“My mom passed away early this morning in Detroit,” began the message posted to Shana Livigni’s Facebook page last weekend by her son Tony. “There is nothing at all to indicate how she passed away; it happened in her sleep.”
Livigni (born Margaret Reichl), who on the air was known only as “Shana,” was a pioneering female in male-dominated top-40 and album-rock radio. She was the first female DJ on top-40 KFRC/San Francisco back in 1974; in 1976 she became the first female DJ to hit the airwaves of top-40 KHJ (930 AM) when programmer Charlie Van Dyke lured her to Southern California.
“She worked overnights,” said Van Dyke on Facebook. “Our shifts crossed every day at 6 a.m.; I loved driving in, listening to her skills on the air. Her first language was German, so her English had a unique quality that you couldn’t nail down. KHJ’s first lady DJ. A lady, indeed.”
After KHJ she moved on to KEZY (now KGBN, 1190 AM) during its AOR years, followed by a year at KROQ (106.7 FM). But it was at KLOS (95.5 FM) where she really made her mark.
She started at KLOS in 1980. But in 1984 she was paired with newsman Chuck Moshontz to replace Frazier Smith in the morning shift, one of the few times -- still -- that a woman hosted a morning show. Interestingly, the same “experiment” was happening at crosstown rival KMET (now KTWV, 94.7 FM) where Cynthia Fox was paired with newsman Pat Kelley. Shana is still fondly remembered for her work -- including a sense of happiness and humor that permeated her shows at KLOS and later KLSX (now KAMP, 97.1 FM), where she stayed until 1995.
She was a writer and editor for Album Network Magazine, taught broadcasting classes at UCLA and Pasadena City College (even hosted at show at KPCC 89.3 FM in 1996 and 1997), worked as a talent coordinator for the syndicated radio program Rockline, did voiceover work and hosted fundraising events. Her last regular on-air shift locally was at KCBS-FM (93.1) in 2005.
She had just recently moved to Michigan to be closer to her family. According to her son Tony, “She was very happy in recent months and living some of the happiest days of her life.”
“I worked with Shana twice, once indirectly and more recently, a lot closer,” Mary Lyon -- another female LA radio pioneer -- told me. “She was already a pioneer, as one of the first women to break into major market rock radio in the mid-70s, at KFRC in San Francisco. I first met her after she arrived in L.A., at what was then the Top-40 powerhouse 93 KHJ-AM, where I handled morning news. She ruled late nights, and thus became a distinguished member of the then-fledgeling L.A. radio sisterhood.
“She later took over morning drive on KLOS -- the first woman to do that. Her face was on every bus billboard in town! I felt so proud of her, because women at the helm in morning drive were rare back then. It was a HUGE accomplishment at that time. “She was funny, too, with her smoky voice and quick wit. Great show - very irreverent, a touch rowdy, add some rock 'n' roll gossip and lots of laughs, plus, she sure knew her music and most of the artists behind it. If you were marooned in morning traffic, she was always terrific company!
“And all the while she was a devoted mom juggling the responsibilities of three kids she adored. Shana eventually became a rock 'n' roll godmother to my son's rock band, ACIDIC, when they were just starting, and she helped guide them on their way to becoming a national touring band. I was so glad to have her as a friend! We all were. I miss her a lot.”
We all do. Services are pending.
Safe and Sound
When word came down last week that Bonneville Broadcasting was going to trade The Sound (KSWD, 100.3 FM) to Entercom in exchange for a cluster of stations in Denver, I assumed the worst.
As of now, however, it seems I was wrong. With the station hitting a high in the ratings and it seeming to be on a roll, it appears that Entercom will let it roll, and no staffing changes or changes in direction are expected. That is good. Entercom assumed operations of The Sound July 13th.
In other news, The Sound was nominated for a Marconi in the category of Rock Station of the Year for the second year in a row ... the only local album rock station to be nominated.
KIIS-FM (102.7 FM) was nominated for Major Market Station of the Year; My FM (KBIG, 104.3 FM) for Adult Contemporary Station of the Year, KKLA (99.5 FM) for Religious Station of the Year, and KIIS-FM’s Ryan Seacrest was nominated for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.
The Marconi Awards are presented by the National Association of Broadcasters and winners will be announced October 1st.