03/09/2016 12:56PM

San Diego broadcaster Ernie Myers dies

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Ernie Myers, a star of radio in the San Diego area for decades who also called races and hosted Del Mar’s simulcast show, died of Parkinson’s disease on Tuesday at his San Diego-area home, the track announced. He was 86.

Myers, blessed with a silky-smooth voice, was a top radio disc jockey in San Diego for nearly four decades while working for the biggest stations in town, his talents ranging from big band music to rock ’n’ roll to talk radio. He frequently had the No. 1-rated morning show in town.

A longtime fan of racing, Myers would broadcast from the backside at Del Mar during the summer racing season and interviewed many of the stars of the day in the 1960s and 1970s, such as jockey Bill Shoemaker, who rode his favorite horse, Swaps. At one point, he was the track’s morning-line maker.

He also called races in the 1960s, most notably at Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico, but also on the California fair circuit and in New Mexico, where as a licensed pilot he would fly himself on weekends. In the 1990s, Myers was a co-host of Del Mar’s simulcast show.

Myers maintained friendships in racing even after he retired. Before his health worsened, Myers was a regular at the Del Mar backstretch kitchen in the company of trainers like Mel Stute. When he could not attend the live races, Myers would frequent offtrack wagering facilities near his home.

Myers grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale. At first desirous of being an actor, he had parts in several movies – including “The Adventures of Don Juan” with Errol Flynn – and radio soap operas before serving in the U.S. Army for four years during the Korean War. He worked for Armed Forces Radio, then turned his career to radio broadcasting when he left the Army.

Myers is survived by his longtime partner, Onyx Novelle Jones. Services are pending.