Larry Mantle |

L. A. radio's living legend, Michael Jackson

What a pleasure in having the talk radio giant Michael Jackson observing part of AirTalk Thursday morning.  Michael dropped in to check out our studios and watch how we put together our daily program.

One can’t overestimate the impact Jackson had on Los Angeles radio for the decades he was on the air.  His huge ratings spoke to his popularity, but what impressed me most was his energy and passion for talking about the most important topics of the day.  Michael made listeners feel like they were on top of what was happening, right up to the minute.  The big name guests were also a thrill.

The values Michael embodied made a big impact on me as a young listener.  His courtesy, curiosity, and obvious love of his work were infectious.  I could hear his openness and willingness to entertain a wide range of ideas, not just the ones that came from conventional wisdom.

For many years, Michael had the longest running daily talk program on Los Angeles radio.  I’m now in that position, celebrating our 26th anniversary on Friday, April 1st.  However, Michael had no one to look to as a role model for his success.  He pioneered talk radio, emulated no one, and was a thorough original.  I’ve always had him to look to as the mark of excellence.

Thank you, Michael, for setting the standard to admire in our business.  I’ve learned a great deal from you and am honored by your visit.