L.A. Radio Legend Dead at 87


Legendary KABC Radio and Los Angeles Talk Radio Personality Michael Jackson died Saturday peacefully at his home in Los Angeles. Jackson’s radio career spanned five decades. He worked at KABC for 32 years (1966-1998).

Jackson interviewed hundreds of public figures, including Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush along with Heads of State, governors, senators, A-List movie and TV stars, authors, musicians, singers and artists.

Born in England (April 16, 1934), Jackson lived through World War II and The Blitz bombings of the British Isle where his father served as a Royal Air Force Navigator Trainer. On rare occasions on the radio, Jackson would recount the fear and uncertainty of those seemingly endless bombings he experienced as a child and the constant worry about his father’s fate.

After the war, the family moved to South Africa where Michael started his career in radio as a disc jockey. In 1958, appalled by apartheid in South Africa, the Jackson family decided to move the United States. Once in the states, Jackson continued his career in radio working as a DJ in San Francisco (KYA and KEWB) and then moving to Los Angeles to work at KHJ, and later at news station KNX. In 1966, Jackson moved to KABC where he prospered as a talk show host for 32 years. After leaving KABC (1998 to 2007), Jackson worked at various radio stations hosting talks shows at KRLA, KLAC and KGIL until his retirement at the age of 73.

Throughout his career, Jackson received numerous accolades and awards including: Induction into the Radio Hall of Fame (2003), Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1984), four Golden Mike Awards, Los Angeles Times “Number One Radio Talk Host of the Year” (1997-98), honorary Doctorate of Laws from Western School of Law, presentation of the French Legion of Merit Award, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). In addition, more than two thousand of his iconic historic radio interviews housed in the Library of Congress.

“It was a testament to Michael, that so many of the guests and celebrities preferred to actually come in studio, rather than do phoners,” said Lyle Gregory, Jackson’s Show Producer of 30 years and close family friend. “ With his British accent and boyhood charm, Michael made people comfortable, they opened up. That was his gift. Michael molded an interview into conversation, news and information. Like two people sitting at a kitchen table talking. A table, an open window, where millions tuned in daily across the nation, so many of them referring to Michael as their personal University.”

Jackson’s children asked, “Everyone honor his time-honored legacy by being polite and good to one another. To unite as one people and to uphold Democracy in the America that our Father so cherished and promoted though out his life on-air and at home. We are grateful for our Loving Father and to those of you who loved him too.”

For the past decade, Jackson has endured Parkinson’s Disease. For those who want to pay tribute to Michael Jackson, the family asks that donations be given to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in “Memory of Talk Radio Broadcaster Michael Robin Jackson” at www.michaeljfox.org.



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