Marathon spirit is honored
Radio voice lauded, unheard

By Tom Hennessy
Staff columnist

The buttons on my car radio are mostly set for talk-radio stations. By pressing them in rapid-fire order, I often hear different people giving the same lock-step opinions on the same subjects. It is a small illustration of the grip the political right now has on talk-radio in Southern California.

A more dramatic illustration, as noted in prior columns, is the fact that Michael Jackson, the dean of talk radio in the Southland and perhaps the most polished person in the business, has been unemployed for nearly a year.

Simply put, he is not right-wing enough. In fact, he is not right- wing at all.

Nothing underscores the absurdity of this situation more than the fact that on Saturday in Chicago, Jackson will be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. The ceremony, moderated by TV host Larry King, will be broadcast live on one of Jackson's old stations, KNX (1070 AM) at 7 p.m.

Jackson, a talk-show veteran of more than 30 years, is one of five people being inducted. The Radio Hall of Fame is a relatively exclusive group. It has 115 members, fewer than half the number enshrined at its baseball counterpart in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Also being inducted in Chicago is Gene Autry, the late California Angels owner who began his radio career as a yodeling cowboy. The other three: Jim Bohannon, network talk-show host, Mel Karmazin, president of Viacom, Inc., and Orion Samuelson, a Chicago broadcaster known as America's "Voice of Agriculture.''

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