Category: Signing Off

Ken Ackerman: A Tribute To A Legend

Steve Kushman and Ken Ackerman (Photo)
CHRS President and Broadcast Legends board member Steve Kushman (left) with Ken Ackerman.

Ken Ackerman, an inaugural member of the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame and co-founder of the Broadcast Legends, died on May 28 at age 95 of natural causes.

Ackerman’s radio career began in Sacramento, where he “got the radio bug” while attending Grant Union High School. In 1942, he landed a job at KQW. At the time, the station was still licensed to San Jose, requiring some programming to originate there. Ackerman spent time in the San Jose studios as well as KQW’s San Francisco studios.

He told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carl Nolte in 2009 that he remembers doing live broadcasts of big bands — Muggsy Spanier at the Bush Garden, a jazz band at the Mocambo, Del Courtney, Desi Arnaz, Ray Noble or Bob Crosby and his Bobcats, “live and direct for your listening pleasure from the Rose Room at San Francisco’s famous Palace Hotel.” Some of those live broadcasts would be distributed nationwide.

Read More Ken Ackerman: A Tribute To A Legend

Al Hart: Farewell To A Legend

KCBS legends Ken Ackerman, Stan Bunger and Al Hart
KCBS legends Ken Ackerman, Stan Bunger and Al Hart at Radio Day By The Bay in Berkeley (2009).

We awake today to the sad news that Al Hart has passed away at the age of 88. A longtime member of the Broadcast Legends, Al came to the Bay Area about 55 years ago from KEEL in Shreveport, La., to work at KABL (960 AM) before moving to KNBR (680 AM).

KCBS morning news anchors Lois Melkonian and Al Hart (1995)
KCBS morning news anchors Lois Melkonian and Al Hart (1995)

But it was at KCBS Radio a few years later that he hit his stride, becoming perhaps the most iconic voice on this iconic station’s staff. Al arrived at KCBS in 1966, and was part of the team that transformed the station in 1968 to the all-news format that continues to thrive there to this day.

Before moving to his role as morning co-anchor on KCBS, Al had been working afternoon drive on the station. Following his retirement, he continued to be a welcome voice on KCBS, appearing with current morning co-anchor Stan Bunger on the weekly Wednesday chats with John Madden — always bringing along a batch of his signature snickerdoodle cookies, as well as the latest ruminations from Charlie The Checker.

Al Hart was a charter inductee into the Bay Area Radio Museum & Hall of Fame in 2006, and was an up-and-coming Mercury Records recording artist in the early 1960s. One of numerous Minnesota transplants to find fame and fortune in Bay Area radio — Jim Lange, Don Bleu and Bobby Dale included — Al was a proud University of Minnesota Golden Gopher.

Al will be missed, fondly, by everyone who had the opportunity to work alongside him, or spend a few minutes hearing his warm voice on the radio. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Pat, and to all of Al’s friends, family and colleagues.

More Al Hart…

Lois Melkonian writes about working with Al Hart.

An on-air tribute to Al Hart from his colleagues at KCBS, presented by Stan Bunger. (Courtesy of KCBS Radio.)

KCBS Tribute Version 1:

KCBS Tribute Version 2:

Here’s Al Hart with another legend of Bay Area radio and TV, Scott Beach, in a 1967 spot for Joseph Alioto’s mayoral campaign:

Al Hart Discography

Too Much To Lose / Tears Are Only Rain (1960) Mercury Records #71659
Hands You’re Holding Now / There’s A Place Called Paris (1961) Mercury Records #71796

Photo of Ken Ackerman, Stan Bunger and Al Hart by David F. Jackson.

%d bloggers like this: