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Last September, radio station KFWB/980 AM in Los Angeles flipped from a news to a news-talk format. Former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's talk show was slotted in and hyped for the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m important drive time. Hedgecock was also chosen to contribute frequently in the 6 to 9 a.m. slot. Today (Jan. 11), Hedgecock was off the air. It was reported Friday in the Orange County Register. It's the first major change for the station's new format. "I said in the beginning I wasn't sure if Roger Hedgecock would work, but we gave it a try and it never gained any traction," said Ed Krampf, senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio Los Angeles. Hedgecock has a syndicated talk show and is still on KOGO-AM in San Diego.

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Comments

Ken Harrison Jan. 11, 2010 @ 9:46 p.m.

As good as Roger may be, no one can compete with the PM drive team of John & Ken on KFI AM 640. Rogers' syndicators should never have tried to place him the 2nd largest market, on what could become a powerhouse talk station. They could never get ratings there. They would have done better to place him on two or three fringe stations, like in San Bernardino, Oxnard, or Victorville. John & Ken have cumulative audience of over 1,000,000 listeners per week. In the huge L.A. Metro area, more people hear J&K's views on topics, than read the L.A. Times. J&K are now simulcast on a Bay area station as well, since a lot of their issues are statewide. I believe their game plan is to add more CA stations along the way and they'll become the driving force in upcoming state elections and ballot issues, since the people no longer trust the main stream media. They've already been credited with the huge defeat of Prop. 1A last year. And no politician can ignore their audience when they are called to action.

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Burwell Jan. 11, 2010 @ 10:29 p.m.

As good as Roger may be, no one can compete with the PM drive team of John & Ken on KFI AM 640.

When Roger's show went national I lost interest in listening, and switched to John & Ken on KFI AM 640. KFI's signal is San Diego is very high. Roger's show was interesting when it covered local topics, but his attempt to ape Rush Limbaugh's show by going national and removing local content has been a miserable failure. Roger doesn't have the heft or weight to host a national show. His radio voice is marginal at best. I predict his national show will fold shortly, KOGO-AM will drop him, and he will be forced to find another radio station in San Diego to host his show. He will also take a severe cut in pay.

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paul Jan. 11, 2010 @ 10:56 p.m.

"When Roger's show went national I lost interest in listening, and switched to John & Ken on KFI AM 640"

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I totally agree. Whether I agreed with him or not (and I found myself agreeing with his opinions less and less) he had excellent local knowledge and contacts. He brought interesting people together to talk about topics important to San Diego. I found he had nothing to add to national topics and haven't listened to him since the switch. I don't think he can now even recapture what he had going on locally. He made himself irrelevant.

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 11, 2010 @ 11:17 p.m.

As good as Roger may be, no one can compete with the PM drive team of John & Ken on KFI AM 640

I remember when KFI had Tom Leykis in that time slot (and before him was Dr Laura from noon to 3). Leykis was a nut case-the Gerry Springer of afternoon talk radio-but amusing to some degree. That was some time agao, 80's.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:20 a.m.

Response to post #1: Another factor is radio itself. It is sinking, although not as fast as daily newspapers. Clear Channel, Mr. Big, has problems, and has had for several years. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:24 a.m.

Response to post #2: Hedgecock may have made a mistake syndicating. His local show was getting good ratings for years. Dealing with local issues seemed to be his strong suit. We'll have to see how this plays out. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:26 a.m.

Response to post #3: Sounds like a kind of Peter Principle -- a person rising to his level of incompetence. I would have to do more homework before I declared that the syndication attempt has been a failure. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:28 a.m.

Response to post #4: Yeah, but nut cases do well on radio. Best, Don Bauder

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Ken Harrison Jan. 12, 2010 @ 8:11 a.m.

Response to #4 - I too have been listening to KFI since Tom L. Remember when KFI didn't have clue what to do when they lost Tom L. and J&K (the first time) Chief Gates, and Corral & Andrew? GIve me a break. I "discovered" KFI in 1988 coming home from Merced in the middle of the night. They were replaying Tom's afternoon show. It was the only signal I could keep from Merced to San Diego. As a former radio guy, I'm old enough to remember the 70s & 80s Dave Dawson on KSDO. He was SD's first real talk host that actually talked about issues, rather than softballs like past hosts. Except for Pat Michaels, who was on late night in the mid 60s on KCBQ. He was a Morton Downey Jr.-type guy.

