Longtime KABC 790 Talk Radio Host Ray Briem Passes Away

When Ray Briem retired from KABC in 1994 after 27 years working the AM graveyard shift (!), he told then-LA Times staff writer Claudia Puig he was looking froward to having more time to pursue his hobbies of flying, ham radio and listening to big band music:

“I’m 65 and my body says staying up all night ain’t the right thing to do,” said Briem, whose midnight-to-5 a.m. talk show on KABC is one of the longest-running in the market. “You never get used to it. Your biological clock, your circadian rhythms are always upset. There will be times when I will miss it, but being able to sleep at night – oh, how wonderful! That will more than compensate for the pangs of not having a forum.”

Briem was mentored early on in his career by another name from the halcyon days of LA radio, caustic talk show host Joe Pyne. At the time of his retirement, he was claiming 15.7% of local radio listeners. So he exited, much like Johnny Carson would on the TV side decades later, while still clearly on top.

Per Gary Lycan‘s brief obit this morning in the Orange County Register, Briem went on to cheat retirement a little bit with an afternoon stint on KIEV-AM. He was 82. RIP.

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.