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Remembering Mike Thompson of KCEA

Original post made on Apr 12, 2008

Mike Thompson, the longtime on-air host of big band and swing music on the KCEA (89.1 FM) radio station in Atherton, died unexpectedly Sunday, according to the station's general manager, Michael Isaacs.
A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Chapel of Flowers, 900 South Second St. in San Jose.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 5:46 PM

Comments (33)

Posted by Bob Anderson-Palo Alto
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2008 at 8:16 am

Mike--You and your beautiful music will be missed very much WORLDWIDE thanks to KCEA'S streaming audio online. We are all grateful for your many years of bringing the best kind of music into our lives. THANK YOU MIKE. Lytton Gardens Senior Housing Community University and Middlefield Rd. Palo Alto, Ca.

Posted by Michael Isaacs
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Mike Thompson was a friend and fellow broadcaster. He exemplified 'Old School'. Young students interning at KCEA would ask him questions and they would be shown how not just given an answer.

In the thirteen years I knew him, he never failed to have a smile on his face and warmth in his heart.

There will be a void in my life due to his passing.

See you on the radio, Mike.

Posted by John Neves
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Loved Mike. His friendly and warm on-the-air presence made me feel like a friend. Always happy to get our phone calls.
I, and many listeners, will miss him forever.

John (Palo Alto)

Posted by Fernando Amaral
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Mike, the world is more dark without You. Far from distance (Sao Paulo, Brazil) but near in the heart. I miss him forever.

Posted by Trish Millet
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2008 at 7:58 pm

We met such a very short time ago
About ten and a half years, perhaps longer, or so
You played the music from your collected treasures
A fine mix of Basie, Ellington, and countless measures

Your voice glided over the airwaves with resonance,
Immeasurable knowledge, and serene on-air presence
Your play-lists were profoundly filled with brilliant pizzazz
From Big Band and Swing, to your deep love of Jazz

Twenty plus years as with fine vintage wine
Four hours on Fridays and Saturdays in 4/4 time
You gave of yourself to your wide audience range
Shared a chuckle or two in light-hearted exchange

Then the spirits of all the artists you diligently kept alive
Asked the powers that be just ‘when’ you’d arrive
You see they wanted so much to meet, ‘Mike Thompson’, face to face
The man who honored their lives with such musical grace

Though your voice on earth is now silent and still
Your legacy resides here in cherished goodwill
12 bar boogie and blues will continue to play
As in lyrics, ‘We’ll meet again, some sunny day!’

Posted by Nippy
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2008 at 8:11 pm

I am so incredibly sad to hear of Mike's passing. My sister and I looked forward to listening to his program each week. We often requested songs through the KCEA website. He was always so kind and generous about playing them. We often submitted the requests under the name of Nippy, which is our cat. He never knew that and he always said "That was a request from Nippy" which we got a kick out of. I always meant to send him a card with a picture of Nippy. He was the best and will be sorely missed. Goodbye Mike, you brought a lot of pleasure to our lives and we thank you for that.

Posted by Marilyn & John Brehm
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 6:04 am

We will miss his music.
Mike was such a nice person and we will miss him.
Was always nice to see him at the class reunions. We are always close to our classmates and "old home town people" and when someone goes we feel sad.
We will miss you Mike and God Bless You.
Marilyn and John

Posted by John Fidler
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 8:45 am

Mike and I had been friends for over twenty years since meeting at Lockheed. After my wife and I retired and moved to Las Vegas we corresponded regularly by e-mail. We shared a love for jazz and I used to listen to his radio program in the Bay Area. We are very sad indeed to hear of his passing. We'll miss his friendship and wonderful sense of humour. If you can, please play Count Basie's "Corner Pocket" which he played for me many years ago.

