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Long-time Detroit broadcaster, educator Specs Howard dies

Benjamin Hartwich from Pixabay

Detroit broadcasting legend and educator Specs Howard has died. He was 96.

Born Julian Liebman, Howard’s successful broadcasting career took him from radio stations in Pennsylvania to Cleveland and Detroit.

As he approached the end of his career as a disc jockey in the 1960’s, Howard said he knew his life was at a crossroads.

“When you turned 39, that was almost the end of your career. Because they didn’t want the little girls in the audience, 'cause it was teeny bopper music as they called it, to have somebody who was comparable in age to their fathers,” Howard said.

He left his mark on Michigan media with the founding in 1970 of what was originally named the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Southfield.

“I loved the business and maybe if I don’t want to be on the air any more, I can teach,” said Howard.

Graduates of what was later named the Specs Howard School of Media Arts can be found in radio and television stations across the Midwest.

On Saturday, his daughter Alisa Zee issued this statement:

"This morning, Saturday, September 3, 2022, my father Specs Howard completed his journey here on Earth.

He was always grateful to the entire media community. He felt your embrace every step of his professional journey, knowing that his mission to help change lives for the better was supported and guided by all.

To everyone who ever listened to him on the air, graduated from the Specs Howard School, hired the people he trained or even just said nice things to or about Dad, the entire Specs Howard Family says, 'Thank You.'"

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.