TVLA Logo Now Loading--------- One Moment Please TVLA Archive For June 12th 2000
Kelly Lange: Former TV Anchorwoman
Sexy, Smart, Funny On New Program


We knew her as Kelly Lange, KNBC/4 anchorwoman for 28 years.
 Before that, she was "Dawn O'Day," the "Ladybird" airborne traffic reporter on KABC/790 AM.  She's one of the best, most respected personalities in Los Angeles broadcasting, and she has successfully "reinvented" herself as a host on KCBS/2's "Women-2-Women" at 4 p.m. weekdays, and as the smart, sexy, funny and "humble" host of her own  three-hour radio show, 5-8 p.m. Sundays on KRLA/1110 AM.


After the show is over, over dinner at El Cholo, the original on Western Avenue in Los Angeles, Lange is charming, curious (she is, after all, an interviewer), and although it seems like she's been around forever, even with minimal makeup she doesn't look a day over 35.  She checks out the old photos on the wall of  the historic restaurant (it dates back to the 1920s and still serves fabulous food), chats amiably with the maitre'd, the waiter and waitress, and has one heck of a good time. 

 

She counts among her best buds Tom Snyder, one of the best interviewers around and missed on LA Television.  Maybe he'll join us another time.  This day, we talk with Lange and later exchange e-mails.  Here's the story, as it appeared in the Orange County Register this month.  Our website (a shameless plug) is www.ocregister.com

 

Kelly Lange is sexy, funny and at the top of her game, reinvigorated by her career change from veteran TV news anchorwoman to radio talk-show host almost a year ago.

 

She whirls into the Wilshire Boulevard studios of KRLA/1110 AM only minutes before her 5-8 p.m. Sunday show goes on the air. She's a bundle of energy as she moves to behind the microphone, a perfect example of what her show is all about: people reinventing themselves. "It's a theme I have long pondered as truly the key to life -- stay in one place, in one mindset, in one rut, if you will, and the world will just rush past you. All people successful at life must continually reinvent themselves. I have long been fascinated with the way people reinvent themselves in often remarkable ways, often turning
a seemingly disastrous happening in their lives into what turns out to be a truly good thing after all," she said.

Lange's local career, which took off (no pun intended) when she was the "ladybird" airborne traffic reporter for KABC/790 AM, included a 28-year run anchoring the news and hosting shows at KNBC/4. Her contract was up for renewal, and a new offer was on the table in late 1998, but she decided she wanted something different.

When she walked out KNBC's door in December 1998, "I didn't know what I was going to do next." She did some work at all-news KFWB/980 AM but said, "It was never a deal, it was just a lark. If I wanted to anchor news, I never would have left Channel 4. The KRLA show is different, it's creative, it's exactly the kind of stretch I was way overdue to try."

 

She started last June on KRLA and was later approached by new KCBS/Channel 2 General Manager John Severino to do "Women-2-Women" at 4 p.m. weekdays. "Sev agreed to let me be non-exclusive, which is the first time ever for me. I left Channel 4 not for more money - they were paying me plenty - I left for my freedom, because it was time."

Lange is single these days - she and movie director William Friedkin divorced in 1990 - and her life outside the studio includes a successful career as a novelist. "Trophy Wife" was first, followed by "Gossip." One critic called her "a sensational new voice in women's commercial fiction" and said "('Gossip' is) a smart, breezy novel to rival the masters of the genre." "Reporter" is due out shortly.

 

Her radio team includes producers Allen Spear and Suong Tran, and board operator Susan Mendlin. Spear and Tran's credits include "Zero to Hero" on KYPA/1230 AM within the "Your Personal Achievement" radio format. With Lange, they found a perfect fit. Guests have included Kirk Douglas, Lou Rawls, Tipper Gore, John Beard, Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Ike Turner, Peggy Fleming and Rosemary Clooney.

On this night, the phone lines light up when psychic Kenny Kingston does on-air readings. One of tonight's guests is Santa Anita Derby-winning trainer Jenine Sahadi.