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paul Jan. 12, 2010 @ 8:53 a.m.

Don said: "Another factor is radio itself. It is sinking, although not as fast as daily newspapers."

At least radio has a captive audience for commute times. There is competition from satellite, but that is still basically radio competing with itself. Its a bit like TV, where viewership is still high but the channels are diluted, as opposed to newspapers, where readership itself has dropped and gone to other types of media.

Personally I am annoyed with the amount of syndication in radio and would be in favor of the FCC requiring a higher amount of local content. It seems highly appropriate that a large percentage of content should be sourced within the radio signal footprint itself as a requirement to hold a license. One of my favorite parts of traveling the country by car used to be listening to all the different local radio stations and getting a flavor of where I was. Now when I take a trip it seems I mostly find nationally syndicated blowhards.

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Visduh Jan. 12, 2010 @ 9:16 a.m.

Posters who think that Roger was better with local topics are probably right. How many of these hosts can radio support when they all talk about the exact same things every day? More recently, Roger has gotten sloppy on air. He often sounds as if he's distracted by something he's reading, watching, or hearing on his headphones, and frequently misspeaks. Either that, or he is searching for words, but that seems unlikely given his penchant for having an answer for everything with little hesitation. He ought to get back to his roots. Back when he did those things, he and Don Bauder often agreed on local issues, surprising as it seems.

Personally, I cannot fathom the popularity of John and Ken on KFI. They rant and rave, interrupt "guests", and generally just irritate me without making any real point. Guess we all have our tastes.

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Russ Lewis Jan. 12, 2010 @ 11:08 a.m.

(#9) CA Comedy, I suppose you can recite the following by heart: "235-4411, KCBQ, Pat Michaels." And I suppose you remember "I Hate Pat Michaels." A clever promotion, now that I think about it.

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 12, 2010 @ 11:10 a.m.

Personally, I cannot fathom the popularity of John and Ken on KFI. They rant and rave, interrupt "guests", and generally just irritate me without making any real point

I have never heard, not once, John and Ken.... but this is EXACTLY what Tom Leykis did back in the late 80's on KFI. He was fired, and has reinvented his radio show a few times since the KFI daus in the 80s, where he did current events and politics-now he does a show centered around men and their relationshsips with women-but I have never listened to him once he left KFI. I have not listened to KFI since Leykis left.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 1:35 p.m.

Response to post #9: I'm old enough to remember when the major radio stations had news reporters who had beats and covered San Diego events. That was decades ago. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 1:37 p.m.

Response to post #10: I agree that increasingly, radio lacks local coverage. I think the stations turn to the syndicated blowhards because they don't have the funds to keep local talent around. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 1:41 p.m.

Response to post #11: Roger and I may have agreed on some local issues. I didn't hear him enough to know. (We certainly didn't agree on subsidizing the Padres and Chargers! He was for it.) But I can only remember being on Roger's show twice. And one time it was hosted by Jimmy Valentine, Roger's former assistant. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 1:43 p.m.

Response to post #12: If CA Comedy can't recite it, Russl sure can. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 1:48 p.m.

Response to post #13: I was a regular on the show of the late Bill Ballance. His main gig was relationships -- men and women, boys and girls, their love life problems. He was a master at getting responses out of callers and ad libbing on his own. But Bill also knew politics and current events. I actually think he enjoyed such shows more than he enjoyed the sexual banter. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd Jan. 12, 2010 @ 2:25 p.m.

Bill Ballance - Wasn't he the guy that had an affair with Dr. Laura and sold her nudes that were posted all over the internet?

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paul Jan. 12, 2010 @ 3:26 p.m.

Don said "(We certainly didn't agree on subsidizing the Padres and Chargers! He was for it.)"

I recall Hedgecock being rather negative on Petco at first, before flipping and becoming a cheerleader. Who knows what exactly happened behind the scenes to cause him to flip, but I do know that he opened a restaurant in the Gas lamp not long after. Either way, after that I didn't think much of his personal opinion on local matters.

