Ray Richardson, the Twin Cities' ambassador of soul music, has signed off from KMOJ radio.

For 21 years, Richardson's Sunday-night program, "Back In the Day," filled the airwaves with enduring classics for four straight hours. He closed his final show last weekend with his three all-time favorites: Earth, Wind & Fire's "Fantasy," The Spinners' "I'll Be Around" and The Temptations' "My Girl."

"The show has meant the world to me personally," Richardson, 65, said Friday as he prepared to fly out of Minnesota the following day. "It's the music I grew up with, the music I've always loved and appreciated. It's been great fun doing it."

Richardson, who came to the Twin Cities to be a Pioneer Press sportswriter, is heading to Los Angeles to be closer to his 91-year-old mom and help her keep up an active lifestyle.

Richardson had been thinking about making the move for some time, but the pandemic helped him realize how much he was currently needed out west.

"My mom is in fairly good health, but she doesn't drive anymore," said Richardson, who also has a sister in California. "She's by herself and the senior activity center, which she's really involved in, is closed. So the timing was tugging at me to make this move."

"Back In the Day" will continue to run from 6-10 p.m. Sundays with new host Kimberly Holifield.

"Ray was definitely a huge legend in our community," said Holifield, whose radio name is Glamlife Kim. "There's so many times, we would get together and play cards while listening to Ray's show and hear all these hits that brought back great memories. I've got big shoes to fill."

Richardson said there was some discussion about doing the show remotely, but he ultimately decided to wipe the slate clean and start over. He hopes to find a new platform to further his love of music once he's settled in Los Angeles.

"I'm ready to take what I've learned here and go to the next level," Richardson said. "I've still got a lot of juice in me. I'm nowhere near ready to retire."


Neal Justin • 612-673-7431