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Former Mutual Broadcasting System president Jim Simon, regarded by some as the “father of talk radio,” died June 6 in Fountain Valley, Calif. He was 61.

“When people sent him books, they would autograph it to ‘the father of talk radio,’ ” said his assistant, Virgett Taylor. “He began KABC news and talk radio in the ’70s.”

Simon, who had diabetes, died of complications resulting from a massive stroke after a recent aneurysm, Taylor said.

Simon was the father of KNBC-TV correspondent Jim Avila; ABC News radio correspondent Chris Simon; and Jaie Avila Simon, an ABC News reporter in Phoenix.

The elder Simon worked for KABC radio in the 1970s as a news and talk programming writer, and for WBBM in Chicago as veepee, Taylor said.

Simon also worked for KCBS-AM in San Francisco and had a talkshow for about five years at KGIL-AM in the 1980s.

He retired about two years ago, Taylor said.

Simon is survived by his wife, Eve; a daughter, Kari; and four sons, Jim, Chris, Jaie and Tom.

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