While the program trails the other talk-radio stations in that time slot, program director Ron Escarsega says the station is happy with it. "It's performing well. The entire station took a hit from Arbitron in the fall. As a matter of fact, all talk stations were down in the fall. Fortunately, Kelly has such a large Q rating (recognition factor) that she will be a member of the team as long as she wants."
 

Lange's interviewing skills are first-rate. Guests get quality talk time, with limited commercial interruptions. Lange says she's blessed. "I love writing, building and remodeling homes, and being a mom (she has one daughter, also named Kelly). I just wish there was more time in every day."

So why does she describe herself as "humble"? "The first time I said it out of the blue I had Dr. Toni Grant on the line and she burst out laughing, because people who really know me know that I'm a lot of things, but humble isn't one of them. So I just say it for fun."
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
#1 newspaper in Orange County, California
Copyright 1999 The Orange County Register


SO WHO WORKS BEHIND THE SCENES?

    Allen Spear and Suong Tran are the producers of The Kelly Lange Show, 
5-8 p.m. on KRLA/1110 AM.


Suong Tran

Suong (pronounced "Suewong") and Allen, in addition to producing The Kelly Lange Show for CBS Radio/Infinity Broadasting, are both very active at other stations in the Los Angeles radio market.

 

In the talk field, each hosts and produces current affairs interview programs for another large radio network with a local outlet
in Los Angeles.


Allen Spear

They also both currently enjoy being on-air radio personalities at an Adult Contemporary music station in the Southern California area.  Each has a regular air shift. Their previous work together with celebrity interviews includes hosting and producing their own live one-hour show on the AM dial in LA in 1997. Ms. Tran also manages an AM station in Los Angeles while Spear is affiliated with Minnesota Public Radio and Southern California Public Radio at KPCC/89.3 FM in Pasadena.

 

 Spear and Tran recently responded to a few questions about their job.

HOW DID YOU COME TO BE PRODUCERS ON HER SHOW?

We both came to KRLA separately in June of 1999 and had different roles and different shifts at the station.  The next thing we knew Ron Escarsega, our PD, to do this brand new talk show --“The Kelly Lange Show”, paired us up.  This was going to be fun, especially since we had already worked together in the past.

Back in 1997, we hosted and produced our own live one hour celebrity interview show that aired in Los Angeles every Saturday on KYPA AM 1230 -- formerly known as "Your Personal Achievement Radio".

Our show was called "Zero to Hero" and it profiled the lives of celebrities and other individuals who successfully overcame obstacles and personal challenges to reach their dreams.  It was terrific fun co-hosting and producing our one-hour live in-studio interview with a different celebrity each week -- the late Norman Fell ("Mr. Roper" on the TV series "Three's Company"), the legendary Ann Miller, as well as others.

DO YOU DO OTHER WORK BESIDES HER SHOW?  IF SO, WHAT?

Previous to "Zero to Hero", we were and still are working at another AM station in Southern California and we both also are on-air personalities at an FM music station.

My job (Suong)  at the AM includes managing the station, hosting and producing interviews, voicing announcements for local and network broadcasts and digitally editing the programs for airing.  Allen has been researching, hosting and producing current affairs interviews along with doing on-air work such as announcing traffic and weather.  

We've done almost everything, but the experience we got in hosting and producing our own interview programs was the best preparation for the radio work that was to come, meaning "Zero to Hero", "The Kelly Lange Show" and beyond.

Besides this though, we're also working as on-air personalities for a local Adult Contemporary music station on the FM side of the dial, playing the Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Ricky Martin and all the hot artists of the '70s, '80s, and '90s.

Being on-air personalities in the LA market is just as strong an ambition for both of us as producing.  I'm (Suong) shooting for KOST or KTWV, The Wave in the near future so I hope their Program Directors Johnny Chiang and Chris Brodie are reading this.

Spear: "Suong and I also produced a three-hour special moderated by Doug McIntyre for KRLA last year on the day that the Granada Hills daycare center shooting took place."

