Saturday, July 22, 2017

R.I.P.: L-A Radio, TV Newsman Bill Smith

Bill Smith, a veteran Los Angeles radio and television newsman whose face and voice were long familiar to KTLA viewers as well as fans of KTTV’s irreverent “Metro News-Metro News,” died July 9 from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

He was 74-years-of-age, according to The LA Times.

“Metro News-Metro News,” which Smith co-wrote, produced and co-anchored, followed the satirical soap opera “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” on Channel 11’s evening lineup in the late 1970s. A nontraditional news program, the fast-moving show was aimed at people who were either weary of or just not interested in a formulaic run-through of the day’s breaking news.

The program was a departure for Smith, who began his journalism career as a reporter for the Sunland-Tujunga Record Ledger before becoming a fixture on drive-time talk radio with Wink Martindale and then as a field reporter, midday anchor and even a weatherman, first with KTTV and then KTLA.

“Bill could just walk up to anybody, camera rolling, and he could get them to loosen up instantly,” cameraman Greg Theroux recalled in a KTLA tribute. “It was magic.”

He began his broadcast career as a disc jockey and news reporter at KVFM in Panorama City and then shifted to KGIL, where he produced the popular “Dick Whittington Show.”

Smith eventually became a constant on KABC radio — filling in on the “Ken and Bob” morning show, Michael Jackson’s midday broadcast and Martindale’s highly-rated afternoon talk show.

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