I just heard the news that Charlie Tuna passed away at the age of 71. According to longtime L.A. radio watcher Don Barrett, Charlie passed on February 21.
What a devastating loss. I had the pleasure of working with him at KBIG in the early 2000’s. He simply was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known in the business. As big and as iconic a voice as he was, there was never an ego coming at you.
This is a punch to the gut. When I heard, it felt like a bone breaking in my chest.
Charlie was like a radioactive element that radiated nothing but goodness. He was always kind, always giving, always generous. In a business filled with giant egos, some deserved, some not, he was always about bringing you along with him and making you the star. That may have been the secret to his radio success – he made the listeners feel that way too. He certainly made his colleagues feel that way.
I felt an affinity with him because we both got started in our radio careers at the age of 16. Of course, Charlie was there long before me and is one of the generation that added some rules to the book of how to do good radio, back when it was still radio.
Somewhere in my archives, I’ve got a few pictures and some audio of our interactions on the air. I’ll add them to this post later. But it’ll hurt as it always does when one of the good ones go away.