Memorial services are scheduled today for Spider MacLean, the veteran Orange County broadcaster on KWIZ-AM radio who charmed listeners for 32 years with his down-home style.
McLean died of cancer Friday morning at his Garden Grove home. He was 62.
MacLean, who was known for his folksy accounts of the news and traffic, had been ill since spring. Before his illness, he was working as a radio anchor reporter for Air Traffic Communications, a Santa Ana-based traffic reporting firm.
Born Jean D. MacLean in Detroit, Mich. he got his start in the Northwest at age 16, working at radio stations in Oregon, Montana and Idaho before moving to California in 1957 and signing on at KWIZ. It was in Salem, Ore., that he picked up the nickname “Spider” after a station manager there observed the tall, lanky broadcaster in a contorted position as he worked the controls.
For more than three decades on the airwaves, MacLean cultivated a faithful following of Orange County listeners with his down-to-earth style.
“He inspired me and that’s why I got into radio. He was the voice of Orange County,” said Bill Nesbitt, an announcer with KWIZ. “A lot of radio people put on airs and put on their radio voice. But he was just matter-of-fact and homey. Spider was just Spider.”
He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann MacLean of Garden Grove; two sons, Doug, 37, and Jeff, 28, both of Murietta; his mother, Madge Manuel of Sun City, Ariz., and two grandchildren.
Memorial services are scheduled for 2 p.m. today at Living Spring Christian Fellowship, 9851 Bixby Ave., Garden Grove. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the American Cancer Society, c/o Pastor Shawn Taylor, Living Spring Christian Fellowship, 9851 Bixby Ave., Garden Grove, Calif. 92641.