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.