Talk Radio Legend Michael Jackson Passes

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Across the globe, the name “Michael Jackson” is one known in practically every household. But, few outside of Southern California know that there were two men with the same name who were superstars across greater Los Angeles.


While the late singer’s music could be heard on multiple L.A. radio stations since 1970, the individual who became “the dean of Los Angeles talk radio” was also a highly popular choice for years.

That elder Michael Jackson, who ruled the roost at KABC-AM 790 in Los Angeles, has died.

Jackson was 87 years old and had battled Parkinson’s disease.

Jackson led the ratings for many years with his local talk show on KABC-AM, then-owned by ABC. He was associated with the radio station, once a top ratings achiever, from 1966 to 1998. After leaving KABC, he worked for a number of stations before retiring at age 73.

Unlike the singer from Gary, Indiana, this Michael Jackson is a native of South Africa. He left the nation in 1958 with his family. In Los Angeles, he first worked at an early incarnatin of “93 KHJ” and, later, at KNX-AM at a time when Bob Crane was the progressive morning voice.

In a 1992 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jackson spoke of his non-combative style, and how it helped to make him a favorite host among Angelinos. He said, “I think sometimes I’ve been overly polite to guests, showing them greater deference, but I’m not going to become less polite. Rudeness is such an easy excuse for not doing your homework.”

— Rob Dumke