“The Don Briscoe Show” will have its final episode on the air Friday.
Aberdeen-born Briscoe has been on the Don Briscoe Show for about 10 years, hosting his hour-long show every Friday at 5 p.m. on Hub City Radio.
For his latest show, Briscoe said he would discuss things he hadn’t been able to say before on air, as well as different stories about his life.
Over the years, the radio host turned restaurateur-teacher has tried several different jobs and appreciated them all.
Briscoe began his television career in 1961 in Yankton. From there he moved to California. Unable to find a job on the West Coast, Briscoe returned to the Midwest where he got a job as a television and radio presenter in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This is where Briscoe got the chance to interview Johnny Cash. Briscoe still has the tape.
“He was really nice to me,” Briscoe said.
In 1966, Briscoe ended up in Aberdeen to work for KSDN and then KABR, which was another station in the city.
In 1979, Briscoe switched back to the restaurant business by opening an enchiladas restaurant, a decision guided by the changing music of the late 1970s. Briscoe no longer liked the music that was on the radio at the time. While the enchilada restaurant is no longer open, Briscoe said his son plans to open a food truck this spring.
While running the restaurant, Briscoe worked as an assistant professor at Northern State University in the speech and business departments. He held the positions from 1980 to 1993.
“I really enjoyed this probably more than almost anything I’ve ever done,” said Briscoe.
Then, in 1995, Briscoe moved to Texas, where he did a radio show for an hour every day. People would call the radio station and, according to Briscoe, its phone lines were almost always busy.
In the 2000s, Briscoe again returned to Aberdeen.
“I can drink the water. I can breathe the air, ”said Briscoe. “I have grandchildren in this city. And I love this city.
Recently, South Dakota Magazine founder Bernie Hunhoff appeared on Briscoe’s show. Hunhoff had recently interviewed former South Dakota Governor Frank Farrar for the magazine, and Farrar mentioned that one of the highlights of his life was when he was a guest on Briscoe’s show with the former Democratic Governor Harvey Wollman. Briscoe said hearing that his show was one of Farrar’s highlights was one of his proudest moments.
Throughout his career, which spanned roughly 1,500 shows, Briscoe said he never wrote down questions before his interviews and let the conversation flow naturally. He made two exceptions, however: one for Laura Schlessinger and the other for Pat Buchanan.
Schlessinger is a former American talk show host and Buchanan is an American journalist, politician, commentator and conservative author who has served in the administrations of three US presidents.
Throughout his career, Briscoe has interviewed everyone from politicians and astronauts to famous musicians.
“I didn’t feel uncomfortable talking to anyone,” Briscoe said.
When asked if he had any favorite interviews from his shows, Briscoe said three came to mind: a producer of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” a reporter who toured with the Beatles during from the band’s first US tour, and a famous rock and roll promoter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Another notable Briscoe interview took place with musician Jim Reeves, who invited Briscoe to Nashville but died in a plane crash before Briscoe had a chance to visit him.
“He sent me a thank you letter,” Briscoe said. “Jim Reeves was the nicest person I have ever interviewed.”
In addition to hosting the radio, teaching, and running a restaurant, Briscoe also practiced scuba diving for over 35 years. His favorite islands are Dominica and Roatán. He also wrote a play and even had his own production company to do commercials.
But over the years, Briscoe has always found his way back to radio. While Briscoe was considering ending the series last year, he decided to pursue it due to the statewide political situation. In the end, Briscoe said he was ending his show because he wasn’t getting as many calls as before, especially from a Texas radio station. This is likely because many people in the area have short trips to work and just don’t listen to the radio for long periods of time, Briscoe said.