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Visduh Jan. 12, 2010 @ 4:48 p.m.

As I remember things, Hedgecock had that restaurant long before anyone was talking about a downtown ballpark, and had probably closed it or sold his interest in it by that time. But you are right that he didn't think much of the ballpark at first, then became a cheerleader for it. Someone probably bought him off, or the station told him to back it or lose his time slot. To his credit, he has no high regard for Dumanis, and not much for Sanders. One thing you can count on is Roger opposing overpaying municipal employees and then giving them huge pensions starting at age 50. (Maybe he's jealous that HE didn't get one of those pensions.)

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 12, 2010 @ 5:19 p.m.

One thing you can count on is Roger opposing overpaying municipal employees and then giving them huge pensions starting at age 50. (Maybe he's jealous that HE didn't get one of those pensions.)

Pretty much everyone I see posting these days-including most muni employees who are NOT public safety- have come around and are against giving away the farm to the FD and PD with the 3%@50 scam.

The non public safety employees are changing their tune b/c they know that this scam is giving ALL public employees a bad rap, and they are going to lose their better than average pensions if change is not made.

LAPD and LAFD do NOT offer 3%@50, they offer 2.7%@55 and they have had NO problem recruiting, filling and retaining these employees. So it is pretty clear the 3%@50 is not a tool to recruit, but a gift of public funds-funded almost entirely by taxpayers.

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:42 p.m.

Response to post #19: Yes, Billo made Laura Schlesinger -- in two senses. I wrote a story about the whole thing in the Reader in 2003 or 2004. Should be easy to find. While Billo was doing a talk show in L.A., Schlesinger, then a nobody, called in. He was fascinated with her voice and demeanor and had his assistant get her phone number. They met for lunch and pretty soon (that day, as I recall) were involved in an intense sexual relationship -- so intense that he photographed her in the nude in many poses. He made her in the second sense -- Pygmalion-like. He taught her the talk show business. She became famous. She held a luncheon in LA with present and former talk show hosts. Billo got short shrift. He also got revenge: he sold those nude photos to an Internet site for a pretty penny: $65,000 comes to mind, but that might be wrong. Again, go to Search and you should easily find my Reader story. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:47 p.m.

Response to post #20: What happened was that John Coleman, now the weather guy at KUSI, had a radio talk show. The subject was the 60,000 seat guarantee for the Chargers, along with the rehab of what is now Qualcomm Stadium. Coleman had doubts. Hedgecock initially opposed it, but was offered Coleman's slot -- a juicier one. The hitch was that Hedgecock had to switch positions. (Radio station managements don't oppose the establishment.) Switching was no problem for Hedgecock. He got the more remunerative slot and then led cheers for both the Chargers and Padres scams. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:51 p.m.

Response to post #24: The story of how Hedgecock suddenly switched position on the rehab of what is now Qualcomm Stadium is above in post #24. I don't recall whether Hedgecock had that restaurant during the time of the Petco scam, which really got underway in 1997. The vote was in 1998. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:53 p.m.

Response to post #22: The fire and police unions are a potent political force in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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paul Jan. 12, 2010 @ 7:58 p.m.

"As I remember things, Hedgecock had that restaurant long before anyone was talking about a downtown ballpark, and had probably closed it or sold his interest in it by that time"

================================================================

I don't know when he bought the restaurant, but I have a vivid recollection (which may be entirely different than an accurate one!) of him announcing his new restaurant on his show, and having an "aha" moment because it suddenly made sense why he had so obviously flipped his position.

I do know (because I found a reference) that he sold his interest sometime around September 2002, which was 2-1/2years into the actual construction but before it opened in April of 2004. The campaign for Prop C started in 1997 and went through the election in November 1998, so a solid 4-5 years before he sold the restaurant.

The radio slot mentioned by Don makes sense as a reason. He may have tried to cash in once he decided to change his stance. Either way, the timing sent up little red flags to me at the time.

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paul Jan. 12, 2010 @ 8:45 p.m.

