Remembering KPFK’s Mike Hodel – Gone But Not Forgotten

July 12, 2017
Los Angeles

Mike Hodel

( July 12, 1939- May 6, 1986)

Mike Hodel would have been 78 today.
My older brother Michael died of lung cancer in 1986, at the relatively young age of- 46.  (His early death was the catalyst for my decision to retire from LAPD and “move on.”)  Mike had a brilliant mind and was a voracious reader, often reading two books a day throughout his entire life. He wore many hats. He was a writer, radio news reporter, and Sherlock Holmes scholar.  One of brother Mike’s proudest moments was receiving investiture into the Baker Street Irregulars Society. (BSI was founded by Christopher Morley in 1934, and fellow members included: U.S. presidents FDR and Harry Truman, science fiction author, Issac Asimov, and mystery writer,  Rex Stout, creator of P.I. Nero Wolfe.)  In 1980 Mike, along with co-author, Sean Wright, published the novel, Enter The Lion: A Posthumous Memoir of Mycroft Holmes.
Mike’s entire life was dedicated to people and causes. His conduit For The People was through local Los Angeles, listener sponsored  FM radio station–KPFK.  He loved science-fiction, and his show aired on KPFK as—Mike Hodel’s Hour 25, where, over several decades, he interviewed hundreds of guest authors, from the greatest legends to brand new unknowns.. (His show continues to this day on the Internet, and can be found at- http://www.hour25online.com)
Mike was awarded radio’s prestigious, Golden Mike Award, (no relation) for his 1970s radio coverage of WATERGATE.  During his 20 years at KPFK, he was on staff as News Director, Public Affairs Director, and fund-raising administrator. Roy Tuckman, the current host of KPFK’s Something’s Happening, had this to say about his lifelong friend and early mentor:
   Mike was the main ‘voice of KPFK,’ a major fundraiser and a voice of sanity and humanity during the many staff battles. As a teacher and mentor, he helped many people over the years begin their work on radio. In his final years, his main concern was the increasing illiteracy in America. He produced a series of 13    programs on “Illiterate America” which remain in the Pacifica Archives.

 

Mike had a large and loyal listenership, and following his untimely death in 1986 (melanoma) many regular listeners deeply mourned his passing.I believe the current Internet show, named in his honor, continues to respect his memory with a “Goodnight Mike” even now, some two decades after his passing.
Michael Paul Hodel was a true force for good and defender of the little guy in the Los Angeles community and was much beloved. His two surviving brothers and his many friends miss him dearly. Mike, like his brothers, never knew or suspected that his father was anything other than a rather eccentric genius, a physician, a lady’s man, and a rather poor poker player. (A Hodel poker game was often the highlight of our father’s frequent business trips through L.A. on his way to or from New York, in the 1970s and 80s.)
Mike Hodel reading to our new puppy, “Boots”, circa 1951 at age 11.
Mike circa 1979 – age 40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Lucas Pickford says:

    Your brother sounds like he was a very interesting guy. I’m 46 myself so yes, that is too young to die. Best wishes to you and Mike!

    • Lucas P. Yes, his show “Hour 25” was highly rated by SciFi fans throughout SoCal. Beautiful speaking voice and totally dedicated to all “causes”. Thanks. Steve H.

  2. Jim Henson says:

    Steve,
    Seems that your brother inherited the best traits from your mother and father and, more importantly, put them to great use. Rare is the man who accomplishes as much as he did in his all too brief lifetime.
    Jim Henson

    • JH: Yes, very true. Mike had a brilliant mind, read a minimum to two books a day (no exaggeration) and was the most genuinely humble man I’ve ever known. SH.

  3. Luigi Warren says:

    Steve: I was a loyal listener but I think Harlan Ellison had just taken the reins when I tuned in. “Goodnight, Mike!” is burned into my memory banks. Between HOUR 25 and Joe Frank’s WORK IN PROGRESS on KCRW those was good times, indeed. -LW

    • LW: Yes, the “Goodnight Mike” ended every Hour 25 Show after Harlan took over and I think even to this day? The three-day tribute to Mike in LA after his passing just blew me away. I knew he was loved by his many listeners, but never realized just HOW MUCH. His work on Watergate reporting won him a Golden Mike (no relation) Award. One of the really really Good Guys. skh

  4. Steve, you brother sounds a remarkable individual with a plethora of talents. I am in awe of the fact he reported on watergate, what a fascinating case to have been involved in. Clearly as with yourself the talents didn’t stop with your brother. May he be remembered for all the truely remarkable things he achieved and the joy/insight he brought to his many listeners. I’ll be sure to visit YouTube to see if I can tune in from across the pond. Warmest regards as always Su

  5. Stephanie says:

    The photo with the puppy is adorable. So sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing–it appears your brother was a truly amazing person.

  6. Patricia O'Neill says:

    Steve, Your brother Mike sounds like a very talented and much-needed person not only in his profession but in your life! His unfortunate passing so young was, as you state, your impetus to “move on” from the LAPD. It certainly appears that you carried on his talents and investigative work into the world of true crime! I’m sure he has been “nudging” you all along the way in your very important discoveries relating to so many murders committed on the CA coast and beyond. Hopefully you were able to view the NetFlix presentation of “The Keepers”, the murder/abuses in the late ’60’s which are now being actively investigated again in Baltimore, MD. It was presented this morning on CBS “This Morning” as a news item and credit for further investigation was given to “The Keepers” documentary! Hoping you are having positive results in your idea to present such a documentary on your investigations of “lone woman murders”, “Black Dahlia” and “Zodiac”. I think it is much needed not only by the many victims’ families but for at least two to three generations of CA residents who lived through these violent murders. Carry on and best of luck, Steve….remember, Mike is with you!! Pat O’

    • Hi Patricia: Thanks again for the kind words. I have not yet seen “The Keepers” but have it at the top of my “To View” list maybe can catch it as a binge watch this next weekend? Heard a lot of very good things about it. Things are looking positive in my own efforts to get the books adapted as either a scripted miniseries and or documentary. Maybe see some movement this year? Best, Steve

  7. Kathy G. says:

    Hi Steve, So sorry for your loss. Mike was taken from us at far too early an age. He sounds like a really remarkable person. There are so many good causes in the world and it sounds like he really contributed a lot. I viewed some Youtube postings recently and one of the things that stood out from a younger person age (20-30’s ?) was he said that one should get his/her children to read as it is so invaluable later in life…even if all you can get children started on is comic books – get them reading. Hope he is resting in Peace. Waiting for your next book or a miniseries or documentary. Best Wishes, Kathy

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