FARGO — Longtime KFGO radio personality Jack Sunday is stepping away from the studio.
Sunday told The Forum on Tuesday, Feb. 25, that he wasn’t retiring. Instead, he said he was leaving an active role at the AM station so he could help take care of his wife, Jane.
“She needs help and that’s more important,” Sunday said.
Sunday, who previously anchored "The Drive" from 4-6 p.m. weekdays, has been on the radio for 51 years. He got his start in Idaho, where he discovered celebrity was relative after learning former Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew was a fan of the DJ’s work.
“He was thrilled to death,” Sunday said, recalling when they met. “He remembered bits I did.”
Other celebrities weren’t always as big of fans.
“I interviewed Cher. She told me I was so stupid,” Sunday said with a laugh.
And there was the time he was set to interview wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage, who warned Sunday not to ask about his one-time manager and wife, Elizabeth. Sunday’s first question was to ask how Elizabeth was — and “Macho Man” promptly ended the interview.
“He hung up on me. I loved that,” Sunday said.
His in-person meet-and-greets didn’t always go much better. He recalls bringing singer Elton John to his knees with a firm handshake.
“He went to his knees and screamed at me,” Sunday recalls.
The DJ started at KFGO in October 1989 and fondly took to the area, listing remote broadcasts from the Red River Valley Fair, Big Iron Farm Show and Hostfest in Minot, N.D., as annual favorites. Still, he is most proud of the work he and the radio staff did during the Red River floods in 1997 and 2009.
For years, Sunday hosted noontime shows on the station, including with Sandy Buttweiler. The two were fired in 2004 and went to rival WDAY radio, which is owned by Forum Communications Co., which also owns The Forum. They moved back to KFGO a year later.
Sunday said he aims to create podcasts and is building a home studio where he can do interviews that may be aired on KFGO.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be on the air regularly again, but you never say never. But I can’t be away,” Sunday said, referring to his wife, Jane, whose neurological condition keeps her in a wheelchair.
The two met 12 years ago while planning for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They married two years ago.
Sunday recalled interviewing a cancer survivor years ago who told him the most important days in your life were the day you were born and the day you figured out why you were born. Sunday discovered the latter recently.
“I think, just like everything I enjoyed about radio, maybe taking care of Jane is probably why I was born. This is probably the most important thing I’ve ever done,” he said.
The couple plans to stay in Fargo.