Bill Keene, a fixture on Los Angeles airwaves for nearly four decades as a weather and traffic broadcaster known for his comical reports and corny puns, died April 5 in a Tucson hospital. He was 73.
Keene had suffered a stroke Feb. 29 and later developed pneumonia, daughter Bonnie Keene said.
Keene, who retired in 1993, would report spilled loads of live chickens, furniture in the fast lane and nude pedestrians. When once alerting motorists to a spilled load of fish, with the California Highway Patrol responding, Keene told listeners to watch out for “fish and CHiPs.”
Samples of Keene-speak include “poop-out hill” for the Sepulveda Pass, “malfunction junction” for the East L.A. interchange and the “Orange crush” for the junction of the Orange, Santa Ana and Garden Grove freeways.
He began delivering weather reports in 1957 on the old KNXT-TV Channel 2 (now KCBS) and sister radio station KNX and helped pioneer KNXT’s hourlong news format.
He also hosted the daytime TV variety show “Keene at Noon,” which became “The Bill Keene Show.”
Keene joined KTLA-TV in 1974 and two years later moved to KNX-AM, where he was one of the first local reporters to add traffic to the news broadcast.
In 1992, Keene was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, Louise, and a grandson.