Pearl started in the media as a disc jockey working as a Boss Radio on-air personality for 1960s music powerhouses KHJ and KRLA, before moving on to talk radio for news stations including KABC. He paid for his law school this way and embarked on a distinguished career in law before starting his LBReport.com in August 2000.
“Bill was a very talented person and did a great service to the community,” said Jay Beeler, editor of the Beachcomber community newspaper, which has featured Pearl’s articles on its cover over the past year, most of which were first written for LBReport.
Those of us at the Post met Pearl while covering city politics and on his site he was a staunch competitor, but still gracious in person. I didn’t always agree with his journalistic decisions, but you couldn’t deny his drive and determination (if not for the hectic design of his site, with headlines telling pretty much the whole story and interspersed with abbreviated and apostrophic words that were, in the earliest days, used by newspapers to fit headlines in tight spaces).
Pearl wrote and said it the way he wanted it to be written and said. His wife, Sharon Katchen, first met Pearl at KFWB in 1986 when she moved from Denver to take the political cover post for the station.
“I tried to help Pearl with her coverage of the city, as we both have a background in journalism,” she said. “I was writing something for him and he was like, ‘This is great, but I’m going to rewrite it.’ He was very picky about how his stories read and looked alike. “
The couple were reportedly married for 32 years in March. They have triplets: Max, David and Chaya, who all returned home to be with Pearl on Tuesday, the day after she returned from the hospital.
“When people say that someone fought a long, hard battle with cancer, it’s true,” Katchen said. “He was diagnosed in July 2019 and started treatment in August. He had surgery, radiation and chemo, then more radiation and more chemo.
Katchen said her husband started LBReport.com because he got bored of the city’s daily life. “He didn’t feel like they were doing a good job covering the news and telling people there was nothing they could do to fix it. He started LBReport.com with the idea of letting people know earlier when they could do something about it.
Pearl was infamous at City Hall for his frequent requests under the Public Records Act. “There was a lot of things that came out of these,” Katchen said. “He always went where the truth was and if it was in a black hole, Bill would go in that black hole.”
Pearl stayed there until early November, when he went for further treatment at UCLA / Santa Monica, until there was nothing more for him to do.
“He really brightened up when he saw his pets and kids,” Katchen said.
She said she intended to maintain LBReport. “It will be down for a while so I can learn how to use it more easily and make it look prettier,” she said.
“But for now, I need to have time to grieve and deal with things. “
Katchen said Pearl’s service would be small and private for security reasons, but added that there would likely be a more public memorial in the spring or summer.