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Art Laboe at KPMO 1946
August 7, 1925
Salt Lake City, Utah
Art Laboe at KPMO 1946
August 7, 1925
Salt Lake City, Utah
Art Laboe (born Arthur Egnoian on August 7, 1925) is an Armenian American disc jockey, songwriter, record producer, and radio station owner who is generally credited with coining the term "Oldies But Goodies".
Laboe was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and moved to Los Angeles during his high school years. He currently lives in the Hollywood Hills.
Laboe graduated from Washington High School at age 16 (he was promoted from first to the third grade during elementary school). Being smart isn't the same as being motivated, as Laboe admits that the only A he got in high school was in shop class. But he went on to attend Los Angeles City College, San Mateo Junior College and Stanford University, studying radio engineering.
Arthur finished high school in California and then World War II came along and Arthur went into the service and Arthur was working in San Francisco at Treasure Island in the Navy. Arthur went over to this radio station because Arthur had nights free and Arthur went to this station in San Francisco, KSAN, and went in and tried to get a job as an announcer. The General Manager of KSAN tells Arthur, Well, you're too young, you don't have the right voice for radio. Which Arthur didn't. In those days, they wanted those deep voices. And the General Manager says, Besides, we hire combination men here, you have to have a FCC license too. I don't think we're interested. So Arthur said, Do you mean one of these? And Arthur pulled out three licenses.
Arthur had a first class radio telephone and a radio telegraph and a ham license. Laboe relates that the General Managers eyes got real big and he looked up at him and said, You're hired. And Arthur said, But I thought you said-- The General Manager walked around his desk, put his arm around Arthur and he says, No, that license you've got, that first class radio telephone, I need that on my wall. All my engineers have been drafted and they're in the service. I'm operating illegally and when I put that on my wall, I'll be legal. He hired Arthur on the spot and Arthur did a nighttime program there playing records from 11:00PM – 12:00AM playing music until the station signed off for the day.
He would move to LA and began as a DJ in 1949 on stations, KPOP, KRKD. Art started a radio show from the Scrivner’s Drive-In. Teenagers would come to the Drive-In and hang out, and give live on-air dedications for songs and Art began to make a list of the most frequently requested songs. With the live radio show going, he had the audience, he had the lists of requests and he began to turn that concept into an idea for an album. Later he moved to KXLA which became KRLA where he stayed for many years.
Art Laboe is currently heard on two radio shows in the South Western United States. The Art Laboe Sunday Special, which broadcasts every Sunday from 6pm-12 midnight PST in 12 different radio markets including Los Angeles on KHHT Hot 92.3. This show began on 99.1 KGGI Riverside in 1991 and is also heard from San Diego Magic 92.5 to Albuquerque Wild 97.7 and is consistently top rated. In January 2006, Art debuted another syndicated Request and Dedication radio show, The Art Laboe Connection. Art Laboe hosts this show Weeknights 7p–12mid, which began on KDES Palm Springs and KOKO Fresno and shortly after expanded to Hot 92.3 Los Angeles, Mega 104.3 Phoenix and stations in Bakersfield and Santa Maria. Both shows may also be heard worldwide on the internet at www.hot923.com.
Art assembled the first album in American history to feature hits by different artists. This first compilation album, entitled “Oldies But Goodies,” was released by Art’s company, Original Sound Record Company, Inc., and stayed on Billboard’s Top 100 LP’s chart for over three years! The series has since expanded to 15 volumes. Art is also recognized as the first person to coin the term “Oldies But Goodies™” and it is his registered trademark. He also created the Golden Oldies and Dedicated To You series.
The City of Los Angeles declared July 17, 1981 “Art Laboe Day” as Art received his star on Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame” on the corner of Hollywood & Highland. In November 2003, Art was added to the Palm Springs Walk Of Stars. The National Hispanic Media Coalition awarded Art with a Lifetime Achievement Award at their 2004 Local Impact Awards. And in January 2005, Art was awarded the Media Arts Award at the Hollywood Arts Council Charlie Awards.
Laboe owned his own radio station and After 42 years on Sunset Boulevard, Art Laboe has given up half of his property holdings to help upgrade Hollywood. Art sold nearly an acre of his Sunset property, which is now the home of the Will & Ariel Durant Branch Library. Art still maintains his business offices on Sunset in the block just east of the Library.
Laboe has organized several charity benefits and concerts, and is also founder of the "Art Laboe Foundation." This organization has given annual scholarships to Los Angeles area and Fresno/Kerman area high schools, as well as supports other charitable organizations such as the Wildlife Way Station and the American Humane Society.
On January 30, 2009, Laboe was honored with Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters' "Diamond Circle Award", given to PPB members who have made an important contribution to the development of broadcasting during their 75+ years.He also achieved the honor of being featured in a front page LA Times article on November 12, 2009 for being an inspiration to his listeners.
Laboe received the LA Radio Lifetime Achievement Award on January 30, 2010, for his incredible radio career and impact in the Los Angeles area.
A permanent display of Art’s contributions also resides in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. When it comes to Rock ‘n’ Roll, Art Laboe has been in the thick of things…from Elvis to Zappa, from AM radio to the Internet…and he’s still going strong.
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