Cover photo for James Glendon Price's Obituary

James Glendon Price

June 25, 1935 — March 15, 2023

San Diego

James Glendon Price


James (Jim) Glendon Price, aka “Sunny Jim” and “Jim Wayne” had his final mic drop moment on March 15, 2023.  

Jim was born in the midst of the Great Depression on June 25, 1935 in Smithville, MO.  He was the second son of Glendon Wayne and Melba Cleora (Rader) Price and brother to Buddy (Bud).  Early life was difficult during those times, but Jim wasn’t aware he was poor because TV hadn’t been established.  It was the Golden Age of Radio (Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos N’ Andy, The Shadow, etc. Big Bands and Frankie Sinatra), and though he didn’t know it, he would later make his own mark on radio history.

The family eventually moved to Kansas City, KS where Jim attended Rosedale High School (Class of 1953).  His favorite subject was history and remained a passion for the rest of his life.  He played football for Rosedale and loved basketball, though being “too slow and having a lack of hand/eye coordination” kept him off the school team.  He described himself as never very good, but persistent.  During his time at Rosedale, he discovered he had a knack for public speaking and he was never intimidated being in front of an audience.  He attended Junior College for one year, receiving superior honors at speech festivals.  It was here that Jim started to realize that speech and emoting might really be his “thing”.  His speech class performed weekly in a fifteen-minute play and it was broadcast on KCKN, a local radio station.  His skills were noticed and he was offered a part time job editing the night time news.

A call from a small station was made to KCKN looking for a “warm body”.  Jim made the 90-mile journey to audition and in June, 1954 he landed his first on-air job in Clinton, MO at KDKD for $50/week.  While in Clinton he learned how to do most everything in a radio station from on-air to sweeping the floors.  The station owner, David Segal, took a liking to “Jimmy” and after 11 months moved to a bigger market in Ottumwa, IA at KLEE.  Jim did a daily music show, picked the music and read the news.  During this time, he married his first wife and high school sweetheart, Nancy Leavell.  Rock and Roll (RnR) was just starting to emerge and Jim heard Elvis for the first time.  

After 11 more months, he moved to KOSI, a big RnR station in Denver, CO.  Just 6 months later the owner bought KOBY in San Francisco, CA and Jim moved again.  RnR was so hot that within 3 months the station was #1 in the market.  Jim was 22.  

The period in the Bay area in the late 50’s and early 60’s was the birth of rock and roll.  At one point, Jim was the night DJ and worked with Casey Kasem and Gary Owens.  During these years, Jim was also host and emcee of a dance club for young people where bands such as the Beach Boys honed their craft and reputedly, the phrase “Elvis has left the building” was first uttered.  (See interview from “On Air San Diego” at

In 1959 he met Gayle “Brande” Pressas who would become his wife for the next 40 years until her death in 1999.  After a few years in Fresno, in 1965 they moved to KDEO in San Diego where he stayed on-air for two more years and also served as Program Director.  As PD, Jim was responsible for choosing what music to play on the air.  One day, while listening to demo tracks, Jim asked a 13-year-old who hung around the station what he thought of a song.  The teen liked it so Jim was the first PD to put California Dreamin’ by The Mamas & the Papas on the air.  That young man would come to be known as “Shotgun Tom” Kelly.

With a growing family, Jim made the move to sales where his knowledge of copy and production proved invaluable.  Sales came naturally and after two years he was the station manager at KSDO, a news/talk format.  The ratings improved and it was promptly sold.  

A theme had started to emerge:  Jim became the “Radio Doctor”.  He would be hired onto a struggling station, revitalize it, and then back through the cycle when the station was sold.  

Jim moved his family to Bakersfield, Ca where he took his first President/General Manager position at another rock station.  In two years, he turned KAFY into a top-rated powerhouse.  This led to a new Vice President/GM position back in San Diego with KGB-AM and FM in January, 1974.  For the next 10 years both stations were rated at or near #1 in the market and were also billing leaders.  While at KGB, Jim also led the staff that created three of Billboard Magazine’s Top 100 radio promotions of all time: the KGB Chicken, (aka San Diego and Famous Chicken), the SkyShow, and the Homegrown albums.  

After KGB, Jim returned to KSDO as GM.  The station had a talk format and Jim became, as the LA times described, “The Man Who Hired Roger Hedgecock”, the controversial former mayor of San Diego, to host a regular show.  The station’s ratings climbed, but the pressure of working for a publicly traded company (Gannet) eventually led to a position with soft rock station KYXY that was locally owned.  He raised ratings at KYXY and was able to do some traveling, (Europe, Australia, etc.) before eventually retiring in July, 1991.

Jim and the staffs at his various stations were also responsible for several high-profile and innovative community service projects such as the AIDS Awareness Day, the “I Love a Clean San Diego” campaign for which Jim served as media Chairperson and the Leukemia Society run over the Coronado Bridge.  Jim also served many years as the Treasurer of the San Diego Radio Broadcasters Association.  

In addition to his many other accomplishments, Jim was also a co-founder of AirWatch, one of the first aircraft-based traffic reporting services in the nation.  In June 2000 Jim was presented with the San Diego Radio Broadcasters Association Lifetime Achievement award.  

To sum up his career in a single sentence a plaque in his office reads “Sunny Jim Price, the guy who went from copy boy to President”.

In his personal life Jim was a loving and encouraging father who set an example of positivity and lifelong physical fitness.  He touted his longevity to staying physically active, going for daily runs until he “got too slow” and started jogging until finally, when lower back and knee pain became too severe, started walking at a strong pace at 75.  

He spent the last 23 years of his life with Ursula “Luli” Gallego.  He would often credit Luli for keeping him young and healthy as she shared his love of family, staying active and introduced him to healthier (but still delicious) eating.  They spent their time traveling between their combined 17 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

His love of reading (non-fiction) and history lasted throughout his life and he would proudly describe himself as a lifelong learner.  

To many, both friends and family, Jim was their biggest cheerleader and advocate.  He never met a stranger and if you were dear to him, he would let you know.  His legacy will live on through all that knew him. 

Jim was preceded in death by his first wife Nancy and second wife Gayle (Brande).  Sunny Jim leaves behind his loving and devoted partner of 23 years, Luli Gallego.  Children: Janis Broaddus, Lynn Wilson (Frank), David (Lezlee) Price, Michael (Becky) Price.  Grandchildren: Erica, James David, Jessica, Amanda, Erin, Anne, Nick, James and Evan and five great grandchildren.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at 12:00 on April 27, 2023 at Ascension Parish Center, 11292 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego CA 92124.  Please RSVP to if you plan to attend.  In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice in Jim’s name.

To order memorial trees in memory of James Glendon Price, please visit our tree store.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 345

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree

Send a Card

Send a Card