In Stan's words: Why I'm retiring

KCBS Radio's Stan Bunger retires on June 11.
KCBS Radio's Stan Bunger retires on June 11. Photo credit Ed Jay

When I got my first job in broadcasting in 1977, I had no idea a day like this would ever come.

That was at KRKC Radio in King City, south of Salinas.

I was too busy turning the transmitter on in the morning, calling the local law enforcement agencies to see if anything newsworthy had happened overnight, writing news copy, spinning records, recording commercials, following up on news tips, coming back in the evening to read news on the town's cable TV station, and turning off the transmitter, six days a week.

Small-town radio, low pay, lousy working conditions – and I loved it.

A few more radio stops in Northern California later (KVML, KTHO, KXRX, KFBK) and I got the call to "The Show," as baseball players would put it: KCBS Radio. A legendary station populated by legendary people, and I still get a thrill out of saying those call letters out loud.

When I walk out of Studio A on June 11, it'll be 31 years on KCBS Radio (two stints, with some other interesting stuff in between). The last 21 have been, truly, the job of a lifetime: anchoring the morning broadcast. The first 20 years were filled with the camaraderie of an awesome cast of on-air partners, including the brilliant broadcaster who shared the studio with me for all of those years, Susan Leigh Taylor.

The last 15 months, of course, have been quite different.

Pandemic restrictions meant most of my on-air and off-air colleagues were working from home. Studio A and the newsroom outside lost their hum of energy.

But this is not a complaint. I feel very fortunate to have been in this place at this time as we all tried to come to grips with all that happened in 2020 and 2021. The "Ask An Expert" segment became, in a way, my own therapy: Who else got to, every day, ask of the nation's leading experts the questions that worried all of us? What a blessing.

Why leave now? Honestly, I'd always intended to mark my 65th birthday by taking my leave. It just so happens that it all dovetails nicely with, at the very least, a new (and it seems brighter) chapter in the pandemic. It's time.

I understand the disruption we all feel when our routines are jostled.

I apologize for being one of those disruptions. I also thank the kind, thoughtful, demanding people who make up the KCBS Radio audience for their warmth and support over the years.

As a Bay Area boy (can I still say "boy" at 65?) through and through, this is a storybook ending for me. I'll see you around.