Local radio, TV personality dies
During his Santa Barbara broadcasting career, Ed Foley seemed larger than life. In the wake of his passing, Mr. Foley’s family remembers the kindness and charisma of the man behind the microphone.
“He was a photographer in the service and he always loved music. So, when he got back, he just jumped right into radio,” said Mary Perry, Mr. Foley’s youngest daughter.
Mr. Foley was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Oct. 30, 1931. After nine years in the Air Force, from 1950 to 1959, he moved to Santa Barbara to work for Raytheon.
One year later, KIST Radio owner Pat Wardlaw hired him as a disc jockey.
“I remember watching him in the studio when it was in the Balboa Building (on State Street). And then we’d go to Little Audrey’s (restaurant) after. It was just a classic place on State Street … when it was still local,” said Ms. Perry.
She remembered that Mr. Foley loved The Beatles, but some of his other favorites didn’t get as much airtime on the top-40 station.
“The Moody Blues, David Crosby, Jerry Lee Lewis … he liked a wide variety. He even knew Jerry Lee Lewis from before his radio days and they had stories together,” said Ms. Perry.
Over his 12 years at KIST Mr. Foley hosted the “Doctor Pepper Dance Time” during his weeknight radio show the Ed Foley Show.
In 1972 Mr. Foley joined KEYT, where he co-anchored the 6 and 11 p.m. TV broadcasts. Ms. Perry said her father had a natural charisma, but it was his kindness and knowledge of the community that made him such a successful broadcaster.
“He was a good listener. He was so concerned about the community. I remember once, maybe in the late ’60s, a child was struck by a car on Cliff Drive and he (Mr. Foley) got the community to get together to lobby for stop lights at that location.”
In 1975 Mr. Foley formed Edward Foley and Co. Advertising. His clients included Exxon, Vreeland Cadillac, Mobile Life Support (now American Medical Response), and various political campaigns.
Mr. Foley eventually returned to KEYT to do newscasts for its AM radio station. He also served as an assignment editor for the KEYT television station
In the ’80s and ’90s Mr. Foley announced the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade live TV coverage. He also wrote the parade script and recruited announcers for the annual parade.
Mr. Foley was one of the founding members in 1973 of the Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister Cities Committee and was instrumental in obtaining a donated ambulance for the city of Puerto Vallarta. He was also a member of the Lions Club and a lifetime supporter of the Santa Barbara Zoo.
“He was a great guy. He and I would go the grocery store together and sometimes he’d let me take home one of those cheap toys from the isle. I still have a pair of princess shoes from one of those trips,” said Ms. Perry.
Mr. Foley had four children with his first wife Joanne Foley. They are Edward and Craig Foley, Valerie Roses and Ms. Perry.
He married his second wife, Renee Foley, in 1980. They spent 39 years together.
“Even though we were 15 years apart, he was my best friend and we had so much in common. We loved all the same music and he was always with me,” Renee Foley said of her late husband. She recalled how confident he was despite standing only 5 feet, 3 inches, slightly shorter than her.
“He had an amazing voice; it was perfect for radio. And just the way he carried himself, he had a natural charisma.”
Renee Foley said they both enjoyed nature, visiting tje Santa Barbara Zoo and frequenting such local spots as Harry’s Restaurant and the Somerset Restaurant.
A celebration of life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 6 at Harry’s Plaza Cafe. Memorial donations may be made to Trusted Hospice or the Alzheimer’s Association.