articles / Pop Culture

Happy Retirement (Again) to Hoyt Smith

Please join us in celebrating Hoyt Smith and sending him off with your well-wishes as he retires full-time! A few years ago, Hoyt decided on the first phase of retirement: leaving the KDFC morning show while hosting Saturday mornings and filling in for weekday hosts as needed. Now, Hoyt is taking a full step back from the mic. His last show will air Saturday, October 30th, 7am-12pm. Beginning November 6th, KDFC Morning Show host Maggie Clennon Reberg will host Saturday mornings.

A note from Hoyt:

My career has gone full circle as I began announcing classical at KPBS in San Diego in 1972 and nearly 50 years later wrapping up my broadcasting doing the same for radio’s best group of people, the USC Radio Group. I’ll miss the wonderful listeners, but mostly the radio family I’ve been a part of since early days in 1999. Jacquie and I will keep listening and supporting your terrific work.

From KDFC President Bill Lueth:

How do you say goodbye to a legend…again? We are grateful that Hoyt gave us back some of his talent after his official retirement a few years ago. We will miss him dearly as he moves into ‘real’ retirement.

From the first time I heard Hoyt doing afternoons on another station in the late 1990s, I knew he belonged on KDFC. His voice, his charm, and his affability were attributes I thought classical radio at the time needed, and by the time the decade was out I had convinced him to come to KDFC. He struggled for a few months in his afternoon drive slot hosting classical music for the first time in his successful career. He worried that he was not enough of an expert to be hosting classical, but I assured him he would connect with his hometown audience. And he did!

In the Fall of 2000, KDFC achieved the rare feat for a classical station of being the highest-rated music station in San Francisco. Hoyt was a key part of that success. He was a team player and the station thrived. In late 2003, my management roles had expanded within our company and I needed to replace myself in morning drive. Eventually, Hoyt and I took the chance together that he would make a great morning drive announcer, a bright voice of fun to greet listeners each day. Along with his sidekicks Dusti Rhodes and Betsy O’Connor they made classical radio a special morning treat. When he went in for open-heart surgery a couple of years later, his colleagues covered for him and kept the audience up to date on his progress, and love poured in.

Ask any of his former or current colleagues about Hoyt and they will all agree he has been a marvelous teammate who would chip in wherever he could help. We have pictures of him under our kitchen sink at the office fixing a leak. He often pitched in to help the IT department with computer issues, and when KDFC was sold and we needed to move to new studios down the hall in 2011, there was Hoyt hauling boxes and boxes of CDs to a new storage room after he finished his shift. During one of those trips down the hall, I could tell Hoyt was feeling very glum about KDFC being released by its commercial owners, and that it would now have to depend on listeners to keep the station going. I recall telling Hoyt that commercial classical radio had become a spiral of doom, and we’d been given a chance through USC to create something long-lasting that our listeners would step up to support. Why? Because you not only love the music, but also those who share it with you each day!

Hoyt has graciously shared his talents, sense of humor and warmth with our radio audience and with audiences of many arts groups where he has hosted local events. He cares about our community. He cares about making lives better through the beauty of art. We are all so lucky that Hoyt came into our orbit around planet art. He has helped expand the audience for classical music in our community, and we are grateful.

Hoyt, we wish you and Jacquie well in your retirement, and we know you will keep in touch!

Bill (on behalf of all of us)

Please feel free to leave Hoyt best wishes or share a memory in the comments section below!

Written by:
The Classical Team
The Classical Team
Published on 10.28.2021