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Obit: Broadcaster Chris Stanley is Dead at 65

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by Anne Thompson
June 12, 2012 7:31 PM
3 Comments
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Gail Eichenthal, Gray Davis, and Chris Stanley

When I was invited to a friend's memorial via Facebook, I thought, "No, I just heard Chris Stanley on KUSC." In fact the same day that I heard him on Arts Alive, he died of a heart attack. He had just moved back to Los Angeles from working as Fox News Radio's night anchor in New York. He was a broadcaster who could get the facts straight under huge time pressure-- and do it live.

I met Stanley through our friend Gail Eichenthal, when they worked together at KNX Newsradio. First, Stanley was a hard news reporter (he covered six political conventions), but he was also a passionate cinephile who loved putting together smart, efficiently-crafted arts features. Interviewing Gore Vidal, Edward Albee and Abbie Hoffman (when he was on the run) was Stanley's idea of a good time.

Stanley grew up in Ohio, influenced by his father, a radio and television journalist. After studying drama at Pepperdine, Stanley started as a radio DJ and following a Southeast Asia stint in the Air Force, Stanley began a long career as a broadcaster at WIVK and WNOX in Knoxville. He moved from Wisconsin to Texas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Unusually, he worked at WPIX-FM, DIR Broadcasting and Pacifica Radio and put in16 years at CBS Radio, followed by KNX and Fox News.

In 2002, Stanley won a Golden Mike for a KNX series on Elvis Presley. Eichenthal and Stanley shared a Golden Mike for their KNX Oscar coverage in 2003. In 2004, Stanley's series on Ronald Reagan won both a Golden Mike and an Associated Press regional award.

Stanley had deeply internalized 60s values. He wore a ponytail. He never bullshitted. Stanley cared about journalism enough to resent it when his bosses lowered their standards instead of raising them.

Thanks to Stanley's long-time colleague at CBS and Fox, Bill Vitka, for biographical information.

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3 Comments

  • Eric Roth | June 18, 2012 3:03 AMReply

    Thank you for sharing this poignant obituary to an outstanding radio journalist and fine human being.

  • Tony Maravola | June 14, 2012 12:42 PMReply

    Chris and I grew up together. We were classmates from 7th through 12th grade and were very good friends. I am so very sad to hear of his passing. The last time we spoke was right after he left CBS.

  • Gail Eichenthal | June 12, 2012 8:41 PMReply

    Anne,
    Chris read your column religiously, and that gave him the confidence to know he was properly informed when interviewing (for KUSC's Arts Alive) Al Pacino, David Cronenberg, Isabelle Huppert, Wallace Shawn, Danny Glover, Audrey Tatou (he did specialize in stunning French actresses) and so many more. He highly respected you as a journalist and loved working with you at KNX.

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