John B. Hughes Retires From Radio


May 16, 1969/Victor Stredicke — Wearing a jaunty sports cap, John B Hughes announced authoritatively, “This is my last week at KXA.” Today he ends three years as news director at the station.
“I want to do something more creative,” Hughes said, shocks of white hair bristled from under his cap Above Mephistopheles like eyebrows there were little signs of worry.
“I’m not a desk man. I’m looking for something more than reading news reports”, Hughes said. “I’ve never considered myself an announcer.”
Hughes gets agreement here. Always speaking at a slow pace, Hughes could deliver material he prepared himself with a great deal of authority. The pace is out of place nowadays when news on most spots on the dial consists of rapid-fire single sentences followed by new datelines.
Hughes, with Jack Moyes, station manager, developed “News 30”– half-hour blocks of news separated by half-hour music, then news again, through morning and evening drive times.
Hughes is an institution in radio news, and yet, surprisingly, he has been at KXA only three years, and for that matter, in Seattle for six years.
He was the anchorman for the DUMONT Television Network when the word anchorman wasn’t invented. He also was a CBS network news commentator.
He moved to Seattle in 1963 to visit his brother, Prof. Glenn Hughes. He began working at KIRO, but left “when the Saints came marching in.” Hughes said the Bonneville Corporation began withholding permission for a newsman to comment on the days events.
“I want to do some writing and some freelance work,” Hughes said. “I really don’t expect to be a news director at any other station.”

Lloyd Allen, chief announcer at KXA, explained yesterday that Don Riggs would be the new news director at KXA. Riggs will continue assembling and voicing portions of news and handling the music segments of the show from 6 to 9 AM.
Del Olney will be chief outside reporter. Joe Armey will work-in on afternoon news beats. Armey will eventually man a short music shift in the final hours of the broadcast day, Allen said.

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Author: Victor Stredicke

Former radio columnist for the Seattle Times.

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