJ became top-40 in 1965, Edwards moved to KFI, then KMPC where he remained until 1979. He returned to KFI in 1987, leaving in protest over afternoon drive host Tom Leykis’ decision to destroy Cat Stevens records when Stevens, by then known as Yusef Islam, called for the death of author Salman Rushdie for blasphemy. Edwards was replaced by Rush Limbaugh.
Jim Lange, best known for introducing potential couples to each other on television’s “The Dating Game,” passed away February 25th from a heart attack. He was 81.
Like Edwards, Lange was an alumnus of KMPC ... twice: 1971-1971 and 1984-1989. He also found himself in the Bay Area at KSFO and KGO, both of San Francisco, and KKSJ/San Jose. Always a gentleman -- one of his nicknames is Gentleman Jim -- he was superb as host of “The Dating Game,” a somewhat cheesy but immensely fun show created by the king of cheesy game shows, Chuck Barris.
I can still hear him say, “...and h-e-r-e they are” as he introduced the three potential suitors to the studio audience as a young man or woman prepared to ask such probing questions as “if you were a superhero, who would you be and why?”
Johnnie (John) Darin, veteran of such popular stations as the original KRLA (now KDIS, 1110 AM), the original KDAY (now KBLA, 1580 AM), KROQ-AM (1500 AM, now long gone) KFWB (980 AM), and many, many more, found out just recently that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Don Barrett wrote about him in the March 7th edition of LARadio.Com. Darin passed away March 9th at the age of 74.
According to Barrett, Darin had celebrated his birthday and New Years Eve January 31st and began experiencing severe pain. An MRI was done and the cancer was found. Friends said that even though he was on morphine he was still taking calls and having coherent conversations for short periods of time right until his death.