TOLEDO, Ohio — For 32 years, Cliff Smithers has been a voice of Toledo radio.
Born and raised in Toledo, Smithers started his career at K-100 where he worked for more than three decades. He said he owes his career to one of Toledo's radio legends.
"Gary Shores hired me 32 years ago when I had no experience," Smithers said. "He took a chance with me and was my mentor, my friend and my boss. He taught me everything I know about radio."
After Steele's death, Shores was joined by Smithers and Lyn Casey, who would eventually take the reigns of the K-100 morning show upon Shores' retirement.
"It's always hard to follow legends, but I was very fortunate to have had time with them," Smithers said.
Smithers would fill in for Shores or Steele when either was off, shifting from his usual afternoon time slot. He says those early mornings gave him the opportunity to really get to know Shores and Steele.
"They were like brothers to me. Gary is still such a good friend of mine," he said. "To follow in their shoes, it was difficult."
And for Smithers, it's always been about the people that made the radio program as successful as it is.
"I always revert back to what Shores and Steele always said, and it remains true to this very day. We have the greatest listeners in the world."
Smithers posted on Facebook Wednesday evening that he was leaving after 32 years. He said the response from those listeners reinforced that thought.
"It always amazes me. I can't say how much I love them and appreciate them for the support that they've given me over the years."
As for anyone considering a career in radio, Smithers says jokingly, "Don't!"
"It's been great for me. I was a kid that got lucky," Smithers said. "If that's your pleasure, go for it. It's been good to me and it can be good for everybody."
Smithers says he's off the air for now, but there's always a chance you'll hear his voice sometime in the future.
"Radio never gets out of your blood. I tried to walk away about 12 years ago and after the first day I couldn't stand it."
When asked what's next, Smithers said he's moving on to a new adventure.
"I'm not retiring, I'm just stepping away from radio," he said. "I look forward to the next adventure in life with Toledo Door and Window."
As for his co-host, Smithers choked up with a message to Casey and all of the people he's worked with at K-100.
"We will remain friends. I have to say thanks to my lovely co-host, Lyn Casey who has been an unbelievable friend. I'll miss that, but I'll miss everybody. But we remain friends and we'll still get together. Those friendships never go away."