Weekday nights, Daniel Finder, 28, loves to talk about Israel and being Jewish, his girlfriend Sara and his love of off-road racing to a devoted audience of 100,000. Known by his moniker, Malibu Dan, Finder is producer of "The Sam Rubin Show" and "Conway and Steckler" with Jason Insalaco on 97.1 FM KLSX, but he also shares the spotlight with the hosts. His goofy on-air persona is part fiction, part fact. Where one ends and the other begins is difficult to distinguish.
"Radio is a theater of the mind," Finder says. "You can take anybody into any world. You could say the most outlandish things, and people are going to believe it."Finder, a New York native, settled in Irvine in 1979. Growing up, he spent his free time working, surfing in Newport Beach and going to auto races. When Finder completed his Bar Mitzvah study at the Irvine Jewish Community, he called it quits. "I chose, as a naive 13-year-old, to move on, which I do regret."A communications major at UC Santa Cruz, Finder left college to work with KLSX when its format was still classic rock. He often worked 18-hour days and slept in his car in Koreatown instead of driving home. "I just worked my tuchis off," he says.
The confirmed Grateful Dead fan was dubbed Malibu Dan by then KLSX talent Beau Riles during a Howard Stern book signing in Westwood.
"I don't like it, but I will die with the name Malibu Dan," he says.
Finder, a devoted surfer who now lives in Calabasas, will regularly mention his Jewish heritage on-air and describes his trip to Israel three years ago as "one of the most uplifting experiences of my life. It was so spiritual."
"The only thing Israel is missing is waves. If there were more waves, I'd be in Tel Aviv in a heartbeat."Finder continues to observe Jewish holidays with his family and revels in the unity of the Jewish community. "Being Jewish, you always have that security of someone being there for you."
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