Renowned Los Angeles radio personality Jim Ladd, celebrated for his extensive career in championing rock music, passed away on Sunday at the age of 75. The veteran radio icon, who spent over a decade at SiriusXM’s Deep Tracks, succumbed to a heart attack at his Los Angeles residence.
Meg Griffin, a fellow radio veteran who temporarily assumed hosting duties on Deep Tracks, shared the somber news with the audience on Monday, fondly remembering Ladd as an individual who truly “lived for the music.”
Los Angeles DJ Jim Ladd Dead at 75
During the 1970s, Ladd became a prominent figure in the L.A. rock radio scene, initiating his DJ journey in 1969 at KNAC before transitioning to KLOS and KMET. In 2011, he joined the ranks of SiriusXM, where he continued to make a significant impact.
Recognized as one of the few remaining freeform rock DJs in U.S. commercial radio, Ladd conducted interviews with legendary rock figures such as The Doors, Pink Floyd, Stevie Nicks, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Joni Mitchell, and John Lennon.
Jim Ladd’s influence extended beyond the airwaves, inspiring Tom Petty’s 2002 song, The Last DJ, from the album of the same title. The track narrates the story of a disc jockey who defies radio station management to play music of his choosing. Additionally, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters drew inspiration from Ladd, inviting him to participate in his second solo album, 1987’s Radio K.A.O.S.
Ladd even played a semi-autobiographical role as a radio DJ in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 romantic comedy, Say Anything. Jim Ladd’s legacy leaves an indelible mark on the world of rock music and radio broadcasting.