Tom Leykis signs off after a long career in Southern California radio

Tom Leykis reflected on the decision to end his program. “I wanted to go out on my terms when I wanted. So I did.(Courtesy of Tom Leykis)

by Richard Wagoner

Los Angeles Daily News

June 18, 2024

Tom Leykis has been working since he was 14. I first heard him when he joined the all-new, all-talk KFI (640 AM) in 1988; Leykis was among the first group of hosts when the station dropped music, and was firmly established as the “liberal voice” of the station by the time syndicated conservative talker Rush Limbaugh arrived.

In many ways, it is humorous that he was considered the liberal voice of the station. Certainly, he was — and is — on the liberal side. But while he did discuss political issues, his show was never totally about politics. Of course, especially at the time, neither was Limbaugh’s. So the two complemented each other well.

In fact, I actually don’t remember any political issues he discussed (though he was known to stir up controversy from time to time). What I do remember is a show he dedicated to the Burger King down the street from the station running out of french fries … and other times when he opened himself up such that his personal life — both the good and the bad — was on full display to all of his listeners. In sum, it was more general talk than anything else, often fun, sometimes serious, always entertaining, and for all ages. I listened with my college friend Andrew Holt; my mom listened on the way home from work.

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