John Fidler

Posted by "hattie" Carl Hatfield
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Found Mike and his great program about 5 yrs ago. We exchanged many e-mails along the line. His program music selections you could not believe, it was just like he selected them for me. Will miss his great humor. He would always announce the tune, this one is for "hattie" in West Virginia. Would give me the new paper that carried his obt. I would like read it and download, and save in my collection of greats I have know. He was my age also. He was a great fan of Big Band, sorry we will miss him very much. Thanks again Carl Hatfield Charleston , WV

Posted by Richard
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 7:37 pm

Thanks so much for your generosity and friendliness in handling our calls for requests over the years.
I recall one Friday night in particular about 17 years ago when I was working late in Menlo Park, and I heard Mike announce a request from my wife for a Hoagy Carmichael song, plus the request that I head on home soon. I called in a song request of my own and the message that I was on my way home. Mike cheerfully conveyed the message.
I recall another time about 15 years ago when Mike hosted a re-enactment of an old-time radio broadcast at the Menlo Park council chambers. There was a live band, a live audience (including me) and longtime KCEA host Alan Dales re-enacted a drama from the golden days of radio. Mike Thompson was the emcee and also read some old-time radio ads. What fun!
I also enjoyed his New Year's Eve show.
We will miss you so much, Mike, for your taste and knowledge of jazz, swing and big band music, and for just being a great guy.

Richard and Jennifer

Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 9:08 pm


Thank you for bringing to this world your best Jazz, and may you rest in Peace.

You are home,


Posted by Bryan Chandler
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 9:30 pm


Here we go again, another INCREDIBLE AMERICAN. Mike was a true stalwart in this amazing times that we live. As his License plate represented, "Jazz DJ".
A true Broadcast ability, with the wealth of knowledge of all of his , LP's CD's he owned. He told me of times, which I remember, that had couldn't go to because of his age at the time. I am so sadly disheartened by his passing. What a great guy!
I wish, in my only feeling for his friends that, this man was of the utmost character.

I was ALWAYS hoping, and that is an understatement, that I could have learned so much more from him.

He was an under appreciated man. His Children and his grandchildren would have known this.

I miss you all so much Michael Thompson.

You will NEVER lose my dreams of being like you!

Bryan Chandler

Posted by Chris Thompson
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Again, excellent job on the show tonight. Although it has been a rough week, we have all come together to make this weekend very special, and one that my Dad would be proud of. All the best from all of us to all of you who sent in the wonderful words and wishes. I know that he was listening, with a big smile on his face.

All the best,
Chris Thompson

Posted by Donna and Gordon Zick
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Friends from Ramona, Ca. since the 60's, Gordon and I will miss the sound and humor of Mike's voice and his incredible personality. He was a "down to earth" individual who was able to laugh, joke,educate,communicate, and sympathize with everyone he met. We will miss his voice and humor but his "being" will always be with us. God Speed, Mike, our love is with you.
The Zick family.

Posted by Long-time listener
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Apr 13, 2008 at 9:40 pm

What a great tribute program on Mike Thompson. I hope you can replay some of his old programs, or maybe occasional out-takes, on the air.

Posted by Russell Hacker
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2008 at 7:44 pm

I used to listen to Mike and Terry Thayer and the Corner They Called Classic on KLIV in the '70's and really missed them when KLIV changed formats and Terry and Mike left. It was great to find Mike on KCEA in the '90's. Now I miss them both.

Posted by Matt
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2008 at 6:23 pm

I'm so sorry to hear this. I found Mike and KCEA a couple of years ago, but only recently have I been listening regularly (over the internet, from the other side of the country), and I always enjoyed Mike's shows. Thank you Mike, for everything.

Posted by mike parra
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Apr 18, 2008 at 5:29 am

God Bless, Mike. Thanks for the memories.

Posted by Kurt Thompson
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Mike was my Dad and I lived with him for the last 10 years, right up to his sudden and unexpected passing last week. We had built a second story addition to his home in San Jose some years ago so that myself and my 2 children could enjoy his company and ensure he'd always have someone there through his Golden years. He and I fondly compared ourselves to the telelvision show, Frasier from time to time.
I'd like to express my gratitude to the many listeners out there that miss my father. I have grown accustomed over the years to hearing his music play from upstairs, and every evening when I'd return from work he would make his way down just to say 'howdy' or to make a few comments about his daily activities. I can assure everyone out there that my Dad thought of his listeners as family, and he always had a story to tell about one or another of them.
His home is quiet now when I return from work, and that is difficult to get used to, but the place he lived is still alive with his memories and his vast collection of music. I will sometimes put on one of his CD's and go back downstairs and just imagine that he's up there, and somehow I suspect he really is.
Everyone can rest easy knowing he left this world without pain and suffering, involved in his favorite activities, with a son and 2 grandchildren living just below. His attitude about his own eventual and inevitable demise was always talked about with irreverant humor and light heartedness. We can only hope we all leave as peacefully and fulfilled as my Dad did.
Thank you everyone, and please continue to support KCEA. I'll make sure the music from his collection makes it way to your ears from time to time.