Visduh said: "As I remember things, Hedgecock had that restaurant long before anyone was talking about a downtown ballpark"

FYI: I looked up the ABC license for Rogers on Fifth, and it was first issued 15-OCT-1999. Before that it was the Blue Tattoo, under different ownership. It looks like Rogers on Fifth opened after Prop C but before Petco construction began.

That was probably just speculation after the fact on his part. It makes sense that Hedgecock changed his public stance for the reason Don gave above.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 6:36 a.m.

Response to post #27: It seems to me that a restaurant had been launched by some local attorneys first. There was a statue of somebody-or-other out front. It didn't do well, and Hedgecock bought it, if my memory serves me right (and warning: my memory sometimes does NOT serve me right.) Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 6:40 a.m.

Response to post #28: Good sleuthing. It would appear that the restaurant was an attempt to cash in on ballpark district business. But its launch was premature. The Moores/Stalling scandal delayed opening of the ballpark by about three years. The Blue Tattoo throws me. I don't remember it at all. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 6:55 a.m.

Response to post #2: Yes that is my story on the Dr. Laura/Billo affair as it appeared in the Reader in 2004. At the time, Billo was on his death bed. I wanted to get his papers and use them for journalistic purposes. Even though we were good friends, I couldn't pull it off. I still think a major article or even book about the wit and wisdom of Bill Ballance would intrigue a lot of people who simply love the creative use of the English language. Best, Don Bauder

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Ken Harrison Jan. 13, 2010 @ 8:41 a.m.

Response to #12 - russl, you & I are probably the only two people left in SD that remember "I Hate Pat Michaels" on KCBQ. I have an "I Hate Pat Michaels" bumper sticker somewhere. Remember Happy Hare? When I had a radio talk show in '89 -'91, we put a show together about old SD radio, and he came on the air with us. Very cool, he got me with a good one on air. I told him when I went to San Dieguito High, he came to visit our radio station, and I gave him a SD Mustangs jacket. He says to me, "I still have that jacket", which of course he didn't. Have you heard the CD put together by Shotgun Tom? A lot of great air checks - KGB, KCBQ, KDEO, etc. Also there's a book out there too that I'm sure you can find on Amazon.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 9:56 a.m.

Response to post #33: I can't say I hate Pat Michaels because, like everybody but you and Russl, I have never heard of the guy. Best, Don Bauder

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Russ Lewis Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:49 a.m.

(#34) Don,

He was a call-in talk-show host on KCBQ in the mid-'60s. He started every call with "235-4411, KCBQ, Pat Michaels," and the station started a promotion flooding San Diego with buttons and bumper stickers saying, "I Hate Pat Michaels." The ostensible rationale for this, as I recall it, was that by directing people's hatred toward himself it would make the world a little better or some such reasoning. As a kid, I took that at face value, but as an adult I realize it was just a clever reverse-psychology promotion, akin to the slogan "Primus sucks!!!" for the rock group Primus.

Of course I remember Happy Hare. I even remember him shooting over the Stadium scoreboard with Evel Knievel. (I'm so old I still just call it "the Stadium.")

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Visduh Jan. 13, 2010 @ 2:02 p.m.

KCBQ fell out of my set of station presets on my car radio in the 70's and never got put back on. Why? The odious Charlie and Harrigan who spent three hours every morning insulting each other, the listeners, anyone they spoke to was more than I could possibly tolerate. They were even syndicated for a time. I wasn't looking for NPR, but sheesh! "Grating and obnoxious" would be a compliment to pay them. So, as far as listening to anyone else on that station, it just didn't happen.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 4:41 p.m.

Response to post #35: I didn't arrive in San Diego until 1973. Maybe I missed Michaels. That's why I never hated him. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 4:44 p.m.

Response to post #36: Again, google "Charlie McCarthy" and "W.C. Fields." You will get some of the best lines in the sniping that Bergen's dummy did with Fields and vice versa. They really pulled it off. Maybe Charlie and Harrigan didn't. I don't remember ever hearing the show. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Jan. 13, 2010 @ 7:22 p.m.

Except for Pat Michaels, who was on late night in the mid 60s on KCBQ. He was a Morton Downey Jr.-type guy.

I remember a radio talk show that ran in San Diego from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, maybe longer. I can't recall the host's name, but the show was broadcast at nite from the Starlight Room at the El Cortez Hotel.

