Cooking show hostess Jackie Olden, a mainstay at KNX-AM (1070) for nearly 10 years, has quit the station and will move her food preparation program to KABC-AM (790) Oct. 6.
KNX General Manager George Nicholaw told The Times that Olden's resignation came Friday without warning. But he said that the "KNX Food Hour," heard from 10 to 11 a.m. weekdays, would continue with guest hosts fielding listeners' calls until a permanent replacement for Olden is found.
Butcher Mel Free hosted the program Monday and food expert Karen Kaplan will handle the show today, Nicholaw said. Mel Baldwin, Olden's sidekick for the past several years, will continue to co-host the KNX show.
"KNX will continue on its merry way," Nicholaw said. "We've done this before with guest hosts, when Mike (Roy) died."
Roy, the rotund gourmand who started the "Food Hour" when KNX became an all-news station 18 years ago, died June 26, 1976.
Nicholaw said Olden had no contractual obligation to the station beyond a handshake deal. He said he believed her decision to leave was based, in part, on an opportunity offered by KABC to expand into television.
KABC-AM General Manager George Green confirmed Olden would be making appearances on KABC-TV Channel 7 as part of her agreement to bring her food program to the talk radio station's 7 to 9 p.m. time slot, Monday through Friday.
Green said Olden joins six other KABC radio personalities who do commentary and speciality reporting on KABC-TV: movie critic Gary Franklin, restaurant critic Elmer Dills, political commentator Bruce Hershensohn, financial reporter Bob Rosefsky, automobile reporter Leon Kaplan and fashion reporter Christine Kunzelman.
"Jackie was doing a talk show in the middle of a news format on KNX," Green said.
On KABC, she will be on an all-talk format, expanding her daily one hour show to two hours. In addition to the television exposure on KABC-TV's "Eyewitness News," she will also be part of KABC-AM's omnibus Saturday morning "Ken and Bob Company" program.
Neither Green nor Nicholaw would discuss Olden's salary, but Green did say, "She'll make more than she did at KNX."
He said her KABC show is tentatively going to be called "In the Kitchen With Jackie Olden" and will be co-hosted by Chuck Walsh. It replaces theologian Dennis Praeger's evening talk show. Green said Praeger will remain with KABC, hosting his Sunday evening "Religion on the Line."