Ira Blue

Ira Blue

Ira Blue was a late night talk show host on San Francisco radio station KGO (unofficial history here} in the 60s and 70s. Almost forgotten today, he was a staple in the Bay Area at the time.

Like Long John Nebel and the later Art Bell, Blue was discussing UFOs, the occult, bigfoot, and other paranormal subjects at a time when almost no one else on the radio was. However, most of his subject matter concerned politics and mainstream current events.

Blue was often mentioned in Herb Caen's column in the San Francisco Chronicle.

He had an unusual voice for a radio broadcaster, nasal and with a New York City accent similar to that of Howard Cosell. Like Cosell's, Blue's unconventional voice had a riveting quality to it.

In the 50's Blue had a radio program in the San Francisco area called, "The Last Word in Sports." However, it was not a sports talk program.

Amateur Bay Area radio historian David Kaye posted to usenet here that "Ira Blue, I understand, was a carryover from the former KGO, where he was a sportcaster and did play-by-play."

By "former KGO," Kaye refers, as he explains here, to the fact that,

KGO has been news/talk since 1962 when Jim Dunbar, a rock DJ from ABC's WLS in Chicago, decided to try the then new idea of talk. Prior to that, KGO was what's now called a "full service" format, that is, news, sports, weather, and music. It was that way since the network programming began to be scaled back and then eliminated in the 1950s with the advent of TV. Prior to that, they ran nearly fulltime ABC (and prior to that NBC Blue) network programming of dramas, comedies, and game shows.
This yearbook indicates that Blue was at KGO as "an announcer" since at least 1946.

John Selway, who stood in for Blue for a couple of evenings in late 1971, remembers that:

Ira told me many stories, but the one I love was about his first [radio] job. As I recall, Ira was an attorney, and happened to know Samuel Goldwyn. Goldwyn hired him to broadcast what Ira called the "first sports program on radio," a big chess championship.
Nevada teacher and political blogger Susan Nunes recalls:
Perhaps my favorite talk show host of that time was the late Ira Blue of KGO, who was a political moderate, but he was great. I also loved his use of the George Gershwin song "Rhapsody in Blue" as his theme song. (Blue died of cancer in 1974...)

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