Saturday, April 08, 2006

LA's top ten

First off I must share a great line I heard from my fabulous writer friend, Treva Silverman.

“What a strange few days it's been. Bush is guilty and Judas isn't.”

Now to today’s post. It’s somewhat geared locally to Los Angeles but a lot of the names should be familiar to everyone. I was asked by the Los Angeles Radio People website (see my links section) to list my picks for the top ten LA radio personalities over the last fifteen years. The piece ran Friday on LARP and I thought I’d share it here.

1. Renan Almendarez-Coelo (El Cucuy) – It’s hard to say just what it is about him that is so great because I’ve never heard him. I don’t speak Spanish. But he must be doing something right. Everywhere he goes he gets runaway number one ratings regardless of station or timeslot. Maybe translated into English we’d discover he’s really doing Dr. Laura's act.

2. Bill Handel – You have to love a morning man with no censor. He’s been on the air for years and yet every morning sounds like it’s his first show. In other words, he sounds like a real guy and not a “radio” announcer. And he rules the mornings.

3. Howard Stern – It pains me to put him so high up because he wasn’t local, but there’s no denying his impact, innovation, and consistency. Too bad that today he’s on satellite and the weekend all-night guy on the WAVE has a larger audience.

4. Vin Scully – He would’ve been higher but he only simulcasts three innings on the radio these days. But if there were an all-time list of LA radio personalities he would be number one for now and evermore. There are some records that will never be broken.

5. Phil Hendrie – Has created the most unique and entertaining talk show since the format began. And he proves each and every night that there will never be a shortage of utter morons out there in radioland.

6. Kevin & Bean – Best, funniest, most original morning show in Los Angeles. And they’re local. (Well, at least one of them is). Extra points for discovering Jimmy Kimmell, Adam Carolla, and the best of all – Ralph Garman.

7. John & Ken – They do the impossible – make an issues oriented show compelling. And they’re always in the news getting sued so you have to admire their show prep.

8. Robert W. Morgan – Even though he’s been gone ten of the last fifteen years his impact is so great that KRTH still has been unable to replace him, despite try after try. Morgan was the perfect morning man – quick, topical, funny, warm, real, and so relatable. Never did I hear him when he wasn’t talking just to me.

9. Tom Leykis – Yes, he’s the current president of the “Hee Man Woman Haters Club” but you have to admit he’s a superb showman. It’s talk radio as theatre and no one does it better. Or louder.

10. Ryan Seacrest – He’s host of AMERICAN IDOL and fifteen E! shows and yet he wants to get up at 4:00 every morning to be on local radio. He must either really love radio, or be so desperate for acceptance that it’s pathetic. Replaced Rick Dees without losing a listener which says to me that either he’s the real deal or all those years the ratings weren’t for Dees they were for Ellen K.


Unknown said...

Definitely with you with Kevin and Bean. Ralph is a genius on that show too. On one hand I hope he makes it big some day, like Kimmel and Carolla, but now I can't imagine the show without him. Those dudes are what led me to fall in love with radio.

ChrisO said...

I lived in LA for 10 years, and I was a huge Kevin & Bean fan. I was listening during the Kimmel and Carolla years (Mr. Bertram is one of the great radio characters.)

I've been gone for seven years, so I've never heard Ralph Garman, but my curiosity is piqued. Now I'm going to have to look around and see if I can find them on the web.

Is Phil Hendrie the guy who does the fake call-in show? There was a guy on the AM dial in the evening who had a hilarious show, and no matter how long it was on people wouldn't figure out that it was fake. Is that Hendrie, or am I thinking of someone else?

Mary Stella said...

Will Ryan Seacrest ever release a song that rivals Disco Duck? *g*

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Phil Hendrie supposed to be doing a sitcom at some point? He is my favorite. I'm amazed that there are listeners who fall for his broadcasts. He's gotten so much attention in the LA area. Where have these people been?

Scoopy said...

I too love Kevin and Bean, and especially Ralph Garman. Somebody give Ralph lots of money. He deserves it for the Jerry Lewis incident if nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Hendrie is a regular on Teachers on NBC.


Hendrie is our Jonathan Winters who 'ets up all his...whatever, it works.
I used to call him from Tampa when he was based out of Miami in the early ninties. He'd be doing 2 characters and I'd be a third, spinning tall tales of surfing Guantanamo Bay, past the floating mines, during a hurricane.
Liars Club stuff.
I did L.A. from 1983 - 1991
Rodney on the Rock
Those guys from Jumbo's Clown Room at the bottom of the dial, not Pacifica. They quit in a huff when their show was bumped an hour or two due to the modern radio dramas being recorded in overtime.
And that radio yarn-spinner a la Keillor but sir-fuckin'real, man, alive.
"KJLH. Yeah, we are you. At work. At play. At whatever you do."