Alex Bennett (broadcaster)
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|Alex Bennett (broadcaster)|
December 18, 1939 |
San Francisco, California, United States
Alex Bennett (a.k.a. Bennett Gordon Schwarzmann), (December 18, 1939) is an American talk radio host, known for his mix of left-wing politics and humor. He hosted a weekday radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio channel "SIRIUS Left 127" and XM Radio's "America Left" Channel 167 until June 28, 2013. He now hosts a video podcast on Livestream.com weekdays from 10:00 until Noon Eastern 
During the 1960s, Bennett worked at radio stations around the country, including KILT in Houston Texas, where he used the on-air moniker James Bond and did his show using an English accent, and WLOL in Minneapolis, Minnesota before gaining major market attention in 1969 at WMCA in New York, where one of his engineers was comedian Jimmie Walker. He initially started as a disc jockey, later evolving into a talk show host during the station's transition from its Top 40 "Good Guys" music format to the pioneering "Dial-Log" all-talk era. Bennett brought a progressive rock radio sensibility to the teenage-oriented station, still playing album cuts of music as his talk show evolved, and openly discussing topics ranging from his love life to his participation in various countercultural events, such as Consciousness III, before giving his Yogic sign-off "Namaste" ("The God within me sees the God within you"). In 1969, Bennett flew to London to investigate the rumor of Paul McCartney’s death. He later became friends with John Lennon, who appeared on his show.
In 1970, Bennett and his wife-producer Ronni moved their show to WPLJ, still in New York City. By late 1971 the couple split. Ronni went on to produce for ABC’s 20/20 and Barbara Walters. Today, she writes a blog on aging and what it's really like to get old, Time Goes By. Guests on Bennett's WPLJ show included rock stars, comedians and left-wing, anti-war activists.
In 1980, Bennett returned to his native San Francisco to host a morning show for album-oriented rock station KMEL. Bennett found success by featuring standup comedians as his guests. Before they became famous, performers Bob Goldthwait, Whoopi Goldberg, Dana Carvey, Ray Romano, Margaret Cho, and Jay Leno were guests on Bennett's program. The popular show aired on three San Francisco area radio stations throughout the 1980s and 1990s: KMEL, KQAK, and KITS. The Alex Bennett Show changed stations due to management/consultant conflicts (KMEL) which was exacerbated by their lampooning the stations format by suggesting that it was all Journey, all the time. Complaints by Journeys management (Nightmare Productions/Herbie Herbert) resulted in their contracts not being renewed.
After a brief hiatus,Bennett and Regelski were then signed to do the morning show on the Quake(KQAK), and, finally, a station ownership change (at KITS, where he did two stints).
Alex was known for a having a number of regular call in listeners,among them were Linda from Richmond and James, who claimed to be Alex's illegitimate son. Alex alluded that Linda from Richmond was rumored to have died from leukemia when she no longer was calling the show. James,the reputed "illegitimate" son of Alex,was a teenager afflicted with alopecia who used it as fodder to make his claim that Bennett(who was balding)was his father.
Bennett also briefly hosted talk shows on KNBR in San Francisco and WIOD in Miami, Florida (the latter, a very sour experience), in between his Bay Area morning show gigs. During the 1980s, Bennett was the original host of public television’s Comedy Tonight.
While at KMEL, Bennett’s mother, Ruth, achieved fame as the world’s oldest album-oriented rock disk jockey when she hosted a Sunday night countdown show on KMEL from 1982 to 1983. Bennett hosted the station’s morning show, and Ruth continued at KMEL for a year after his departure for KQAK. Ruth died in 2005 at the age of 100.
Bennett's eponymous radio show was unique in that it featured a live in-studio audience consisting of listeners who were invited to just walk in off the street. In addition to featuring comedians on his San Francisco radio shows, Bennett produced a number of live comedy shows. The earliest ones included his KMEL/KQAK newsman Joe Regelski and were called "Alex and Joe Shows". He also did remote broadcasts of his morning show, known as "Breakfast with Bennett."
A technology aficionado, Bennett took advantage of the early growth of the World Wide Web. After leaving FM rock radio in the late 1990s, Bennett created an Internet Television show for Play TV that ended when the company went out of business. He also developed an early website, The Surfing Monkey (along with Chuck Farnham, David Biedny and Jesse Montrose), which featured, among other things, a series of articles written by an inmate on Death Row at San Quentin. The prisoner, identified by the pseudonym Dean, reported on daily prison life in a series called “Dead Man Talking”. Bennett is personally opposed to the death penalty. He also voiced the Starbase Commander character in the 1992 release of Star Control 2 by 3DO.
Bennett briefly returned to radio in 2001 to host a technology-oriented midday talk show for CNET Radio at its San Francisco flagship affiliate, KNEW. Bennett's attempt to return to general AM talk radio was hampered by his outspoken left-leaning political views (though he temporarily hosted a morning show on KNEW when they changed their format to a talk format in 2003). Station managers at the time only wanted to hire right-wing talk show hosts.
In 2003, Bennett returned to New York, and started his current 7am to 10am ET show on Sirius Left on April 19, 2004. On his weekday show, he talks about politics, entertainment, and personal matters. He has also served as a substitute host for syndicated talk show host Lionel on several occasions.
In 2009 Bennett lost his SiriusXM studio to the "Opie and Anthony" radio show.
In May 2011, SirusXM Left was created on Channel 127 and Alex and crew became the morning program.
On March 27, 2012, Alex married his longtime girlfriend Marjorie Miller (known as Girlfriend on Alex Bennett's Program). They currently reside in the Harlem district of New York City.
Bennett was told in late June, 2013 that he will not be on the air at Sirius anymore as of Friday, June 28, 2013. He will be broadcasting his show on LiveStream.
- Marc Maron, WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, Episode 339 - Budd Friedman, 20121129
- Alex Bennett Show, June 24, 2013