Waving goodbye to two decades of radio broadcast memories, the famed, renowned and beloved afternoon drive-time show host Jason Endicott will be signing off for the last time Wednesday.
His departure leaves a large void in the seat he once occupied, where he provided traffic updates, gracious interviews and, even the occasional rant, when he deemed it appropriate.
“Jason Endicott is the guy who would do anything for you — begrudgingly,” said Station Manager Kyle “Jelly Man” Jellings, with a laugh. “But, seriously,” he added.
Endicott first came to work for KHTS co-owners Carl and Jeri Seratti-Goldman, which was KBET at the time, as a fresh-faced Hart High grad back in 1994.
“So the Northridge Earthquake happened, and the only way we knew what was going on was we had a battery-operated radio,” Endicott said. “It was the only way we knew what was going on locally, and so after that, once things settled down, I went down to KBET and said, ‘Hey, what can I do?'”
One of the first assignments given to Endicott was live traffic updates that he provided by driving around town with a cellphone roughly the size of a CPU tower and weighed eight pounds.
Endicott learned everything there was to know about station operations, eventually becoming station manager.
One of his most enjoyable times was when he changed the format of the radio station to country music for April Fools’ Day, he said.
Endicott conducted a fake interview in which called himself pretending to be the new station owners, using the telephone line, who told him to be “more country” in thick accent.
Endicott left the station briefly in 2007 and came back in 2008 as station manager and afternoon radio host for KHTS.
When he went back to school to finish his communications degree from California State University Northridge, he relinquished the station manager title to his pupil and protege, Kyle Jellings.
The training was a grueling experience, Jellings said.
“Every paper I handed him, whether it was a receipt, or a program log, or a schedule, he would throw it on the ground or pretend to throw it away,” Jellings said.
“But he always did it with flair,” added Connie Jones, office manager, who said she considered Jason like family.
“When things get crazy around KHTS, I get by with a little help from my friend Jason Endicott,” Jones said. “A week into working here at KHTS, another one of those SCV small-town things happened. I discovered through my optometrist that Jason was in a Beatles band with my optometrist’s son.
“The Beatles are my all-time favorite. I came back to the station and yelled at Jason about having to find out from my optometrist instead of him. He quickly invited me to their upcoming performance, and I became a fan of Jason’s band, and Jason, ever since.
The future bride and groom.
“And I’m sure that the rumors of me breaking up the band are false,” she added. “Who would break up a band because of me yelling, ‘I love you, Ringo!’”
He ingratiated himself to everyone at the station with his famed words of wisdom before assigning a task: “Good luck, we’re all counting on you.”
Senior studio engineer Peter Marquez vividly remembers a variation of this address before his maiden broadcast:
“On my first day working here, Jason sat me down at the board, looked me square in the eyes and said, ‘We’re all depending on you,’” Marquez said. “I would say I was scared, but I felt like he was trying to hurt me more than anything.”
Endicott also is celebrated for his teaching moments, Marquez said.
“There was another time where we had a power surge and everything in Jeri’s office went down,” Marquez said. “So naturally, I called Jason, because he was the first name on top of all the emergency names. He answered the phone and said, ‘Never call me with this problem again.’” Marquez said.
“These things made me a man — they put hair on my chest — four of them, exactly,” Marquez said. “That’s probably the best way to put it. I will miss Jason.”
Seratti-Goldman also said Jason was like family, and credited his ability to learn and manage all aspects of the station’s operation.
“Endicott is like a son to to us — so it’s bittersweet,” said Seratti-Goldman, who added that Endicott will be missed terribly.
Endicott is pursuing a master’s degree in communications at CSUN and plans to marry his fiance, Hannah Lively.
“I’m going to miss his wit and wisdom around the here, but I know our friendship goes past the station doors,” Jones said.
He’ll be teaching speech courses at CSUN in the fall as part of his communications studies program. Verna McKay will be taking over as the afternoon host starting Thursday.
Endicott said he looks forward to teaching the speech courses, and would like to use his broadcast experience to teach, staying close to the broadcast industry.
“We’re so proud of him for pursuing his master’s degree and marrying a wonderful woman,” she said.
Carl Goldman echoed the sentiment, fondly recalling his early days with the oversized cellphone “the size of a refrigerator” by today’s standards.
“It’s been pretty amazing to see him starting out from doing that to be watching his career grow,” Carl Goldman said. “And we’re really glad that he’s pursuing a career that he’s passionate about.”