by Jay “Lightning” Tilles
Scott Mason, KROQ Chief Engineer and family member of over 35 years, passed away Sunday morning.
It’s hard to assemble the words to express just how much Scott meant to KROQ, our family and radio in general.
Known to long-time KROQ listeners as Spacin’ Scott Mason, Scott was one of the reasons the station is what it is today.
Scott started in radio at the young age of 14. After honing his skills at various Southern California stations, a young Mr. Mason was hired to run KROQ-FM way back in 1979. Rick Carroll, the station’s program director, hired Scott to be a weekend DJ and Chief Engineer while he was still a teenager. Since that time Scott has worked every airshift on KROQ at one time or another. Scott was even an original host of Loveline with The Poorman, and Dr. Drew.
Over time, the station grew and so did Scott’s responsibilities. With KROQ eventually purchased by CBS, Scott ended up overseeing all things technical for our West Coast stations; and we have quite a few.
But Scott wasn’t just a DJ and engineer. Scott was a founding father to one of America’s greatest radio stations. He ate, slept and breathed KROQ.
Hiring interns was just one his many duties. And, like quite a few, I owe my career to Scott. Scott didn’t care about flash or glitz. He was at KROQ to make it the best radio station he could and he welcomed those with equal passion.
Scott was thoughtful and caring, always willing to go out of his way to help anyone in need, which he did frequently. His love of public service turned into Openline, a syndicated weekend show dedicated to serving the Los Angeles and Orange County communities. Scott was even a Boy Scout leader.
We, the KROQ family, and radio fans everywhere, owe Scott a great debt.
Courtesy BSA Troop 911
Scott had health problems his entire life but he tried his hardest to never let that get in the way of living his life to the fullest. Not only was his work ethic unshakable – if it needed to be done, he got it done – but he maintained a constant optimism and good humor
throughout. Most people had no idea the struggles he was going through. And when he wasn’t working he was giving back to others by volunteering for the American Red Cross and teaching classes to young broadcast students.
I’ll never forget him being in Seattle helping me with some equipment repair in 2012 and just looking awful. After I badgered him enough I found out he was on dialysis and had been for over two years while waiting for a kidney donor. He had never let on to any of us during that whole time what he was going through.
I was lucky enough to be a match for Scott and during the lead up to our surgery I got to know his mother and step-father, and his siblings, and his girlfriend. You could tell how much Scott meant to each and every one of them.
Even with the additional time his new kidney might have given him, it wasn’t nearly enough. He is gone from our sight now but not from our hearts. KROQ will owe Scott a great debt of gratitude for a long time to come for how much of his life he shared with us.
KROQ's Bean (@clydetombaugh) April 20, 2015
Richard Blade wrote:
Woke up this morning to TERRIBLE news. Long-time friend and work companion Scott Mason has passed away. “Spacin'” Scott Mason was literally a fixture of KROQ from its very humble beginnings. He was the teenage engineer who held the station together with duct tape and a screw driver. On a limited (think ‘none’) budget and with a tiny signal, he helped keep KROQ on the air during those beginning and oh-so-challenging days. He would spend half of his twelve hour plus work day at the patch-work station and the other half driving to and from the crumbling transmitter up in the mountains. It was Scott who lead the drive to have the FCC reposition our antennae so that the station could finally be heard and let so many generations in Southern California grow up as KROQ KIDS!
Scott also loved being on the air but his skills as an engineer blocked his path to fame as a DJ. He literally was too valuable behind the scenes for the then GM, Pat Walsh, to allow him to have a full-time air shift. Instead he was permitted to create a once a week public affairs show to fulfill our required FCC licence commitment to broadcast such a program. Scott initially named it Open Line but soon it became Love Line and Scott brought in other hosts to work with him including Swedish Egiland Poorman, and one of radio’s biggest hit shows was born. We have a BIG thank you to Scott for being such an early part of that.
On a personal level Scott stood by me and showed me the ropes when I joined the station in the summer of 1982 when the rest of the jocks were away in Hawaii on vacation. He was there for EVERY live KROQ broadcast including being with me on stage at both US Festivals (along with the incomparable Raymondo), under water with James Cameron and myself at Catalina’s Casino Point Marine Park for a live broadcast for the premiere of “The Abyss” (I taught Scott to SCUBA dive for that broadcast – I’m a PADI instructor on the side) and with me and Depeche Mode when I DJ’d with them in Orlando on their “Songs of Faith and Devotion” show – known as The Devotional tour. Scott also made sure that the live broadcast of my going away party hosted by the great Kevin & Bean at The Hollywood Palace went smoothly, without interruption, for seven hours. That will be exactly 15 years ago next week – April 27th, 2000. And as with everything he did, Scott pulled it off flawlessly.
Scott had always battled health problems but never bitched or moaned about them. He just dealt with them as they came up and continued to excel at his job – which he loved. But as the years went on Scott’s health worsened. In 2012 Scott’s kidney was failing so badly that he needed a transplant. It was KROQ’s own Bean who donated his – a very painful procedure, but Bean was a match and he donated without hesitation to Scott (so the next time you hear someone bad-mouthing Bean remember that. He is a great guy who stands by his friends and family). The much-needed operation bought Scott some time but not enough, and three years later we all awake to the word that the man (then teenager) who helped lay the foundation that built KROQ and changed music forever is no longer with us.
