Michael Jackson (radio)
Michael Jackson, is a radio talk-show host based in the Los Angeles, California area. Jackson is best known for his radio show which covered the arts, politics and human interest subjects, particularly in the Los Angeles and greater Southern California area. The show originally aired on L.A. radio station KABC and briefly aired on KGIL.
Jackson was born in England and experienced the Blitz as a child. After the war, during which his father served in the RAF as a navigator trainer, his family moved to South Africa where he became a radio disc jockey. The Jacksons were appalled by the apartheid then dominant in South Africa, and they moved to the United States in 1958. Michael had always wanted to be on the radio in Los Angeles, but first, he worked in cities like San Francisco, where he did a top-40 show for station KYA. Listeners loved his British accent, but he didn’t especially enjoy being a rock deejay. In fact,he hated rock music and ended up getting fired. When he was hired in the early 60s at KEWB to do an overnight shift, he gradually phased out playing records, and began chatting with callers. He got the reputation of being a problem-solver, and comedian Mort Sahl, a big fan of his, jokingly called him the “All Night Psychiatrist.”. In that article, it noted that the police regularly monitored his show, with his permission, so they could trace the calls of the occasional listener who expressed suicidal thoughts and make sure the person was okay. And Time Magazine praised him for his ability to maintain a calm demeanor no matter what the subject might be.
The Time article and other favorable publicity earned him some offers, and he finally fulfilled his dream, getting hired in Los Angeles, where he briefly did the 7 p.m. to midnight shift at KHJ. Radio/TV critic Don Page of the Los Angeles Times took notice of him almost immediately, saying he was a “good talker and a patient listener”, with an “elegant and flexible” command of the language. But when his ratings weren’t what KHJ hoped, they fired him. Fortunately, the CBS affiliate KNX quickly picked him up, but he found their format very confining. Finally, in 1966, heritage talk station KABC hired him, and it was a perfect fit. They were having great success with their talk radio format, and they gave him the 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. spot. Michael remained with them for the next three decades, with critics continuing to compliment him for being “cultivated and enlightened”. At that time, KABC also broadcast the Joe Pyne show, and in the mid 1970s, when Michael beat him in the ratings, he told a reporter that this proved “you do not have to be rude to be successful.”. Nobody ever accused Michael of being rude.
He liked to book his own guests, and he became well-known for talking to interesting news makers from all around the world, ranging from Richard Nixon’s former counsel Charles Colson to economist Milton Friedman to Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan. He also talked to celebrities, psychologists and comedians, but he seemed to enjoy talking about current events. On the other hand, he was sometimes criticized for being too nice with his guests and not asking enough tough questions.