West, 52, died in her sleep this week, according to The Fresno Bee.
The cause of Ms. West’s death has not been determined. She had been living on the Central Coast, where earlier this year she hosted THE morning show on KTEA 103.5 fm and KCJZ 105.3 FM in Cambria, CA. .
Linell Eastton, who had been friends with West for 31 years, first worked with her at Fresno’s KCLQ 107.5 FM in 1988. West was part of the station’s morning show while Eastton handled the midday shift.
“Women in radio were few and far between at that time. That’s why we said two loud-mouthed blondes were naturally going to bond,” Eastton said. “She became a pioneer in this market. Woman had always been the sidekick but when she went to Alice (KALZ 96.7), someone took notice and made her the main host.
Eastton said she talked to Ms. West the night before she died. They shared a few laughs and made plans to get together at the end of the week.
West’s final Facebook post was to thank everyone who had prayed for her and offered well wishes after she had recently been ill.
“The wild, wild West changed local radio,” Eastton said. “She was a strong woman, smart and funny. She well represented us, spoke for us. She was great at doing that.”
West worked with KSKS 93.7 FM country morning show host Gnarley Charley and they hosted “Laurie and Charley in the Morning” on Alice. In 2009, West and six other employees at the local then-Clear Channel Communications Inc. radio stations were laid off to cut costs. She moved to the Central Coast where she worked in radio sales and then moved to the morning slot.
“She was a great talent and will be deeply missed. She was a pillar in the community and it is a tragic loss,” said Colleen Wardlaw, vice president of Adelman Broadcasting, Inc., owners of KTEA.