Jack Michaels

Johnstown radio personality Jack Michaels reads his final Top 10 list on KEY 96.5 on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Michaels retired Monday after 49 years in radio.

Giving one last Top 10 list, Jack Michaels stepped away from the mic and said good-bye to a 49-year radio career.

Due to health issues, the Forever Media radio personality retired on Monday after spending 26 years hosting the morning show for KEY 96.5.

"This day is bittersweet and I know I'll be fighting back tears," said Michaels, a Johnstown resident. "To think when I started in 1971 and through all these years and here I am for the last time, it's pretty emotional."

Michaels started in the radio business in Coudersport, Potter County, before returning to the Johnstown area in 1973 to work at WCRO.

"I worked there for 10 years, and then we put KEY on the air in 1983," he said. "I'm the last original staff member of the radio station, so it's kind of an end of an era."

Michaels said much has changed in the business since he started.

"The technical evolution from records to cartridges to cassettes to CDs to computers is pretty amazing," Michaels said. "When we came on in the air in 1983, the CD hadn't been invented yet, and when it came out, it was like the greatest thing since sliced bread. We used to promote on the air that the upcoming song would be on CD."

Mike Stevens, corporate program director for Forever Media, said Michaels will be missed at the station.

"Jack has been on the radio for a long time. I grew up listening to him and he's one of the reasons why I do what I do," Stevens said. "He actually hired me at KEY and taught me a few things."

Stevens added that Michaels also will be missed by the community.

"He's done a lot outside of radio with different organizations," he said. "He took the lead on a lot of projects that we've done with organizations as far as being a liaison and working with them to do on-air promotions."

Brian Wolfe, music director for Forever Media's Johnstown market and a midday radio personality, has taken over as the morning show host.

"Sometimes you work with people who aren't willing to get their hands dirty at work, but Jack would," he said. "He is someone who has always been around and helpful – big events or small events – he pitched in. He definitely will be missed."

Michaels said his career was filled with great people, and the experience gave him personal satisfaction – and was fun.

"It's been a great ride, I'll tell you that much," he said.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

Recommended for you