Michigan Broadcaster Behind The Eagles’ First #1 Passes Away


Jim Higgs, a revered Kalamazoo-area broadcaster, has passed away after an illness at the age of 79. Higgs is remembered for his tireless six-decade passion for radio, his memorable voice, and for being the Music Director that led to the Eagles’ first number-one single.

Higgs’ career started early in 1962 at WDMC-AM near the Kalamazoo River. His talent quickly became evident, leading to a significant role at WHTC-AM/FM in Holland the following year.

In 1967, Higgs moved to WKMI-AM in Kalamazoo where he made his mark as News Director, Program Director, Music Director, and morning drive on-air personality.

In 1974, Higgs played a pivotal role in The Eagles’ success by driving a grassroots campaign for the single “Best of My Love” – when the label and the band were initially against it – which helped the song become the band’s first Billboard Hot 100 number one.

Despite initial reluctance from Glenn Frey to release the song as a single, Higgs, who was also the music and program director at WKMI, started playing it shortly after the album “On the Border” was released in the spring of 1974. With listeners vastly preferring it over other singles from the album, Higgs notified Asylum Records of the track’s positive reception, leading to a test release of 1,000 copies in the Kalamazoo area.

This successful test prompted the full release of “Best of My Love” as a single on November 5, 1974.

However, the single’s release caused tension within the band when Asylum Records shortened the song for radio play without informing the Eagles, prompting Don Henley to demand its withdrawal from stores. Asylum ignored that request and the song became the band’s first number one single.

Jim Higgs and The Eagles
Jim Higgs and the Eagles in 2014 in Grand Rapids, MI

In 1983, Higgs and several colleagues purchased WAOP AM/FM in Otsego, which was rebranded as WQXC. After the dissolution of the owning corporation in 1993, Higgs took over the AM station, now WAKV-AM, and operated it from his home studio in Plainwell until his retirement in 2021.

Beyond radio, Higgs was deeply involved in his community, serving on the Plainwell City Council and actively participating in local historical and genealogical societies.

Higgs is survived by his wife, children, stepchildren, and grandchildren. A celebration of life is being planned, with details to be announced.



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