KXLU DJ Uncle Tim Shares His Passion for Music, Law and Westchester

Longtime Westchester Resident Tim McDermott, a.k.a. Uncle Tim, has been spinning the finest in 60s soul and garage rock, Jamaican ska and rock steady at KXLU 88.9 FM for the past 30 years. His show “The Bomb Shelter” runs every Friday from 8 – 9 p.m. By day, Uncle Tim spends his time as a defense attorney.

What do you like most about living in Westchester?

[It’s] close enough to the beach and everything else I love in Los Angeles, but quiet enough that I can just chill out with my family when I’m home.

Where did your nickname come from?

In the ‘80s, every KXLU DJ had a nickname.  Mine was bestowed upon me so long ago that I can’t even remember how it got there.  It’s like an embarrassing high school yearbook photo that gets bandied about every Friday night.

How did a defense attorney get into the music and record business?

It’s actually a case of how did a record store lifer become a defense attorney.  At the age of 17, I had an internship at a record label (Enigma Records in El Segundo, R.I.P.)  and began tagging along with a high school buddy, Matt Kelly, during his 2 – 6 a.m. show at KXLU.

By 1996, I owned a record store named Scooter’s Records in Hermosa Beach.  In 2004 I lost my lease, and spiraling rents led me to decide to switch careers. Because my father had been a law professor, I had always considered law school to be a “Plan B” in case my other dreams didn’t pan out.  I went to Pepperdine—a.k.a. that other school on PCH, in LMU parlance.

While in law school, I decided that being a Public Defender would be the best job for me.  The L.A. County Public Defender’s office offered me a job right out of law school, and I’ve been here since 2007.  I don’t believe that I’ve ever been bored for a single day at work.

Why did you name your record store Scooter’s?

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of owning a record store, and decided that if I ever succeeded in opening one I would name it after my dog.

How would you describe the genres of music that you play, and why should someone want to listen?

What I play is basically the R&B derived pop music of the ‘60s, from across the globe.  Why tune in?  Because, to quote Duke Ellington, “If it sounds good, it is good.”

Favorite hang out in Westchester hang out?

The Good Pizza on Emerson Ave., the best crust in the world.

Favorite LMU event?

My own radio show.  Is that incredibly self-centered?  Perhaps, but I wouldn’t be doing something for 30+ years if I didn’t love it a lot.

Best place to listen to music in L.A.? 

Wherever KXLU is on the airwaves.