Legendary TV personality Marty Holtman
honored with our first Lifetime Achievement Award!

At our History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation’s January 26, 2024 luncheon in Boise, HIBF Founder and President Art Gregory and our group’s video historian/curator Aldis Garsvo honored longtime Treasure Valley broadcaster Marty Holtman with the Foundation’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring Marty’s astonishing 67 years in the broadcast industry and 35 years in Idaho broadcasting.

January 26th was also Marty’s 94th birthday.

Aldis reading award to Marty; KIVI cameraman shooting
Aldis reads the wording on the Lifetime Achievement Award, as recipient Marty looks on

“Aldis Garsvo came up with the idea in mid-2023, since we all could see Marty was getting more frail each time we saw him,” Art explained. A dedicated supporter of Idaho’s broadcasting history, Marty attended nearly all the Foundation’s monthly luncheons; even in his later years, as his health gradually deteriorated and he found it increasingly difficult to walk and speak.

“Aldis could see how much Marty had contributed to the broadcasting community and to our community in general; and that he was an icon — most people knew who he was, remembered watching him on KBOI-TV for many years, or remembered hearing him on the radio,” Art continued. “So Aldis suggested creating an annual Lifetime Achievement Award and naming it after Marty.”

The Award ceremony was attended by many of Marty’s family, friends, and former co-workers. It was also covered by a news crew from KIVI-TV, Channel 6.

Sadly, the luncheon was Marty’s final public appearance. He died peacefully at his Boise home on March 16, 2024, while under hospice care.

Art calls himself “a lifelong Marty Holtman fan and friend,” explaining: “I have loved and admired Marty since I first saw him in 1961, when I was in the fourth grade and nine years old. When I was seventeen, I got hired by Marty for my third radio job. I was thrilled to be working with — and for — him! Later, he went to bat for me to get me a raise from $1.60 an hour to $2.00 an hour! Overtime was $3.00 an hour! So, to be the President and Founder of the HIBF, the organization that presented the award, I was truly honored!” 

Art and Marty
Art and Marty, friends for more than 54 years!

Being one of Marty’s closest friends, Art wrote the following obituary (reprinted here in its entirety, with only a few minor edits).

“Martin H. Holtman, Jr. passed away of natural causes on March 16, 2024 at his home in Boise. He was simply known as ‘Marty’ to the thousands of radio listeners and television viewers who came to know and love him since his first appearance on KBOI-AM/FM/TV in November, 1961.

“Marty was born on January 26, 1930 in Baltimore, Maryland, and graduated from Patterson High School in 1949, where he was later inducted into the school’s “Hall of Fame” for Journalism. Marty then served four years in the U.S. Air Force, from 1951-1955. For a time, he was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, which was how he met his beloved wife, Pauline Matush of Nampa, who he married on September 11, 1954. They spent the last years of Marty’s military career at Tyndal Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, then moved to Chicago where Marty earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College, majoring in TV and radio broadcasting.

“Marty started his broadcasting career in 1957 in Richmond, Virginia at WTVR-TV and its sister stations, WMBG-AM, and WCOD-FM. On the radio, Marty served as a disc jockey and news reporter; on television, he hosted a kids’ quiz show called Trader Bill’s. Marty was also a reporter, news anchor and, for a time, the station’s news director. While in Richmond, the couple’s first child, Martin III, was born.

“On a trip to Boise in 1961 to see Pauline’s parents, Marty stopped at KBOI-TV and met Earl Glade Jr., who was KBOI’s station manager at the time. Glade offered Marty a job and promised him at KBOI he could “do it all,” which included being a producer and a director, as well as a live host for both television and radio. Marty took the job and the family moved to Boise in late 1961. 

“He and Pauline were among the very first residents to live in a new southeast Boise subdivision called Warm Springs Mesa, where they built the house the family still lives in today. Marty and Pauline’s youngest son, Jimmy, was born in that house; it was also where Marty spent his final days, receiving hospice care, with his family by his side.