He will be sadly missed by many and the irony of his death is all too apparent. Scott Mason was a person who loved life, worked tirelessly and was loyal to a fault. He was a man who could fix any problem – except those that were within him. God bless you Scott, and on behalf of the millions you touched, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Nicole Alvarez wrote:
Scott was sincerely one of a kind . He was genuine bones, and by that I mean that his every word, intention, and movement was honest, direct, and organic. He was incapable of wasting time with anything other than the matter at hand. To say he was a rare breed doesn’t even begin to do him justice. Imagine living in a world where you knew for a FACT that one person meant every word they ever said, would look at you directly in the eyes and you would know exactly where you stand, and that that one person would be there every single time something needed fixing, and would always do their best to never fail, no matter the sacrifices involved… That is the kind of world that anyone who ever shared space with Scott Mason knew. To me, he was raised in an old school world where men had integrity and pride and honor and their word and their work ethic was what they measured themselves by, Scott had all of it. He somehow preserved all those attributes in this crazy business we all chose and in this crazy life we all try to navigate. He had all of it in spades.
It’s no secret that I am a bit of a wild child and every once in a while trouble finds me. So one night I set off the fire alarm at KROQ because I was playing with a lighter in the hallway and then all hell broke loose. I’m talking fire department, maddening alarm sounds, the whole works! Scott did not yell at me nor did he scold me in front of the masses, instead, less than 24 hours later he wrote me a lengthy e-mail detailing the several ways I could have hurt myself and possibly set myself ablaze. Guys! He even included bullet points.
At the end of the week, he left me a child proof lighter in my mailbox and forever dubbed me “the girl who likes to play with fire.”
Scott was generally a quiet man, he was not flashy, nor was he ever wanting or needing to be the center of attention, he was content with just working, simply working and getting the job done. I am so very grateful to have known him and will forever feel his watchful eyes over my shoulder whenever I am “playing with fire.”
Goodnight good sir. Heaven just welcomed and old world gentleman.
Doug The Slug wrote:
I’m glad I got to go to breakfast with Scott Mason and Andy Schuon recently, but I really wish I had pushed Scott into sitting down for an interview on KROQhd² about “The Old Daze.” I told him a couple of times I wanted to add him to the list of people I had chatted with (Dusty, Jed, Doc, Darrell Wayne, April etc.,) but he brushed it off each time saying nobody would be interested in hearing from him. While I appreciated his genuinely heartfelt modesty, I knew he was incorrect and I am sure he knew it too, in truth.
I simply haven’t interviewed anyone this year (too busy!) and I foolishly believed we’d have plenty of time to do it later on. Scott had bounced back from so many hard times that I just plain expected to see him cheerful and doing much better yet again in the hallways very soon.
I owe Scott the world. He hired the girl who eventually became my wife and favorite person in the world. He was perceptive like that. He knew quality when he saw it. I’m going to miss his presence on this planet and at that radio facility, because he was a unique “straight shooter” that let you know exactly where you stood with him and he had an unusually good and positive spirit.
Jed The Fish shares some photos:
Tami Heide wrote:
I am just floored and without words at the passing of Scott Mason. My nickname for Scott was always Disaster Master, because if something went wrong, Scott was the guy you wanted to have there to keep things under control. Godspeed, Scott. You are sorely missed.
Courtesy Dustin Hilton, KROQ Engineer
Christine, Kevin & Bean Show Associate Producer wrote:
A lot of my colleagues have posted on FB about our friend Scott Mason passing away yesterday. I wanted to share the news with other friends who don’t work in the business but who knew of Spacin’ Scott Mason, especially those of us who grew up in Southern California listening to KROQ.
I don’t like to talk on the radio, but this am, Bean asked me to sit in to talk about our friend Scott. I am so regretful that I wasn’t more eloquent with what I said about Scott. What I had tried to say before I got emotional and rambled on about who-knows-what was that Scott was the nicest person I’ve ever worked with. He was as nice to me since I was just a part-time kid who drove the station van as he was to me the last time I saw him. He was the coolest radio guy ever. He was encyclopedic in his knowledge of the history of radio. Which made for some awesome stories! And back before we were part of a big company, Scott was basically our HR guy, our paramedic, our public affairs/community liaison and so much more! (of course in addition to doing everything it took to keep us on air). He also was a real music guy. I love that because a lot of people in radio aren’t.
I know that everyone is so busy in our own lives. But Scott always found time to check in. He was truly invested in the well-being of others. He would constantly check in with me about my family and to make sure I wasn’t working too hard. I’d always turn it around on him and ask him the same question. He’d just laugh.
There are so many awesome stories to share, but I will just say that I will miss his sincere smile and our funny 6am conversations. I’ll miss escaping into his office and chatting with him about nothing and bugging him to tell me old KROQ stories. Scott, you’re my favorite! I will miss you and your friendship & wisdom so much.
Times are heavy, as I was informed that my boss Scott Mason fought his last health battle and moved onto the spirit world. He was a warrior and bounced back every time things got rough, inspiring myself, his engineering team and everyone at The World Famous KROQ, 93.1 JACK FM, 97.1 AMP Radio, K-EARTH 101, 94.7 The WAVE etc. that he has employed and worked alongside for 30 plus years. He revolutionized radio engineering and was one of the strongest team leaders we were lucky to call a friend and mentor, with the greatest sense of humor and outlook on life. My life changed significantly when Scott hired me as his assistant, and all the tall tales I had once heard about the rock ‘n’ roll history of kroq and host Spacin’ Scott Mason, proved to be true. It has been nothing but an enriching honor to know and work with all the legends who have made such an impact on LA Radio and the ambiance that resulted from their personalities and innovative hard work. I learned a great deal while working for Scott and truly transitioned into adulthood thanks to his guidance. He was a great role model, lived a truly fulfilled life and even volunteered his spare time for his community. He was a true wiz always seeking more knowledge, with a soul and heart of gold and has changed so many lives for the better. We all have something to thank Scott Mason for, and I most of all for the greatest privilege and experience of a lifetime at CBS Radio. He will never be forgotten.