Art Laboe, a well-known DJ, died on October 7, 2022, at the age of 97. He worked in radio for 79 years and was most known for coining the term “Oldies but Goodies.” Laboe died at his Palm Springs home after a battle with pneumonia, according to Dart Entertainment publicist Joanna Morones. Last week, Laboe taped his last program. The program broadcast on October 9th. According to the Associated Press, Laboe’s syndicated program, The Art Laboe Connection, won him a sizable fan base among Mexican-Americans. His radio presentations were notable for enabling convicts in California and Arizona to send greetings and dedications.
Art Laboe started his radio career during World War II,
Art Laboe was born on August 7, 1925, to Armenian parents. When Laboe was in high school, they relocated to Los Angeles. He joined the United States Navy after graduating from Washington High School at the age of 16 and was stationed on San Francisco Bay’s Naval Station Treasure Island. He later went to Los Angeles City College, San Mateo Junior College, and Stanford University to study radio engineering.
In 1943, Laboe began his radio career. During WWII, he made his radio debut on KSAN in San Francisco. He is credited with inventing the dedication idea at KSAN, and he was renowned for taking music requests and dedication phone calls from listeners live on the radio. He took a temporary break from his radio profession to assist the US Navy in transmitting Morse Code and sending signals to ships sailing in the South Pacific.
He was the lone broadcaster in town when he joined KCMJ in Palm Springs. He began his career at KPOP in Los Angeles, where he opted to broadcast his program live from Scrivner’s Drive-In. His live broadcasts started to draw youthful audiences, and teens soon began to visit the drive-in and make on-air dedications. Heartbroken children would often phone him with requests for love songs. Art gradually started to compile a list of the most often requested tunes. He then converted it into the album Oldies But Goodies, which he also trademarked.
Due to police harassment at Scrivner’s, Laboe quickly relocated to El Monte Legion Stadium. His dance exhibitions were largely attended by teens from the surrounding region, although he drew young people from all communities and age groups, regardless of skin color or ethnicity. As a result, he is often credited with helping to end segregation in Southern California, notably in Los Angeles.
Art founded the Original Sound Records record label in 1959. It had two chart-topping singles: Sandy Nelson’s Teen Beat and Preston Epps’ Bongo Rock. Laboe was credited as a songwriter on both tracks. Laboe subsequently went on to work at KXLA for a long period. In the 1990s, this was succeeded by KGGI.
Laboe launched another radio program, The Art Laboe Connection, on KDES-FM in Palm Springs and KOKO-FM in Fresno in 2006. The program was also popular on Los Angeles’ KHHT, Phoenix’s KAJM, and stations in Bakersfield and Santa Maria. Art was also included in two additional radio broadcasts that aired across the American Southwest.
Twitter users pay tribute
Given Art Laboe’s fame, it goes without saying that when word of his death spread, Twitter was swamped with tributes. By 2018, Art Laboe has appeared on 14 radio stations. He continued to DJ until his death on October 7, when he died of pneumonia.
Sad day!! Rip art laboe!! pic.twitter.com/SL13WGJpt7
— Vanessa Ann 🦂 (@Lovelyone7v) October 10, 2022
RIP Art Laboe…the real ones know the impact and influence he had up until today!
Radio will never be the same 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/sNsL9NQUf8
— TybuddLewis818 (@TybuddLewis818) October 10, 2022