 

“Marty’s Idaho broadcasting career was remarkable in that he was so familiar to television viewers and radio listeners; they thought of him as “friend” rather than a paid announcer. Plus, Marty always made it fun to watch or listen. It always looked like he was having fun, too!  Upon arriving at KBOI, Marty began hosting kids’ shows such as Funland Express, which showed the cartoons of the day, as well as short features such as The Little Rascals. There was no videotape in those days, so Marty did live commercials and live-entertainment skits in-between.

 

Marty with ViewMaster viewer
Marty always had fun – both in front of and behind the cameras!
Marty on monitor
Marty, doing what he loved to do!

“He also had his own show on KBOI radio called “Music at Marty’s Place,” while he also began doing the weather on Channel 2, at 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. Behind the scenes, Marty was a producer and director for some of station’s live programming, which included the afternoon women’s and kids’ shows and the early- and late-evening newscasts.

“In 1963, and through early 1964, Marty played his most memorable role as Claude Gloom — the harmless, but horrific host of the late-night “spook show” called The Unknown, which aired from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursdays — which, of course, was a “school night.” KBOI purchased a package of “Grade-A” horror movies that featured some of the genre’s top stars of the day, like Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Vincent Price, and Christopher Lee.

“Claude Gloom”
Marty’s alter ego,
“Claude Gloom”
Dracula Deadbeats button
Members of The Claude Gloom Fan Club were known as “Dracula Deadbeats”

“Capitol Volkswagen of Boise sponsored the weekly late-night show, and held a write-in contest to pick the name of the host — which was how Marty became known as “Claude Gloom.” Marty played the role to the limit, dressing up in a black cape, wearing a frightful-looking grey wig, heavy make-up, a weird-looking dangling eyeball, and much more! He opened each week’s show by emerging from an old wooden coffin, complete with a creaking wooden lid and scary music.

 

“In-between movie scenes, Capitol Volkswagen ran commercials and Marty wrote and performed skits that were both scary and funny. The kids loved it — and a lot of adults did, too! But some parents and teachers didn’t like it, and complained to KBOI that the show was making it difficult for some kids to stay awake in class on Friday mornings. However, despite the pressure, the show remained on the air because Claude Gloom was selling a lot of cars for Capitol Volkswagen! So many, in fact, that when it came time to renew the contract for a second year, Capitol Volkswagen declined to renew it at the higher rate KBOI said it needed to get, due to a price increase from the motion picture distribution company. 

“Sponsoring the show had put the struggling car dealership “on the map,” so the owners felt they really didn’t need the additional advertising. Also, it was becoming a lot of work for Marty to write and perform the show each week; so everyone — except viewers — were glad to see the show end. But for Marty, playing the role of Claude Gloom was one of the most memorable times of his career, and anyone who ever saw him in that role will never forget it!

 

 

“Many consider the mid-’60s to early-’70s Channel 2’s “heyday.” Its “News Today” evening newscasts were #1 in the ratings; bolstered by the fact that the station had many top-notch investigative journalists on board, reporters like Pauli Crooke, Alice Deiter, Al Buch, Dick Eardley, Marc Johnson, and Pat Costello, to name a few. Bill Gratton and Dwight Jensen anchored the news; Dick Eardley and, later, Paul J. Schneider covered sports; and Marty handled the weather.

“It wasn’t until a few years later when KTVB, Channel 7, came onto the scene with a formidable news department — and took over the top ratings spot.

