Bill Mouzis, KHJ Boss Radio director was 90

khj-logo.jpgBill Mouzis was already at AM station KHJ (930) as an engineer and board operator when the station shifted in 1965 to a rock and roll format promoted as Boss Radio. KHJ became a big deal in baby boomer Los Angeles, with on-air personalities such as Sam Riddle, Robert W. Morgan and The Real Don Steele. Mouzis became the production director for the station and for its signature piece of work, an ambitious compilation of records and interviews that KHJ aired as a 48-hour special "The History of Rock and Roll" — radio's first "rockumentary," they called it.

From in Long Beach:

Every edit, mix and montage in this massive project was done by Bill Mouzis. Copies of the 48 hour edition are now in the Library Of Congress, the Lincoln Center in New York and the libraries of Juilliard and UCLA.

We have reason to believe that the History project may have originated with what was supposed to be modest KHJ sales presentation (usually a tape with chunks of various shows put on cassette for ad agencies). Instead, the KHJ 1968 sales presentation morphed into a mini-history, narrated by Robert W. Morgan and produced by Bill Mouzis, both of whom separately credited then KHJ staffer Ellen Pelissero for its writing.

As voiced by Morgan and mixed and edited and mixed by Mouzis, it included musical montages, time sweeps and verbiage that positioned KHJ as more than a teenage favorite but as the legacy of a great time sweep of multiple genres of popular music.

Emmy-winning television writer and radio broadcaster Ken Levine remembered Mouzis in a blog post today. Sample:

Among the people I wanted to be when I grew up was Bill Mouzis. You’ve probably never heard of him, but he was a hero of mine. He sat in a tiny windowless closet surrounded by archaic equipment and made magic. If ever there was an artist and alchemist in radio it was Bill Mouzis.

He was the production director for 93/KHJ Boss Radio back in the ‘60s. Today we have audio editing programs on our computers and can do multi-tracks, sound effects, equalizing, reverb, any number of tricks with just a click of a mouse. Back then it was a couple of old reel-to-reel tape recorders and a razor blade. Yet, Bill’s promos sounded better and more complex with antiquated facilities than any of today’s whiz-bang high tech digital productions.

One of the hallmarks of KHJ was their creative contests. And even more creative promos. A three-man team collaborated on them. Creative genius Ron Jacobs conceived and wrote the spots, Robert W. Morgan voiced them, and Bill Mouzis assembled them. He laid in music, effects, added drama and distinction to them. They were better than any Madison Avenue commercial.

And in 1968 he was given an added assignment. In addition to the :30 seconds promos he made (that took all day), he was asked to produce a radio special that would be 48 hours in length. Incredibly, under adverse working conditions, and an absurd deadline, Bill Mouzis put together the KHJ “History of Rock n’ Roll.” Imagine someone said to George Lucas, “Here’s a movie camera that was used in 1930, $500, and no sets. We want you to make STAR WARS in two weeks.” That was Bill’s challenge with the History of Rock n’ Roll. He organized thousands of hours of interviews, laid the narration over the music, and created special elements like music montages and time sweeps. I still don’t know how he did it.

Mouzis died Monday. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12 at 11 a.m. at
St. Bridget of Sweden Catholic Church in Van Nuys.

"The History of Rock and Roll" first aired over a weekend in February, 1969, then was re-edited into updated versions for KHJ and syndicated to radio stations across the country.

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