Esteemed radio host Art Laboe has spent decades taking song dedications and creating a space for inclusion and diversity. With his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the 89-year-old Armenian American radio personality has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Laboe, who coined the popular phrase, “Oldies but Goodies,” was born to be on the radio. Since the 1940s, he’s been taking song dedications on just about any universal theme from loyal listeners in Los Angeles. After taking numerous dedications at a drive-in, Laboe felt inspired to produce the first-ever compilation album consisting of hit singles from different bands.
He was also credited as the first DJ to play rock’n’roll on West Coast airwaves.
In the early stages of his career, Laboe gained a rapport with Latin audiences in the San Gabriel Valley. He began making regular appearances by hosting public dances at the El Monte Legion Stadium. The stadium — which was later turned into a post office in 1974 — became a common gathering where people could mingle, dance, and enjoy some great music.
“For the six years that Laboe put on shows in El Monte, he provided a venue for a spontaneous community of youth that cut across ethnic, racial, and class lines,” noted Jude Webre in his profile of Laboe for KCET’s Departures.
During his decades-long career, Laboe has received numerous awards, including recognition from the National Radio Hall of Fame. In this “SoCal Connected,” segment, reporter Nic Cha Kim visits Laboe at the headquarters of Hot 92.3 FM to find out what’s next for Los Angeles’ legendary radio host.