Five Participate in Michael Jackson’s Hall of Fame Induction
(November 11, 2003)
In 75 years of broadcasting, the radio Hall of Fame has inducted a mere 118 members. Last Saturday, Michael Jackson, a veteran of 30+ years in Los Angeles talk radio, joined an elite group of LARP that includes: Vin Scully, Wolfman Jack, Gene Autry, Rick Dees, Stan Freberg, Alan Freed, Robert W. Morgan, Paul Harvey, Gary Owens, and Gordon McLendon.
Frequently voted Outstanding Radio Personality of the Year, Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth and France's President Mitterand have both honored Jackson with membership in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and a presentation of the French Legion of Merit Award. He holds an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Western School of Law and he is the recipient of four Golden Mike Awards for excellence in radio broadcasting.
Michael shares his weekend experience:
“Saturday evening in Chicago, the Museum of Broadcast Communications put together a spectacular event at their current home in the Chicago Cultural Center. In less than two years they'll have their own permanent facility, which will be a remarkable tribute to broadcasting history. It was a sold-out event and from my perspective, as one of the honorees, it was a winner. Inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame were Mel Karmazin, Orion Samuelson, posthumously Gene Autry, Jim Bohannon, and me.
The black tie event was superbly produced and the live broadcast carried on dozens of stations [including 8 of the 10 major markets], went off without a hitch. You asked me to reflect on the evening; it was a joy and honor for me to be added to the list of truly significant broadcasters, whose contributions dwarf anything I have ever achieved. From Marconi to Arthur Godfrey [there's a former giant who is hardly ever mentioned these days], to Bob Hope and Jack Benny, Paul Harvey and many more. I gather, in all, there are 118 who have been inducted. Sarnoff, Paley, Goldenson, who were true pioneering leaders of the broadcast industry are much honored and right alongside their pictures are now the portraits of this year's recipients.
The evening started with a cocktail party where, of course, the waiters and the celebrities were all attired in the self-same uniform; black tie. So with radio not having a picture, many of us mistook waiters for djs and talk-show hosts. There was no mistaking the presence of Paul Harvey and his wife, Angel, who have donated a great deal of funding and time to the Radio Hall of Fame. I was told that he signed a ten-year contract at the age of 82!
Following that there was the long red-carpet walk to the grand auditorium that was packed. Larry King, the indefatigable, was the MC of the event and the crowd was nicely noisy and easy to entertain. A friend or colleague introduced each of the nominees before a montage of career highlights was aired, and then each of us had our chance at the podium to make some brief comments. I asked David G. Hall to honor me with an introduction and his comments were kind and most flattering. We had worked together for a while at KLAC. He now has the fascinating challenge of filling a similar program director role at KNX and KFWB. Yes, I've read some of the comments on LARadio.com, pro and con, on his abilities. I'll just say that from my experience, I have found him intuitive, bright, honest, and I wouldn't want to go up against him as a program director. Obviously I have no idea what his intentions are for KNX with its great 50,000 watt signal or KFWB with its ‘can anybody hear us’ signal, but I'll wager he'll make a considerable mark in this market and soon.
The forecast for the weekend had been for windy conditions with showers. In reality it turned out to be a spectacular three days, starting with the first light snow-flurries of the year and ending with blue skies and temperatures at times in the teens. Perfect weather for spending the spare hours visiting the Manet exhibit at the great Art Institutive; ‘Manet and the Sea, ’ [will we ever get an art museum to match Chicago's finest?] and so many great Impressionist and Post Impressionist works.
Then eating too
much at Gene and Georgetti. Those steaks were as good as they were costly
to the famed Joe Stone Crab House. Now that was superb! All three of
our offspring accompanied us to the Windy City and we had a ball.
Without them it would have been very tough getting Alana, who is obviously
still recuperating from her stroke, in and out of cabs.
One small negative note. We returned to L.A to discover that if you want a baggage trolley at the airport that once cost you 50 cents to rent, you now have to pay $3 each and Sunday night there was an insufficient number available. Somebody is really profiteering.
Copyright © Michael
Jackson 2004 all rights reserved.
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