Famed Radio Announcer Cliff Winston Dead at 63
Cliff Winston, a giant in L.A. radio and famed morning drive announcer who spent 20 years at KJLH and two stints at KKBT, passed on Sunday, December 17 after suffering a massive heart attack at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 63.
Winston had been downtown at the L.A. Courthouse for a deposition when he suffered chest pains and was transported to the hospital. An autopsy has been scheduled. Winston’s father had died from a massive heart attack at age 54.
“Cliff was the quintessential radio guy,” said KJLH program director Aundrae Russell, who was ironically enough hired by Winston. He was one of the best. He knew the ins and outs of programming like no one else. I learned a lot from him,”
An official statement from KJLH read as follows: “We pause to acknowledge the wisp of time known as life, for we are tremendously saddened by the news that our friend, our colleague Cliff Winston passed away yesterday,” the statement said. “Suffice to say that Cliff is an indelible signature in the life of KJLH Radio. For decades you heard him and the Home Team on our airwaves guiding you to work or wherever you were going each morning.”
“Sad to hear,” wrote musician Boney James on Facebook. “He was always a pleasure to hang with and super supportive in my early days. My thoughts are with his family.”
Actor-comedian D.L. Hughley also offered condolences, posting on Facebook, “I was his side kick on KJLH and learned so much about radio from him! He was a gem of human being!”
Winston, a Dorsey High School graduate, grew up in Southern California, with his sights set on broadcasting.
“I would be up in the middle of the night listening to the radio,” Winston has said of his childhood.
He attended the University of Washington and started his radio career at KYAC-Seattle doing both drive times. Stints at KMJM-St. Louis, WBMX-Chicago, WDRQ-Detroit, where he served as program director and KRLY in Houston followed.
He joined KJLH in 1996 and left four years later to become one of the original morning hosts and public affairs director at “The Beat” (KKBT). He would return to KJLH in 1993, serving both as program director and morning drive announcer with a popular show that dominated the morning airwaves for the next 13 years.
He left KJLH a final time in 2006. At the time of his death, Winston was a doting grandfather who picked up his grandchildren every day from school and taught radio at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club.
He is survived by his wife Angela, son, Aaron, daughter, Asia and two twin granddaughters. Services will be held at West Angeles Church after the holidays.