By Rick Griffin
“Brrrrrrreeeeha, you better believe it, baby!” Local radio and TV legion Tom Irwin, better known as “Shotgun” Tom Kelly, returned to the airwaves on Monday.
Irwin, who lives in El Cajon, will host his own show on SiriusXM’s “60s on 6” channel from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, Irwin will maintain his long-standing tradition of running his model trains on the tracks at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
Known for his Smokey Bear-style ranger hat, Irwin thought he had retired in 2015 after spending 22 years as afternoon host at KRTH-FM (K-Earth 101) in Los Angeles. But, Lou Simon, senior music director at SiriusXM, kept asking him to return to the airwaves, said Irwin, who turned age 69 on Aug. 8.
“I thought my last job in radio would be K-Earth because there’s no place higher on the local radio station ladder,” said Irwin, who was honored with his own star on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013. “But, then here came satellite radio. And now we’re going national.”
“We are thrilled to have ‘Shotgun Tom’ join our family,” said Simon. “He is one of America’s premiere broadcasters. He knows how to let the music be the star, but let everyone know he is front and center and on the case. His energy and his passion for great music and great radio will make our already cool station that much cooler.”
A San Diego native, Irwin created his own mock station at age 10 in his bedroom using two record players and a microphone. He graduated from Mt. Miguel High School in Spring Valley in 1968, and worked in San Diego, Merced, Oxnard and Bakersfield before joining KGB Radio at age 21. His first on-air gig was on Sunday mornings at San Diego’s KDEO-AM. “It was 1966 because we played songs from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis and Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66,” said Irwin. By 1970, he had adopted Kelly as his radio name. “Shotgun” was a nickname from his dad because he preferred riding in the front seat rather than the back seat of a car.
He worked at several San Diego radio stations, including KPRI, KGB, KFMB, KCBQ, KBEST and B-100, before Los Angeles. In San Diego television history, he was the on-air host of two shows for children, including “Words-A-Poppin,” a word-driven kids game show seen on Channel 10 (1974-1979), and the “KUSI Kids Club,” which aired for 12 years. “I was the only live face seen for years on KUSI before they began newscasts,” Irwin said.
After 20 Years, Publisher Closes East County Herald Newspaper
Dee Dean, publisher of The East County Herald, a weekly community newspaper with a circulation of 15,000, has announced her retirement due to her ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis. Dean also said she will cease publishing the Herald with the final edition on Thursday, Sept. 6, which is the 20-year anniversary of her first edition.
Dean, who has lived with MS for 31 years, has been recognized for her weekly column called “Living with MS with Dee Dean.” The column chronicles the latest research and her findings about MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information between the brain and body.
“I know I should have retired a couple of years ago. However, as some of you may know, I can be stubborn,” she said in her retirement letter to advertisers and readers. “I’m very proud of the beautiful photojournalism publication that has become a staple in our community. My goal has always been to give coverage and bring recognition to the nonprofits, charity organizations, service cubs, chambers of commerces and all the pageants in East County that went severely under-recognized for years. I think I have achieved that. It is my hope that you will remember The Herald fondly and smile.”
Known as East County’s only photojournalism publication, the newspaper had been distributed at more than 500 locations throughout San Diego’s East County region, stretching westward from the San Diego State University campus.
Chemistry Public Relations Adds New Accounts
Chemistry Public Relations has announced the addition of several new accounts. They include: Storyhouse Spirits, a distillery and bar in San Diego’s East Village; Fort Oak Restaurant, operated by Trust Restaurant Group and expected to open this fall; IGroup Design, an architecture and interior design firm; and Deirdre Doherty Interiors, a Los Angeles-based interior design and development firm.
“Keeping clients in the national spotlight, engaged in the social sphere and the talk of influencers is our passion,” said Audrey Doherty, CEO who founded Chemistry PR in 2009.
The agency, with five employees at offices in San Diego and Los Angeles, recently relocated its San Diego headquarters from about 1,000 square feet at 2760 Fifth Avenue to 1,700 square feet at 3911 Fifth Avenue.
San Diego Press Club to Discuss Intellectual Property
The San Diego Press Club will present “Intellectual Property, Protecting Yours and Using Others,” a program on making use of and sourcing photos and information from social media and other Internet sources in news stories, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the offices of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, 525 “B Street in downtown San Diego. Cost to attend is free for members and $10 per person for non members. The event is open to the public.
Panelists will include: Lisel Ferguson, a partner at Procopio who counsels clients on copyright, trademark and patent prosecution and intellectual property litigation; Barry Soalt, a partner at Procopio who counsels clients on intellectual property law and counseling, particularly handling domestic and international representation in trademark, copyright and domain name issues; Art Neill, professor at California Western School of Law and attorney specializing in intellectual property, privacy and media law.
The moderator will be Patrick Ross, senior manager for marketing and communications at Procopio. Prior to Procopio, Ross was the chief communications officer of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in the Obama Administration. The program is part of the Press Club’s “Nuts & Bolts” series.
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.