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Jim Ladd to Host Nightly Freeform Show on SiriusXM

Jim Ladd Speech - P 2011
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The FM staple and inspiration for Tom Petty's "The Last DJ," who was fired from local rock station KLOS in October, leaves terrestrial radio for satellite where he'll launch his four-hour program in January.

After four decades on the airwaves and six weeks on the sidelines, Jim Ladd is moving to the satellites.

SiriusXM has hired the revered Los Angeles DJ to do a nightly “freeform” show on the satcaster’s Deep Tracks channel starting in January. The four-hour live show will be Ladd’s first national program.

For the Lonesome L.A. Cowboy, it’s a match made in rock ’n’ roll heaven.

“As I have always done throughout my career, I will be choosing all my own music,” Ladd said. “I will be playing everything I want — from Pink Floyd to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, from the Doors to Moby Grape — freely and with no playlists.”

Ladd, who is known for creating thematic sets of music and encouraging input from his audience, added, “I’ll also be taking phone calls from listeners all across America.”

The inspiration for Petty’s 2002 song “The Last DJ,” Ladd was fired from L.A. rock mainstay KLOS-FM on Oct. 26. He was one of more than two dozen employees at the station and sister outlet KABC-AM who were let go in the wake of Cumulus Radio’s acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting.

Ladd, 63, was on his third stint at KLOS, his first having started in 1971. He had been on the night shift at the station since 1997.

“Traditional FM radio has turned its back on the very thing that made rock radio the magical experience it was intended to be,” he says. “SiriusXM is kicking down the doors of the stagnant, preprogrammed fodder that passes for radio today by encouraging me to do my freeform show so we can all share this experience live as it happens.”

SiriusXM’s Deep Tracks channel spotlights “a generation’s musical stash,” a niche that’s right in Ladd’s wheelhouse. He began his radio career in 1969 at erstwhile Long Beach station KNAC-FM, then moved to KLOS. He joined rival KMET in 1974 and became a late-night L.A. institution until that station switched formats and morphed in KTWV The Wave in 1987.

At KMET, Ladd produced and hosted the nationally syndicated program Innerview. Ladd says he’ll call on relationships cultivated over the years for his SiriusXM show. “I’ll be inviting the biggest rock stars in the world, many of whom I am proud to call my friends, to join me in the studio and commenting on the world around us by using the most compelling music of our time,” he said.

Ladd, who will do the show from Los Angeles, joins a channel that also features weekly shows hosted by Bob Dylan and Petty.

“Jim Ladd is a classic rock radio icon who turned curating a list of songs into an art form,” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein said. “We are proud and excited to welcome his freeform style to SiriusXM.”