 

Dwight Jensen, Paul J. Schneider, Bill Gratton, and Marty
Channel 2’s “powerhouse” anchor team, circa 1969 (left to right: Dwight Jensen, Paul J. Schneider, Bill Gratton, and Marty)
Marty at weather map
Viewers fondly remember Marty’s TV weather reports

“After doing both the early- and late-evening TV weather on Channel 2, Marty had the opportunity to move into radio full-time and became the morning-show host on KBOI-AM which, in June of 1968, had moved to 670 kilohertz with a powerful 50,000-watt signal. Marty replaced Gene Perkins on KBOI-AM’s morning show in late 1969, and became the station’s program director and music director. The show was then simulcasted on KBOI-FM at 97.9 megahertz, with a signal of 17,000 watts, from KBOI-TV’s tower on Deer Point, northeast of Boise.

“Starting in 1970, Marty’s morning show, which he called “The Yawn Patrol,” was rated #1 with adults. Marty also stayed very visible in the community, volunteering his time as Master of Ceremonies for Boise Music Week and the Miss Boise Pageant; in addition to hosting many local and national telethons where hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised for worthwhile charities. During this time, Marty got to meet both Jerry Lewis, well-known host of the annual Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy telethons, and Pat Boone, of The Easter Seals telethons.

Marty talking about
Marty loved reminiscing about his career

“In January,1975, KBOI-AM/FM was sold to Charles Wilson. KBOI television changed its call letters to KBCI, and Marty stayed on with radio, continuing to host the morning host for several more years. When KBCI-TV was a sold in 1976, Larry Chase suggested to then-manager Jimmy Johntz that Marty would make an excellent choice for Channel 2’s weatherman. Jimmy agreed, and Marty was hired back to do weather on Channel 2.

 

“After leaving KBOI, Marty was hired as the interim manager of KSPD radio in Boise. Marty managed the station, hosted the morning show, and was able to help get the station back on a more stable financial footing. He then became the morning host for KAIN-AM in Nampa working for owner Jack Bolton, who Marty both loved and respected. Marty said Jack was the best boss he ever had; since he very much enjoyed his time at KAIN. This was especially true when KAIN became affiliated with the CBS Radio Network and changed its format from so-called “beautiful music” to middle-of-the-road music, two radio programming elements Marty was very comfortable with. Marty worked at KAIN, commuting from Boise to Nampa and back to do his midday radio show, for a couple years — until television came calling. Again.

“In the early 1980s, KBCI-TV decided to add a feature reporter, and Marty was a natural for the job! It was here Marty did some of his best work, including a segment called “Marty’s Santa Express,” where he, producer Mark Montgomery, and videographer Clyn Richards all received a regional Emmy in 1989. 

“In the mid-1980’s, KIDO-AM moved to a news/talk format and hired Marty to do live early-morning weather reports via a phone patch from his home studio in Warm Springs Mesa. Marty called his studio “The Crow’s Nest” — and would occasionally refer to his little dog “Mitzy,” who would sometimes bark while Marty was on the air! The listeners loved hearing Mitzy and Marty do the weather on KIDO, and it helped him promote his TV weathercasts on KBCI. 

“KIDO also hired Tom Alibrandi from Syracuse, New York, who did a short-lived conservative talk show on KIDO from 9 a.m. to noon. However, in August, 1988, Alibrandi’s ratings were down in almost all categories. After he and others attempted to unionize the station, KIDO’s ownership and management fired Alibrandi, and discharged much of the morning news staff. Marty was among the employees who were let go. Listeners protested the firings by picketing the station with signs asking station owners to “Bring Back Alibrandi!” Marty said one little girl had a sign that read “And They Fired Marty, Too!” That was Marty’s last regular radio appearance and, while he enjoyed being on the radio, television was a bit more stable.

“Marty’s last official Channel 2 weather forecast was on June 28, 1991; he was replaced by meteorologist Scott Dorval. However, Marty continued to fill-in for Scott — and others on the staff — to cover vacations and other occasions when the normal weather staff could not be there. Marty also continued to do commercials for local advertisers, which were produced both at the station and for local advertising agencies. One big “perk” in his retirement was the hosting of Channel 2’s vacation cruises, where he and Pauline were given the opportunity to travel to exotic destinations and get to know viewers and advertisers.

