Legendary DJ Jim Ladd, the subject of Tom Petty’s heartfelt tribute to radio of yore in the song “The Last DJ,” has been dumped by Los Angeles classic rock radio station KLOS.
NBC News reports that Ladd, who was laid off earlier this week, worked in L.A. radio for more than 40 years and was known as the last true “free-form deejay,” meaning he picked his music himself as opposed to being supplied a pre-selected playlist based on clinical data such as focus groups, what’s charting, what's trending at other stations and the like.
The latter procedure is now standard for terrestrial radio, hence Petty’s 2002 homage to those rare DJs who played music based on impulse - because two tracks sounded cool back-to-back, for instance, or a song just happened to catch a DJ’s ear.
“There was no list, no format, no nothing. It was me …choosing this music,” Ladd is quoted as saying. Evidently, Ladd was among various staffers let go from KLOS Wednesday following the acquisition of station owner Citadel Broadcasting by Cumulus Media.