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The Real Don Steele

Don Steele, born Donald S. Revert, was one of the most popular disc jockeys in the United States, from the middle of the 1960s until his retirement for health reasons in May 1997. He was often promoted as “The Real Don Steele” to distinguish himself from another DJ with the same name.

Born in Hollywood, California, Steele first became famous as a DJ on radio station KHJ in Los Angeles, where he helped to promote the “ultrahip” top-40 Boss Radio format which began on May 3, 1965. He also appeared on TV in his own programs called Boss City and The Real Don Steele TV Show, a show which ran from 1965 to 1975 on KHJ-TV channel 9 in Los Angeles. When the popularity of AM radio gave way to FM stereo in the 1970s, Steele continued to remain a popular personality at the station. For the remaining years of his life he spent his broadcasting days at Los Angeles’s KRTH-FM. He graduated from Hollywood High School, served in the United States Air Force and then studied at a local radio school. Shortly thereafter Steele began working outside of L.A. at KBUC in Corona, CA then moving onto Kennewick, KIMA Yakima and KXLY Spokane, Washington; KOIL Omaha, Nebraska; KISN Portland, Oregon, and KEWB San Francisco before returning to Los Angeles to work at the All-New KHJ in April 1965.

In the book Los Angeles Radio People, Steele recalled the beginnings of Boss Radio in May, 1965: “We were standing literally at ground zero, then became a huge giant. It was like a mushroom cloud that went up — heavy on the mushroom.”

Friday // Retro Radio // 10pm Eastern