John Erling is not retiring immediately or completely.But the Tulsa radio icon says he will leave the show as soon as a Replacement can be found.Tonight, he's being inducted into the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame.
John Erling: "I've been thinking about this for some time... when to do it..?"
When "do" you end what has arguably been the most successful run in Tulsa radio history?
John Erling: "Y'know, you live every day, and some days seem so long, and then when it comes that you've lived it all, it seems so fast."
It started fast, in his very first week in 1976, with the infamous schtick about skiing the Tulsa Mountains and it was all downhill from there.
John Erling: "And it connected with the audience immediately... and people would call to argue as to whether or not there were really mountains out there." "Can you believe this guy says there's mountains out there, and I carried that on for years..."
Erling's show has run the gamut
John Erling: "I mean, sure, some days you just want to have fun and do silly things... and then I had the license to be serious."
There was a dust-up with Oral and Richard Roberts.
John Erling: "And yes, we did have our share our controversy... which for me was a lot of fun... I enjoy that kind of thing."
But he doesn't believe he did controversy for controversy's sake. He feels politics and talk shows have become meaner and more polarized. And he insists he looks at issues on a case-by-case basis.
John Erling: "And there are many times when I talk about something and somebody will say, do you realize how liberal you sounded when you did that, and I had no idea."
In the rough and tumble world of radio, 28 years is a long time.
His ratings are not what they were, but still strong.
John Erling: "Tulsa's been absolutely wonderful to me... and so many great listeners have done some wonderful things... and the radio station... it's the best job in broadcast media as far as I'm concerned."
And big shoes to fill.
John Erling: "I'm here to tell you that Ted Koppel will be the new host of the morning program..."
Reporter: "Now that is an April Fools joke."
John: "Yes it is..."