The Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters celebrated the careers of two distinguished local legends at their luncheon last week at the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City.
Radio and television star Wink Martindale was inducted into the organization's Diamond Circle, a prestigious honor for a member who has made a significant contribution to broadcasting; while KRTH (101.1 FM) afternoon drive personality “Shotgun” Tom Kelly received the Art Gilmore Lifetime Achievement Award ... and a tribute that often ventured into the area of a roast.
Martindale grew up listening to radio’s Golden Age shows including Gene Autry’s “Melody Ranch.” His first radio job was at a 250-watt station run by his Sunday school teacher; soon he was on WHBQ/Memphis and eventually Los Angeles at KHJ (930 AM), the original KRLA (now KDIS, 1110 AM), KFWB (980 AM), KGIL (now KMZT, 1260 AM) and his radio dream job working for the Singing Cowboy himself, the original KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM) -- owned at the time by Gene Autry.
Martindale is also famous for his work in television, most notably as host of game shows such as “Tic Tac Dough” where his infectious smile and positive attitude was given national exposure. Martindale is one of the most upbeat people I know, and he lives by his personal mantra of always making a positive influence on everyone he meets.
Kelly is similarly positive and like Martindale, everyone he meets is a friend. He loves radio. Loves it, and loves entertaining his fieneds ... and has since his mom sent him down to a local store to see a live remote broadcast.
I listened to him when he made it to San Diego on KGB, KCBQ and B-100 (KFMB-FM), the first FM station in San Diego to hit number one in the ratings. On television he won awards for the kid’s game show “Words-a-Poppin’” and numerous other local programs.
In 1997 he moved to Los Angeles to take over the afternoon drive slot replacing -- “succeeded,” Kelly insists, as “no one replaces” -- “The Real” Don Steele, who passed away from lung cancer.
On the dais honoring Kelly were television’s Harold Green, “Natural” Neil Ross, Kerri Kasem, Robert David Hall, PPB President “Commander” Chuck Street, KRTH morning man Gary Bryan, Lou Waters, former boss Jhani Kaye (who also produced a video of Kelly’s broadcast life), PPB Chairman of the Board Jeanne DeVivier Brown and KFI evening funny man Tim Conway, Jr ... all of whom donned official Shotgun Tom hats -- albeit only briefly -- to make him feel more at home. Or to mock him ... whichever.
Membership in the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters is open to anyone with 20 years experience in radio, television, or a related field of entertainment, and for a limited time they are waiving the initiation fee of $50. For reasons unknown, even I quality for membership ... if you or someone you know does as well, head over to PacificPioneerBroadcasters.Com and click on “membership.”
Adult Standards on HD
Just last week I mentioned that adult standards music should be one of the formats on HD Radio ... and now it is. Saul Levine’s Mount Wilson Broadcasters announced March 26 that standards have returned to Los Angeles via digital radio on 105.1 HD3. Called “Unforgettable,” you need an HD Radio to receive it -- internet access is coming soon -- or you can hear it via a smartphone app such as StreamS or TuneIn.