Posted by Bob Ryan
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 18, 2008 at 4:43 pm

My sympathies over Mike Thompson's passing. I enjoyed his show for years. Two quick items. First, during the 2006 Christmas season, I asked Mike to play my very favorite Christmas song, Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby". Of course, because Mike had impeccable musical taste, he played it immediately. Right after "Santa Baby", he then played "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (at the Five and Ten Cent Store)". That made the season even jollier. Second item: On his March 21 show, I asked Mike to play "Opus One" by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Before and after he played it, he told his listeners that he recalled hearing TD's rendition played on a radio station every morning when he was in high school in Cadillac Michigan -- right after the national anthem. That would get anyone out of bed in a hurry.
R.I.P. Mike,
Bob Ryan

Posted by Susan Wann
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Mike Thompson was a generous soul. He was a patient teacher, a wonderful role model and a truly interesting and intellectual gentleman. I am saddened to hear of his passing.

God Bless you, Mike.

Susan Wann

Posted by Juli
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2008 at 10:03 pm

As Mike Thompson's daughter, I want to thank KCEA for the wonderful memorial show, the oppertunity they gave my dad to do something he loved and the wonderful friendships he developed during his 20+ year tenure. As my brother, Kurt, said, Dad did think of his listeners as friends and family. I live out of state and whenever Dad and I would speak over the phone, or during a visit, he alwasy talked about his listeners and his wine group. It was really important to him that people would listen to him and enjoy the music he played. KCEA and the Silicon Valley Wine Group were constant joys of Dad's life for many years. During Dad's memorial service and since, I have read or heard many people tell stories or say things about my Dad that I did not know. At first it was hard to learn that there was so much about my Dad that I was not privy to. But then I realized that when you love someone, you want them to have all that makes them happy whether it be friends or experiences or memories or interests. My Dad had all those things. And he was loved.


Posted by Alain from Paris
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2008 at 11:54 am

Thanks to KCEA and Mike and many others, the Swing is still around on the Seine River sides. Sure his Soul is also around here as his voice did.
God bless you Mike. Say hello to all, overthere in the Sky. Enjoy the Band. Cheers.

Posted by Adrienne
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2008 at 12:52 pm

To many of us who never met Mike Thompson presonally, he was a radio-voice and presence to be treasured. His good-ness came, almost tangibly, right over the radio waves ~ and his program selections and comments brought many happy memories to life.

Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Mike, thank you for the music and for being You.
See you in the Great Beyond. Say hi to Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and all the other greats while you're there. I never met you in person, but I loved your warm presence on the radio.

May you rest in peace.


a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2008 at 8:56 pm


Posted by Jennifer Cray
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2008 at 10:08 am

Burlingame, CA

May you rest in peace. I'll miss your voice and good taste. God bless.

Posted by Katie Bogdanoff
a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2008 at 1:55 pm

I was very lucky to find out about KCEA only a short time ago, but listen avidly. When I went online last night to hear some music, I saw the note about Mike Thompsons passing. It is so sad when such a great talent is lost to us.

May your energy move on and through us inspiring many more to be as charismatic, creative and funny as you were. Thank you.

Katie Bogdanoff
Half Moon Bay listen

Posted by George Raymond
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2008 at 3:11 am

Los Angeles, CA

What a shock! I would love to hear Mike's show continue on in re-run. What a tremendous loss to jazz radio.

Posted by bill
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 26, 2008 at 6:12 pm

who was he? RIP!!!

Posted by bill
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 26, 2008 at 6:12 pm

who was he? RIP!!!

Posted by Phil L.
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2008 at 1:47 pm

I enjoyd Mike's selections.
We will miss him.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 5, 2017 at 3:09 am

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