Judd McIlvain has been in radio and TV for more than 35 years. Judd was first on TV when he was 12 years old and hosted a television show called “Children’s Digest.” The show was 15 minutes long on WBLN-TV in Bloomington, IL. The show was sponsored by Blue Star Potato Chips of Chicago. Judd did radio shows as a discjockey in Columbia, Missouri at KBIA and KFRU when he was 15 and 16 years of age.
At 17, he produced and hosted a television show called Dance Party at the Jefferson City, Missouri TV station. Teenagers from area schools would come to the studios each week and dance to rock-n-roll on television. The show was sponsored by Pepsi Cola and was 90 minutes long.
Judd was the first TV producer to fight for African American teenagers to dance on a so-called white TV show and win. A week later the Ku Klux Klan showed up at the studios and demanded that the white teenagers not dance on the show if black teenagers were permitted to dance.
It was 1959 and the white kids danced with white kids and the black kids danced with black kids, but for some members of the community that was too much integration. Pepsi did not give in and cancel the show and it continued until the end of the 13 week contract. However, Judd had to have one show with black dancers, and one show with white dancers. Therefore, on the black show, Judd was the first white host of a black dance party TV show. After the 13 week contract, and many protests from the Klan, the show was not renewed.
After high school Judd joined the National Guard and immediately went on active duty with the U.S. Army. Judd graduated as a Military Police Officer, served out his active duty, and then returned to serve four years active reserve. He was one of the youngest Military Police to reach the rank of Sergeant.
Judd worked part-time in radio and TV news reporting when he went to the University of Missouri School of Journalism at Columbia. During his college studies he studied a summer semester in Monterrey, Mexico where he learned Spanish.
After getting his Bachelor of Journalism (BJ), Judd headed for Central America to be a freelance news reporter. If there was a riot or a small war, Judd was there covering it and trying to find customers in the U.S. who would take his stories. He did some live feeds for ABC News from the riots in Panama City in 1965.
He was paid $20 per radio story. While working for United Press International ( UPI), Judd was arrested in Venezuela for taking pictures of the secret police beating demonstrators and the dictator Peres Jimenez Trial. Judd was released on bond and UPI’s bureau chief suggested it would be a great idea for Jud to flee the country because the penalty he was facing was six years in jail. Jud took the advice and was out of Venezuela the next morning. He has not been back since.
Judd has worked at eight different TV stations in this country.
He worked at the CBS-TV affiliate in Houston, Texas, for 18 years. He was the assignment editor/ producer, general reporter, and investigative reporter.
In 1986 Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox-TV, brought Jud to L.A. to be the Troubleshooter on the Fox TV station, KTTV.
In 1988 Jud was hired by KCBS-TV and moved his Troubleshooter operation to CBS. Judd was at KCBS for 10 years.
Judd has done stories on CBS’ 48 Hours with Dan Rather. Judd worked with Dan in Houston, Texas in the late 60’s. Judd also helped produce stories for Geraldo Rivera at ABC’s 20/20. Jud was often on Geraldo’s syndicated show until the fighting and chair throwing began.
Judd has won two L.A. Emmys, eight Golden Mikes, and four L.A. Press Club awards for outstanding TV reporting. One was for outstanding reporting during the LA riots. He also received Texas’ highest award for investigative reporting, the Headliners Award.
Judd now has a web site, which you would know if you were reading this. The site is www.troubleshooterjud.com. He is also putting together a consumer action radio talk show. So many people want to talk to Judd about consumer problems and scams and now they will be able to simply call him on the radio.
Judd and his wife Linda have been married for 40 years and have three children, Aaron, Sean, and Marisol. Judd lives in Woodland Hills, CA.