Introducing the radio Hall of Fame class of 2017 – San Francisco Chronicle

The 12th Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame inductions take place Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco. The 11 inductees will be honored at a luncheon produced and hosted by the California Historical Radio Society and the Broadcast Legends. It’s open to the public (

Here is the Class of 2017:

Program host: Dan Sorkin was a morning radio star in Chicago when he got fired in the early ’60s for defending Lenny Bruce. He moved to San Francisco and KFRC, a rival of market leader KSFO. His ratings against Don Sherwood were impressive enough that KSFO hired him away. His career was shortened by a motorcycle accident in 1968. After losing a leg, he founded a support group for amputees: Stumps R Us. He died last June.

Program host: Richard Gossett was a fan of Bay Area Top 40 radio as a youngster, but became a model of the laid-back FM DJ on free-form radio when he worked on KSAN through the ’70s. When KSAN changed formats, he moved on to stations including KUSF, KTIM, KKCY (“the City”), KQAK, KFOG and KRCB. He also was a brewmaster at Anchor Steam Brewing Co.

Talk show host: Michael Krasny has hosted the interview program “Forum” on KQED-FM for 23 years, since moving over from KGO. He also is an English professor at San Francisco State University, and an author (“Off Mike,” “Sound Ideas,” “Spiritual Envy” and “Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means”).

News: Doug Sovern has won more than 200 journalism awards for his work as a reporter, first on KGO and, since 1990, on KCBS, where he covers politics and does investigations and features. His awards collection includes five national Edward R. Murrow Awards. Sovern played bass for the CBS house band, the Eyewitness Blues Band.

News: Peter Cleaveland is known for his work in KGO’s news department from 1967 through 1975. He also contributed reports to ABC Radio News. He moved to KGO-TV in 1975 until 1980, when he became a correspondent for ABC News. He also was an organizer for the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists AFL-CIO.

Sports: Rich Walcoff was at KGO from 1984 until he was let go, along with numerous Cumulus colleagues, early in 2016. By then, he was the station’s sports director and morning sports anchor. He also co-hosted 49ers postgame shows. He got his start in the early ’70s at the University of Connecticut, where he did play-by-play for the university’s sports teams.

Specialty: Lee Jones, the engineer and producer behind the Giants broadcasts until he retired last year, logged 43 years on KNBR. In 1974, it was a music station, and Jones was a board operator. Between baseball campaigns, he did similar work for Warriors and 49ers broadcasts. Jones himself did some play-by-play, but only in the Army the late ’60s.

Management: Ron Fell is inducted for his work as program director of KNBR (1971-75), but the S.F. State graduate also wrote for the radio industry publication the Gavin Report, later becoming the magazine’s principal owner and publisher. He also produced programming for the Oakland Raiders network from 1967 to 2010.

Engineer: Dan Ethen began as a teenage volunteer at KPFA in Berkeley in the ’60s. His first paying radio job was at KLOK in San Jose, where he was on-air as well as behind the scenes. His other credits range from KNBR and KFRC to KSRO in Santa Rosa. Ethen works with the Educational Media Foundation, the Christian music broadcasters.

Pioneer: Tony Tremayne was his radio name, forced onto him by management at KYA. His real name was Mel Fritze, and he was born in Sacramento in 1922. He began at KROW in Oakland and worked at KTIM and KSFO before joining KYA in 1959 as a Top 40 DJ. He moved into the news department in 1962 and remained at KYA until he retired in 1980. He died in 2004.

Don Sherwood Award (Legend): John Mack Flanagan was a big presence on KFRC (“the Big 6-10”) when it was a Top 40 powerhouse in the mid-’70s. Despite high ratings, he left in 1979 over salary issues. He went on to KWSS, KIOI, KSFO/KYA, and KBGG (“K-Big”). He published his memoirs, “Tight & Bright: A Disk Jockey-Vietnam Memoir,” last year. Chris Jackson, the morning host on KUFX (“K-FOX”), won the Sherwood Award in the “active” category and will be recognized for topping the poll as “the most popular on-air personality in Bay Area radio.”

The retiring sort: After some 15 years as host of classical KDFC’s morning program, Hoyt Smith is retiring. His last show is on Sept. 29. He recently spoke with The Chronicle’s Joshua Kosman.

Ben Fong-Torres is a freelance writer.

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