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Ex-Hostage Jacobsen’s Testimonial to EGBOK

Times Staff Writer

KABC Radio hosts Ken Minyard and Bob Arthur got a surprise call on the air Friday from former hostage David P. Jacobsen, who told them that memories of their show had helped keep his spirits up during his 17 months of captivity in Lebanon.

“EGBOK, Ken and Bob,” Jacobsen greeted them, employing the word (pronounced egg-bock) that the radio duo coined from the acronym for their show’s motto: “Everything’s gonna be OK.”

“I was released because of my faith in God and in EGBOK,” said Jacobsen, who used to listen to the morning “Ken & Bob Co.” show when he lived in Huntington Beach.

Jacobsen left his native Southern California in 1982 to become administrator of American University Hospital in Beirut, and it was there that he was kidnaped by Shia Muslims in May, 1985. Released Nov. 2, he is now staying with family members in Orange County.

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During his captivity, Jacobsen told Minyard and Arthur, he tried to retain his sense of humor and remember the happy times in his life. “Your program was one of the things I thought of frequently. . . . It gave me some laughs,” he said.

Minyard and Arthur said later that they had read in a newspaper article that Jacobsen was a former listener and had tried unsuccessfully to contact him Thursday. His call to them Friday was completely unexpected, they said.

“It’s pretty humbling,” Minyard reflected after the show was off the air. “To think you gave a little comfort to someone who has gone through what he has is really rewarding. You don’t get many opportunities to find out you’ve done something right.”

The EGBOK slogan is celebrating its 8th birthday this month. It was born on “The Ken & Bob Co.” in the aftermath of the mass suicide of the followers of the Rev. Jim Jones.

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“It’s amazing what a silly-sounding word can mean to people,” Arthur said, though he had no doubt as to why. “It embodies the spirit of positive thinking, and we know what can happen with that.”

Jacobsen certainly seemed to know. After giving thanks for the support that he’d received and urging KABC listeners to continue praying for the safe release of hostages Terry Anderson, Thomas Sutherland and Joseph J. Cicippio, he concluded by saying, “EGBOK to every American, and EGBOK to Terry and Tom and Joe.”

This was not the first time a Middle East hostage has paid tribute to the EGBOK philosophy. Last year Thomas Murry of Newbury Park was held captive in Beirut for 20 days after the TWA jetliner on which he was riding was hijacked. In a letter to his family he wrote, “As Ken and Bob say, ‘EGBOK.’ ”

“We seem to have a good rating among hostages,” Minyard quipped Friday.

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