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Influential Hawaii radio broadcaster dies at 85

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 6:01 p.m. HST, Mar 27, 2014

Earl McDaniel, the longtime charismatic general manager of KSSK-AM 590/FM 92.3, died Wednesday in Arizona. He was 85.

McDaniel, hired by former KGMB-TV and KGMB-AM 590 owner Cec Heftel, is credited with initiating the idea for a $1 million giveaway that cemented the success of the Michael W. Perry and Larry Price morning team following the death of J. Akuhead Pupule in 1983.

According to local broadcast industry historian A.J. McWhorter, McDaniel was a KGMB sports anchor in the mid-1960s before his broadcast management career in Hawaii began.

McDaniel also was a popular radio personality in Los Angeles, known as Earl "The Pearl" McDaniel. His resume included work at AM radio music stations across the Los Angeles radio dial like KFVD/KPOP from 1953 to 1958; KDAY from 1958 to 1961; and KFWB from 1961 to 1963.

During his radio days in Los Angeles, McDaniel and his on-air colleagues appeared in tuxedos on the cover of a radio-station-produced album of hits. For years, the album was stashed in the production room library at KSSK on Kapiolani Boulevard.

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