Business Journal Charts Radio Ad Man’s Epic Downfall

Los Angeles Business Journal reporter Joel Russell shares a long and sadly fascinating cautionary tale today with his look at what led to the death on January 10th of Mike Ramirez (pictured), a man considered by local radio executives to be one of the best negotiators to ever work in the LA media world.

The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but Ramirez had one wild ride of a life. It started in the crop fields of central California, helping Cesar Chavez try to organize the United Farmers Workers, encompassed the 1-900 psychic and party hotlines boom of the ’90s, and peaked in the 2000s when Ramirez rode the mortgage refinance craze to an affluent, cocaine-fueled lifestyle. His main client was Best Funding, a small City of Industry operation run by Fernando Perez.

These were peak years for shock-jock programming and KLSX-FM 97.1 was the LA station for Howard Stern. Ramirez put on so many ads starring Perez that listener polls found Perez was a recognizable name, too. “With his help, Best Funding became the biggest client CBS radio ever had in Los Angeles,” said Cal Saul, a former sales executive at CBS who now works at ABC Radio.

Once the housing boom evaporated, so too did Ramirez’s Bunker Hill condo, Del Mar vacation home and client-funded trips to Miami and Cancun. He was homeless for a time in 2010 and worked briefly as a shoe salesman before his death.