October 27, 2007

RIP: George Carl

Jay Arnold sends along word that George Carl, considered by many to be the voice of Napa Valley radio, has passed away from leukemia.

Mr. Carl had worked at KVON/1440 and KVYN/99.3 from 1968 to 1996, serving for many years as morning show host, before being moved aside by new ownership. He was also the longtime outdoors columnist for the Napa Valley Register.

Barry Martin, who worked with Mr. Carl at KVON and KVYN, posted this tribute on the Register's website: "I worked with George for many years at the radio stations and as many would attest, we didn't always see eye to eye on how to do things. Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun (one his favorite words) and I learned so much from George about caring about people and caring about the community, being involved and engaged. His passion for the things he loved to do was always inspiring. George always tried to make Napa a better place."

Born and raised in Chicago, Mr. Carl began his radio career while in the Army, and later worked at stations in Chicago and Kalamazoo before arriving in Napa.

A complete obituary appears in the Napa Valley Register.

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October 26, 2007

RIP: Frank Knight

Longtime KCBS/740 news anchor Frank Knight passed away on October 15, following a brave battle with cancer. He was 72 years old.

Born Frank Dale Leber in 1935, he served for 29 years as a newsman at KCBS Newsradio 740, and was an original member of the anchor team when the station switched to all-news in 1968. He had also worked at the pioneering Southern California all-news station, XETRA ("Extra News") in the early 1960s.

According to his son, Lance Leber, he took the air name "Frank Knight" because "it just sounded cool."

An avid collector of radio memorabilia, Frank was widely considered to be a leading expert on classic radio programs, as well as a devoted motion picture enthusiast.

A member of the Broadcast Legends' executive board, Frank spearheaded the Legends' production of "Sam Spade: The One-Hour Caper," which was the centerpiece of the group's Summer luncheon. Frank had previously presented retrospectives on "Gunsmoke," "The Lone Ranger," "Pat Novak For Hire," "I Love A Mystery" and "Calling All Cars" for Broadcast Legends gatherings.

Frank is survived by his wife, Rosemarie Leber, his son, Lance, and step son, Mike, as well as five grandchildren.

A public memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, at the First Congregational Church, 1912 Central Ave., in Alameda.

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October 22, 2007

KFRC Gets "Backstage" With Ben Fong-Torres

Bulking up its weekend bill of fare, Classic Hits KFRC (106.9) is debuting "Backstage," a new two-hour program starring everybody's favorite "Radio Waves" columnist, Ben Fong-Torres.

Ben tells me "I'll recount past interviews and adventures, play some excloo sound bites from my chats with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Paul McCartney and Jim Morrison, come up with themes and sub-themes for each show, toss in some short subjects, and shout 'K-F-R-C!' at every opportunity. Gonna be fun."

"Backstage" runs each Sunday morning from 7 to 9 a.m., and again from 7 to 9 p.m.

"If we do it right, it'll sound pretty much like a KFRC show, only with more music info between records," Ben says. "I'm kicking off with ‘Light My Fire,’ but, before that, I have Ray Manzarek explaining how the intro came into his head — from his classical music lessons as a kid — and with music not usually heard on the station, like ‘Joltin' Joe DiMaggio’ by Les Brown and his orchestra, or ‘Memo from Turner’ by Mick Jagger."

And yes, rest assured that "Radio Waves" will continue under B-FT's able stewardship.

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