It seems I am writing too many obituaries lately. Just after the news of the loss of veteran newsman Lee Marshall (and voice of Tony the Tiger) along with the man who brought talk radio to Los Angeles via KABC, Ben Hoberman, word comes of two more deaths.
One of the few remaining Boss Jocks from KHJ’s (930 AM) top-40 days passed away last week ... just a week after Boss Radio’s 49th anniversary date of April 27, 1965. Dave Diamond was the second jock to take to the KHJ airwaves at 6 PM that day, following the Real Don Steele; he passed away on May 6 after being hospitalized for pneumonia.
He didn’t last long at KHJ, as he decided to move over to then-new KBLA (later KROQ (AM), at 1500 AM but now off the air) where the format was a little looser and he could play some album cuts. His other local radio gigs included shifts on KFWB (980 AM), the original KRLA (now KDIS, 1110 AM), KIIS (1150 AM) and KFI (640 AM).
His musical roots are strong ... Don Barrett of LARadio.Com tells that among other things, he published Strawberry Alarm Clock’s Incense and Peppermint, a #1 hit in 1967. Even bigger, he is credited in the book Can’t Get Out of Here Alive as the founder of The Doors. His work on KRLA was during the station’s attempt at playing more album cuts ... music was obviously a big part of Diamond’s life, and The Diamond Mine, as heard on some of his stations, showcased that love.
Wild Bill Scott was a DJ and programmer who was part of KROQ (106.7 FM) in 1984, leaving in 1985 to be part of the new Pure Rock format on KNAC (now KBUE, 105.5 FM). Most recently he had been a consultant for DSN Radio, founded in 2005 and based in Arizona as part of the Digital Syndicate Network (www.facebook.com/DsnRadio).
Scott became known in radio circles nationally when he launched the Z-Rock format for the ABC Radio Networks in 1986. The syndicated format was nominated for a Billboard Award in 1990, the first and only time for a full-time heavy metal format. It lasted until 1996 after changes in direction spelled its demise.
Scott’s death is related to a stroke he had recently, and he passed away May 2nd in Auburn, California.
The Search ...
The search is on for a new programmer over at KRTH (101.1 FM) and KTWV (94.7 FM). One name that came up and that I personally think would be a good choice: Mike Wagner, former programmer of the original KRLA.
What makes Wagner such a good choice? He knows radio better than most, he knows LA and Orange County better than most, he actually beat KRTH when he programmed KRLA and they were in direct competition (especially remarkable considering that KRLA was on the AM band), and he knows how to bring out the best of his on-air staff. He’s also a darn good on-air jock.
The only problem? He moved out of state, retired from radio, and most likely wouldn’t do it.
It would be nice to see another local boy get the job, though. Someone who grew up here and knows radio. I’ll still lobby Wagner, but if he refuses, who would you suggest? Is Chuck Martin -- the last successful programmer of KHJ, formerly sister to KRTH and the station KRTH’s format is based on -- interested? He, too knows Southern California radio better than most.