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Chris Roberts in 1982 during his time at KFI/KOST. (Photo credit: Bryan Simmons)
Chris Roberts in 1982 during his time at KFI/KOST. (Photo credit: Bryan Simmons)

You’ve probably read that longtime UCLA Bruins men’s football, basketball, and baseball announcer Chris Roberts passed away May 12th at the age of 74 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

This paper had one of the best looks back on his career that I’ve seen, focusing not only on his work with the Bruins but also his radio career beginning in Victorville, as well as his stops in San Bernardino where he worked with Jhani Kaye among others … I mention Kaye because the two would work together again from 1981 to 1992 at KFI (640 AM) and KOST (103.5 FM) when Kaye was the program director of the stations.

During the KFI/KOST days, Roberts eventually became sports director, but it didn’t start that way, exactly. He was actually first working the overnight shift on KOST, and would prepare a sports report for the KFI morning show. You may remember the tagline that every sportscast ended with: “Chris Roberts, Athletic Briefs.”

I first heard of Roberts’ death from a Facebook post by Kaye. “My best friend in broadcasting, Chris Roberts, passed away this morning,” Kaye wrote. “He was my pal. I admired him for the way he rose to become one of the most respected voices of UCLA sports broadcasters.”

I have never heard an unkind word about Roberts; this is a huge loss to both the radio industry and the sports world.

Likes and Dislikes

It actually started as a response to a column by InsideMusicMedia.Com’s Jerry Del Colliano, who wrote of Top Listener Gripes on April 28th. I still haven’t written about his gripes because I wanted to hear of yours first. But I also wanted to know what you love about radio as well. Here’s what you think, positive and negative, in no particular order … Jerry can wait.

“I listen to Mottek On Money from as a podcast. I don’t know if this would fall under your question, but they interject commercial ads mid-sentence during the podcast. I find this very annoying … I don’t know if this is a Mottek or Cumulus thing.  No other podcasts I listen to does this mid-sentence advertising. — Steve Lui

“The morning DJs turn me off. It’s the same format almost everywhere you turn. I like some introductions but not the stupid banter now. But, I am not in their market group being 58 as of a short time ago.” — Erik Hassold

(Program note: Happy birthday!)

“I hate the annoying, ‘This has been previously recorded’ preamble before an ad for a radio show, as if the general listener isn’t smart enough to realize it’s an ad. I’m sure it’s an FCC thing, but annoying nonetheless.” — Cody Lyons

“The playlists are all the same songs OVER AND OVER AND OVER. There’s no creativity or imagination. And it doesn’t matter if the station is ‘alt’ or ‘oldies’ … it’s all the same stuff. It’s actually dumb that 98.7 and 106.7 categorize themselves as alternative. Those stations don’t know what that means anymore. What do I enjoy? Klein and Ally in the morning on KROQ, a very talented and underrated show that deserves more listeners. I was a huge Kevin and Bean fan for years and this show is different, but equally as entertaining.”  — Marc Levine

“BAD: Same songs over and over. OK, so your research says it’s best to stick to the superstars – I get it. But Journey, Elton John, Rolling Stones, Heart etc. have more than a half dozen hits in their catalog.  By just doubling the number of songs played by the popular artists the stations would increase their interest from me.

“If you’re a political-leaning talk show, fine. If you’re not, please don’t say anything political. I have even heard political issues discussed on local 88.5 fm – disguised as songwriting information from local artists.

“GOOD: Variety. Stations can stick to their format and still have more variety. Like my point above, include more songs from the favored artists. Include more artists, and that doesn’t mean they have to gamble with ‘lesser’ names – there are enough established artists in each category to expand. And what about including some live tracks of the hits? I love when stations do that.

“Disc jockeys. There’s a place for music-only stations with no DJs, but a few more DJ-led stations would provide more personal connection to us listeners.  And it doesn’t have to include long comedy segments or listener calls – just some connection.

“Don’t know how to title this: DJ emotions. This might seem hokey. These days it seems like most DJs and their interaction with listeners is either distant or factual. In my day, I’m your age, they seemed a lot more emotional, you know, like, Hey, it’s Friday school’s out – party time (cut directly to party anthem song) – or “hump day.” Contrived? Maybe … maybe not. But they and the music helped steer our emotions, usually for the better. They talked to us and with us and took our thoughts away from everyday life. I don’t think life’s just a party, but I think radio – like sports, entertainment, the movies – are to help us temporarily escape from things like work and other responsibilities. — Darren

To be continued …

Richard Wagoner is a San Pedro freelance columnist covering radio in Southern California. Email