(Tran describes her producing partner as "definitely show-business oriented, a person at home in the Hollywood and music publicity worlds." She also calls him "a great researcher who reads everything out there." Spear says Tran "does an amazing number of things to bring The Kelly Lange Show together each week" and also points to "her great personality and voice on air."

As for other current radio work, Spear says he is also affiliated with Larry Mantle's "AirTalk" at KPCC FM 89.3 where he enjoys being part of the more in-depth approach to news and talk that KPCC's "Intelligent Talk" format delivers to its listeners.

Although he doesn't produce at KPCC, he values making a contribution behind-the-scenes each week and says that he is excited about the producing possibilities as Minnesota Public Radio expands its newly formed Southern California Public Radio.

Allen is an English major who graduated magna cum laude from Temple University. He also studied Latin at the University of Pennsylvania, enjoys poetry and the arts, and speaks Mandarin Chinese as his second language.)

DO YOU COME UP WITH GUESTS ON YOUR OWN?  DOES KELLY?

The majority of the celebrities and guests that we've had on the show come mainly from us, so we each spend a lot of our time talking with publicists and agents. Producing "The Kelly Lange Show" is a 24/7 kind of job.  When we're not on the phone with agents, we're doing heavy research on potential guests as well as collecting notes, scripting out the show and making limousine deals and photography arrangements.

In addition to this, we have 24 slots for bumper music so hours go into music selection.  Then there's the great giveaways that have been going on since the show first began: Dinners to upscale restaurants worth anywhere from $50 to $300, free CDs and books for just about every caller, concert tickets, luxury hotel  stays--you name it and we'll give it away if we can.  Allen and I have probably put together close to $50,000 in giveaways for our listeners. 

We're always on the lookout for guests, but Kelly also takes a great interest in the show so she'll mention someone she's interested in and we'll follow up on booking the guest if the guest works for the show.

HAS MOSTLY EVERYONE SAID "YES"?

We've been pretty fortunate with this, but booking guests requires a lot of time and attention.  Sometimes a booking is easy and other times it takes the patience of Job and the seven feats of Hercules to get the door to open.  Whatever the case, we don't give up easily.

We've had a lot of great cooperation from publicists in booking guests, but it also helps to have a host who is liked by many agents and publicists.  At the same time, because of schedule restraints and other problems, we aren't able to schedule them in, but you can be sure the agents will hear from us again.

WHAT'S IT LIKE WORKING WITH HER? 

Kelly Lange is the same person on camera and on mike as she is in real life: she's upbeat, energetic, extremely witty and very intelligent. The radio show's really given her the freedom to be herself and the listeners enjoy hearing that.  Plus, Kelly's got a very spontaneous sense of humor and that just adds to the beauty of the show.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO OTHERS YOU MAY HAVE WORKED WITH?

As far as producing for other hosts, we've really only produced for Kelly, since we were the hosts of the other interview shows that we've been involved with. We've had a great first year with Kelly, and are looking forward to getting the kind of financial backing and audience numbers that will take us into syndication.

HOLLYWOOD CHARITY AFFILIATION:

Together,  Spear and Tran co-hosted the opening ceremonies of last year's as well as 1997's annual Diversity Awards in Beverly Hills at the invitation of Jarvee Hutcherson and the Multicultural Motion Picture Association organization. (The MMPA, which Allen & Suong remain affiliated with, presents awards each year to major actors and other individuals in film for their contributions to diversity in the field of cinema, and provides scholarships to individuals who have aspirations for careers in film acting, writing, directing, etc.) They will be co-hosting the MMPA's Young Musician's Awards at the House of
Blues on Tuesday, May 23.

Here are hotline and e-mail addresses for KRLA's The Kelly Lange Show:

       Tel: (213) 637-5222 ext. 483
       Email: thekellylangeshow@onebox.com

       Allen Spear's email: allenspear@yahoo.com
       Suong Tran's email: suonglake@yahoo.com


What would you like to see here?
Send me your E-mails and I will respond in a timely manner.
Thank you for your support and suggestions.

Send mail to info@tvla.com with questions or comments.
Copyright © 1998 ~T.V. Los Angeles
Last modified: June 12, 2000