Here's another of those interesting Los Angeles media figures whose death looks like it will slip between the cracks at the Times and elsewhere. Benson, born Sam Bensussen, was a Los Angeles native and went to Fremont High. He got his job in radio working for Earle C. Anthony, the car dealer turned broadcaster whose most enduring claim to fame is probably that he imported the first neon sign to the West Coast. Benson went on to work for 40 years at KLAC radio and Metromedia, ending as the editorial director for KTTV Channel 11 from 1984-87. At KLAC, "Sam...was the only constant through management, ownership and format changes. He saw it all from the legendary 'Big 5' djs to Joe Pyne to 'Future Fonic Sound,' Haynes at the Reins and the transition to a Country format," writes Don Barrett at Los Angeles Radio People.
Local TV veteran Mitch Waldow tips me that Benson was also a fixture on Los Angeles radio and television as an on-air pitch man during the 1950s and 60s. "Local boomers might remember his commercials for Lou’s Garage (“Se habla espanol at Lou’s Garage”) among other commercials," Waldow says.
A family obituary ran in the LA Times paid obits last week. "Sam could do it all, from writing jingles and slogans for commercials, to interviewing authors and celebrities, doing live traffic reports, to announcing the winners at the LA County Fair," the family wrote. Benson died Nov. 12.