McIntyre Retires from KABC after 22 years
Yes, that was Leo Terrell filling in for Doug McIntyre this week on KABC (790 AM) mornings. Well, filling is perhaps not quite the right word McIntyre announced early last week that he was retiring from the station he called home for 22 years.
“I’m ready,” he told me.
I’ve actually been thinking about it for a while now,” he explained. There are so many things I would like to do including the completion of a novel I’ve been working on for about 20 years. It’s been on hold while I work out details in my mind for the story line,” he explained. “If I don’t finish it now I may never do it.”
McIntyre’s shoes will be hard to fill at the station. While KABC itself long ago gave the ratings crown away to KFI (640 AM), McIntyre has remained not only one of the most popular personalities on the station, he elicits a great response in the form of emails from fans every time I mention his name, the show, or just KABC in this column.
He is a thoughtful commentator, leaning conservative but in no way on the extreme fringe. He’s battled people and policies in Los Angeles, but for the most part he is an intelligent conversationalist who did the show his way — he even picked the “bumper music” heard coming out of commercial breaks that were songs he personally enjoyed.
Prior to working the morning shift, McIntyre was the host of the syndicated program Red Eye Radio, perhaps the best overnight radio talk show ever. It was there that many local fans heard him for the first time.
“For the first time in I don’t know how many years, I’m going to be asleep at normal hours and awake at normal hours,” McIntyre told me at 10:00 p.m. one night last week … less than six hours before the 3:30 a.m. time he was scheduled to get up in the morning to get ready for his show. “I don’t know how other morning hosts do it — I’ve always been a night owl. I just can’t get to sleep before 10:30 or so!”
“I am so appreciative of listeners who have been so supportive over the years,” he said. “Other personalities at KABC have been wonderful as well, as has been KABC management. (Programmer) Drew Hayes has been especially supportive, and he also understands my desire to retire from radio.”
McIntyre will continue with his columns published in this newspaper.
“I’m not saying that I would never consider going back on the air if the right opportunity came up at the right time,” he said. “But for now, the right decision is to step away and work on all the projects I’ve put on hold over the years.”
And work himself into a normal sleep pattern.
Who will replace McIntyre? And will it matter? That’s a tough call. KABC actually does a good job with talk and includes some excellent programs. But it seems that outside of a few stations across the country, talk as a format is hurting.
For years, I;I’ve wondered aloud if it is time for KABC to ditch the format in favor of something else. Occasionally the idea of 60s oldies gets floated around, based on the lack of the music elsewhere and the success K-SURF has had with the 1950s – ‘70s oldies.
Personally I’d go full service, similar to what was done on the original KMPC (now KSPN, 710 AM), but modernized for today’s podcast-savvy audience. Put together a great news department that breaks news rather than joint covering it. Keep the good hosts that currently entertain well such as John Phillips, and add music shows playing whatever will attract a younger audience to the AM band. Super-serve the local audience including coverage of sports from pros down to preps, and promote the heck out of it so people will actually find it.
Gift Guide II
Last week’s book suggestions brought forth some others from readers who mentioned some excellent older books that are still available.
“Did You Whittinghill This Morning? The Madcap Adventures of a Hollywood Disc Jockey” originally published on 1976 tells the story of one of Los Angeles’ all-time popular morning DJs, Dick Whittinghill. I have a copy myself.
And available hard cover or Kindle, the excellent 2016 “Aircheck: Life in Music Radio” by J.J. Johnson is an example of how books written by radio stars should be written.
Remember Dave Hull? Sure you do. His 2012 book “Hullabaloo! – The Life and (Mis)Adventures of L.A. Radio Legend Dave Hull” is also available as a hardcover or Kindle.
Ron Jacobs’ 2012 “Inside Boss Radio” tells the story of Jacobs’ programming tenure at KHJ (930 AM) through some narrative but primarily previously unreleased memos to staff. It’s a high-energy manic read that is at the same time hard to read and hard to put down.
Any and all of these are great additions to the libraries of radio fans. Now we just need to get people like Shotgun Tom Kelly and some of the KHJ DJs to write theirs …