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Les Keiter set isle standard


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POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009

A legendary figure in sports broadcasting, Les Keiter set an example for other announcers through his knowledge of the game — a large array of sports — and his respectful demeanor. Keiter died Tuesday, less than two weeks before his 90th birthday.

Beginning his sports broadcasting career in Honolulu 60 years ago, Keiter established himself as a top announcer for the New York football and baseball giants, the New York Knicks and New York Islanders in the 1950s and 1960s. The dozen heavyweight championship fights he announced for ABC and Mutual included Muhammad Ali's first title victory over Sonny Liston in 1964.

Keiter returned to Hawaii in 1970 and became sports director of KHON the following year. Having appeared as a general in an episode of “;Hawaii Five-0,”; he was nicknamed “;The General”; by KHON anchor Joe Moore. Keiter retired in 1990 but continued to serve as toastmaster and emcee for Honolulu Quarterback Club events.

His 1991 autobiography, “;Fifty Years Behind the Microphone,”; was formally included in the special collection of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.