FOUNTAIN VALLEY — Jim Simon, a former president of the Mutual Broadcasting System and a veteran radio broadcaster, died Tuesday at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center after a massive stroke. He was 61.
Sometimes called the "father of talk radio" for his pioneering work with KABC-AM and KGIL-AM in Los Angeles, Simon was also the father of four broadcast correspondents. His children are Jim Avila of KNBC-TV news; Chris Simon of ABC news radio, now in Sarajevo; Jay Avila, an NBC news reporter in Phoenix; and Tom Avila, a former television news assignment editor for Fox-TV now working as an independent television producer.
Simon is also survived by his wife, Eve, of Fountain Valley.
Three of Simon's sons took their maternal grandmother's name, Avila, to avoid the appearance of conflict when they were hired by their father at various stations, according to Tom Avila of Fountain Valley.
"He helped us; he always helped us," Tom Avila said. "He gave all four of us our first jobs in the business. . . . We worked together for two years at WFAA-AM in Dallas with no one knowing we were related."