If you’re an Angeleno who doesn’t recognize the name Steve Mason, you would probably recognize his voice. For more than 25 years Mason has been a preeminent figure in Southern California broadcasting, earning awards and universal acclaim for his engaging sports talk radio show with co-host John Ireland. The “Mason and Ireland” show, which broadcasts weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. on ESPNLA 710, features the longest running duo in Los Angeles sports radio.
Mason’s reputation as a sports guy belies his other interests, which sometimes eke into the public sphere. He once co-owned a number of art-house cinemas with “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston, he’s made several films himself and saw, by his count, 97 movies in theaters last year. He hosts the pop-culture podcast “Culture Pop.” He can talk politics, books, food. He’s a true generalist, just like his broadcast idols Tom Snyder and Larry King.
“They knew so many things about so many things,” he says.
Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Mason often spent late nights listening to their shows. When his father got home from work, Mason would read him the sports pages out loud — a tradition that prepared him for a series of local gigs that paved the way for his Southern California success.
Mason’s first on-air opportunity, at WGOR Radio in Toledo, wasn’t handed to him.
“Because I loved sports so much, I decided that I would buy five minutes of airtime every afternoon at five o’clock and do my own sportscast,” he says. “I was about 15 years old. I went out and sold ads to be able to pay for it.”
From there he was hired at another local station, where he was promoted from late-night DJ to morning drive host, then eventually to operations manager and vice president of the station group. Mason made his move to SoCal radio soon after, where he was paired with John Ireland.
“We hit it off right away,” he recalls. “I knew there was chemistry, and he ended up working full-time with me.”
Since moving to Los Angeles 28 years ago, Mason has lived exclusively on the Westside — first Westwood, then Venice, and now Mar Vista with his partner and two dogs. He’s become a regular at the Mar Vista Farmers Market and enjoys the area’s thriving restaurant scene.
“Mar Vista’s beautiful,” he says. “I think it’s really one of the up-and-coming neighborhoods in all of
Asked if he’d ever move from Los Angeles, his answer was simple: “This is the town that I love. I’ll never live anywhere else.”
— Danny Karel