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Don Bauder Jan. 13, 2010 @ 10:55 p.m.

Response to post #39: I remember seeing that show when I first came to San Diego in 1973 and dropped into that room in the El Cortez to check the town's night spots out. But I never listened to it. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Jan. 14, 2010 @ 10 a.m.

Response to post #14

Yes, Keen, Harold, 1912-1981 was right on spot most of the time

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Don Bauder Jan. 14, 2010 @ 10:54 a.m.

Response to post #41: Harold Keen was a TV reporter who also wrote for San Diego Magazine. He was a great investigative reporter-- digging up things that were highly embarrassing to San Diego and its establishment. (The Copley Press wouldn't print such things, of course.) The Press Club still gives out a Harold Keen Award every year. (I won it once.) Can you imagine heavyweight investigative material on TV these days? Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya Jan. 14, 2010 @ 11:37 a.m.

Harold Keen had a very low-key style that complemented his reports. Far and away the cream of the local crop. califcomedy & russl, do you recall the Donald Duck soundalike on KCBQ (when they were at 7th & Ash), Casey B. Quack?

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Don Bauder Jan. 14, 2010 @ 3:38 p.m.

Response to post #43: Yes, Keen had a good delivery. But his hard-hitting content was 90% of his package. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Jan. 14, 2010 @ 8:02 p.m.

Harold Keen and Ray Wilson used to anchor the KFMB newscast from at least the late 1950s until the early 1970s. KFMB hired consultants who said Keen and Wilson were too old to appeal to the target age demographic, so both were removed from their anchor positions and replaced with fashion models. Their removal caused a brief public uproar. Keen was allowed to broadcast a show called Telepulse which appeared on Saturdays at 11:30 pm. Telepulse was a great show and Keen tackled many controversial issues that the regular media would not touch. Keen was a great journalist, no doubt about it.

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Don Bauder Jan. 14, 2010 @ 9:26 p.m.

Response to post #45: I did not know that story. Quite interesting. Having arrived in 1973, I did not know Keen that well. By that time, he was on the tail end of his distinguished career. I was on a couple of KPBS programs with him and ran into him a few other times. Yes, he was a groundbreaker in San Diego journalism, and I'm not sure those of us who followed him in the investigative arena can measure up to him. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 15, 2010 @ 10:03 a.m.

Harold Keen and Ray Wilson used to anchor the KFMB newscast from at least the late 1950s until the early 1970s.

By Burwell

Wow B-impressive- you have been around San Diego a while and know your history!

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 12:38 p.m.

Response to post #47: Burwell is well-informed on many topics. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Jan. 15, 2010 @ 12:41 p.m.

anyone recall Mr. Keen's interview with Helen Amsten ( first lady in the county to get a birthday card on here 100th birthday from president JFK?

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Don Bauder Jan. 15, 2010 @ 4:11 p.m.

Response to post #49: Don't look at me. I came to San Diego in 1973. Anybody? Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Jan. 21, 2010 @ 8:49 a.m.

in his interview with Helen Amsten, he asked the usual question, how did she live so long.

usual reply, clean living, only drank a little ( good whiskey only) and never had a sick day in her life.

Keen said "you mean to say you've never been bed ridden""

her reply ( remember this was live tv, no delay, ect.)

Oh, yes, lots of times, and twice in a buggy.

I think keen looked pale, even for bw tv

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Don Bauder Jan. 21, 2010 @ 2:20 p.m.

Response to post #51: I've heard that line as a joke. I have never heard that it was actually uttered on the air. Best, Don Bauder

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lkeenleonard Dec. 24, 2011 @ 12:30 a.m.

Thank you to everyone who commented on my grandfather, Harold Keen. Telepulse aired until his death in 1981. At that time he was also editorial director of KFMB studios. The last time I saw my grandfather, he was sitting in bed in the hospital typing an article for San Diego magazine. It would be his last. The next day he passed away. San Diego State University has a hugh archive in their basement. They unfortunately closed a section of the library that used to be his, but anyone can go the university and request to see the archives. My son who is now 20 years old spent several hours at the university learning about his great grandfather. I have so many fond memories and am proud to say that I am related to one of the greats in journalism.

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