Fong-Torres: Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame Nominees



by Ben Fong-Torres
San Francisco Chronicle

May 25, 2014

Helen Bentley worked at KCBS after a career in TV. Photo: Chron Archive, The Chronicle

It’s that time of year again. That’s right; time to vote for the new class of the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. As usual, there are an overwhelming number of nominees on the ballot – 77 in five categories – and real radio fans will be hard pressed to select just two program hosts (covering DJs and talk show hosts) from 35 mostly worthy contenders.

Although there are fewer nominees than in recent years (there were 91 in 2011), the nominations committee added five broadcasters: Peter Finch, Ed Cavagnaro, Dusty Street, Sean O’Callaghan and Lee Jones.

The official ballot is online at You may vote for two nominees in the host and news categories, one in the others. Several honorees will be selected by the California Historical Radio Society, the Bay Area Radio Museum and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

Deadline for voting is July 15. Here are the nominees:

Program Host

Scott Beach, Tom Benner, Tom Campbell, Bill Collins, Les Crane, Norman Davis, Chris Edwards, John Mack Flanagan, Jack Friday, Sue Hall, Nick Harper, Buddy Hatton, Johnny Holliday, Norm Howard, Larry Ickes, Bob Jones, Michael Krasny, Jack Kulp, Bill Lueth, Johnny Morris, Dianne Nicolini, Sean O’Callaghan, Celeste Perry, Barry Pope, Bob Ray, Ron Reynolds, Dusti Rhodes, Dan Sorkin, Hoyt Smith, Sly Stone, Dusty Street, Ray Taliaferro, Sam Van Zandt, Kim Vestal, Paul Wells.


Helen Bentley, Sam Broadnax, Larry Brownell, Clarence “Clancy” Cassell, Ed Cavagnaro, Peter Cleaveland, Mike Colgan, Gene D’Accardo, Peter Finch, Gil Haar, Herb Kennedy, Frank Knight, Bob Lazich, Dick Leonard, Mike Powell, Knowles Robertson, George Sampson, Jeff Skov, Tony Tremayne.


Ron Barr, Steve Bitker, Ken Dito, Jim Grady, Ken Korach, Kevin “The Rat” Radich, Bob Safford, Rich Walcoff.


Warren Boggess, Jane Dornacker, Ron Fell, Bob Foster, Elma Greer, Lee Jones, Peter Scott.


Harold Camping, Walt Conway, Al Leavitt, Joe Levitt, Dave McKinsey, Lorenzo Milan, Harvey Stone, Jo Anne Wallace.

Giant ratings: It’s the tale of two ball clubs. In the Nielsen Audio ratings for March, the month of spring training, KNBR posted a 3.8 percent share of the audience in the overall ratings (virtually all ages, all hours). Meantime, KGMZ (“The Game”), home to the always amazin’ A’s, didn’t draw enough listeners to crack the top 20. Its 1.2 share has it in 25th place.

The news & info powers, KCBS (6.3) and KQED (5.6), are on top of the Nielsens, trailed by KMEL (4.3), KMVQ (“Now”) at 4.1, KIOI at 4.0, KYLD (“Wild 94.9”) at 3.9 and KISQ (“Kiss 98.1”) knotted with KNBR at 3.8. KBRG and KOIT are tied at 3.5. Looking up at the Top Ten are KLLC (“Alice”), 3.0; KDFC and KOSF (2.9), and KBLX and KSAN (“The Bone”), tied at 2.4. KSAN’s rival, KUFX (“K-Fox”) is right in there at 2.3, closely followed by KFOG (2.2) and, tied at 2.1, KITS (“Live 105”) and KSFO. Former news-talk titan KGO sits in 20th place, none too happily, with a 2.0 share.

R.I.P.: Former students, many of them now prominent broadcasters, gathered in a church in Saratoga recently to salute Ken Blasé, former journalism professor at San Jose State who died in February at 78, after years of heart issues. Blasé was news director at KXRX in San Jose, and, according to Tim Daly (a reporter at KXTV-Sacramento), “focused on teaching authentic broadcasting scenarios which prepared us for the real world of broadcast news.” Among those who learned from Blasé and fellow professor Darla Belshe: Investigative reporter Tony Kovaleski (KNTV); KCBS’ Anna Duckworth, Janice Wright and Jane McMillan; KGO’s Nikke Medoro, John Lobertini and Rob Fisher; KNBR PD Lee Hammer; Mark Nieto of Metro Networks; Kim Vestal of KRTY; Craig Bowers, CBS Radio production director; and Steve Scott, afternoon anchor at WCBS in New York.

Meantime, Top 40 fans who remember Dave Diamond‘s work on KFRC, “The Big 6-10,” are mourning his passing. Diamond, who died on May 6 in Spearfish, S.D., starred at several stations in L.A. in the ’60s. In San Francisco in 1968, working a tight, “Boss Radio” format, he somehow managed to weave pseudo-psychedelic elocutions into his show – like, “You can see the tree baking a cake as soon as the magnesium toothpaste journeys to the center of the golf ball …” Mad Libs meets acid. It was in tune with the times, and it made for entertaining radio. (You can hear more of “The Diamond” at Soundcloud. Search his name, KFRC and 1968.)

Turnabout: Michael Krasny will be interviewed by his boss – KQED President John Boland – onstage next week, to celebrate Krasny’s 20 years as host of “Forum.” Krasny, who’s also a professor of English at S.F. State University, came to KQED (88.5 FM) from KGO. He and Boland will chat at the Nourse Theater on June 5 at 7 p.m. For ticket info, call the City Box Office, (415) 392-4400.

Faith, Cope & charity: Brian Copeland, comedian, playwright and weekend KGO host, will perform his one-man show, “Not a Genuine Black Man,” this Friday to benefit Friends of Faith. The organization, named for the late KTVU reporter Faith Fancher, provides information and financial resources in the fight against breast cancer. Copeland’s memoirs about his childhood in the all-white San Leandro of the early ’70s will be performed at the Berkeley Rep’s Black Box Theater. For info about tickets and a VIP reception with Copeland, go toww*************@ev********.com/">http://ww*************@ev********.com.

Jive talkin’: I will be moderating a panel of KSAN alumni at the Broadcast Legends luncheon June 5 at Spenger’s in Berkeley. The free-form era of that station is being honored by the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, and Norman Davis, Terry McGovern, Wes “Scoop” Nisker andBonnie Simmons will tell any stories they can remember. For ticket info, go to www.Broadcast As for the KSAN-themed fundraising concert the night before, at Yoshi’s on Fillmore, Sal Valentino and Annie Sampson have joined the lineup of Big Brother, Country Joe, Lydia Pense (Cold Blood), Rick Stevens (Tower of Power), and a high-flying band that can’t be mentioned for contractual reasons. For tickets, check

Ben Fong-Torres is a freelance writer. E-mail: sa********@sf*********.com…..d-5499777.php#page-1


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