Michael Stark, owner of the LA Radio Studio located at Ports ‘O Call in San Pedro, broke the sad news last Sunday: legendary broadcaster and newsman Lee Marshall passed away April 27th at the age of 67.
Very little is known about the cause of death; one post on Marshall’s own Facebook page, along with information tweeted by LARadio.Com’s Don Barrett mentioned esophageal cancer, but at press time that was not confirmed.
Most people across the United States know Marshall’s voice as that of Tony the Tiger, the cartoon spokesman for Kellog’s Frosted Flakes cereal; Marshall has been the voice of Tony since 1995 when previous Tony voice Thurl Ravenscroft passed away.
But fans know him as one of the best voices ever to grace the radio airwaves. Some call his the Voice of God, with an amazing bass depth that would make a subwoofer rumble. He hit the LA airwaves in 1970 on KHJ (930 AM) and over the years covered news for the original KDAY (now KBLA, 1580 AM), KABC (790 AM), and during the station’s short time of running financial news, KBLA. In San Diego he was with KCBQ (1070 AM); more recently he was with The Boomer, KVEN/Ventura.
But he came to Southern California a seasoned veteran, having worked at top stations such as KRIZ/Phoenix, CKLW/Ontario.
In addition to his radio and commercial work, Marshall was part of professional wrestling as the play by play voice of the American Wrestling Association along with other wrestling associations and organizations.
Just a short time ago, Stark and I met Marshall for an interesting career-spanning interview for a weekly podcast called LA Radio Sessions at the LA Radio Studios. You can hear it at http://tinyurl.com/LARSMarshall. In it, Marshall gives not only his own history (and recordings of his work), he gives his opinion of modern radio ... including a very positive outlook on the medium that others -- including myself -- have a tendency to put down due to corporate bloodletting.
It has been joked that if God needed someone to do a speech, he’d call on Marshall. It appears he did. Lee, thank you for all your work over the years. Your talent and voice -- along with your positive attitude -- will be missed here on earth.
Wonder how Rush Limbaugh is doing over at KEIB (1150 AM)? Good and bad, depending on how you look. In listeners aged 6 and over, Limbaugh earned a 1.4 share of the audience during his 9 am to 12 noon shift. Sounds bad, but overall, the station has a 0.5. And the station had a 0.2 share during his shift back when it was a liberal talker. In the more marketable age demographic of 25-54, Limbaugh’s shift is 0.5 compared with 0.3 for the station as a whole and 0.1 back under liberal talk.
Commercial sets on your favorite station seem too long? I’ve thought so for years, and I feel that long commercial breaks not only drive away listeners, they also make each commercial worth less to an advertiser. It appears I am not alone, and Pandora is the driving force. According to Edison Research, Pandora listeners especially are more likely to prefer short breaks more often compared with fewer but longer breaks. Like early KHJ circa 1965, Pandora has short breaks as often as every three songs. Is it time for the elements of Boss Radio to make a comeback?