Hey pallies, likes welcome back today to our humble little Dino-pad where we will swankly share incredible information on Mr. Steve "Dino" Donikian, who so openly and affirmatively took on Mr. Mick LaSalle lack of Dino-appreciato. Likes below is powerful prose from the pad of Radio Station KALB in San Francisco that intriguin'ly introduces us to "Dino" Donikian who is "KABL morning show producer extraordinaire.
Likes beside the station's beautifully biographical info, it is followed by a fantastic feature on Donikian tagged ""Dino Might!" by Mr. Chad Jones, ANG Newspapers Staff Writer. Both of these perfecto pieces share his awesome adulation of our most beloved Dino, and we were particularly taken with words that Mr. Jones scribed statin', that "(Donikian's) grandmother, from Istanbul, Turkey, never missed Dean Martin's show,'' and likes on "Thursday nights, Channel 4. She didn't speak any English, but she loved Dean. I grew up feeling like he was a favorite uncle who came over once a week. Dean Martin came on screen and you just laughed and smiled along with him.''
We are marvelously moved to learn of Mr. Steve "Dino" Dinoikian's awesome adulation of our Dino, who we proclaim a remarkable role model for all Dino-holics to emulate. It is pallies like "Dino" that are makin' sure that the name of our most beloved Dino keeps bein' lifted up and that our Dino's life and work continue to be remembered and shared. To check this out in it's original format at KABL, simply clicks on the tag of this Dino-report.
Yours in Dino,
Dino Martin Peters
KABL Music & Movie Minutes
Steven "Dino" Donikian, KABL morning show producer extraordinaire, got introduced to radio as a Mass Communications major at Chabot College in Hayward. This San Leandro native visited Magic 61 on a class assignment, and after telling of his immense Dean Martin LP collection, he was given the nickname "Dino" and hired on the spot. Dino worked with Bay Area legends Russ "The Moose" Syracuse, Don Sainte-Johnn and Dan Sorkin before starting his nine year on-air relationship with Jim Lange.
Dino's expansive record collection includes thousands of albums by his favorite artists including Dean Martin, Nat Cole, Don Ho, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra. This record collection is the inspiration of the "Off The Wall" segment on the Jim Lange Show. This segment includes rare songs by artists that you wouldn't expect to sing, including Telly Savalas, Clint Eastwood, and Ted Knight.
Dino's favorite actors include Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn, Jennifer Connelly, Naomi Watts and Red Skelton. Dino's professional motto can be summed up by the words of Red Skelton:
"And if by chance, someday you're not feeling well, and remember some silly little thing I've said or done before, and it brings a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose has been fulfilled."
His favorite TV shows are "The Wild, Wild, West", "Hawaii 5-0", "The Family Guy" and "The Odd Couple." His favorite movies include "Some Came Running", "Oceans 11" and "From Russia With Love."
Dino is also an avid sports fan. His sports idols include A's legend Ken Holtzman, who was a guest on the Jim Lange Show, Bernard King and Bjorn Borg. Inspired by Carter B. Smith's T-shirt collection, Dino has a vast international soccer jersey collection. To date he has jerseys from more than 125 different countries.
Read more about Dino...
By Chad Jones ANG Newspapers Staff Writer
Aptitude tests indicated that Steven Donikian should be a marine biologist, which would have made him San Leandro's very own Jacques Cousteau.
Heading into Hayward's Chabot College, Donikian didn't feel that aquatic wonders were his life's calling, despite the aquariums full of exotic tropical fish he kept at home.
When Donikian set his career course, he opted for mass communication and ended up focusing on radio.
"Something involving music made sense,'' says Donikian. "I was listening anyway.''
Indeed he was. Born to Armenian parents, Donikian is first generation Armenian American, and one of his primary youthful memories is watching TV variety shows in the 1970s starring the likes of Tom Jones and Glen Campbell.
"My grandmother, from Istanbul, Turkey, never missed Dean Martin's show,'' Donikian explains. "Thursday nights, Channel 4. She didn't speak any English, but she loved Dean. I grew up feeling like he was a favorite uncle who came over once a week. Dean Martin came on screen and you just laughed and smiled along with him.''
With a record and CD collection that numbers in the thousands, Donikian has just about everything ever recorded by Martin and his Rat Pack cohorts Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as other vocalists such as Nat "King'' Cole and Bobby Darin.
The older he got, the more Donikian learned about pop music. He moved beyond variety shows and discovered the Beatles, U2, the Who, Sting and many others. But in high school, he found himself drawn back to Martin and the classic crooners.
With his passion for pop music from the 1940s to the present, Donikian says he felt radio would be a good fit for him.
When, at age 21, he had to complete a class project at Chabot, Donikian decided to interview a program director at Magic 61, an AM radio station in San Francisco that broadcast the golden oldies Donikian loves so much.
"I interviewed Brian Rhea, the assistant program director, and I asked him all the questions I had prepared,'' Donikian recalls. "Then he asked me what I listened to, and I told him about collecting Cole, Sinatra and Martin.''
When Rhea confirmed that Donikian wasn't kidding, he asked the young man if he could start work on Monday.
"I rearranged a few classes and started as a substitute producer for Russ `The Moose' Syracuse,'' Donikian says. "Doors started opening.''
Because there were already a number of Steves in the building, Rhea re-christened Donikian as Dino in tribute to the young man's enthusiasm for all things Dean Martin. The nickname stuck.
That was 13 years ago, and now Donikian is a full-fledged producer. He works the 6 to 10 a.m. shift on KABL 960 AM with on-air personality Jim Lange, former host of "The Dating Game.'' In addition to producing the show, Donikian is becoming more and more of an Ed McMahon to Lange's Johnny Carson.
If you tune in, you'll hear Lange and Donikian bantering like old friends. They talk about what they did over the weekend, what movies they've seen recently or what they've eaten at Scoma's, an old-fashioned San Francisco seafood restaurant and stalwart sponsor of the morning show.
"This format, what we call 'America's best music,' has the most loyal following in radio,'' Donikian says. "They care about the music and they develop an attachment to the people at the station. They call up and start talking to you like they're your aunt or your mom. If I call in sick one day, I receive dozens of get-well cards.''
Sometimes the power of the broadcast medium surprises Donikian.
"I had to go to a funeral recently, and Jim mentioned it on the air,'' Donikian says. "Suddenly my parents in San Leandro are getting all these concerned calls asking who died. You have to watch what you say on the air.''
Listeners frequently hear about Donikian's passion for sports; he's been an A's and Warriors fan since childhood; and about his burgeoning collection of soccer jerseys from around the world.
Sitting in production booth at KABL headquarters near Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, Donikian sports a red-and-white jersey from the Tunisian team. Several listeners have pledged their help to acquire hard-to-get jerseys from the Ivory Coast and Kenya.
"Another cool part of being on the radio is that I'm able to wear soccer jerseys to work,'' Donikian says.
As if the job and his various collections didn't keep him busy enough, Donikian also spends time cooking (but not cleaning up). Fully fluent in Armenian, he, like his father, is a sub-deacon at St. Vartan, Oakland's Armenian church. Donikian still expresses disbelief that he works in a medium he loves and is surrounded by music he adores. That helps him roll out of bed at 4 a.m. and head from San Leandro to the radio station.
"What I do doesn't feel like work,'' he says. "I love my job. Radio can be an uncertain business, and you don't know what will happen day to day, but I like the people I work with. The music is a huge part of what keeps me there. That and there's no heavy lifting.''
Reprinted with permission from ANG Newspapers.