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  • Writer's pictureDavid Jacobs

Old School Radio Lives

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Jim Ladd

As I have said before, I fell in love with radio when I was in middle school and high school. Back then, in the mid 70's and 80's, rock radio was very different than it is today. DJ's were allowed much more freedom in what they played and how they presented the music. It was much more personal and less contrived. This is what attracted me. DJ's were authentic and you did get the feeling they were talking to you and you and a bunch of their fiends were hanging out together.

Time changes all things though and radio changed dramatically. Formats became more rigid and determined by corporations and algorithms rather than the heart of the DJ. Some stations did away with DJ's altogether, run by machines. The soul was literally ripped out of radio. Unsurprisingly this is when radio started declining. You can blame the advent of video games and later Podcasting, but the truth is, radio killed the one thing that made it special and unique. They did it to themselves.

It was to my great surprise when I discovered several years ago that one of the legendary DJ's from the old days resurfaced on XM Satellite Radio. Jim Ladd has a show, on the Deep Tracks channel on XM. The best part is XM is letting him have total control over how the show goes. Jim does it just like he did back in the day. He picks all he songs and often plays them in sets with a particular theme. This is his own unique style he developed back in the 70's and it still works today. It's a joy to listen to Jim Ladd and it takes me back to that time when I first fell in love with radio.

It turns out there are several other legendary DJ's from that time that now also have shows on XM. Richard Blade and Swedish Egil, who worked at KROQ can he heard on 1st Wave, Dusty Street, also from KROQ is on Deep Tracks. Unfortunately, many of these DJ's are getting on in age and have retired but there are many old MTV VJ's of the first era of that channel.

Tune in while you still can because time marches on and Jim Ladd is 74. Soon, all the old school favorites will be retired or gone. I'd love to know what your favorite DJ's were from the 70s and 80s. LA wasn't the only place for freeform DJ's, so let's here your favorites.

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