Howard Hoffman and Claude Hall
Howard Hoffman (in the bad suit) accepting the Billboard Rock Personality of the Year Award from Claude Hall, 1978.

Big John Bina and Howard Hoffman, WPRO-FM AC/DC Concert, 1978
Hoffman cowers behind Big John Bina at a WPRO-FM AC/DC concert at Rocky Point Park, 1978.

Howard Hoffman at WABC 1980
Somebody at WABC thought this would make a great publicity photo. This is the only remaining copy of said photo after Hoffman confiscated them in 1980.

Howard Hoffman Artillery, HOT 97, 1991
What better way for Hot 97 to welcome home the Desert Storm troops than to have their morning guy brandish dangerous firearms down the streets of New York City?

Mel Brooks, Howard Hoffman, Carl Reiner, KABC 1997
One of the percs of being a guest on KABC is that you get your picture taken with Howard Hoffman, just like Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner did in 1997.

The Howard Hoffman Collection
Send MAIL to HOWARD HOFFMAN In 1971, WTBQ in Warwick NY hired me because they had very liberal hiring practices. For $82 a week, I did afternoons and (although I didn't know it until later) was the de facto PD. In 1973 I worked my way up to the flamethrower of the Catskills, WALL in Middletown first Top 40 gig. I did 6pm to midnight which involved running the 1-hour news block from 6-7, board-opping the phone-in show Orange County Speaks from 7-8, and playing the hits from 8-mid. Seeing how I could get callers on the air via OC Speaks, I used that technology to take callers during my show...unheard of back then. I actually beat Cousin Brucie in the Orange County Pulse, which explains why Pulse is outta business and Brucie bought WALL later on.

WDRQ in Detroit hired me as production director in the Super Summer of '74, probably as a joke or on a dare. I was gone after three months and went back to WALL as production director. At an electronics show in NYC, I handed a tape to Dr. Jerry of WPIX who handed it to his PD who decided he needed someone with minor-market experience to fill in. That turned into a full-time post lording over 'PIX's Disco 102 from 1975-1977.

In '77, when 'PIX went through its 3,298th format change - this time to New Wave Rock - I went north to Providence's WPRO-FM for a few years. Rick Sklar got a tape of my PRO-FM show and decided I should pick up and leave to his station in Houston, KAUM. When Sklar spoke, you listened. After a year there, Sklar and Al Brady Law felt I had enough conditioning at the farm club, and tossed me into an 8th floor studio at 1330 Avenue Of The Americas in New York City. It really didn't hit me until the end of that first shift when I walked out of the building and saw that enormous illuminated ABC logo sitting to my right. Omigod. I'm working at WABC.

I did attempt to thwart a dismissal amid rumors WABC was going all-talk by launching a show called "The Phonebooth" which ran overnights on weekends. My collaborator and producer was none other than my friend Tom Leykis. The show ran for seven weekends and was a howl. But WABC wasn't looking for a howl, so The Phonebooth, Tom and I slipped quietly away. The evening show ended in 1981 when I was replaced by nine guys - the New York Yankees.

I went west to do mornings at KOPA in Phoenix, had an enormously gratifying stint doing afternoons at KMEL (and helped put KFRC and KITS out of the CHR business), then mornings in Seattle, Phoenix again, and evenings in Chicago before getting the morning show at HOT 97 which I co-hosted with Stephanie Miller. It was possibly the busiest four years I ever experienced in the business making no less than 500+ appearances during our run. It taught me the importance of keeping youself visible and making a direct connection to the audience beyond the studio walls.

When HOT 97 went hip-hop in 1993, I moved back to my house in San Francisco and landed a short gig doing nights on the legendary KFRC. I guess they got their revenge for what I did to them at KMEL by releasing me in a way which I detail only in social situations. Suffice it to say, it ended my love affair with having to be on the air, and I no longer needed to blemish my proud radio history by working under abnormal circumstances.

Today, I'm in my 5th year as production director at KABC in Los Angeles, and I'm about as happy as I've ever been. I have a successful voiceover career in commercials and animation, to which KABC has a great attitude: "If you're not good enough to do outside work, why would you be good enough for us?"

Wow. Common sense. You gotta love that.

Visit Howard on the web at TOONVOICES.COM!

The Repository thanks Howard for sharing!

[Descriptions by Howard Hoffman]

Howard Hoffman on WABC, New York, 1979-80 (16:01)

. . . See what happens when cousins marry? . . .

The last hour of 1979 and beyond as I struggle to countdown the top 100 of 1979 under difficult circumstances: we were throwing a party in the WABC control room.
WABC Control Room, January 1, 1980 (early)
The aftermath of the Top 100 of 1979 countdown show, New Years Eve 1980. The frightened guy in the middle is Frank D'Elia, the board op for this historic broadcast. Not pictured are the dozens who fled for cover when I whipped out the camera.
What makes this even more remarkable is that I had only been at WABC for barely two weeks, arriving there December 19th.

Listening to it today, I can say without fear of contradiction that I don't remember most of it, but I'm amazed I continued working there past that night. Casablanca Records sponsored the show and who could blame them. They had about 3/4 of the songs in the top 100 that year. I worked with the best board ops / radio freaks who ever graced a control board and their ability to work under extreme conditions is demonstrated here.

To this day, I still run into people who heard that show and remember it fondly. I generally give them some cash to go away and keep quiet about it. Especially the part about me saying that WABC Musicradio will never let its listeners down in the 80s.

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London and Engelman, KMEL San Francisco, 1985 (13:21)

. . . If it's the pits, it's KITS . . .

John London and Ron Engelman's first few weeks of their tenure at KMEL/San Francisco. I was doing afternoons at KMEL at the time and I considered it an honor to work with these guys. They were masters of understatement and the well-placed non-sequitir. What made this show work was the difficult task of making it sound effortless. I always would mentally refer to this show when I did my own morning shows.

This composite has the first Cleavers bit; a truly nasty but hysterical "hidden mic" bit nailing KMEL's then-competitor KITS; "Derek Steele", and a lot of really good rapport with callers.

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Don Imus, WNBC, 2/22/88 (6:48)

. . . You know the cyanide pills you all carry with you? Take them now . . .

Don Imus reacting to the WNBC staff's jitters on the morning Emmis Broadcasting announced its intent to buy the NBC radio chain.

One of the all-time great "Put Us Out Of Our Misery" rants is part of this historical morning.

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The Howard Hoffman Collection
Part of REELRADIO since August 2, 1998

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