GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A popular Grand Rapids radio personality announced his retirement while on air Thursday morning.
NEWSRADIO WOOD 1300/106.9FM host Gary Allen said that after 32 years with the station, he will hang up his microphone for the last time in June.
The veteran radio host, who started the AM show at WOOD in 1989, said he made the decision about eight months ago to pursue other interests.
"You know, I'm 66 years old and there's some things I still want to do yet," he said.
Some of those things include volunteering and working with local charities like the Children's Miracle Network.
Allen also talked about how the grueling schedule of working so early in the morning was wearing on him.
"Getting up at 3 o'clock in the morning takes a lot out of you," he said. "You get home and you take a nap and before you know it, the day is done."
When recalling some of his most memorable moments on the show, Allen said that broadcasting live from Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland, and the Rose Bowl when the University of Michigan was playing were some that stuck out.
Allen also said that one of the real highlights of his career was interviewing President George W. Bush on the phone while the president was headed to Grand Rapids on Air Force One.
Allen noted that while there had been a lot of changes over the three decades he spent on-air at WOOD - most notably the transition from vinyl to CD's to digital - he said he believed that more changes were coming in the realm of local radio.
Having said that, Allen said he believed there would always be room for stations like WOOD.
"There will always be a good local morning show, because people want that," Allen said. "They want the news, the weather, the traffic, the sports."
When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Allen said that he wanted people to remember how he provided his listeners with the information they needed, but that he had a lighter side, too.
"I want to be remembered as the guy that people woke up to on the radio in the morning, you have fun, we gave them the news, we gave them the weather, we gave them the traffic and between the group at WOOD, we gave them some laughs, too."
Allen said that the station has something major planned for his grand finale.
"We've got something special coming up before the very last show that's just a couple of days before that, and it's something special," Allen said. "I don't even know what it is, but they tell me it's going to be big."
Allen's last day on air is Friday, June 21.
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