 

Newspaper article
Marty,
"The Distinguished Citizen"

“As for honors, Marty won a prestigious Emmy Award, received the Silver Circle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2000, was honored by the Idaho State Broadcasters Association for “Best Weathercast” and “Best Personality,” and won numerous awards from the Idaho State Press Club, the Associated Press, and United Press International. He was also featured as “The Distinguished Citizen” of the week by the Idaho Statesman in February, 1987, for his tireless community work, including narrating numerous films and videos for both the Idaho State Police and the Boise Fire Department.

“In 2024, Marty was honored with the first Marty Holtman Lifetime Achievement Award from the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation, Inc., which the Foundation created and named after him. It was presented to Marty in person on January 26, 2024 at the Foundation’s January luncheon meeting, which was also Marty’s 94th birthday.

Award
The first Marty Holtman Lifetime Achievement Award

“When not at work, Marty was a devoted husband to Pauline and a wonderful father to his two boys, Martin III and Jimmy. Marty was a faithful member of St. John’s Catholic Church in Boise, where he was a lector for over fifty years, retiring at the age of 92! Marty was also part of the Neighborhood Watch program for the Warm Springs Mesa subdivision and often volunteered at the Boise Senior Center.

Marty with mic in hand at luncheon
Marty always participated in our HIBF luncheons

“Marty attended the initial formation meeting of the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation in May, 2006, and soon joined the organization. He was a loyal member for eighteen years! In fact, it was Marty who suggested the group establish its current monthly luncheon format, where it meets the last Friday of each month at the same time and at same location. The Foundation adopted Marty’s suggestion and, since doing so, he rarely missed a meeting.

“The Foundation luncheons have featured many programs honoring the history of Channel 2 television, KBOI radio, Claude Gloom and, of course, Marty himself — and his extraordinary broadcasting career. His story has also been featured in the Foundation’s quarterly magazine “As the Turntable Turns.”

 

“Marty is survived by his two sons, Martin H. Holtman III (Dondie) of Salt Lake City, Utah, and his youngest son James (“Jimmy”) who was with his father when Marty passed. 

“Marty will be missed, but will never be forgotten.

“The family suggests memorials be sent to the HIBF in Marty’s memory. The address is: History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation Inc., 6127 N. Hastings Ave. Boise ID 83714.”

 

Marty smiling
The legend

marty's celebration of life

Marty’s Celebration of Life
Family and friends gathered for a “Celebration of Life for Marty Holtman” on Saturday April 27, 2024, at the Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill, on East Parkcenter Blvd. in Boise, the same restaurant where the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation holds its monthly luncheons. “Marty did not want a formal funeral or program,” Art stated. “Instead, Marty just wanted his family and friends to get together, and have one last beer ‘with Marty.’ And not to be sad -- but to be happy -- for the great life and the many wonderful friends he had … and the many great and the many talented broadcasters he had the opportunity to work with.”
Art interviewing Marty at awards ceremony
Art interviewing Marty at awards ceremony

 

The History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation plans to honor a worthy recipient every year with “The Marty Holtman Lifetime Achievement Award.” “We will open it up for nominations from all radio and TV stations in Idaho,” Art said. To determine the honoree, the organization will look at certain criteria, such as: how many years the person has been in broadcasting, and how many of those years have been in Idaho … which stations the nominee worked at, for how long, and in what capacities … what previous honors or awards have they received, etc.

If you’d like to nominate someone in Idaho broadcasting you feel is worthy of “The Marty Holtman Lifetime Achievement Award,” please email all the information — and why you feel the person deserves the honor — to The History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation at  hibf@q.com. Please put in the subject line: Lifetime Achievement Award nominee. 

(Photos courtesy: Steve Bertel and Aldis Garsvo, History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation Inc.; History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation Inc. archives; KBOI/KBCI-TV Channel 2)