Longtime Radio DJ Art Laboe Dies at 97

Longtime Radio DJ Art Laboe Dies at 97
DJ Art Laboe sits in his studio and talks about his 75 years in the radio business, in Palm Springs, Calif., on Oct. 9, 2018. (Russell Contreras/AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES—Longtime radio DJ Art Laboe has died. He was 97.

Laboe died Friday night at home in Palm Springs, California, after catching pneumonia, said Joanna Morones, a spokesperson for Laboe’s production company, Dart Entertainment.

His final show was produced last week and broadcast Sunday night.

Born Arthur Egnoian in Salt Lake City to an Armenian-American family, Laboe grew up during the Great Depression. His sister sent him his first radio when he was 8 years old. The voices and stories that came from it enveloped him.

“And I haven’t let go since,” Laboe said.

He moved to California, attended Stanford University and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Eventually, he landed a job as a radio announcer at KSAN in San Francisco and adopted the name Art Laboe after a boss suggested he take the last name of a secretary to sound more American.

He later returned to the Southern California area, but a radio station owner told the aspiring announcer he should work on becoming a “radio personality” instead. As a DJ for KXLA in Los Angeles, Laboe bought station time and hosted live overnight music shows from drive-ins.

When Elvis Presley came to Hollywood, Laboe was one of the few to get an interview with the star.

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